Recipe: White Chocolate Peppermint Coconut Milk Ice Cream

I love ice cream.

Seriously.

Obviously.  I mean…who else in their right mind would make ice cream when it is -100°F outside.  That might be a slight exaggeration on the temperature…but it has felt like that the past couple of weeks.  And it’s driving me insane.  And when I go insane…I make ice cream.

A local ice cream store does some seasonal flavors every year, and one of the ones that is introduced at Christmas time is called Candy Cane Lane.  It’s a white chocolate base with peppermint candies broken up and incorporated into the ice cream.  It is phenomenal.

With the holidays now behind us…that ice cream flavor has gone back to the vault until next December.  With that being said…I set out to recreate it, but instead of using a base made with whole milk and heavy cream, I used culinary coconut milk.  Once again, So Delicious Culinary Coconut milk proves that it is just as good of a base as the heavy dairy, which tears my stomach up.

What was even better…it tasted just like the flavor at the ice cream shoppe.  You’d never even guess coconut milk was used to make it.  So, dig out that ice cream maker and give this one a whirl!

Recipe: White Chocolate Peppermint Coconut Milk Ice Cream

White Chocolate Peppermint Coconut Milk Ice Cream
White Chocolate Peppermint Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Servings: 8
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Freeze 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk (I used So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk)
  • 1 cup coconut sugar (or your preferred sweetener)
  • 8 ounces white chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies or Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips

Directions:

In a saucepan, add a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer.  Place a large bowl over the saucepan, making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water.  Break up the white chocolate into pieces, add them to the bowl, keeping the heat at its lowest, and allow the chocolate to melt slowly.  The chocolate will take about 5-10 minutes to melt and will become smooth and glossy.  Remove it from the heat and give it a good stir.

In a large bowl, mix the coconut milk, sugar, and melted white chocolate together until completely incorporated.  Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Add the ice cream base to the ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions.

In the last two minutes of processing, add in the peppermint candies/baking chips and continue to process until well incorporated.

Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container, cover the ice cream with plastic wrap, cover with the lid, then freeze until firm.

~*~*~

Yep…it’s super simple…and REALLY good.  And, no worries, you can’t even taste the coconut milk.  You get the smoothness of the white chocolate and that hit of peppermint from the addition of the candies or baking chips.  And in the end…it makes a delicious treat that everyone will enjoy.  Even when it’s colder than Christmas out there.

But…ice cream is good anytime, right?

Right!

Product Review: Endangered Species Natural Dark Chocolate Bar with Espresso Beans

Endangered Species Natural Dark Chocolate Bar with Espresso Beans
Endangered Species Natural Dark Chocolate Bar with Espresso Beans

Product: Endangered Species Natural Dark Chocolate Bar with Espresso Beans – $2.99+

I love chocolate covered espresso beans.  They are little “pellets of power” as my roommate calls them.  And she couldn’t be more right.  But they have to be dark chocolate coated.  Why?  Because dark chocolate…as I stated before…is my favorite chocolate and the only one I prefer to consume.  Milk chocolate is not for me.  And white chocolate…it’s never really impressed me.  Dark chocolate, with all it’s healthy antioxidants and heart-healthy qualities is the way to go.

I still remember reading one of Dean Karnazes’ books (he is the Ultramarathon Man for those of you who are unfamiliar with the name) about running in his first ultra marathon.  He was at one of the checkpoints and he was given a slice of brownie.  What made this brownie the most amazing thing he had ever tasted…was the espresso beans that were baked inside the chocolate fudgey treat.  Runners love that extra kick that caffeine can give to their runs…and having it with a hit of chocolate is my favorite way to eat espresso beans.

Imagine my joy when I was at my local Earth Fare store and spotted the Endangered Species line of chocolate bars.  They had so many varieties on their shelves and my roommate told me to pick one.  ONE!!!!!  How was I supposed to choose?  But…I did.  And while the Dark Chocolate Bar with Blueberries was very tempting (blueberries…another super food for runners!)…I ended up selecting the Natural Dark Chocolate Bar with Espresso Beans.

And I couldn’t be happier with my choice.  This chocolate bar ended up getting tucked away in my drawer of run goodies in my kitchen.  And, like the chocolate bars that came before it…I totally forgot that they were in there.  With sell by dates coming up…I figured now was as good a time as any to work my way through them.  A nice little sweet treat for the office day.  Perfection.  Just what I needed for that mid-afternoon pick-me-up.  With the espresso beans, that shouldn’t be a problem.

So, this past week, I opened up the bar and broke it up into 1/5 portions.  The serving size on the back indicates that the actual serving is 1/2 of the entire bar.  But I just needed a taste…not half a bar at 2 p.m.  Just saying.

Let me say this…this bar won me over at first taste.  The dark chocolate is some of the best I have ever had the chance to taste.  Rich.  Smooth.  It wasn’t too bitter at all.  Just the perfect hit of dark chocolate goodness.  And it’s the perfect percentage for dark chocolate so that it isn’t too bitter and you still know you are eating dark chocolate.  This particular bar sits pretty at 72% cocoa.  The espresso beans…oh…yeah.  Just like eating a few dark chocolate espresso beans.  That’s what this tastes like.  Caffeinated love with a hit of coffee flavor.  Color me a happy chocolate-eating girl.

This chocolate bar is certified gluten-free, vegan, uses Rainforest Alliance Certified Cocoa, it’s kosher, and it’s non-GMO certified.  The cacao is sourced from ethically traded  cacao farms that ensure fair trade, responsible labor practices and sustainable farming.  Are you sold on this yet?  What is even better, 10% of the net proceeds of each bar purchased are donated to help support species, habitat and humanity.  That means…indulging in a cause.  A very good and important cause.

So…this clean eating chocolate loving lady gives this bar a huge, huge thumbs up.  Honestly.  I’m totally addicted.  Maybe it’s the espresso beans.  Maybe it’s the delicious bittersweet dark chocolate.  But I’d wager it’s the combination of the two.  As far as ingredients go, this chocolate bar is made up of bittersweet chocolate, and roasted coffee.  No…really.  How’s that?  It’s sweetened from vanilla and beet sugar.  Clean eating chocolate for sure.

Nutritionally speaking, by breaking it up into 5 portions of 3 squares, I only consume 84 calories and 7 grams of fat.  But, if you were to consume the 1/2 bar (or 43 grams) listed as the actual serving size, you’d be taking in 210 calories and 17 grams of fat.  It is cholesterol-free and sodium-free.  Seriously.  And, for a chocolate bar, the 12 grams of sugar isn’t enough to make my eyes bug out of my sockets.  There is also 5 grams of filling fiber and 3 grams of protein as well.  Love it.

If you want a sweet treat without breaking up with your diet…if you just require a hit of chocolate every now and again, I highly recommend the Endangered Species brand.  Even better…if you love coffee…indulge a little in the Dark Chocolate Bar with Espresso Beans.  You won’t be sorry.  And it does give the right hit of bittersweet goodness and a little pick-me-up when you need it most.

Indulge in a cause.  Indulge in Endangered Species Chocolate.  Enjoy!

Endangered Species Natural Dark Chocolate Bar with Espresso Beans (unwrapped)
Endangered Species Natural Dark Chocolate Bar with Espresso Beans (unwrapped)

Product Review: Dark Chocolate Dream Pure Dark Dark Chocolate Bar

Dark Chocolate Dream Pure Dark Dark Chocolate Bar
Dark Chocolate Dream Pure Dark Dark Chocolate Bar

Product: Dark Chocolate Dream Pure Dark Dark Chocolate Bar – $3.59+

If there is one treat (aside from peanut butter) that I allow myself on a daily basis…it’s dark chocolate.  Why?  Because I love, love, love dark chocolate.  I have never been a big fan of the mild milk chocolate…and white chocolate…that’s not even chocolate.  Dark chocolate has and will always be my one true chocolate love.  I blame my mom for this…as she was a dark chocolate fiend when we were growing up.  I guess I do get some of my best traits from mom!

Anyway…I had a stash of these Dark Chocolate Dream dark chocolate bars in my drawer at home.  I got them when a local store put them on closeout…as if they were going away forever.  At the discounted price…I couldn’t let them get away without me trying them.  Right?  Right!

Well…I forgot I had them.  *hangs head in shame*

No…really…I forgot.  I FORGOT I HAD DARK CHOCOLATE IN MY HOME!!  What in the world is wrong with me??!  Anyway, I uncovered them not too long ago, as I was digging for a protein bar to take with me in case a restaurant didn’t have food for me.  It was like uncovering treasure.  A stash of like…six dark chocolate bars.  All different.  All just waiting to be devoured…savored…or whatever.

Working my way through them…the other day, without a dessert plan in mind after dinner (dessert is important…it must happen and it always does in my home!), I remembered that I had a Dark Chocolate Dream Pure Dark Dark Chocolate Bar in that drawer…and in my pantry…Marshmallow Fluff and some gluten-free graham crackers.  Do you see where I am going with this?

S’MORES!

I mean…gluten-free s’mores for dessert?!  Brilliant, yes?  Absolutely!

So, I went to the drawer and dug out the Pure Dark bar.  Prior to this, I had a couple other Dark Chocolate Dream Dark Chocolate Bars…the Raspberry and the Rice Crunch.  I broke off two of the squares for the s’more, retrieved the gluten-free graham crackers from the pantry and the fluff.  One graham cracker got the bit of chocolate placed onto it…the other one…layered with Marshmallow Fluff.  I took my kitchen torch (yes…I have my own kitchen torch) and toasted up the fluff before sandwiching them together for the perfect gluten-free (and vegetarian) S’more.

One bite…and I knew I was in Pure Dark heaven.  Because the star of the s’mores was not the toasted fluff (although that is delicious) or the gluten-free graham crackers.  No…the star is that hit of bittersweetness that can only come from amazing dark chocolate.  This chocolate is rich…which meant it was the perfect thing to pair with the sweet fluff and the salty-sweet graham crackers.  It just brought balance to everything.  And…the Pure Dark Dark Chocolate Bar is simply that…dark chocolate.  Nothing else.  Just solid dark chocolate.  And…yes…it is amazing.  Let’s not forget, dark chocolate is actually considered healthy and good for you.  It is loaded with antioxidants and heart healthy stuff.

So…what is this amazing Pure Dark Dark Chocolate Bar made from?  According to the wrapper, the Pure Dark bar from Dark Chocolate Dreams contains evaporated cane juice, unsweetened chocolate, roasted soy flour, soy lecithin, cocoa powder, pure vanilla extract.

As for the nutritional value.  Well…it’s chocolate.  Need I say more?

But for those genuinely interested…one serving of the Dark Chocolate Dreams Pure Dark Dark Chocolate Bar is 1/2 of the bar.  That would be four squares.  This serving would provide you with 240 calories and 14 grams of fat.  This is why I only do one square at a time…which works out to 60 calories and 6 grams of fat.  Regardless…let’s say you really needed chocolate that day…so you went with half the bar.  This would also provide you with 15 mg sodium, 23 grams of sugar, 1 gram of fiber, and 3 grams of protein.  So…all-in-all…not too bad.  Not great.  But, this is to be a treat.  I recommend 1 square a day…not half the entire bar.  Much more manageable.  Oh, and you get to enjoy it longer too.

Dark Chocolate Dreams has really impressed me.  Honestly.  I have enjoyed all three of the dark chocolate bars that I had in my drawer.  Each one had something different about it that sort of set it apart from the others.  But for the simple love of something dark chocolate and sweet…I highly recommend the Pure Dark bar.  It doesn’t get much better than the original.

Dark Chocolate Dream Pure Dark Dark Chocolate Bar (unwrapped)
Dark Chocolate Dream Pure Dark Dark Chocolate Bar (unwrapped)

Rice Crunch puts a new bite into my Dark Chocolate Dream chocolate bar

Dark Chocolate Dream Rice Crunch Chocolate Bar
Dark Chocolate Dream Rice Crunch Chocolate Bar

Product: Dark Chocolate Dream Rice Crunch Chocolate Bar – $3.59+

Chocolate is my favorite sweet indulgence.  Really.

And not just chocolate.  Dark chocolate.  I dislike milk chocolate.  And white chocolate is…not really chocolate.  Dark chocolate.  That’s where it is for me.  I love that bittersweet, rich, deep flavor that dark chocolate offers up.  I love how it literally will coat my taste buds and I will just let anything dark chocolate melt slowly.  It makes the indulgence last even longer.

A while back, my roommate picked up a few Dark Chocolate Dream chocolate bars from the local grocery store.  They were on closeout, so in a panic we bought pretty much one of everything.  I tucked these away in a drawer and forgot all about them…until recently.  So, now I’ve been working my way through these chocolate treats…before they expire and all that good stuff.

I’ve been given a plan by sports nutritionist to move toward a clean eating diet.  And while most would not consider chocolate to fit into that…I like to point out the health benefits of dark chocolate.  It’s good for your heart because it has been shown it can help lower blood pressure.  It helps improve cognitive function in your brain by increasing blood flow to your brain.  In fact…it’s been shown to help reduce the risk of stroke.  It’s a mood booster.  It is full of antioxidants.  Oh, and dark chocolate has high concentrations of potassium, copper, magnesium, and iron.  NICE!

So this week, the drawer held a couple of choices, but I opted for the Dark Chocolate Dream Rice Crunch Chocolate Bar.  Why?  Well…while I did enjoy the Enjoy Life’s Boom CHOCO Boom Ricemilk Crunch was good and filled with the crunchy rice bits for that added oomph…it sort of had this chalkiness to it.

Dark Chocolate Dreams Rice Crunch Chocolate Bar does offer up a better alternative.  Honestly.  While the puffed rice isn’t as prevalent as it was in the Enjoy Life version, the crispiness is definitely throughout the entire bar.  In other words, you take a bite…and it’s like biting into a Nestles Crunch bar all over again.  But safe.  And made with dark chocolate.  Oh…and I should mention that this dark chocolate bar is vegan as well.

The Dark Chocolate Dream Rice Crunch chocolate bars are made with simple ingredients which include all of the following: evaporated cane juice, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, roasted soy flour, puffed wild rice, soy lecithin, pure vanilla extract.  No fake chemicals, no preservatives, nothing that you need to look up in order to figure out what it is you are eating exactly.  Nothing like that.  Everything is pure and real.  Real food…real chocolate.  I love it already.

As for nutrition…well…I remind you that this is a chocolate bar.  So, do mind your servings.  For me, I take one square with me to work, which equals out to 60 calories and 4 grams of fat.  That’s not bad for one square of chocolate.  But, the serving size for this treat is usually half of the chocolate bar.  This serving will provide you with 240 calories and 14 grams of fat.  The serving only kicks in 15 mg of sodium, which isn’t bad.  However, remember…this is a treat and this is a sweet…and chocolate is still high in sugars.  1/2 of the bar will give you a huge dose of 23 grams of sugar.  Aside from that, you will be provided with 1 gram of fiber and 3 grams of protein.

But…the flavor.  The flavor is what does it.  I love to savor my chocolate.  A nibble here…another there.  And that’s the way I eat this one.  The dark chocolate has that bittersweet flavor to it…which is amazing and delicious.  I love how it melts against my tongue, and that hit of dark chocolate just lingers…and then, as I bite into it…the crunch from the puffed rice.  It’s one of the best things in the world, which is why I think Nestles Crunch bars sell so well.  Crunchy, smooth, rich, dark…it’s the best of everything.  And I for one love every tasty bite.

Not all chocolate bars are created equal.  And not all chocolate bars are gluten-free.  Thanks to Dark Chocolate Dream…I can still eat a Rice Crunch bar and savor it with the even more flavorful taste of dark chocolate.  Well done!!

Dark Chocolate Dream Rice Crunch Chocolate Bar (unwrapped)
Dark Chocolate Dream Rice Crunch Chocolate Bar (unwrapped)

Dark Chocolate Dream adds sweet raspberry to vegan dark chocolate bars

Dark Chocolate Dream Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bar
Dark Chocolate Dream Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bar

Product: Dark Chocolate Dream Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bar – $3.59+

Dark chocolate.  It is, honestly, my favorite thing in this world.  Honestly.

I mean…it has this rich, deep flavor.  And the bittersweet taste means you don’t really overindulge.  That’s the beauty of dark chocolate.  It sort of provides a serving size, because it can be rich…so a little goes a long way.

Now…enter the realm of the vegan dark chocolate bar.  Yes.  You read that right.  VEGAN!

Okay, so vegan chocolate really isn’t anything new.  But…the problem I have with vegan chocolate is that it can be hard and chalky…instead of smooth and rich like regular dark chocolate.  So, vegan chocolate bars can be disappointing.

Enter…Dark Chocolate Dream.  Aptly named, mind you.  Dark Chocolate Dream is the chocolate bar segment of the umbrella company responsible for Rice Dream rice milk, Almond Dream almond milk, Soy Dream soy milk, and so on…

I think you get the picture.  Now, I’ve many products from Imagine Foods, the company responsible for the “Dream” products.  And I love them.  Even the Almond Dream almond milk was good.  In fact…it was really, really good.  So, this company is no stranger to vegan products that focus on ingredients.  I like when a company takes pride in the products they put out on the shelf.

But chocolate?  Dark chocolate?  Dark chocolate candy bars?  That are also vegan?

Oh yes…and this one in partucular has an added burst of sweetness because the Dark Chocolate Dream Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bar adds a hit of sweetness from freeze dried raspberries to the bittersweet chocolate that forms the rest of the bar.  And…honestly…dark chocolate and fruit always pair well.  Dark chocolate with some sort of berry…even better.

The Dark Chocolate Dream Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bar is fabulous.  It really is.  No fake and unpleasing raspberry gel inside.  Nothing sticky or unappealing.  Just real ingredients.  The pieces of fresh raspberries that are freeze dried and added to the dark chocolate just elevate this particular candy bar to the next level.  Bittersweet meets sweet…and it just works.  It meshes together well.  Even better, this vegan dark chocolate bar doesn’t have that chalky flavor.  And it isn’t tough to bite into.  It’s smooth.  It’s sweet.  It’s very pleasing to the palate.  And the chocolate is rich, and melt-in-your-mouth good.  No strange aftertaste.  A dark chocolate lover’s dream…

Let’s talk about ingredients and nutrition.  First of all, keep in mind this is a chocolate bar.  Just because it’s vegan and gluten-free doesn’t mean that it is better for you than other chocolate out on the market.  It’s not.  A serving of the Dark Chocolate Dream Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bar is 1/2 of the bar.  This will set you back 240 calories and 15 grams of fat.  YIKES, right?  Luckily, this bar comes in break-away squares of 8.  This means, you can certainly just take a square (trust me it’s enough) and get 8 days worth of treats.  That’s what I’d do.  But I’m frugal like that.  Anyway…in addition to the calories and fat, you are ingesting 15 mg of sodium and then a whopping 24 grams of sugar.  YIKES!  Half of the candy bar contains 1 gram of fiber and 2 grams of protein.

As far as the ingredients that go into this dark chocolate bar, this list is short and recognizable.  The ingredients in the Dark Chocolate Dream Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bar are: evaporated cane juice, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, freeze dried raspberries, roasted soy flour, soy lecithin, and pure vanilla extract.

That’s it.  It’s nice to see such a short list when it comes to ingredients.

If you love the taste of raspberries.  If you love dark chocolate.  Then I encourage you to find and try Dark Chocolate Dream Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bar.  It’s a sweet bite of rich, smooth, vegan dark chocolate.  So…break off a piece…and devour!  Then take a moment to savor.  Trust me…you’ll thank me later.

Dark Chocolate Dreams Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bar (unwrapped)
Dark Chocolate Dreams Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bar (unwrapped)

Enjoy Life’s Boom CHOCO Boom Ricemilk Crunch bar a melt-in-your-mouth, crispy, sweet treat

Enjoy Life Boom CHOCO Boom Ricemilk Crunch Chocolate Bar
Enjoy Life Boom CHOCO Boom Ricemilk Crunch Chocolate Bar

Product: Enjoy Life Boom CHOCO Boom Ricemilk Crunch Chocolate Bar – $1.99+

Dear Enjoy Life:

You really do make life enjoyable.  When food allergies strike…there you are…waving a white flag of sweet goodness.  Just when we think we have to eliminate something from our life…you step in with an allergen-free version that makes is okay for people like me to indulge every now and again.   You bring products so close to things I used to eat…that I don’t ever have to stare longingly at something in a grocery aisle and remember the days when I could simply snatch it up without a care in the world.

In other words…you take my life that was turned upside down when food allergies and intolerance happened…and you set it right again.

I will always be thankful to have you in my trusted gluten-free brands.

Especially when it comes to…vegan chocolate!

Yes, fellow readers, you read that right.  VEGAN.  CHOCOLATE.  Not only that…but chocolate that is free of the top 8 allergens.  Yes.  This chocolate bar is gluten-free, wheat free, dairy free, peanut free, tree nut free, egg free, soy free, fish free, and shellfish free.

Loving it.

Enjoy Life Boom CHOCO Boom Ricemilk Crunch Chocolate Bar (unwrapped)
Enjoy Life Boom CHOCO Boom Ricemilk Crunch Chocolate Bar (unwrapped)

So…remember Nestle Crunch bars?  Remember?  That sweet taste of chocolate combined with the crispy rice crunch that you got with each bite?  This was my second favorite Nestle chocolate bar growing up (Mr. Goodbar being my favorite).  And while Nestle doesn’t list gluten in their Crunch bars, the fact that it does have crisped rice and is made on equipment that it shares with other products that do have gluten…it means I have steered clear of this bar for a long while now.  It’s sad…but necessary.

And then, while on sale one day, I spotted the gluten-free equivalent…or so I hoped.  It was on the top shelf of my local grocery store’s gluten-free section.  And it called to me…beckoning to me to try it out.  See if it compared.  So…for the sake of science, of course, one happened into my shopping cart, was paid for at the register, and taken home.

Last week…it became my 2 p.m. chocolate hit.

Last week…I discovered I no longer have to miss Nestle Crunch bars.

Because Enjoy Life’s Boom CHOCO Boom Ricemilk Crunch is everything a Nestle Crunch bar was…if not even better.  Trust me on this one.  This candy bar is packed with crispy rice and made with non-dairy rice milk.  What this means is you get this great combination of crunchy, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth goodness.  And trust me…that’s exactly what this chocolate treat offers.  The rice milk is sweet and a great replacement for dairy.  You can’t even tell the difference.  This bar is sweet and has that savory crunch in each bite thanks to the gluten-free crispy rice that is prominent throughout the entire bar.  It looks just like a Nestle Crunch…but it tastes even better than Nestle’s version.

So how does this allergen-friendly chocolate bar stack up in the nutrition department?  Really well.  A serving is the entire bar, which would give you 170 calories and 10 grams of fat.  It is a candy bar, after all.  I ended up breaking mine up and spreading it out over four days, cutting that calorie and fat down to 43 calories and 3 grams of fat.  I only needed a square for a snack, not the entire bar, after all.  But…given that the serving size is the entire bar, the rest of that nutrition info is that you also are getting 25 mg of sodium and 14 grams of sugar.  Remember…this is a candy bar after all.  The entire bar also gives you just 1 gram of fiber and 1 gram of protein as well.

As far as ingredients go, Enjoy Life seeks out some of the safest and allergen-friendly ingredients out there.  It starts with evaporated cane juice for the sweetness.  To that it adds non-dairy cocoa butter, natural chocolate liquor (non-alcoholic), rice crisps (rice flour, rice bran, raisin juice concentrate, honey, salt), rice milk powder, and salt.  I love that I recognize every ingredient that is listed.  No guess work as to what anything might be that is put into this chocolate bar.  I love that.

And I love the crispy bite that comes with each nibble I gave to this bar.  It’s perfectly sweet.  It’s perfectly crunchy.  And it truly did melt-in-your mouth with this heavenly sweetness.  It invites further indulgence…but it gives enough that it leaves you satisfied after just one little square.  This was really good.  Normally I prefer a dark chocolate…but the rice milk really meshed perfectly with the crispy rice.  It was a perfect bite each time.

Enjoy Life definitely makes sweets that make life enjoyable…for everyone.

The crispy view of Enjoy Life Boom CHOCO Boom Ricemilk Crunch Chocolate Bar (unwrapped)
The crispy view of Enjoy Life Boom CHOCO Boom Ricemilk Crunch Chocolate Bar (unwrapped)

Enjoy Life’s Boom CHOCO Boom is a decadent, allergen-free, dark chocolate treat

Enjoy Life Boom CHOCO Boom Dark Chocolate Bar
Enjoy Life Boom CHOCO Boom Dark Chocolate Bar

Product: Enjoy Life Boom CHOCO Boom Dark Chocolate Bar – $1.99+

You know what I love about Enjoy Life?

I love that I feel absolutely safe when I buy and consume their products.  There is a reason for that.  Enjoy Life wants the food allergic to be able to eat freely.  And for that reason, this company takes it upon themselves to exclude the 8 most common food allergens in their products.  We’re talking gluten, wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, soy, fish, and shellfish.  Considering that I am a Celiac who is (not uncommonly) also lactose intolerant, this means these products fit right into my wheelhouse.

And…yes…they have chocolate.

More specifically, and much to my happiness…they have DARK CHOCOLATE!!  I love, love, love dark chocolate.  Like…seriously love it.  I have never been a big fan of milk chocolate.  White chocolate…definitely not a huge fan.  Dark chocolate is my vice…and it is actually one of the healthiest vices to have.  Seriously.  Even the books on clean eating I have been studying have mentioned dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and has been proven to lower blood pressure.

And thanks to Enjoy Life…all those benefits are brought together in a dark chocolate bar.  Mmmm…snack time is so bittersweet!  (See what I did there?)

With my love of dark chocolate, my roommate surprised me awhile back with the Boom CHOCO Boom Dark Chocolate Bar from Enjoy Foods.  I tucked this away and had all but forgotten about it…until I ran out of dark chocolate covered edamame and wasn’t heading anywhere near Trader Joe’s for awhile.  Then I remembered my chocolate stash…and this bar was right on top.  Brilliant.

As I mentioned before, Enjoy Life prides itself on excluding the top 8 allergens from their products.  So, I felt very confident breaking off a square of this bar to take with me for a sweet treat when the 2:00 slump hit at the office.  And when said time rolled around, I happily retrieved the container I tucked it into, popped the lid, removed my little square of dark chocolate and took a little nibble.

At first, I felt that this chocolate bar was a bit on the chalky side.  But once the chocolate gets warmed up in your mouth and against your tongue, it takes on that dark, divine, rich flavor that is associated with dark chocolate.  It just takes a moment to get there.  This indulgent treat is a powerhouse with the antioxidant properties it contains, which destroy free radicals that are thought to lead to heard disease and other ailments.  Dark chocolate…more please!!  Actually, with dark chocolate, a little does go a long way.  And for this bar, I separated it into the 4 separate squares and took only one with me.  It was perfect.  And once that initial chalky flavor gave way to the bittersweet dark chocolate…the bar was consumed…and quickly.

And nutritionally speaking, this bar definitely provides a lot of sinful goodness without the guilt.  The serving size is actually the entire bar, but if you’re just snacking, why not make it last longer?  One square of this chocolate bar provides you with 43 calories and only 3 grams of fat.  Not too bad for 8 grams of dark chocolate goodness.  One square will also give you only 3 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein, and 1 gram of fiber.  In addition, the Enjoy Life Boom CHOCO Boom Dark Chocolate Bar contains no sodium and no cholesterol.

As far as ingredients go, it doesn’t get much more basic than this: Natural Chocolate Liquor (Non-Alcoholic), Evaporated Cane Juice, Non-Dairy Cocoa Butter.

Yes…that really is everything.

So, if you have a sweet tooth that needs a little something every now and again, give the Enjoy Life Boom CHOCO Boom Dark Chocolate Bar a taste.  It definitely gave this dark chocolate loving gluten-free, lactose-intolerant girl something to dish about.  Mmmm…chocolate!  Enjoy!

Enjoy Life Boom CHOCO Boom Dark Chocolate Bar (unwrapped)
Enjoy Life Boom CHOCO Boom Dark Chocolate Bar (unwrapped)

Still nutty for the original Nut Goodies candy bar

Pearson's Original Nut Goodies Bar
Pearson’s Original Nut Goodies Bar

Product: Pearson’s Original Nut Goodies Bar – $0.99+

I blame nostalgia.

No…really.  Because if it hadn’t been for my aunt pulling down boxes of old pictures from when my family would come to Minnesota from New York each summer to spend two weeks with my grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins…I wouldn’t have even remembered what a Nut Goodies bar was.  Honestly.  It had been blocked from my memory until we unearthed an old photo of my mom, dad, brother, sister and myself sitting on the back porch of my grandparent’s lake cabin…all eating Nut Goodies bars.

The family that eats candy together…is awesome!

Well, it was a day or two later that my roommate and I ventured out to the Mall of America on our last day in Minneapolis.  And while in one of the stores that specializes in things from Minnesota…I spotted the Nut Goodies bars.  As in…they had a Sea Salt Caramel one too.  Well, I had to have that because Salty Caramel things are one of my great loves in life.  But…I couldn’t not get the original bar.  And, as the label clearly read that there were gluten-free…I allowed the splurge and went ahead and picked up one of each flavor, so that my roomie and I could split them and savor.

These made the journey back to the Louisville area with me…in my often crowded and heavy carry-on bag.  But…they survived and were in tact.  Yesterday…I broke out the Sea Salt Caramel one for dessert…per the request of my roomie.  She started with the new flavor…not the original.  Interesting.  So tonight…that meant we were having the treat of my childhood.  The Original Nut Goodies bar.

After we ate dinner…it was time for our tasty dessert treat.  I went to the kitchen and snagged the Original Nut Goodies bar from the pantry and tore into the wrapper.  I easily sliced the bar in half, giving her one half and keeping the other half for me.  I almost didn’t want to eat it.  Well, I did…but there was so much nostalgia going on in that moment…

My roomie wasted no time.  She bit into it and said…”It’s like a Snickers on crack!”  Which, I took as a good thing.  So, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes…and took my first bite in ages.

And I immediately remembered that flavor.  It was sweet.  Crunchy.  Smooth.  Creamy.  Dreamy.  DELICIOUS!  I mean, it doesn’t get much better than a creamy maple center that is coated with real milk chocolate and unsalted Virginia peanuts.  Nope.  It really doesn’t.  Forget Snickers…this candy bar is much, much, much better.  I fell in love with it all over again.  It took me back to those childhood days.  One bite.  I was there.  And then, before I knew it…my half of the candy was gone.  I licked my fingers clean.  No crumb was wasted.  Now…I want more.

Pearson’s Nut Goodies candy bar hit the scene in Minneapolis, Minnesota back in 1912.  Over 100 years later and the candy is still being made.  Minnesota is famous for them.  And I guess that’s why my family would devour these whenever we headed that way to visit.  It wasn’t like we could find them in New York.  Trust me…we couldn’t.

Now…given that this is, in fact, a candy bar…don’t expect great nutritional information.  This is…a treat.  My roommate and I split our bar in half…but an entire bar would serve you up 240 calories and 12 grams of fat.  Thanks to the nuts being unsalted, one bar only has 85 mg of sodium.  Not too bad.  The nuts also help to provide the 4 grams of protein in each bar.  That being said, you will be feasting on 28 grams of sugar.  But…like I said…it’s a treat.

Pearson’s created a divine, premium candy bar back in 1912.  The fact that they maintain their high standards and still produce an amazing, delicious product is even more impressive.  I think Nut Goodies bars will forever be on the ‘bring home with you’ list when I visit Minnesota.  And if you happen to spot one out in the wild…trust me…you want one.  You want one BAD.  So go ahead…treat yourself to one.  Or you’ll be missing out on a Minnesota classic.

Pearson's Original Nut Goodies Bar (unwrapped)
Pearson’s Original Nut Goodies Bar (unwrapped)

Nutty for Pearson’s Sea Salt Caramel Nut Goodies Bar

Pearson's Sea Salt Caramel Nut Goodie Bar
Pearson’s Sea Salt Caramel Nut Goodies Bar

Pearson’s Sea Salt Caramel Nut Goodies Bar – $0.99+

It’s a Minnesota classic.  Something I ate when I was a kid…whenever I visited Minnesota, my parents would treat us to one.  There are pictures of my family sitting on the back porch of the lake cabin in Minnesota, chowing down on the infamous Nut Goodies Bar.

Ever have one?

If not…you need to change that.

So…as it goes, I was in Minnesota last month to run a half marathon.  On my final day in Minneapolis, my roomie and I hit up the Mall of America, where I made a few random purchases.  One of which were two varieties of Nut Goodies Bars.  What are Nut Goodies Bars?  They are AWESOME, that’s what they are.  But seriously, Pearson’s Nut Goodies Bars are a Minnesota classic.  The company started in 1909, and the Nut Goodies Bar released to the market in 1912 as a premium 5¢ candy bar.  These candy bars contain a creamy maple center that is covered with real milk chocolate (and still is today…unlike many of today’s candy bars) and fresh unsalted Virginia peanuts.  What you end up with is this nice blend of sweet and salty…which is only one of my favorite combinations…EVER!

But…in honor of their 100 year anniversary, Pearson’s went a bit off the beaten path and released it’s first ever permanent line extension by introducing the Sea Salt Caramel Nut Goodies.

Salted Caramel.  Please excuse me while I drool for a moment.  Because I. LOVE. SALTED. CARAMEL.

I spotted it while at a store full of Minnesota goodness at the Mall of America.  I went ahead and grabbed one of the Sea Salt Caramel and one of the Original Nut Goodies Bars.  For old time sake.  After all, the labels clearly stated that they were…wait for it…GLUTEN FREE!  Happiness and joy!

So, they traveled back to Louisville with me in my carry-on luggage.  And survived without getting too crushed under everything else I had jammed in there.  And since the cookies are winding down in my pantry of gluten-free gorging…I decided tonight my roomie and I would split one of the Nut Goodies Bars that came from the land of 10,000 Lakes and Awesome Chocolate Candy.  I told her to choose between the Original and Sea Salt Caramel.  I expected her to start with the basic…the bar that started it all…but she chose Sea Salt Caramel.  So tonight, we split the Sea Salt Caramel Nut Goodies Bar.

This candy bar is basically a new take on the Original.  Instead of the maple center, however, there is a center that is made up of delicious sea salt and caramel…then coated with the infamous real milk chocolate and Virginia peanuts.

These are your basic Turtle candies taken up to the ultimate level.  I absolutely loved having my half of this candy bar for dessert.  I mean…it doesn’t get much better than something sweet with a hint of something salty.  The caramel portion is soft and chewy.  Which I love.  No one likes hard caramel in their candy bar.  The nuts are fresh and crunchy…and being unsalted, you get that nice earthy taste with them.  The chocolate is sweet and rich.  I love that.  And the addition of the sea salt brought the right hint of salty to this otherwise sweet treat.

Now…being that this is a candy bar…let’s remember that this won’t be nutritious…but I don’t like to keep the facts out of my blogs.  My roommate and I split this to cut down on the hit the entire bar would give us.  And, really, you just need a taste.  But Pearson’s Sea Salt Caramel Nut Goodies Bar will set you back 250 calories and 12 grams of fat (some of that is the good fats from the nuts).  Given that this is a sea salt variety, the sodium is a little higher, set at 220 mg per bar.  And each bar has 3 grams of protein (thank you peanuts!).  As for sugar level…yeah…sugar rush on the way with this topping out at 26 grams.  So, remember, this is a treat…but you can also split it with friends and family.

I also love that Pearson’s clearly labeled this Gluten-Free.  No questions.  No guessing.  It’s right there.

And I am clearly falling back in love with a treat from my childhood.  Memory lane…taking down a new flavor path.  YUM!

Pearson's Sea Salt Caramel Nut Goodie Bar (unwrapped)
Pearson’s Sea Salt Caramel Nut Goodies Bar (unwrapped)