Healthiest Chocolate Bar Ever?

In my neverending quest to find weird, wacky candies, I unearthed something surprisingly healthy last weekend: a quinoa chocolate bar!

QuinoaDarkChocolate

Weird, right? They had it in the artisan chocolate section at my Central Market (which is basically the Texas local version of Whole Foods). I just had to buy it ($4.29) because I love quinoa, but also because I knew it would enrage the resident ES quinoa haters. In your face, haters! Made by Alter Eco Foods, this candy bar is objectively good. Seriously, if you didn’t know the crispy bits were quinoa, you’d just think it was a dark chocolate Krackel bar or something.

In all honesty, you’re probably not reaping more benefits from this bar than you would from any other dark chocolate (it has 2g of protein per serving, I don’t think that’s shockingly beneficial), but whatever—I like to pretend I’m being super healthy and responsible when munching on this bad boy. Plus it’s organic! What more do you need? Basically I just lost 5 pounds, lowered my cholesterol, and got my week’s worth of fiber by trying this new candy.*

*No, I didn’t, but whatever.

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Post-Holiday Cocktails: Candy Cane Affogato

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While taking down our window wreath, putting away Frank Sinatra’s Christmas album and downing our last bit of eggnog, we were left with an abundance of candy canes. While there are only so many sheets of peppermint bark you can make and cookies to bake, we started brainstorming ways to use the red and white spiraled confections in a sweet and soothing dessert.

While traveling through Italy, we remember sitting at a café on the bank of the Arno River in Florence in the mood for an indulgent afternoon sweet. Our charming waiter suggested affogato (“drowned in coffee”) which traditionally is a scoop of gelato with a shot of hot espresso poured on top. The espresso cooled slightly when it hit the cold gelato and created a melted medley of swirled flavors.

Back in our cozy Boston apartment, we decide to crush our collection of candy canes and sprinkle the flurried bits atop our version of affogato. To add a kick, we top the overflowing liquid with a bit of peppermint schnapps, so we could spoon and sip our nightcap and dessert all in one.

Peppermint Affogato

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Drinking the Season: 7 Holiday Cocktail Recipes

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, you know what ES has up our virtual sleeves for you…a holiday cocktail! Or seven!

OK, fine, we don’t actually have a Kwanzaa cocktail (Sandra Lee…where aaaaare you on this one?) but from peppermint to gingerbread, there’s something on this holiday cocktail list everyone can get behind.

1. Seven Layer Cookie

3/4 oz. Godiva® Liqueur
3/4 oz. Coconut rum
1/2 oz. Butterscotch Schnapps
1/2 oz. Partida Anejo Tequila
1/4 oz. Frangelico
1/2 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream®
1/2 oz. Amaretto

Garnish rim of a martini glass with crushed cookie crumbs. Shake all ingredients in a shaker with ice and strain into martini glass.

2. Wine Me Up Santa

From: W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island

1 750ml bottle red table wine
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole cloves
¾ teaspoon whole pink peppercorns
2oz honey
2oz vodka
1oz triple sec
.5oz soy lecithin
Cinnamon powder

Warm all ingredients except soy lecithin in a saucepan at a low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not allow the temperature to exceed 140°F / 60°C (If mixture starts to boil, lower the heat.) Seal and chill. Take ¼ of your mixture and use an electric hand blender to mix in soy lecithin to create an airy topping. Pour in liquid mixture to fill half of a glass mug or teacup, top with mulled wine, air, and lightly dust the top with cinnamon.

3. Chocolate Peppermint Cookie

3/4 oz. Partida Blanco Tequila
1 oz. Peppermint Schnapps
3/4 oz. Godiva® Liqueur
1-1/2 oz. Cream

Rim martini glass with chocolate syrup and crushed candy canes. Shake ingredients in a shaker with ice and strain into martini glass.

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Peanut Butter Sea Salt Truffles

As much as I love holiday cookies and confections, I’m just not much of a baker. I’m impatient and imprecise, two things that are not beneficial for a cook who wants to excel in the world of baked goods. Luckily for me, there are a whole lot of treats out there that look and taste fancy, but don’t even require pre-heating an oven.

Peanut butter balls were always a favorite of mine as a kid, and these no-bake truffles are a fancy version, thanks to the addition of one of my all-time favorite dessert ingredients, fleur de sel. It’s an amazing compliment to almost any sweet flavor, plus it adds a satisfying crunch. Combine this sophisticated ingredient with the no-brainer combo of chocolate and peanut butter, and you have a guaranteed winner for your next holiday party! Not to mention that the rainbow nonpareils I added are just so festive and cute. Yeah yeah, I’m one of those people who thinks rainbow sprinkles make everything infinitely better. I can’t help myself.

Peanut Butter Sea Salt Truffles

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Top 5 Halloween Pinterest Recipes

Finally, Halloween is here! We’ve spent weeks dreaming about candy, cocktails, and all sorts of festive party snacks, but you know how it goes… the day hits and you realize you’re one recipe short, or you get invited to a last-minute shindig… never fear, we’ve got you covered. ES has been compiling the best, weirdest, and funniest Halloween ideas on our Endless Halloween Pinboard. Here are the top five most repinned discoveries we’ve posted (not counting our own amazing ideas and creations, which you can find collected here!).

5. Halloween Candy Bark
From Annie’s Eats

Butterfingers, Reeses Cups, M&Ms, honey-roasted peanuts, and toffee candy paired with both bittersweet and white chocolate? Sounds like a recipe for a massive amount of cavities… and a massive amount of Halloween happiness. Also good for post-Halloween when you need to use up all that leftover trick-or-treat candy.

4. White Chocolate Bones
From Inspire Co. / Spoonful

Here’s one that’s perfect for all the last-minute lazybones. (Get it? Sorry.) With only three ingredients, these bones manage to be sweet, salty, crunchy, and pretty cool looking.

3. Pretzel Spiderwebs
From Mom Endeavors

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Top 10 Worst Things to Give Trick-or-Treaters

I miss trick-or-treating. Don”t tell me you don”t. If so, then you hate all things good in the world. You hide in your house with the lights off as kids fashion their prized costumes anxiously awaiting a sweet treat. You people suck, and probably have no perspective on the meaning of “It”s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” You”re a Halloween scrooge. Poo poo on you.

For the rest of us, the Holiday is upon is. Get ready to scare the bajesis out of the kiddo”s, hoping to make one of them pee or crap their pants. Then, you win them back with a sweet treat and you”re suddenly known around the block for it. I”m hoping to scare some kids, and I”ll be honest—I”ve eyed up the candies that are anxiously awaiting Halloween in the house, and I”m psyched for left-overs.

Last year we brought you a list of the top 10 trick or treat candy fails, but the truth is, it actually gets a lot worse than Tootsie Rolls and Mounds (shudder!) Here are your top ten tricks that you shouldn”t be handing out this Halloween:

10. Pretzels

Yeah, I like my fair share of salty goodies—but not on Halloween. Just because the pretzels are shaped like bats and pumpkins doesn”t mean they are meant for Halloween. Especially not to give out. At a party? Sure. To give out at your doorstep? Hellz no.

(Photo: walmart.com)

9. Chips

Chips…Cheez-Its…doesn”t matter. Are they sweet? No. Do they leave a residue on your teeth that requires extra-long tooth brushing? No. So what”s the point? If kids want chips then they can go to the closet of their house. I”m willing to bet there isn”t a wide variety of candy to choose from. Only chips and cereal.

(Photo: alwaysdirect.com)

8. Peanuts

Yes, this actually happened to me. Need I say more?

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New Halloween Candy Alert!

It’s almost Halloween, and while we are looking forward to scoring some of the classic candy we all know and love (and unfortunately receiving the same duds as usual), there are a couple new tricks and treats to be on the lookout for. Two candy classics, Cadbury’s and Mike & Ike, have released new Halloween versions this year, and I’m here to tell you about them.

I’m not sure where the advertising has been regarding this first treat, but I didn’t know it came out this year until I was at a random convenience store the other day, picking up some Diet Coke to smuggle into the movie theater (come on, I’m not paying $8 for a fountain soda). At the checkout counter I noticed something very interesting:

What? Yes! Thankfully Cadbury realized that the world could not wait until Easter for their delicious filled chocolate eggs and released Cadbury Screme Eggs (we see what you did there, Cadbury) for Halloween. This is a huge development in the world of novelty candy.

Obviously I bought one and rushed home to try it:

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