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Taste test: new foods

Serving size 2 cookies 1 bar 11 pieces 2 tablespoons 1 cup
Calories 140 90 200 150 240
Fat/Fiber 7g / 1g 2g / 0g 12g / 1g 6g / 0g 5g / 2g
Sugars/Sodium 11g / 65mg 9g / 110mg 21g / 100mg 19g / 45mg 32g / 130mg
Carbs/ Protein 18g / 1g 18g / 1g 23g / 3g 23g / 0g 40g / 9g


Grocery stores have limited space, so we are always interested when precious shelf room is occupied by new items. We tend to see lots of new food that my father would refer to as "trash" as the school year ends and summer beckons. It's the sugary stuff that American eaters are consuming in record amounts. These snacks aren't cheap and they aren't good for us. But boy do some of them taste great! Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

ProductPepperidge Farm Dark Chocolate,

Classic Creme Milano Melts Cookies
Cocoa & Fruity Pebbles Treats Reese's Minis Oreo

Ultimate Icing
Edy's Slow Churned Rich & Creamy Shakes
Judges'

comments
What's not to love about a chocolate cookie filled with even more chocolate? Our judges were thrilled with these cookies. One called them a "chocolate torpedo." The chocolate filling was extra sweet, creamy and smooth like ganache. One panelist said the cookie was so good it didn't need the filling. "It's like a really good shortbread chocolate cookie with a great crunch," the judge said.Judges know the cereal bar business is big these days. However, they said the makers of Cocoa Pebbles and Fruity Pebbles should have stopped while they were ahead. We tried both the cocoa and the fruit-flavored cereal bars. Both looked like Rice Krispies Treat wanna-bes. The fruity one had a rainbow of colors that appealed to some judges and frightened one. He detected a lime aftertaste. Panelists agreed the sugar rush from either flavor could put an already-hyper child over the edge.Usually, when it comes to chocolate candy, bigger is better. Reese's Pieces proved that wrong. These small bits were yummy! "I didn't think they were big enough to pull off the peanut butter taste — but they are," said one judge, who figured they would be especially good for baking. "What I've always admired about Reese's cups was that salty little kick you get with the first bite," one judge said. "These are perfect renditions of that." One panelist said the tiny Reese's would make the candy good for portion control. But most judges allowed they would simply eat more of them. "I might buy these by the case," said one.We had high hopes for Oreo cookie icing in a bag, figuring it would be delicious to squirt on cupcakes, brownies or cookies. But this product just didn't make the cut. The texture was missing the chunks of cookie judges wanted, and the flavor was more like powdered sugar than Oreo cookies. "It looks more like a squirt of liver pate than icing," one judge said. "It doesn't have any Oreo taste."We sampled several different flavors of Edy's new make-it-yourself shakes, including vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and Cookies n' Cream. The basic mixes come in a portable cups in the grocery store freezer. The directions call for adding a third of a cup of fat-free milk and stirring until the shakes reach a desired texture. All of the flavors were hits among our judges. The nutritional information varied slightly, depending on each flavor. Even with nonfat milk, the shakes had a nice, milky flavor. "This is great," said one judge. "It's easy to make and easy to drink. You could close your eyes and be at Dairy Queen," he said.
Would

they buy?
All four judges said yes.One of the four judges said yes.All four judges said yes.One of the four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$3.49 for a 5.75-ounce bag of cookies from Publix.$2.79 for a box

of eight bars from Publix.
$3.39 for an

8-ounce bag from Publix.
$2.78 for a

7-ounce pouch from Walmart.
$1.99 for an

8.1-ounce cup from Sweetbay.


Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Anu You Institute in St. Petersburg; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; and Julie Overton, consumer and mother of four. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or e-mail them to jkeeler@sptimes.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.

Taste test: new foods 05/17/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 5:30am]

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