Friday, July 29, 2011

Food Finds: Raisin Rosemary Crisps

Sweet and Salty - Perfect Snack Food
Ever have a craving for something to munch on but can't decide between sweet or savory?  Well these crackers are your answer as they are sweet, salty, and also crunchy - another good attribute for a snack.

These tasty little morsels get their sweetness from the raisins, which happen to be another of my snack favorites, and their savory goodness from the rosemary, sea salt and black pepper.  They also contain sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and millet, making these a healthy and nutty tasting treat.

Raisin rosemary crisps are bite-sized, measuring approximately 1 1/2 inches by 1 3/4 inches.  A serving size is 12 pieces, which is enough to satisfy a snack attack, although I'm sure I could eat the whole box (5 servings). 

The Recommended Serving - 12 Crackers

Each serving has 90 calories, 2.5g Fat (no saturated or trans fats), no cholesterol, 130mg sodium, 16g carbs, 1g Fiber, 6g sugar, and 3g protein. For the WeightWatchers among us, a serving is 3 points.

Spread these with cream cheese for a light lunch, or serve them as an hors d'oeuvre with cheese and dips.

Find these tasty crackers at Trader Joe's.  A 5.3oz box is a bit of a splurge at $3.99, but worth every sweet, salty, crunchy bite.  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July Cupcake of the Month: Malt Shop Cupcakes

There was a frozen yogurt shop I used to frequent on my lunch hour, and my favorite day to go was Friday because this was when they had their malt chocolate yogurt.  Mmmm… similar to Wendy’s Frosty, but a bit more chocolaty.  So when I saw a recipe in the Bel Air and Raley’s Extra Magazine for Malt Shop Cupcakes, of course I had to try it.  I am a little behind, as the recipe is in the April/May/June issue.  But really, isn’t it always cupcake season?

I loved how the actual cake turned out; light and moist.  So often cupcakes can be dry.  I think it is the combination of butter and oil in the mix that made it so great.  I couldn’t really taste the malted milk powder in the cake, but maybe it did contribute to the nice texture.

The two ingredients you may not have in your pantry are the malted milk powder and the chocolate malt balls.  The milk powder can be found in the hot drinks aisle along with the hot chocolate, and for the malt balls I recommend purchasing some of the gourmet variety (I am not a big fan of whoppers). 

I found some gourmet chocolate malt balls at the local Hallmark store, but I know Trader Joe’s also carries them, probably at a lower price.  You can also use ‘Maltesers’ which are the British version of Whoppers but ten times better, and you can buy them at World Market (sorry if I am offending any Whoppers fans out there).  In my humble opinion it’s worth the splurge.

I changed the frosting recipe ever so slightly, adding an extra tablespoon of malted milk powder and decreasing the powdered sugar to three cups.  Crushed malt balls are also folded into the frosting.  If you have a little aggression to get rid of, you can place the malt balls in a sealed bag and bash them with a rolling pin or other blunt object.  I chopped mine coarsely with a knife, first cutting them in half so they wouldn't roll around on the cutting board.  I also only used half a malt ball for decoration on each cupcake, as the gourmet variety tend to be much bigger than Whoppers.

The recipe made 24 cupcakes so I put half in the freezer for another occasion or for when I have a sugar craving.  They freeze really well and are a perfect sweet treat as they don't take long to defrost. 

These, by the way, got a big thumbs up from my son-in-law when I made them for Father’s Day.  He said the chocolate cake was one of the best he had tasted.  Oh and the magazine recommends accompanying the cupcake with a glass of red wine – preferably Cupcake Red Velvet.

Here’s the link to the full recipe:  Malt Shop Cupcakes