Thursday, October 30, 2008

A sad day for cookies, unless you eat them in bed.

I can't believe it. Two desserts in a row. There's got to be something wrong with the alignment of the stars. OK, maybe it's just that I made two poor choices in a row, but today's dessert left me a bit less than satisfied.

Our dessert today is a cookie from the Woodstock Cookie Company in Woodstock, Vermont. A beautiful and quaint New England town. A little snippet about Woodstock Cookie Company from their 'Our History' page reads, "About eight years ago in the small quintessential town of Woodstock, Vermont, Woodstock Cookie Company started its quest for the ultimate big, soft cookie. And our signature cookies are definitely soft — the kind that enter the wrapper soft and stay that way until the last bite." So, while out on a trek with my Cookie Monster friend, Rabid, here's what I grabbed:

Was it the best cookie I've ever had? No. Was it the worst? Again, no. Did it fall off somewhere in the middle? If by middle you mean toward the bottom - then yes. Sad to say it, but for a Peanut Butter Cookie - this didn't have much Peanut Buttery Flavor. Rabid wasn't quite so gentle in his assessment of the cookie and exclaimed, "This cookie sucks!" I actually believe he almost threw his out the window and had some other comments about how his wife isn't a good baker, but her cookies are better. While I can't asses her baking ability, I'm definitely in agreement that the cookie wasn't spectacular, or even approaching it. The chocolate chips were very good. I believe two ingredients were seriously lacking in the cookie. The first was peanut butter, and the second was salt. Now this could have been an off batch, but based on this cookie- I wouldn't call these "the best soft cookies in New England" as Woodstock Cookie Company is so fast to claim. In fact, I've honestly had better off the shelf at a grocery store. Now, that being said - I'm willing to accept this may have been an off batch for the company, or maybe it was old. However, it certainly doesn't seem like age was a factor as the cookie date on this was 11/07/08 - meaning it was good for another week. I can't imagine that these cookies had been there long since no preservatives are listed in the ingredients.

So I'm not happy with yet another dessert. Though, as I just learned from RC, it may be because I'm not eating my cookies in bed. Apparently they taste much better that way. While I'm not going to take another chance, just yet, with a Woodstock Cookie Company product, I may have to grab one of those delightful Pepperidge Farm Mint Milano Cookies. Alas RC didn't mention which kind of cookies she was eating - though she tells me she's a great baker of such things. I do know she knows her fashion, and you can read all about the latest fashions at her workplace by going here and finding out all about their fashions at April Cornell. I have to say - the lovely lady who welcomed me (when I recently visited the website) in her nice walking sweater certainly does represent the April Cornell image nicely. Oh - also should provide a link to April Cornell's blog - April's Musings. for some reason I'm having trouble linking directly - so I'm linking to the directory for October 2008.

On to the next dessert. Oh - the poll is almost closed, limited time left to vote!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

How could this happen?

OK, So by chance I happened to be picking up Pumpkins, Apples, Cookies and other such things - along with a great cuppa Mulled Apple Cider from Chapin Orchard in Vermont a few days back. What did I see by the register? Well, it was fudge from Snowflake Chocolates in Vermont. They had two, Maple and Chocolate - though their sign said Peanut Butter and Chocolate. Kinda reminds me of the last purchase I made in Ferrisburg.

From Dishing on Desserts

So - I was a bit disappointed. Yeah, the fudge, which they call 'Awesome Fudge' wasn't... well awesome. It was kinda waxy tasting and, I have to say, tasted more of the cling wrap it was in than it did of the ingredients I expected it to taste like. I'll admit, I'm not a huge Fudge lover, but enough that I bought it and wanted to taste it. Admittedly the Maple fudge did eventually leave the taste of Maple in my mouth - which is a great thing, but it wasn't one of the first things I tasted. Honestly, it was a bit waxy. Same goes for the Chocolate. It hit at almost the same time with the flavor, but it wasn't the first, second or third taste I had. Now, I will admit I didn't eat these immediately. However, I would expect that most of us don't expect we have to eat something that isn't refrigerated and is well wrapped.

I've had many chocolates from Snowflake before and I just have to think that perhaps these were an off batch, the batch of cling wrap was especially fragrant, or maybe this isn't the real deal. Dunno. Just disappointed and really believing that I don't want to eat the rest of what I thought would be a treasured treat. They, however, will live out the rest of their days in the garbage can - leaving me guilty and unfulfilled.

It left me looking for other things to eat. So I stumbled across this. Pumpkin Mac 'N Cheese. Interesting? Yes. Tasty? Perhaps it will be...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Another trip to Paradise-burgh

OK, So maybe Ferrisburg doesn't meet the requirements for Paradise. It does, however, meet many of the requirements of my tummy. Yesterday I had to go film some footage in Ferrisburg, so I had to stop in again at one of my favorite haunts - The Ferrisburg Trading Company.

From Dishing on Desserts

While I was there I picked up a Peanut Butter Bar. Let me just say that there may need to be more words in the description of this dessert as it just doesn't seem to describe it. I picked one up, and a nice jug of milk too!

This dessert was *HEAVY*, and I mean heavy. It weighed more than the 16 ounce milk I grabbed to go with it. Not surprising since there was at least 1/4" - 1/2" of solid chocolate on the top. The same Chocolate they use for their eclairs, and perhaps Chocolate Chunks. Tasty. I believe, though I can't be sure, that there was some sort of puffed rice in the PB mixture. There was something that was grain-like, more so than the PB could, or should, have been itself. The texture was good. Very Pea-nutty, not fake, so I'm assuming they use a good natural PB, and not something that's full of Hydrogenated lipids and flavor enhancers. Some of those don't tolerate the heat well and the Goober Peas are so finely ground that they have no texture. Honestly - one of the Peanut Butters I used to use was the 'Government Surplus' Peanut Butter a relative used to give me.

This, however, kicked my butt. Yep - I couldn't finish it in one sitting. If you get one of these - I suggest you prepare to eat it in shifts, split it with friends, or prepare to be sick if you eat it all. As I mentioned, it's heavy. When I got into the car, it leaned over. I actually split it up into 4 smaller snacks. The picture of it is after 2, I did put those nice teeth marks in there - just because. This truly was something that was just a comfort kind of dessert. I'm wishing I had tried the Pumpkin Bars they had - but maybe next time I go I'll try those. I need to go take a nap now.

Happy Dessert!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Ok, I don't normally do this - but this is for sure a guy you have to go and read. Ed Levine at Serious Eats has a great blog posted on The Ten Most Dissapointing Treats for Tick or Treaters.

Speaking of Serious eats - it's another site like Tastespotting as they have the Photograzing side of Serious Eats. It's where I found this Uber-scary recipe for Spiderweb Eggs. Just look at the Pic!

This will definitely spook the young uns this halloween when they have those plastic spiders rings (I have hundreds of those things around it seems) crawling all over the eggs.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I *had* to try it...

So I'm in Shaws, walking around, enjoying the fact that they're done with this latest round of renovations - yay new bathrooms. Well, Shaws seemed to be pretty excited about them being done, I honestly didn't feel compelled to go have a peek. Instead - I perused through the discount bins, looking to see if there was anything tempting, as there frequently are some incredible things in those bins, and often they're aggressively discounted. Last time I saw some I picked up those sugar dispensers you find in Diners. Great for here at the office, or at home.

While I was approaching the checkout, I discovered that Shaws had placed a display between me and the aisle. And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but Carrot Cake. Now there are many things in this world that I can deny myself. Many things I can pretend I'm not interested in, turn my nose the other way and keep walking. Were I superman, Carrot Cake would be my Kryptonite. I had to buy it, after all, it had a little carrot on it. Chocolate, by the way, is my other Kryptonite, but I digress. I used to have a standing order for Carrot Cake every two weeks or so from the Lovely Mrs. Barbara Wick - she and her husband Hilton had a stand for many years at the Farmer's Market in Burlington and, not only was she the sweetest lady ever, she also baked a mean cake. Her frosting was dead on. The carrot cakes varied slightly depending on the season, nuts she had on hand and the like. They were always 'the best one yet' and her hospitality eventually extended beyond just a smile and a great cake. My former wife, daughter and I were constantly invited down for tea, cookies and whatever other bounty of food was on hand. The dessert world dimmed slightly with her loss. However, my tummy forces me to carry on and so I do.

So back to now - where I'm about to check out and I see this little pile of clear clam shells before me, beneath the frosting peeking at me are the pineapple chunks and their friends, the little carrots on top of the frosting inviting me to spend some time together with them. I couldn't resist. I grabbed a healthy slice in it's clam shell home and absconded away to the register so no one could see me with my treasure.

My hopes were high, but my expectations low when I returned to the workplace, fork in one hand, coffee in the other, preparing to dive into this dessert. I originally intended to eat only half the slice. Best intentions, meet tasty treat - intentions melt away and so does the treat. I was actually fairly impressed. The cake wasn't bad at all. It was a bit.. rubbery. It was a bit too light on some of the more fragrant spices you would expect in a Carrot cake, and the Carrots certainly weren't handpicked by a chef because of their ripeness, color and good character. The pineapples tasted like they came from a can. However, it was still pretty darn good overall. My biggest let down was the frosting. I'm a fan of the true Cream cheese frosting and this tasted like it wanted to be - but just not quite there. It was also too thick and sugary.

On a scale of 1-5 I'd give it a solid 3.5. It's better than I expected, but certainly not gourmet material. If I were still in College or High School - a dessert like this would be the highlight of my day, but I'm not - I'm not in the middle of nowhere with my funds all tied up in a meal plan that finds me eating more cereal and salad than I thought humanly possible. Nope - I get to choose my own dinners and desserts, so this misses that upper echelon. But it definitely did fill the void, and my tummy, for a bit that day. I might even go back again - though the next time I'll scrape off about half the frosting before eating it. Honestly - what I'll probably do is order myself a cake from Chef's Corner (they're on the poll to the left by the way - hint!)

Frosting, if I may go slightly off topic, is one of those things I've always been picky about - so don't be alarmed if I come to your birthday party and eat the cake, and not the frosting. Especially if it's blue, pink or green. Unnatural frosting colors scare me a bit, especially once I see it turning people's lips or teeth into those same un-natural colors. Probably some of the best 'Over The Counter' frosting I've had is the 'Bestcream' from Hannafords. I have to say - it's pretty tasty - though they do occasionally mix those odd colors in there too.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Klingers again?

Yep, it's true - but once again - this one came to me. Got to thank AM's family for coming in to visit him and, surprise, bringing in a huge box o' cookies from Klingers with them.

So here's what I picked out of the box, filled chockablock with sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies and more.

This cookie had some surprises. First, It looked like it was a chocolate cookie with white chocolate chips. It wasn't. Second, it looked like there were chocolate chips scattered through it. They weren't. And third, well - third was just that it had all these great tastes and aromas going on that just were a great surprise.

So the first surprise - they weren't pieces of white chocolate, nope, they were pieces of maple candy. That's right - our own state favorite of Maple Syrup in its crystallized candy like form. Yum! The second surprise were those pieces I initially thought were chocolate chips. They were dried cranberries. Now I know - you're wondering how I could make that mistake - all I can say is they were in a box and I just reached in and picked it fairly quickly - snapped off a shot or two with the camera and sat down to nibble - all while talking to my boss, who was behind me in line wondering why I was taking longer than I needed to by taking pictures of cookies. How odd, right? The third surprise, well - nothing I could nail down exactly. It tasted of mulling spices. I couldn't tell if it was just an aroma, or if it was in the taste. The cranberries and maple syrup just excited me so much that when I forgot about them and decided I better look for the other tastes... well at that point I was nearly done. I could smell them the entire time, but just am not sure if they were kept near them or if there were some subtle flavorings hidden in this cookie. Either way - get there. Go get a cookie. Why are you still there? Go, go.. shoo!

Oh, for those who are eating while they're sitting there, and don't need to leave to get a cookie - you're in for a possible surprise. I know I was. Apparently the Burlington Free Press is going to do a story and might actually mention your humble blog/blogger in it. Yep, I run with an interesting crowd at the full time job, and someone decided it might just be newsworthy.

My camera is misbehaving, as a result pics are delayed, but coming shortly!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Strawberries, kiwi and chocolate crust - Oh My!

I occasionally get sandwiches at this little shop around the corner from work. Ok - I get sandwiches from all the shops around where I work. On the cold days, I often stop by Klingers Bread Company to get myself a panini. Other than soup, it's a damn good way to enjoy lunch. After desserts, I'm a huge fan of sandwiches. Probably why I like Ice Cream Sandwiches so much. When I stop in at Klingers, I get coffee, sandwiches, chocolate croissants, muffins - you name it. I always look into the dessert window - but I worry I'd become like a moth to the flame, and run the risk of buying everything, so I tend to buy nothing. one thing that amazes me, and I must go back, to get for the cookie loving work crew, are their great frosted cookies. They're absolutely stunning today - frosting showing off our lovely fall colors and in the shape of maple leaves. Maybe others too?

Today, something different happened. Only one struck me. it had loads of fruit on it. I think I must need my vitamins, hope I'm not running deficient of any, because I grabbed a lemonade too. A friend pointed out to me, right away, that her only possible gripe about this dessert is that it doesn't include anything in season. Sure it's got Kiwi, Strawberry, Blackberry, Red Raspberry and blueberry all represented - but it's true - not an apple in this bunch. Course, they would have to spray it or something to preserve it - otherwise you have brown bitter slices piled on the top, or worse, an entire apple plopped on top of this three inch wide by 3/4 of an inch high snack. Yeah, I know - I measured it. Just curious I guess. With the fruit, by the way - it's about 1 1/2 - 2 inches tall.

There's a lot of traffic in this. In fact - I don't believe I can't eat anything past the blueberries without pulling it apart. Since I don't have proper cutlery here - I'll have to do just that, and take nibbles of the crust and peachy custard contained therein. Oh, almost forgot, it has the drizzle of dark chocolate across the top. Yum!

The crust is very good, quite a bit of chocolate flavor. I think there must be bunches of bakers in here. Good quality too, though I think it could use a touch more salt - just a personal preference to carry it across the tongue. The crust was, overall, nice and flaky, not too crumbly and held up nicely around the edges of the cuplike shape it had been baked into.

What I thought initially ( by appearance) was a custard is actually a mousse inside, and is absolutely divine. As a mousse I do believe this dessert wouldn't last long once made. In fact, there were a few parts of the bottom of the crust that were softening and absorbing some extra moisture. The mousse didn't taste much of a peach flavor to it, but it's got a great soft and fluffy texture to it - melting nearly immediately on impact.

My vote - this is definitely a repeat. There fruits were all great, the strawberry was sliced to allow for easier nibbling. The one fruit that seemed a bit out of place were the blueberries. I love blueberries, and maybe I'm too picky, but if they're cold they just lose so much character. Good work Klingers, I'll be back for more.