Vanilla Truffle Donut

Dunkin Donuts new donut sounds fancier than it tastes. The vanilla truffle donut launched a few weeks ago, alongside a salted whipped cream cold brew coffee, grabbing foodies attention everywhere. I gave the truffle donut a try, but wasn’t quite won over. 

The truffle donut features curled milk and white chocolate shavings atop a bed of milk chocolate glaze. Inside wasn’t a delicate, vanilla Bavarian silken custard as I hoped for. No. Inside was what tasted like a condensed whipped cream filling. Perhaps I expected more (and how could you not with such a sophisticated name), but I wasnt thrilled. I actually gagged a bit. 

TheTalkingSpoon Yumfactor: 2 tongues, 1 tastebuds (2.5 stars out of 5) The presentation is artful, and I love the shavings. The chocolate on The donut is always enjoyable. The filling was a bit boring to me.
What are your thoughts?

Recipe Testin’: Crescent Roll Apple Dumplings (Adapted from the Pioneer Woman)

appleI love Pinterest for its multitude of awesomeness. It’s no surprise it’s an extremely popular interactive vision board many use for ideas on an array of categories–food included. I often utilize Pinterest’s food boards and pins for cool recipes. Deciding after much procrastination to try a perfect fall treat incorporating basic ingredients, I found a simple, yet delectable recipe using sprite, crescent rolls, apple, butter, sugar and cinnamon. The original recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman, whose version includes 2 cans of crescent rolls and Mountain Dew. I had to improvise by adding Sprite and 1 can of crescent rolls, but it did the trick. (Click on this link for the original recipe. This has step-by-step pictures, and some of you may prefer that.)

The following is Pioneer Woman’s recipe with a few tweaks I added for creativity. It takes 10 minutes to prep, 40-45 minutes to cook (depending on oven and browning) and serves 6-8 people. The recipe is straightforward, the dessert is undeniably scrumptious and this is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  •  2 cans of original crescent rolls. I used one can and it worked just fine.
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 oz/ 1 cup Mountain Dew or sprite.
  • Cinnamon to taste. I added nutmeg as well. (To put it in quantative terms,start with 1/2  of 1/4 of a tsp. I eyeballed it, and this is the best I’ve got.)

Directions: (Preheat over to 350 degrees)

  • Peel, core and cut apples into 8 slices. This is an opportune time to use that apple peeler and corer if you have one. If not, it’s a great investment.
  • Open box of crescent rolls, and separate them into triangles. Place dumplings into a 9 x 13 inch pan. I used a round clear pan, lightly greased with butter.
  • Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll, starting from the top of the triangle, rolling downward to the tip of the crescent roll. Secure by applying gentle pressure to create an adhesion.
  • Melt two sticks of butter over medium-low heat. Add vanilla, sugar, and gently stir. Mixture doesn’t have to be smooth.
  • Pour butter and sugar mixture over the apple crescent rolls, thoroughly covering apples. Pour Mountain Dew on the sides of the pan, around the appley crescents.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon. (I got creative and used nutmeg and sugar in conjunction to cinnamon. I thought a good idea would be apple pie spice or a dash of sugar and ginger for next time.)
  • Place into oven and bake for 40-43 minutes, until apples are soft, butter bubbles and the crescents are golden brown and crispy.

Serve while warm. Toppings may include: ice cream, whipped cream, or whatever works for you! Why not try both versions/substitutions and incorporate the optional ingredients for variety? I’d love to hear your experiences in your comments.

Must Try Foods: Super Target’s Limited Time S’mores Cupcake.

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S’mores perfection, but bite sized.

In honor of summer (which is nearly done)  Target has released their delicious s’mores cupcakes. I have been meaning to do a blog on these delights a few months ago, but was to busy cramming my face with these to blog about them. 😀 These mini desserts are made with a chocolate cake base and a divide of marshmallow creme icing, and chocolate icing. To top it all off you also receive a dash of crumbled graham crackers to add texture, and the authenticity of the classic s’mores flavor.

I have to say I have enjoyed snacking on these because I love s’mores. The marshmallow icing is delicious, and I can’t resist these. Another benefit is the size as you can control how many calories you intake and control the amount of sugar you consume. The serving size is 3 mini cupcakes, which total out to 330 calories, individually  110 per cupcake. If you are watching your sugar, or trying to practice self-discipline while you snack on sweets, you may like the portion control. As for the rest of us who gobble up things without regards to self-discipline, 3 may not suffice! These are delicious, and the flavors are a fun, well balanced treat perfect not only for summer, but for the entire year. Too bad they won’t be available for that long!

You get 12 in a pack for $2.50 or $2.99. Yes, I know it’s pretty bad I can’t remember the price, and I cannot find my receipt at the moment :-/ Either way, try them if you can. You won’t be sorry, unless sugar scares you.

S’mores cupcake Yumfactor: 4 tongues and a taste bud. It’s just really good. Only thing is, they may go fast if you love them as much as I do. And I don’t even share these.

Why Eating Ben & Jerry’s Boston Cream Ice Cream Should Be A Sin.

Taken by Shinai

Boston Cream Pie Ice Cream

First off, I don’t literally mean to imply that this ice cream breeches any sanctimonious rituals of daily life, or acts to be a blasphemous force to be reckoned with. Not to mention the looming feelings of guilt I felt after indulging in this delciousness. I’m simply saying that this luxurious ice cream, is sinfully delicious. When I first tasted a spoonful, I felt gluttonous, and became fully aware that if I continue to eat this, I’d be committing one of the 7 deadly sins on a hardcore level. So I stopped before things got too intense. :-/  (Yay for self-restraint :-D) . Described on the carton as “Boston Cream” flavored ice cream with fudge flakes, swirls of pastry cream and pieces of cake” this flavor reaches to portray magic in each spoonful. To make sure I describe this accurately without too much exaggerated connotations, I’ll break down each flavor, under-current, and note as I recall.

Firstly, what exactly *is* Boston Cream Pie flavored ice cream? (I don’t mean including the other added

The dimensions of delicious.

stuff like the chocolate flakes, the pieces of cake, and the ribbons of creme, but specifically the ice cream base). Now, think about this- Boston cream pie is NOT just a monotone flavor. One must take into account the chocolate glaze, the cakey foundation, and the gooey, custard rich center that makes it all worthwhile. In the context of this ice cream, what should have read in the product description based on what it actually tastes like is as follows:”Rich custard ice cream meets deep pieces of fudge flakes, dancing with ribbons of pastry creme”. Why? because the base of this ice cream is a plain custard- vanilla base. So if anyone is expecting for there to be more in terms of the ice cream, (such as more chocolate flavor)  there you go. That isn’t to say that the smooth custard doesn’t hold up on its own. No. Quite the contrary. The custard undertone is smooth, and performs well with the bittersweet fudge pieces that don’t get left out in the equation of all this bliss. But just when you thought there wasn’t more, more just arrived. Imagine dense and decadent pieces of vanilla pound cake, which take on the richness of the custard ice cream.

Taken By Shinai

Custard, creme and a little flake of fudge.

Finally, as if that doesn’t wow your tastebuds, there are ribbons of pastry creme to tie it all together. It plays hide and seek, because at one portion of the ice cream pint, you may not get any, but then, when you’re expecting a piece of fudge, or a dollop of cake, BOOM! You’re met with a creamy, velvety goop of pastry cream. This is not for the faint of heart. If this description is too intense for you, then I don’t suggest trying this. But then again, whenever I indulge in something that gives me a guilt complex, I tend to intensify it.I appreciate the uniqueness of this flavor and the attention to detail Ben and Jerry’s have done to provide a nice compliment to the Boston Cream Pie. I’m sure this may not be for everyone, but I enjoyed it. My only gripe is that there could have been more pieces of cake, or better yet, bigger chunks of cake. Also, since the custard ice cream is representative of the custard center, the ribbons in this ice cream could have been chocolate instead of more custard. I did feel that there was an abundance of custard and pastry creme that really mirrored the other. So, in other words, custard ice cream, chocolate ribbons, and bigger cake chunks. Other than than, it’s a great ice cream.

Ben & Jerry’s Boston Cream Pie Ice Cream Yumfactor: 4 tongues and a tastebud (4.5 out of 5 stars) This is really rich and delicate, and uniquely fun treat. I’d be curious to try it with chocolate swirls, and more cake chunks. This is what stopped it from being a 5, because the flavors would have been more balanced in my opinion.

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Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake Review!

***Disclaimer: This is a cupcake review. Yes, I am aware that baked products like cakes and cupcakes tend to have frostings that are too sweet, which can be spooned off, but let’s remember, I also bake cakes from scratch, including icings, and eat cupcakes monthly. Therefore, my taste for cupcakes may be pretentious and specific. Please bear this in mind before finding the urge to say “cupcakes are supposed to be sweet!” I am a bit of a dessert snob because I have been exposed to quality desserts.:D Thanks.***

Now, for the review:

Today I ventured into Barnes and Noble and sampled a new item from the cafe; A strawberry shortcake cupcake. It was unpretentious in appeal- a plain white cupcake liner revealing a rose pink strawberry cupcake, and a mountain of icing that made my teeth cry. Although I might risk getting another cavity, I felt the risk was worth it. I bought one, and on my first bite didn’t think it was unique in flavor. It tasted like a plain strawberry cupcake laden in artificial flavoring, and appeared to have a bit of food coloring. I could tell the cake had an artificial influence, (I know, it’s Barnes and Noble, but I am a cupcake snob, and am sensitive to natural and artificial flavors in cupcakes) but it wasn’t disgusting.

Cupcakey Gooeyness.

The cake and center wasn’t too bad, but the scariest thing about this delicacy was the icing. Overly sweet, which is not unique for cupcakes- but way too sugary. I would have recommended perhaps applying less frosting on the cake to the bakers (of course you could spoon it off as well). Then things got better for me. I took another bite, much closer to the center, and bit into a jelly center that tasted like rich, ripe sweet berries. This was the ticket right here. The cupcake had gone from something Little Debbie may sell (which to say that Little Debbie isn’t horrible, however the artificial and slightly processed tastes was present) to a cake that instantly earned a summery richness. The gooey, ripened center gave this cupcake jazz and depth. It went from being something that tastes unoriginal and too sweet to slightly more delicate. Sad news, though. Because of the diabetes flavored frosting, I couldn’t finish the whole cupcake. 😦

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake Yumfactor: 3 tongues (3 out of 5 stars) It’s ok, not bad if your teeth and glucose can handle it. Better because of the center, but I’d rather find a recipe online and make these myself from scratch. It’s $2.50 a pop and available at Barnes and Noble.

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Vanilla Bean Coolatta? I think yes!

I went to Dunkin Donuts  today to get my usual croissant, egg and cheese, when I ordered a Vanilla Bean Coolatta. At first, I was apprehensive, bc I don’t drink these type of slushy drinks unless they are fruity, and figured if this had too much milk in it, it may alter the texture a bit too much.

Vanilla Bean Coolatta with no Vanilla Beans

Well, I was pleasantly surprised with how good it was. In describing this, I’d summarize that it’s much like a vanilla popsicle, but has the texture of a slushy. Not too hard to imagine, right? 🙂  I suppose when you think about it, that may be the image you conjure up.  What I really liked was the strong vanilla flavor.  Granted, I saw no vanilla beans, but whatever vanilla based syrup they used has a strong, creamy, almost custard taste, but NOT a heavy texture. It’s perfect for hot day, because you’re indulging in a creamy, and  ice cream like experience, without the heaviness of ice cream.  I had done some research on this product and found that it has been consistently popular, but has been discontinued for a bit.  That caused many fans to be enraged because this item is indulgent and has a richness that is understandably unique.  Here is a post on the product, along with fans responses to it: http://www.slashfood.com/2009/06/03/exclusive-dunkin-donuts-brings-back-vanilla-bean-coolatta-toda/

Drawbacks?- the calorie and sugar content, which should not be surprising because *drum roll please* this is a *sweet item* Therefore, if you are watching your weight, or have a special diet, or have diabetes,please don’t drink this.

Tangent warning: I had to emphasize this, because I get comments from time to time from people who say how unhealthy an item is because they are on a special diet,which is great, but let’s be real, folks- that’s up to you to supervise what goes in your stomach. I’m NOT recommending you drink this if you are trying to live a certain lifestyle, so be aware of this for the future and please don’t send me comments of this nature. (i.e. “How do you expect me to drink this if I’m a diabetic?” Hmm, that’s easy. I don’t. ) Thank you for your cooperation 🙂

Back to the topic at hand;According to Dunkin’s website, a small size (16oz ) has 67g of sugar, and 440 calories. So let’s just say too much of this is not a good thing. 😉 What I did was drank 3/4 of the product, because I do watch my sugar from time to time. I’d recommend maybe drinking a half size, and sharing it with someone else if those numbers scare you, or if not, that’s fine, also. See more here: http://caloriecount.about.com/calories-dunkin-donuts-vanilla-bean-coolatta-i119136

I paid about $2.99 for it, and felt it’s a great indulgent treat from time to time. I even heard that mixing this flavor with the strawberry flavor is blissful. I wanted to keep it simple, so I didn’t, but if you try it, please, let me know what it was like for you.

Vanilla Bean Coolatta Yumfactor: 4 tongues and a tastebud. (4.5 start out of 5)  All around yummy, light, yet creamy and rich. Not as weird as it may sound IF you think it sounds weird. No vanilla beans are in it, so be prepared to be deceived by the name. 😦

The copycat recipe will be posed on another blog post. Stay tuned!

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Must Try Foods: Limited Edition Cocoa Chex Mix

I have always loved this mix as it balances sweet chocolate with salty pretzels. I tried it a few years ago and have always looked for it, so naturally I was not hesitant in picking up another bag! It was about $2.00 and change, and is normally made available around the winter months, which makes sense considering it is supposed to be a Chex interpretation of hot cocoa. Fun! 😀 Firstly, Chex mix seems to be a crowd pleaser, and the standard flavors tend towards the salty, (although there are candies in some of them) which is to be expected.

Oh, the fun!

This mix  gives a handful of variety as there are chocolate squares, vanilla yogurt cream flavored crispies, plain chex cereal squares, delicate mini marshmallows, salty pretzel, and sweet swirlyness. The mini marshmallows gives it an overall sweeter than salty pretzel experience, but admittedly is my favorite part of grabbing a handful to snack on. The vanilla yogurt cereal squares are also rather delicious as their flavor is strong, and the coating is rich, playing of the sweet chocolaty notes. I bought a bag last night, and finished it already 😦 That is a drawback of this product- you may eat it off before you plan to!  They are 7% less in fat compared to potato chips, and contain only 7g of sugar per 1/2 cup per serving, along with 120 calories! Not too shabby! Not only is this mix delicious, but it captures the spirit of winter because of the hot chocolate association. Try it! You may love it as much as I do! Here is another review of the same product: http://www.betterproductadvisor.com/review-limited-edition-cocoa-chex-mix/

Note: For those who are diabetic, while this snack is low in sugar, please remember than this in a carb than will break down into sugar once eaten and digested.