Friday, March 06, 2009

The Pretzel Disaster: Filled Pretzels

Last night, I decided to make filled pretzels. First I made a batch of dough using Alton Brown's pretzel recipe. Then I whipped up some of the cupcake filling I've used many times before (cream cheese, sugar, egg, pinch of salt). I divided the cream cheese filling into four bowls and added different flavors to each one:

Flavor 1: 1/2 Tbsp Key lime powder + 2 tsp ginger ale
Flavor 2: 2 tsp bacon bits, 2 1/2 Tbsp Gouda, 2 1/2 Tbsp cheddar, garlic, 2 tsp crushed tomatoes, pinch each of black pepper, celery seed and paprika
Flavor 3: 3 tsp peanut butter, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Flavor 4: 4 Tbsp blueberries, 1/2 tsp vanilla

I tasted each filling and they seemed fine. I was going to start filling the pretzels, but I noticed it was almost 3 AM (yeah, I like late night baking). So I stuck the bowls of dough and mixtures in the fridge until this morning.

After letting the dough rise one hour, I set to work. My plan was to roll the dough flat, cut out circles, add filling and pinch them closed. That did not work out too well. The key lime and blueberry mixes kept popping out of the dough. I ended up making a couple patch work jobs.

After I baked the pretzels and sliced them open, I saw the pretzels had either absorbed or dissolved the cream cheese. The blueberries were fine on their own, regardless of the cream cheese being gone. The key lime was too faint to notice. The cheese & bacon bits filling would've been better if I'd used less sugar and added red peppers. The peanut butter was utterly disgusting. I was going for something like peanut butter cheesecake; but instead it tasted like a peanut butter sandwich left it in the fridge for 2 days. The pretzels by themselves were delicious, though.

Oy, what a mess. It's back to the drawing board for me.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Contest alert: Frugal Momma In Maryland

If you love spices, head over to Frugal Momma in Maryland's blog and enter for a chance to win some McCormick spices. The contest runs from March 3 - March 15, 2009. Prizes include the following:

"...different extracts, spices, rubs, bacon bits, and cocktail sauce."

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Elmer's Candies: Assorted Chocolates

"Elmer's New Orleans: Great Tasting, Memorable Chocolates"

Left to right:

#1. Light brown circle with caramel filling. The caramel was wonderful! It was buttery. The milk chocolate was pretty decent.
#2. Dark brown circle with gooey brown filling. No clue what flavor that was supposed to be. It was a cross between raspberries & butter and peanut butter. Didn't care for this one.The dark chocolate was weak and lacking kick.

#3. Square with semi-solid brown filling. Tasted like cheap raspberry scented fudge.

#4. Dark brown, drizzled rectangle with gooey orange center. Reminded me of orange juice mixed with melted Skittles. Ew.
#5. Light brown, drizzled rectangle with gooey pink filling. Think of chalky strawberry medicine. Very nasty.

I probably won't buy Elmer's Candies again, unless I could get the caramels by themselves. None of the other flavors appealed to me.

Seattle Chocolates: Te Amo Heart Truffles

"With bold graphics and all natural truffles, this heart box adds just the right amount of fun. Truffle flavors include classic favorites such as Meltaway Mint, Espresso and Extreme Dark Chocolate."

6 Extreme Dark Chocolate (pink), 5 Espresso (purple), 5 Mint (gold)

Espresso (dark brown), Mint (light brown), Extreme Dark Chocolate (dusty)

Espresso = The chocolate was creamy and smooth. There were a few tiny coffee bits inside. Very delicious!
Mint = The milk chocolate was so-so. The mint brought to mind Wrigley's chewing gum. Milk chocolate + the wrong type of mint = yuck!
Extreme Dark Chocolate = I have no idea what was extreme about this candy. It was not rich, bitter or even marginally interesting.

Seattle Chocolates' assorted truffle mix was average. These were not the best solid chocolates I've ever eaten. I'll pass on buying these again.

Ferrero Rondnoir Dark Chocolates

"A unique combination of dark chocolate cream surrounding a 'black pearl' of fine dark chocolate, within a delicate, crisp wafer...topped with crunchy dark chocolate morsels."

"Crunchy dark chocolate morsels" = Tasted like semi-sweet chocolate chips. This layer also had a mint flavor in all three pieces. I'm not sure why.
"Delicate, crisp wafer" = Thick but bland
"Rich dark chocolate cream" = Reminded me more of milk chocolate than dark
"Black pearl of fine dark chocolate" = Had more of a dark chocolate flavor than the other layers

I have mixed feelings about the Rondnoir chocolates. They were fairly good, but not enough to be amazing. I would probably only buy these again if I was decorating a cake and putting the sliced in half pieces on top. I prefer my old favorite much more, the Confetteria Raffaello with coconut and cream.