Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chocolate, Cookies, and Choice

I love cookies. I really do. But not all cookies are created equal.

Some cookies break your heart.

These Chocolate Toffee Brittles look fabulous on the box:

But are not so good in real life. They actually might have been better without the chocolate. I think toffee shortbread would be delish, but with the chocolate, these didn't work for me. They weren't worth 100 calories each so I pitched them. I've been saving the box for a "somethings are better without chocolate" post. I do think that chocolate does not have to be added to everything. We'd get pretty sick of chocolate if it was all there was.

Speaking of something that doesn't seem to be made better by adding chocolate, Vosges has a new mushroom and chocolate bar. I kid you not - Organic Enchanted Mushroom Candy Bar - Organic dark chocolate + reishi mushrooms + organic walnuts. Maybe things have gone too far. Do mushrooms need chocolate? Or more importantly, does chocolate need mushrooms? When will chocolate say, "Enough! These horrible experiments must end! I am not an animal!"

Speaking of horrible, look at these:

Hello Panda! How about Hell No Panda. These look like slightly charred Oyster crackers with cross-eyed pandas printed on them playing various sports. Why go to all this trouble? I counted 10 different designs in a box of 16. There is a panda playing golf, tennis, ping pong, soccer, baseball, doing gymnastics, kayaking, sailing, skiing and lifting weights. Is the panda really the animal for all this activity? Why not pick a sloth? Or maybe go with Hello Jaguar - an animal that might actually do something.

I'm not sure about the shape - some are shaped kind of like a panda head, some are round, all are half full of choco cream. I think the only reason they have the cream is so kids won't choke on the dry crumbs from the rest of the cookie. Kids will like these because kids like everything. I suggest you have 10,000 or so better options.

Well, we've heard from Japan. Let's go to England. Back in June 2008 the British voted on their favorite cookie (known as biscuits to the Brits) of all time. Now I don't know how the poll was conducted, but knowing the English, it was right on the money. They chose McVitie's Chocolate Digestive:

This is a cookie where chocolate DEFINITELY made a difference. The chocolate was added in 1925 and that's when sales skyrocketed. Of course, when I read the results of the poll, I had to get some. And, well, they are not so good. They are made from wheat flour (thus the digestive part, I guess) but they only have one gram of fiber each, so that is BS. Of course they taste like cardboard so maybe it's the placebo effect. English food is pretty bland and generally awful, so this falls right in line. Thank God for the Revolutionary War.

The chocolate chip cookie (biscuit) didn't even make the top three. No wonder the English look so dour.

So much for Japan and England, let's go down South! Where an RC Cola and a Moon Pie are tradition! I saw these in the grocery store and had to grab them. They are PEANUT BUTTER Moon Pies!!!

Well, actually, they are are only made by the Moon Pie people. They are not technically Moon Pies. Where a regular Moon Pie has marshmallow, this one has peanut butter. Where they have graham cracker, these have chocolate cookie. And the whole thing is coated in chocolate. And I gotta tell you, they are pretty damn good. Now don't get me wrong, these aren't like a homemade cookie, I'm not suggesting that. But for a mass produced cookie, they are good! And they kick the Digestives' butt! Once again, America wins the war!! Whoo hoo! Made ONLY in Chattanooga, TN! Hmmm, I wonder if I can get a tour of the plant....

Now this isn't technically a cookie. It's a muffin top:

But I'm including it here to show you the choices you have. These are amazing - they taste like a brownie and they have chocolate chips. Vitalicious also makes some with peanut butter chips. They also have brownies with walnuts. These taste great! And here's the best part - they only have 100 calories!! They are loaded with vitamins and have 5 grams of fiber! (Digestives, you suck.)

And let's just see everybody together and naked:

See how big the Vitalicious muffin top is? 100 calories!!! 170 for the Peanut Butter Moon Pie cookie next to it, 168 for both Digestives (but why bother?), and about 20 calories for each HellNo Panda. This is how I don't get fat. When I really want a nice big chocolate fix - I eat these! I pop the frozen brownies into the microwave and top them with fat-free vanilla caramel Jell-O Pudding. For 170 calories I have an outrageous dessert.

Here's the website and some grocery stores carry them too. I think chocolate, corn muffin and banana nut bread are the only ones worth getting. Sign up for their e-mail and they send out coupons from time to time.

Well, there you have it. I don't care what anyone says, America Rocks! We have everything from Peanut Butter Moon Pies to Vitalicious Muffin Tops AND we have the freedom to chose. Thank God for the Founding Fathers or we'd be stuck with those horrible Digestives. God save the Cookie!


Heidi said...

British food is horrible in general -- did that cookie thing taste like cardboard? It looked like something from a bad diet.
And what's with Hello Panda? Which country eats the cats? Is it China or Japan? Anyway, whoever it is, at least they didn't name the package, Hello Kitty.
Or do they eat dogs? No, that's Korea? Indonesia?
Did you get a buzz when you had the mushroom thing? That might be the only saving grace to that one. But as much of a mushroom lover as I am, that whole idea dragged up memories of my dog's little episode in the car yesterday ...


Carl Weaver said...

Heidi - there was some disease (SARS? can't remember now which one) that was linked to Chinese consumption of civets, which are a type of cat. I don't recall the whole story. Dogs are eaten all over the place. Dogs are basically cows or pigs or possum in a different form factor. That's my personal opinion. All God's creatures, every one of them. Some of them are purported to be tasty.

I have seen Hello Panda but have not tried them. Sometimes I go to the Vietnamese market near my home to find cool candies. What a great fun thing to do!

I had pretty good food in England, much to my surprise, but I also sought it out, so I am not sure it is a fair comparison. Plus it was all washed down with British beer. Yum.

Moon Pies are da bomb. End of story. If only they didn't have marshmallow...

Denise Ryan said...

Hee, hee - Carl, you are the sources of all knowledge! And I know YOU won't be eating any animals EVER!

Heidi - I haven't tried the mushroom chocolate bar yet, but I will! Maybe I will be wrong (again) and it will be good. But it sure sounds bad!

Carl - that's a great idea! I have a Korean market near me I should check out for candy. I got these at World Market which has a surprisingly good candy section.

Geez - I just love to eat!!

Anonymous said...

British food is delicious. You evidently haven't been to Britain to try some.

Anyway...what country eats pigs? And cows? And chickens!?! Oh, and baby sheep, a.k.a. lambs, not only once in a while, but also every single day?
Don't forget about all those fish we're eating.

And if you're complaining about the Digestive Biscuits being unhealthy... the Moon Pie is quite unhealthy too, despite the "whole grain" label. Digestive Biscuits did not claim that they were healthy.

Don't take labels so literally. Did you really think Moon Pies came from the moon? Please.

Denise Ryan said...

Dear Anonymous,

My, my! I have indeed been to England and I did find traditional British food to be not so great. And those Digestive Cookies are bland and cardboard like to me, but to each his own.

I'm not sure what country you are referring to - both England and the US eat meat - so I'm not sure what that's about. Carl is a non-meat eater, so thus his comments. I don't eat much myself - unless chocolate is involved. ; )

I was commenting on the use of the term digestive in the name. Seems to imply some use in digesting. But hey, maybe they used it becuase it's just so darn catchy!

No one thinks Moon Pies are healthy - the whole grain label is on the Vitamuffin, not the Moon Pie.

What? Moon Pies are not from the moon? Get out! All I know is they sure as hell aren't from England.

Ease up - it's all in good fun.

Raj said...

Oh Dear,

OK. I'll be the one to say it then.

I grew up in Britain. I've lived in the US for the best part of a decade. I really wish food in the US was better but it's generally designed for a population who's taste buds are shot from eating over-processed, over salted, over sugared - or corn syruped crud.

US food sucks. Generally speaking.

Funny thing about Americans is how delusional they are.

The assumption seems to be that because America is the number 1 country in the world, everything America produces must be the best. They're not. American food was sucky and industrial by the 50's. Very few other countries let their food get that bad.

I used to work in a candy factory in the UK many years ago. We used to get American chocolate in sometimes. We'd taste it and then laugh until our sides hurt.

A few things worse in the the USA than in the UK are;
Bacon, sausages, cheese - American cheese could well be the worst cheese in the world, cakes - over sugared, bread - oh my good lord, bread that tastes like candy - who would have thought it. Food that's generally too sweet come to think of it.

I really wish the food here was better - then I could brag about it to my friends. Instead I get them to bring me parcels - oh my god how could I forget the tea! American tea! If only I hated someone enough to buy it for them.

You might try a dash of high fructose corn syrup on the chocolate digestives.

Cinnamon rolls are quite good though :)

I know you're going to delude yourselves that my decade here and decades in the UK don't count for much - but at least I've lived in both places for a long time.

Oh - you suck at making pastry too.

Sorry - but someone should tell you.

What I loved about living in the UK was the sheer number of world class restaurants - unfriggingbelievable - which is why many of the world's top chefs have restaurants in the UK. No spray cheese in sight :)

Enjoy that burger ... mmmmm the preservatives.

Denise Ryan said...

Ah Raj, thanks for the comments. I still think the Digestive is a poor cookie, but to each his own. There are some evil Americans who make quite a mean pastry. I assume you've been to Manhattan or San Franciso. I think you might find a restaurant or two that would be up to your standards.

The blog is all in good fun - chocolate is a global celebration! I just like my biscuits soft, chewy and with chocolate! : )