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Taste test: new foods

This week's tasting was full of surprising flavors in unusual locations. We sampled tiny muffins that tasted like sweet potatoes and bread rolls that were more sweet than savory. Judges also liked an easy brownie mix that gave new meaning to the term "instant."

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Serving size 23 pieces one of nine brownies one of 12 muffins one roll
Calories 130 180 180 150
Fat/Fiber 4.5g / 1g 4g / 1g 9g / 1g 3.5g / 1g
Sugars/Sodium 2g / 280mg 25g / 160mg 13g / 150mg 6g / 180mg
Carbs/Protein 21g / 2g 34g / 2g 28g / 2g 26g / 3g

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; Patti Ewald, Times staff writer; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic.

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

Product Pepperidge Farm Parmesan Garlic Jingos Betty Crocker Shake-n-Pour Brownie Mix Marie Callender's Sweet Potato

Muffin Mix
Sister Schubert's Sweet Hawaiian Rolls

Judges compared these to popcorn-flavored crackers saying the flavor resembled the Chicken in a Biskit crackers without the chicken taste. "They are small munchies that could easily be addictive," said one. "I like the salty cheese flavor and the great crunch," said another. "These are nice cheesy bites out just in time for Monday Night Football." A couple said the crackers would be especially good with a cold beer. Easy preparation is what made these brownies so delicious. Just add water to the carton, give it a shake and bake. "These taste homemade," said one. "These are not as good as Ghirardelli's," said another. "But the texture is moist and pleasant and it would be fun to let kids make these because they are so easy." All four judges noted how thin the brownies were. There was hardly enough batter for an 8-inch square pan. Bold flavor and cinnamon sweetness were lauded. "The sweet taste isn't too aggressive and the crumbs are nice and moist," said one panelist. "These have a hint of maple and they would be excellent warmed up with some butter," said another. "They would be great for breakfast or as a sweet bread at a special holiday dinner." A couple suggested the muffins would be best served as a dessert with a cup of strong, black coffee. Judges described the flavor of these as a cross between a biscuit and a roll. "They are yeasty and sweet with a tender crumb," said one. "I love that they are so light and fluffy," said another. "Honey and butter would make this perfectly complete." Panelists said they liked the hint of sweetness with the texture of the rolls and the pretty, yellow color of the buns.

they buy?
Three of the four judges said yes. Three of the four judges said yes. Three of the four judges said yes. Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information $2.58 for a 7.5-ounce box from Walmart. $2.68 for a 13.75-ounce carton from Walmart. $1.98 for a 14-ounce pouch from Walmart. $3.69 for a 12-ounce package of eight rolls from Sweetbay.

Taste test: new foods 10/23/12 [Last modified: Friday, December 7, 2012 7:15am]
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