Tag Archives: Dessert

Lindt Chocolate expands Easter treat offerings for 2016

Lindt Chocolate has lots of fun items for Easter 2016

Lindt Chocolate has lots of fun items for Easter 2016

Lindt Chocolate has always been a delicious option for Easter with many fun offerings, and this year they added even more great selections—whether you’re looking to make an Easter basket for one of your kids or you want to buy a treat for a special someone.

I had a recent opportunity to try a couple items—the traditional mini chocolate egg bag and the brand-new large, hollow milk chocolate Lindt “Little Chick”—and highly recommend both (the latter also comes in a package of five mini hollow figures made from milk chocolate).

The 2016 Lindt Easter collection is available online, at Lindt Chocolate Shops, and at select retail locations.

Here are a few other Easter highlights from Lindt:

Lindt Bugs and Bees
These decorative, foil-wrapped critters are perfect for spring and to crawl around in Easter baskets. The bugs and bees are comprised of milk chocolate with hazelnut and have a crisp filling.

Lindt Chocolate Carrots
These make a cute combination with the Lindt bunny since all bunnies love carrots. Each of the four solid milk chocolate carrots is blended with hazelnut.

Lindt GOLD BUNNY Basket
This ready-to-gift bunny basket features a pair of hollow milk chocolate Lindt GOLD BUNNY figures in a springtime display.

NEW: Lindt GOLD BUNNY Storybook Gift Set
This gift set comes with a 3.5 oz Lindt GOLD BUNNY in milk chocolate and the new “An Easter Surprise: The Tale of Lindt GOLD BUNNY” storybook (as told by the Lindt Master Chocolatier).

NEW: LINDOR Milk Egg Carton
This carton of six smooth LINDOR eggs comes in Milk Chocolate and is perfect for decorating or egg hunting.

NEW: Lindt GOLD BUNNY Carrot Car
Lindt GOLD BUNNY is now on the go. One 3.5 oz Lindt GOLD BUNNY takes the wheel of a specially designed Carrot Car with two 10g Lindt GOLD BUNNYS in tow which are created with premium Milk Chocolate. This one is available exclusively at Kroger.

Happy Easter!

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Free cookies at Pacific Cookie Company in Santa Cruz for 35th anniversary

Pacific Cookie Company in Santa Cruz celebrates its 35th anniversary

Pacific Cookie Company in Santa Cruz celebrates its 35th anniversary

Santa Cruz’s Pacific Cookie Company is celebrating its 35th anniversary this month, and the store is offering customers free cookies plus the chance to win a dozen cookies per month for a whole year.

Through Wednesday, Oct. 28, if you know the secret word or phrase of the day you can get a free cookie (flavors rotate daily; the promotion began Oct. 21). For the secret word, you need to visit Pacific Cookie Co.’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (@pacificcookiecompanysantacruz) site. I’ll make it easy for my readers today: for Tuesday, Oct. 27 the phrase is “Breakfast of Champions.” Just repeat that at the Pacific Ave. retail store and receive a free oatmeal raisin cookie (while supplies last).

During the anniversary celebration they are also offering a “Scoop on a Cookie” special, featuring a scoop of Marianne’s ice cream on top of a cookie for $2.35.

The family-owned local business has added a new oatmeal, cranberry, and white chocolate cookie to its collection. But they are depending on their customers for a name and asking folks to submit suggestions on their Facebook page.  The person that creates the winning name wins a year’s supply of cookies.

President Cara Pearson is thrilled to be celebrating this milestone anniversary. “Thank you Santa Cruz for all of the love and support over the last 35 years,” she shared. “We would not be the business we are today if it was not for all of our loyal Santa Cruz cookie fans!”

A little history: Larry and Shelly Pearson – mom and dad to Cara – opened the retail bakery in 1980 on Pacific Garden Mall, and a retail store is still on Pacific across the street from the original location. The original flavors were Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip Walnut, Oatmeal Raisin, Peanut Butter and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip. If you want to learn more, read Pacific Cookie’s blog.

Location: Pacific Cookie Company, 1203 Pacific Ave. Santa Cruz, (831) 429-6905

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Santa Cruz chocolate festival with restaurants and vendors benefits UCSC scholarships

Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival

Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival

The 8th annual Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival on Sunday January 18, with lots of food and wine, benefits UCSC scholarships. The event is from 1 – 4 p.m. at the Cocoanut Grove by the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

The Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival brings together about two dozen vendors. See complete list at womensclub.ucsc.edu/fundraising/chocolate-festival/vendors-list-page.html.

Participants include local confectioners and bakers like Ashby Confections, Marich Confectionary, and Buttercup Cakes & Farm House Frosting, plus restaurants and cafes like Zizzo’s Coffeehouse and India Joze. Other local companies who will be present include Mission Hill Creamery, Lifestyle Culinary Arts, Mutari Hot Chocolate, and wineries Sones Cellars and Bonny Doon Vineyard.

Each food vendor will have treats such as truffles, cupcakes, or ice cream available in exchange for a tasting ticket. Buy tasting tickets at the event (admission is free) or online. Each $15 purchase gets you six tickets. Wine prices are $5 for a souvenir glass plus one tasting.

There will be live music by Jazz by Five, and a silent auction with prizes including Giants tickets, chocolate baskets, and a magnum of wine. Attendees can enjoy activities like cupcake decorating and face painting ($4 each), and have the opportunity to buy chocolate products like Valentine-themed boxes at select booths.

The festival benefits re-entry student scholarships at UC Santa Cruz (for students returning to higher education after an extended absence, often students who are also parents or military veterans). The chocolate festival is presented by the UCSC Women’s Club, a nonprofit organization open to women of both the campus and local communities. The club has meetings throughout the year (except for the summer) with engaging speakers, and also hosts interest groups including book clubs. In the last 30-some years the club has awarded over 330 scholarships totaling more than $230,000 to deserving women and men for research activities, tuition and childcare.

The Details
Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival
Cocoanut Grove, 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz
Sunday, January 18, 2015 from 1-4pm

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Thanksgiving at Whole Foods Market in Capitola & Santa Cruz

Win a holiday dinner from Whole Foods Market

Win a holiday dinner from Whole Foods Market

The Santa Cruz and Capitola branches of Whole Foods Market are offering lots of Thanksgiving options, and even have special staff on-site that will help you with specific holiday needs. Make your Thanksgiving orders in person or online by Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014.

If you have specific questions for your holiday meal planning, like you want to stay within a certain budget or you’re hosting a gluten-free Thanksgiving or you’d like wine pairing suggestions, each store has holiday specialists available. You can make an appointment or stop by, and it’s a free service. Specialist Erica Stevenson, who works at the Capitola store, truly enjoys providing this service. “Every year, I look forward to working the holiday table. I get to know our regular customers better while getting to meet so many more,” says Stevenson. “And these days so many people have special diets. I get to use my creativity to better suit their needs while still helping them create their perfect holiday dinner.”

Another interesting holiday highlight is a “golden ticket” contest with free ham dinners as prizes! When a customer orders a Thanksgiving meal (only IN STORE, not online) at either location, they will automatically be entered in the Golden ticket promotion. One person from each store will receive a Golden ticket in their pickup meal. This ticket is valid for a “honeyed ham dinner for 8” that can be used for a future holiday meal.

If you want to go outside the traditional Thanksgiving box, how about taking advantage of Whole Foods Market’s sustainable seafood appetizers? Some examples are shrimp & Dungeness crabmeat platter (serves 6-8, $39.99) and shrimp platter with assorted seasonings (serves 4-8, $24.99).

A ready-to-eat heirloom turkey dinner for 12 costs $289.99 (serves 12) and includes an oven-roasted organic 16-18 lb. turkey from Sonora-based family-owned Diestel, herb stuffing (7.5 lbs.), mashed potatoes (4 lbs.), turkey gravy, cranberry relish, green beans with roasted shallots, dinner rolls (24), and two pies: pumpkin and cranberry apple. Other selections include an “intimate organic turkey dinner for 4” ($99.99) and a “traditional ready to cook turkey dinner (turkey is raw) for 8” ($129.99).

Whole Foods Market features several different types of turkey a la carte including Diestel in heirloom ($4.99/lb.) and organic ($3.99/lb.) varieties. Other meat selections include sous vide leg of lamb or pork loin (serves 4, $49.99/lamb and $39.99/pork).

A la carte sides include brussels sprouts with shallots and pecans (serves 4, $17.99, and it’s vegan). Like a few other holiday items, this became available at the market’s Hot Bar earlier in November, and I got to sample it. It’s wonderful!

One dessert option is cranberry crumble pie. This was a popular holiday item in previous years, but in 2013 it wasn’t available. Many people asked for it last year, so they decided to bring it back. All holiday pies, including Brown Butter Walnut, Pumpkin, and Apple, come in 10-inch versions for $19.99 and include 100% all-butter crust.

If you end up needing last-minute Thanksgiving supplies, both stores are open on Thanksgiving from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. The day before, they’re open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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Whole Foods Market Santa Cruz is located at 911 Soquel Ave. Call (831) 426-9901 for more information.

Whole Foods Market Capitola is located at 1710 41st Ave. Call (831) 464-2900 for more information.

Celebrate National Peanut Month with sweet recipes

Celebrate National Peanut Month by baking Peanut Butter & Banana Crescents

Celebrate National Peanut Month by baking Peanut Butter & Banana Crescents

One way to celebrate National Peanut Month during March: bake up a treat that includes peanut butter! Of course, there are lots and lots of recipes out there. There are some on the National Peanut Board web site, including a link to a fancy dessert recipe via Bon Appetit: peanut dacquoise with peanut butter mousse. With elements like meringue, be prepared to spend some time and effort.

For those who want a fast, easy recipe, here is a quick one that calls for only five ingredients.  This dish is from the Pillsbury web site. Some of the bakers who tried the recipe shared comments. These include the fact it makes a good after-school snack, it’s easy to do variations, and it also works for any “Elvis-themed” parties since the famous singer reportedly loved peanut butter and  banana sandwiches.


1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls OR 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet

½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 medium banana, sliced (1 cup)
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon roasted salted sunflower nuts or sesame seeds

1. Separate or cut dough into 4 long rectangles (if using crescent rolls, press perforations to seal). Cut each rectangle in half; press into 3 1/2-inch squares.
Spoon peanut butter in center of each square; top with 2-3 banana slices. Fold dough over filling; press edges with fork to seal. Brush with egg; sprinkle with sunflower nuts.
Bake at 375°F 12 to 16 minutes.

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Celebrate National Frozen Yogurt Day Feb. 3 with free yogurt at Yogurtland

yogurtlandIt’s National Frozen Yogurt Day on Feb. 3, 2014, and Yogurtland — including the nearby locations in Capitola and Watsonville — are giving out free yogurt!

Here are the specifics: the promotion is from 4-7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 3. Visitors to Yogurtland shops get free yogurt and toppings.

Remember: frozen yogurt not only tastes good, it’s got benefits like calcium and probiotics. Bon Appetit!

Capitola details:
1955 41st Ave (next to Chipotle), 831-462-3100

Watsonville details:
1487 Main St (Target shopping center), 831-761-1500

If you’re on Twitter, follow me @santacruzfoodie.


Green Mountain Coffee and Lindt Sweets for Christmas Treats

Spicy eggnog coffee from Green Mountain Coffee

Spicy eggnog coffee from Green Mountain Coffee

There are lots of sweets and special coffees available for Christmas treats, including a few selections from Green Mountain Coffee and Lindt Chocolates.

Green Mountain’s two holiday coffees are Gingerbread and Spicy Eggnog. They are both light roasts, and the eggnog variety features cinnamon and nutmeg. Both are good on their own to make cups or pots of coffee, but they also make flavorful additions to baked desserts if you like experimenting in the kitchen.  You might consider them for stocking stuffers or hostess gifts for your next holiday party; they’re available seasonally until supplies run out. They come in bags or K-Cups, online or at stores nationwide.

Lindt has released its newest truffle variety, LINDOR Sea Salt truffles, in time for the holidays but it’s actually available indefinitely (not just for the winter season). These yummy treats can be found online  and in Lindt stores across the country. Although these also make a great gift, once you taste them you might just decide to keep them for yourself. They come in 25-piece and 75-piece bags.

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Support Santa Cruz students via the ROP Culinary Holiday Bake Sale

Holiday cookie assortment from the ROP Culinary Holiday Bake Sale

Holiday cookie assortment from the ROP Culinary Holiday Bake Sale

Culinary students from the Santa County ROP (Regional Occupational Program), in local high schools, have created a bounty of goodies for a holiday bake sale. Treats are on sale through Dec. 15, 2013.

There are six different items available:
Holiday cookie assortment (1 dozen $6, 2 dozen $10, 5 dozen $24; choices vary – email or call for details)
Chocolate-covered holiday pretzels ($4.50)
Banana gingerbread loaf (3.5 inch loaf $3 or 3 for $8; 5.5 inch loaf $6)
Holiday chocolate cherry black forest log with meringue decorations ($24)
Chef’s signature chocolate ganache (8-oz jar $6; 12-oz jar $12—use this peppermint dark chocolate sauce over ice cream or melt into coffee for a delicious drink)
Christopher’s candied nut assortment ($8; candied pecans and cashews with dried cranberries & rosemary, for a snack or a holiday salad topping)

Andrea Mollenauer, Advanced Instructor for the ROP program, is very excited about this holiday sale. “It gives the kids an opportunity to get real-world hands-on experience while simultaneously providing affordable treats for parties, friends, colleagues, or just for yourself—the possibilities are endless!”

Customers are encouraged to give the ROP students as much advance notice as possible for order fulfillment. There are flexible pick up & delivery times (location is the Front St. Kitchen in downtown Santa Cruz at 504A Front).

For more information or to order, contact Andrea at 831-588-4515 or andrea@lifestyleculinary.com.

Treats from ROP culinary students will also be on sale at the Artisan Holiday Food & Gift Sale at Front St. Kitchen on Dec. 15: watch my web site for more info on that in the next couple days!

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Chomping Monster Cookies and other Halloween recipes

Chomping Monster cookies require only 4-8 ingredients to make

Chomping Monster cookies require only 4-8 ingredients to make

Looking for easy Halloween recipes? Here are two provided by Pillsbury, with a link to one additional recipe. I’ll publish at least one more—including a dairy-free treat from a local Santa Cruz chef—in the next few days.

Chomping Monsters
(see photo)

24 servings


1 package (16 oz) Pillsbury® Ready To Bake!™ refrigerated chocolate chip cookies (24 cookies)
1 ¼ cups white vanilla baking chips
1 container ready-to-spread frosting (any white variety)
Gel food colors, if desired

Optional Decorations
Red or black string licorice
Miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Large marshmallows
Candy-coated chocolate candies

Heat oven to 350°F. On ungreased cookie sheet, place cookie dough rounds 2 inches apart. Bake 12 to 16 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in medium microwavable bowl, microwave 1 cup of the white vanilla baking chips uncovered on High 45 seconds. Stir; if necessary, microwave in 15-second increments, stirring after each, until chips can be stirred smooth. Cool 5 minutes. Stir in frosting until well blended. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the frosting mixture to attach decorations. Use gel food colors to tint remaining frosting in desired colors. Spoon each color of frosting into resealable food-storage plastic bag. Cut 1/2 inch off one corner of bag, and pipe on bottom of 1 cookie. Press another cookie, flat side down, on frosting at an angle, cookies touching on one side and about 1 inch apart on the other, to look like open mouth.

To decorate, press remaining white vanilla baking chips in frosting for teeth. Use reserved frosting mixture to attach eyes, using decorations as desired.

Spider Web Cookie Pizza
16 servings

1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated chocolate chip cookies
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons miniature semisweet chocolate chips
½ teaspoon vegetable oil

Heat oven to 350°F. Line 12-inch pizza pan with foil; grease foil with shortening. Cut cookie dough into 1/4-inch slices; arrange evenly in pan. With floured fingers, press slices to form crust.
Bake 16 to 20 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
In small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Use foil to lift crust from pan. Carefully remove foil from crust; place crust on serving platter or tray. Spread cream cheese mixture over crust.
In a small resealable food-storage plastic bag, place chocolate chips and oil; seal bag. Place bag in bowl of very hot water. Knead bag several times to melt chips. Cut small hole in 1 corner of bag. Working from center to outer edge, pipe chocolate to form spiral design over top of cream cheese mixture. Working from center of spiral to outer edge, draw tip of knife lightly through spiral to form web design.
Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. To serve, cut into wedges or squares. Cover and refrigerate any remaining pizza.

Another Halloween recipe from Pillsbury is for Crescent Mummy Dogs.

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Win Whole Foods Market gift card and read about new summer upside down cake

New Summer Peach-Blueberry Upside Down Cake at Whole Foods Market

New Summer Peach-Blueberry Upside Down Cake at Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market has a new, delicious peach-blueberry upside down cake and you can win a gift card to purchase this and/or other items of your choice! Read end of article for giveaway details.

Earlier this month, Whole Foods Market launched this seasonal dessert at all of its stores. It retails for $6.99. Current ingredients include whole wheat and almond flour, Greek yogurt, olive oil, and blueberries and peaches; because it’s seasonal, the upside down cake might feature other fruit come autumn. The peach-blueberry variety will be available through the summer. I had the opportunity to sample this dessert over Independence Day weekend, and can highly recommend it. The cake was moist, light, and unique.

Also, I was at Whole Foods Capitola yesterday doing some shopping and noticed that the cake is on sale for only $3.99 (!) through July 25, 2013 (this offer’s good at Northern California stores).

If you decide to buy a cake to serve as a selection during a summer barbecue, remember that Whole Foods has lots of grilling options including pre-made burgers and yummy shrimp kabobs.

Prize: A $20 gift card to Whole Foods Market.
To enter, email your name to tfatemiwalker@yahoo.com and include the words “Whole Foods.” Deadline to enter is Sun. July 21, 2013 at noon.
This contest is open to readers of Tara Fatemi Walker’s Examiner.com and Santacruzfoodie.com sites. Employees of Examiner.com are not eligible for this promotion.

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