Clairesquares


Here’s a homemade treat sent to me from an independent baker, Claire Keane.

She makes treats that are similar to traditional Irish recipes, like Marathon Squares from the UK, and more. The treat I tried was her signature confection, the Clairesquare.

The Clairesquare resembles, in ingredients, a Marathon Bar, with a layer of shortbread, a layer of caramel, and a top layer of chocolate. But Claire took the popular candy and gave it steroids, turning it into something downright obscene and incredible.

This post is dedicated to my dad. I told him I’d share. I didn’t. I ate all three of these monsters in one sitting. It was pretty pathetic. But these cookies were not.

The shortbread layer was buttery without being greasy, and crumbled in my mouth, not in my hands. It was crispy and dense and flaky all at once. The caramel was definitely my favorite part, though. I had never tried a homemade caramel before, and this was an eye-opening experience for me. It was buttery, creamy, rich, and I’d have spooned it out of a jar, into my mouth, all on its own. The saltiness perfectly balanced with the sweetness of the chocolate, the final addition to this triple threat of a baked good.

The chocolate was a ganache-like dark, with a woodsy, smokey taste to it that blended with the caramel perfectly. It was a little soft and gooey with the caramel, which was perfect, but together, with the dryness of the shortbread, it created this delicious amalgam of flavors in my mouth.

Claire Keane, Clairesquares
clairesquares.com

10/10- INCREDIBLE

Mrs. S’s Sensitive Treats

Whooo! It’s been ages since I got these treats, and again, another huge and generous sorry from me to her. I was laid up in bed and gumming down Jell-O.

I got many things in this package. The idea with these treats is, they’re made for sensitive stomachs, so all are wheat, gluten, yeast, soy, and dairy free. Oy. To best put these to the test, I actually ate some of them- well, swallowed some whole- while laid up during surgery, where I was told I may throw up. Sure sounds like a sensitive stomach to me!

I was sent a large assortment of treats in a huge package, delivered by none other than Mrs. S’s HUBBY, whom I thank greatly for helping me out and going twenty minutes out of his way to drop a package at the house of a random stranger. So, in the box was a decadent chocolate cake, zany zucchini bread, two fudgey brownies, a chamomile lemon cake, and banana bread.

I tried the zucchini bread first. I can’t believe this was free of so many ingredients. The zucchini pieces were delicately shredded, not chunky, and the bread was buttery, flavorful, and tasty. I ate the entire loaf in one sitting. I’m not even upset to say so, it was that good. The texture was crumbly, but stayed together, so the only place it crumbled was in my mouth. It was the perfect treat. If I had one criticism, it would be that it didn’t take to spreading very well, like with margarine or cream cheese. But then again, those eating this bread probably aren’t spreading it with rich toppings.

9/10- LOVELY

The next dessert to sink my teeth into were the brownies. They were good, but very crumbly. The chocolate flavor was intense, but to some, the texture might have been a little off-putting. Because of the lack of eggs, the brownies were fudgy, but somewhat dry. I personally enjoy a wetter brownie. To remedy this, I simply microwaved it. It was very tasty and, as promised, chocolatey good.

5/10- GOOD

Next was the chamomile lemon cake. It was a good cake, again, improved by microwaving it. It wasn’t very intense in the way of flavor. I couldn’t taste any chamomile and not much lemon at all. There was a dusting of powdered sugar on top. This cake was good, but for flavor, somewhat bland. It almost had a meringue, hazelnutty taste to it, but from what, I do not know.

The texture of these baked goods is remarkable for foods that lack some of the ingredients we take for granted and consume on a daily basis. I still don’t know how all of these hold together.

4/10- OKAY

Again, I got another whole cake. I could not believe it. For ordering purposes, these are generous cakes for the prices you’re getting them at. Very heavy, dense cakes, too.

This cake really hit the spot. The chocolate cake was a lot cakier than the brownies, and had a dense, rich ganache on top. I think that the frosting aspect of this was what made it really spectacular. It was a deep, dark chocolate flavor, very tasty, and microwaved, was gooey and rich. Rich. That’s a good way to put it. It was a very rich cake. The chocolate flavor was consistent and the texture only improved with microwaving.

Best of all, they worked! They worked! My tummy wasn’t burdened by any of the flavors, no matter how rich!

8/10- YUMMY

Last, but not least, was the banana walnut loaf. The banana taste was very natural and very subtle, a very buttery and fruity taste to it. The walnut chunks were a little too bit for my liking, but the flavor was good. The texture was that nice “wet” texture that banana breads get, the dense, yet wettish texture. You know what I mean, right? I’m not a crazy girl, right? Wet. Wetlicious? Great. Now the banana bread sounds like a porno.

Regardless, it was very tasty bread. Definitely dense enough to hold up to a spread, and sweet enough to hold its own.

7/10- LOVELY

Super treats, Mrs. S! And thanks again for your patience. 🙂

Mrs. S’s Sensitive Treats
www.mrssstreats.etsy.com

Athena’s Silverland Dessert Collection, Part III

Part III! Sorry it’s been a slow few days. I had my graduation party yesterday, so that took up my day.

Anyhow, I still had time to come home and try some brownies and dessert bars. I had another selection of three, both room temperature and warm. I was pretty pleased with today’s bunch, but mixed with some.

The first bar I tried made me a little sad. I was most excited to try this brownie, the Alpine White Chocolate, but it fell extremely short of my expectations. I’d never tried a white chocolate brownie and had no idea that such a thing was possible. I didn’t really know people were capable of making baked goods with white chocolate, so it fascinated me.

The bar was very dense and very greasy. It was too thick and tasted not of white chocolate or even vanilla, but shortening and butter. There were very little chocolate chips spread around, giving it a very bland and flavorless aroma and taste. There were supposed to be white chocolate shavings on it, but none that I tasted of.

I didn’t enjoy this brownie, but I really wanted to. I ate the whole thing, trying it in the fridge, warmed up, at room temperature, but it didn’t cut it at all. It’s a shame, because everything else was really excellent.

3/10- HM.

The next bar I tried was the English Toffee Crunch. I liked this bar. It was very similar to the chocolate toffee, but much tastier and more toffee-ee. If that makes any remote sense. It had a crunchy exterior, like a Skor bar, and a buttery bottom crust.

Microwaving this is not advisable. It melted and stuck to my teeth. Still tasted great, but was sticky. Got chewy, and then brittle. I liked the flavor. If I had to make any improvement to it, it would be to put in more chocolate. There was a drizzle, but if there was a layer of fudge or chocolate chips, it would have been absolutely sublime.

6/10- GOOD

The last flavor for today was the Snickerdoodle flavor. I think it was a little misnamed, because “snickerdoodle” usually refers to those cookies and flavors of that nature that involve cinnamon, sugar, and spices in the cookie, like a souped-up sugar cookie. This was more of a Snickers bar flavor, but I’m guessing the company made a narrow save in avoiding any copyright infringement.

Name aside, this was an excellent brownie. Truly. There was a thick, thick ribbon of caramel all over the brownie, topped with the halves of salty peanuts. I love the juxtaposition, if I might use such a pretentious term, of salty and sweet. The caramel was nice and firm, and abundant all over the brownie. The firmness of the caramel made a nice contrast to the gooiness of the brownie, and the salted peanuts were just divine. I liked how they were in pieces and halves, instead of larger chunks, or ground up. It seemed to be the perfect consistency to have as a good blend, instead of overpowering or fading away. Didn’t notice any peanut butter chips, though. Still good.
9/10- AMAZING

Athena’s Silverland Dessert Collection, Part II

Here’s the next selection of bars from Athena’s Silverland Desserts. I’ve been slowly nibbling away at them, little by little, and they’re just fantastic. I ate three flavors of bars today, and I am full and bloated, but for you readers, I’d do anything. 😉

I started out by trying a 7-layer bar, also called a magic cookie bar. That’s how I’ve always known them to be, magic cookie bars. They’re bars with a graham cracker crust base, condensed milk, nuts, chocolate, walnuts, and coconut. I don’t actually think there are seven layers, just seven ingredients. They’re prepared in layers, though.

This particular bar had a nice, chewy coconutty flavor, with the addition of butterscotch chips with the chocolate. My mother doesn’t like to put butterscotch chips in her bars because she thinks they’re too sweet, so growing up, I never had the luxury of trying the bars with butterscotch. It’s fantastic. I love how the butterscotch adds a salty bite to the bar and gives it a slightly richer taste.

The bar itself wasn’t dry, but the coconut was a little flaky and fell off in parts. I could not taste any nuts, but the graham cracker crust was moist and buttery. Warm, it melted in my mouth. The bar was tasty and very rich.
7/10- WONDERFUL

I also tried the chocolate toffee crunch. This brownie was chilled in the fridge for whatever reason, so I let it sit a while at room temperature and get a little warmer. The brownie base was good, a nice, chewy, almost fudgie brownie, but there was very little toffee to see on the brownie. I couldn’t taste much within the interior, either. My mother said that she felt as though the brownie was undercooked, but I thought it was perfect

The toffee that I did taste reminded me less of toffee than it did caramel, and it wasn’t very noticeable. It was overpowered by the chocolate, which was good, but didn’t balance well regarding the ratio of chocolate to toffee. I would have preferred to see a layer of toffee, or perhaps hard toffee pieces, because it said it was a toffee crunch, but there was no crunch to speak of.

5/10- OKAY

The last brownie I tried for today was the hopscotch bar, and I’m a little confused about it. Looking on the website for the description, I saw no notice whatsoever of the hopscotch bar. There wasn’t any product description or photo for it, and nothing came up when I searched, either. I’m thinking hopscotch might be a cute nomiker for their blondies, which is the closest thing that came up for me.

Either way, it was a good bar. It had lots of chunks in it, and lots of goodies- chocolate chips, butterscotch, and walnuts, on a blonde brownie base. The texture was very rough, but it provided a nice contrast to the smoother flavors I’d been having. The walnuts were big in the flavor department here, and went very well with the vanilla-flavoring in the base.

6/10- TASTY

Again, excellent selection! See you tomorrow for Part III of the bar reviews! I have some backed up reviews for you, too, including Mia’s Mallows, Barker Chocolate Box, and Strawberried Peanut Butter M&M’s!

Athena’s Silverland Dessert Collection, Part I


Peter, from Athena’s Silverland Desserts, sent me twelve dessert bars and brownies to review and showcase for you. I cut each in half and review them based on how they taste at room temperature and microwaved.

First, the flax seed bar with peanut butter. This is actually a vegan bar, and has a nice honey-brown color and smells strongly of delicious peanuts. Cutting it was hard, as it is extremely chewy. This is definitely not a bar for people who like soft or crunchy things. Biting into it was great. This bar is what granola bars are supposed to taste like. I don’t think I can ever safely eat a Quaker bar again after eating this. It’s simple, sweet, but not too sweet, and the flax seeds provide a nice crunch.

Microwaved for ten seconds, this bar completely transformed. The salt in the peanut butter was brought out completely, and the bar got softer, gooier, and more incredible. I didn’t think such a feat was plausible, but they did it.

Vegan, guys. I’m still looking for the butter.

9/10- AMAZING

Next up is the double chocolate brownie, the brownie that purportedly made Athena’s famous. The bar is a dark brown and smells really chocolatey. And it might be the most incredible brownie I’ve ever eaten.

I don’t like my brownies chewy. I don’t like them crunchy. I don’t like them crispy, crumbly, cakey, or anything like that. I like my brownies mushy. This is not a mushy brownie, though. This brownie is like biting into a piece of fudge. It’s incredible. This brownie falls apart in my mouth and creates a complex, textured ride of fudgey and melting goodness.

I put it in the microwave for ten seconds, hoping that the whole thing wouldn’t melt all over. I keep expecting it to be completely chocolate, no cake. It is so rich. It’s studded with chocolate chips all over. It didn’t melt, but the chocolate chips got nice and gooey and gooooooood.

This is one rich brownie. One small square was completely satisfying without being too sweet or gloppy. It’s incredible.

9/10- INCREDIBLE

The next was the sibling to the double chocolate brownie, the double chocolate with nuts. I think all the nuts were walnuts. This brownie was the same, that same not-too-sweet perfection and sublime, velvety texture. The nuts were a little too roughly chopped, but went well with the taste and made a nice crunch to the rest of the brownie.

Microwaved, it was the same delicious ganache-like flavor and consistency.

7/10- WONDERFUL

Tomorrow, I’ll have another three bars and photos of these delights! Thanks again, Pete!

Chili’s Chocolate Chip Molten Lava Cake


Okay, guys, sorry there’s been such a lag, but as of now, I am officially a high school graduate. This is very exciting to me.

So to celebrate, one of my friends took me out for graduation, to Lenny and Joe’s, and Chili’s for dessert. I figured I’d review the dessert aspect of the meal for you all, as it is a grand and celebratory dessert.

I had the chocolate chip molten lava cake. Many words to describe what is essentially an upside-down tart with ice cream. I can forgive, though. The tart came to me with a scoop of ice cream on top, with some of that magic shell chocolate sauce poured over it. I would have personally preferred fudge to the shell, as it made the entire ice cream presentation more cumbersome than fudge may have.

I ate the ice cream first so I could have room for the tart and eat it as it was presented. But to my surprise and horror, the ice cream was a ruse! It was a mask for the true nature of the tart. Chili’s skimped. Instead of making a tart with either ganache injected into the middle or an under-baked, “lava” center, they made a completely hollow tart, with a hole in the middle, like a very dense french cruller or a small angel cake, and poured fudge sauce in.

The sauce was good, though, and poured out the side. It was a nice, thick fudge sauce. The cake was dense and reminded me less of a chocolate chip cookie than a stale pound cake. Too crunchy, like it had been overmicrowaved, but it sopped up the melted ice cream and sauce around the edges relatively well.

Overall, not my favorite dessert, and nutritionally, nobody’s favorite. With 1240 calories and 64 grams of fat, this is pretty gross. And it’s small, too.

Don’t buy it. Please. For me. For the children.

3/10- LAME

Burger King Butterfinger Creme Pie

This is the second of four pie or pie-flavored items in Burger King’s menu, and it was great, but falls short of the standard I hold to the Hershey creme pie.

It’s basically another silk pie, with a peanut-butter creme studded with Butterfingers, topped with whipped cream, chocolate drizzle, and more Butterfinger pieces, all on a peanut-butter graham crust.

The photo looks hefty, almost overwhelmingly topped with candy and chocolate, but the real pie is just a little underwhelming. I had maybe three chocolate drizzles and tasted one chuck of Butterfinger throughout the entire pie. Don’t get me wrong, the taste was delicious, it was just too bland. The peanut-butter creme didn’t have any candy in it and just tasted like more whipped cream. The crust was very tasty, though. I love the texture juxtaposition of crumbly cookies and cream.

I’d get it again, but I have to try the Oreo “pie” shake now and the Dutch apple pie before I judge the ultimate winner.

5/10- OKAY

Dancing Deer Dark Gingerbread Cake


Mmmmmm…

What a lovely cake.

This cake was the second in my Dancing Deer installment, along with the pancake mix. I took the cake out of its packaging and was enveloped in a delicious, nutmeggy, cinnamon-y smell.


The cake was a little small, but it was free, so I have no complaints. It was perfect for fresh whipped cream, and its sweetness complimented the cream well, as I’d purposely made it without sugar to balance the flavors.


The cake seemed to have a glaze, but upon further inspection, did not. This was good. It was gooey, not crumbly or uneven in texture, and had a wonderful taste and feel in the mouth. Another hit!

9/10- OUTSTANDING

Dancing Deer Caramel Pecan Brownie

Image Copyright Dancing Deer

These are freaking amazing. I appreciate- really, really appreciate a good brownie. I picked these up at my local organic grocery store. Not the hippie-dippie pretentious type, just a great place for groceries with the added bonus prize of being organic and delicious.

I think I could legitimately live off of these. Not healthily, mind you, but happily and full of goo. The texture is sublime in these brownies. Honest to Dog. The pecans are perfectly applied and crunch with that wonderful roasted toasted taste, and the caramel is gooey enough and adds to the overall softness of the brownie. They use only the best ingredients here. I popped it in the microwave and almost convinced myself I’d made these by myself.

They’re a tad on the pricey side, though, that’s my only concern, but if they send me samples to review I wouldn’t complain. These brownies kick ass. The deer kicks the asses of your brownies. This deer pooped on Little Debbie.

That is all.

9/10- SUBLIME