Saturday, June 11, 2011

Newtons Fruit Thins....A Review

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastmaker program, I was sent a package of the new Newtons Fruit Thins.

 I love trying new things, don't you? It's especially nice when it's delivered to your door. These cookies were waiting for me when I came home the other day...on the day that the temperature in the Twin Cities was a record 103 degrees. Yikes. No way was I going to turn on the oven and bake anything. Perfect timing.

Of course I had to haul out some ice cream--actually some Culver's Frozen Custard--to try with them.

I had actually tried these cookies a couple of weeks ago...the Chocolate Raspberry....and I liked them. In fact, I was going to pick up another package. Pete didn't like the Chocolate Raspberry flavor, so I had the whole package to myself. Too bad, he likes the Fig and Honey.

These are crispy cookies. Says so right on the package.

One of the reasons I like these cookies (besides the fact that they are tasty), is because I can portion them out nicely when I'm counting my calories. They aren't diet food, nor do they advertise themselves to be. But, I don't really do diet food...I just like to be aware of how much is much. Three of these cookies count up to 140 calories. Not bad. Plus I get 2 grams of fiber out them. That beats a glazed donut.

They come in a nice resealable package. I had to quickly open them myself. Why am I the only one around here who can open a package the right way? You can't reseal it if it isn't opened right. Sheesh.

So what do they taste like? This particular flavor, Fig and Honey, tastes like a cross between a fancy graham cracker and an oatmeal cookie. There are figs in there...little pieces...and some raisins. I couldn't discern between the two of them, but does it matter?

Crumbled on ice cream. Good suggestion.

The Newton Fruit Thins come in four flavors. Besides the Chocolate Raspberry and the Fig and Honey, there are the Cranberry Citrus Oat and the Blueberry Brown Sugar (my next try). They all have the little bits of chewy fruit in them and they are all crispy. I'll say it again...I like them.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

PB&J Cupcakes

A few weeks ago, a representative from Hero Fruit Spreadables sent me an email asking if I would be interested in reviewing their product. Well, who doesn't like to try new things? Of course I agreed, and look at the lovely basket of goodies that arrived at my door:

Isn't that the cutest little banana spreader?

Now, I had seen these fruit spreads before, but frankly, since they are marketed for kids, I had little reason to look at them closely. What caught my interest in the initial email, though, were the flavors that the spreads come in: Strawberry Red Currant, Mixed Berry, Strawberry Banana, and Cherry Banana. Strawberry and Cherry Banana? I mentioned those to the hubby and his ears perked right up! I have to admit that we stopped and pick up a jar of the Cherry Banana even before I got the package in the mail---we just had to try it.

I think everyone has those little childhood favorites that they still indulge in. For me, I remember my mother mushing up bananas and adding a little sugar and was so smooth--I loved it! Maybe that's what attracted both Pete and me to the banana element in these fruit spreads. The texture is so smooth, no seeds or lumps, and the banana is real--there aren't any artificial ingredients. Huh--there isn't any High Fructose Corn Syrup, either!

While I loved the taste of these spreads (the Mixed Berry turned out to be my favorite) on my peanut butter sandwich, my mission was to pair up the fruit spreads and peanut butter in another form, something that kids and adults could both enjoy. How about a cupcake? Yes, please. I did scan the Internet for ideas and eventually came up with my own version:

PB&J Cupcakes

1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
½ cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 ° F.

Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners. Lightly spray each liner with cooking spray.

Sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, peanut butter and sugar together for two minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, on at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Add the flour and the milk, half at a time, beating until just blended.

Spoon the batter evenly into each paper liner. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely.

Pipe or spread frosting on each cooled cupcake, leaving a well in the middle. Place about a teaspoon of fruit spread, jam or jelly in the middle of each cupcake.


4 tablespoons butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup smooth peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
½ cup seedless fruit spread, jam or jelly

In a medium sized bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Add the powder sugar, ½ cup at a time, beating after each addition. Add the milk and beat until creamy.

Take them out of the oven before they get too brown...they should still be a little light in color.


I used the Strawberry Banana flavor with this batch, but any of the flavors will work.

Now, aren't these cute?


Not the most attractive picture, but it does show the crumb. These cupcakes will be a little more dense than from a box, but not so dense that they are dry. If you refrigerate the cupcakes, allow them to sit out at room temperature for a bit before you serve them.

I liked the peanut butter flavored cake, but next time I might try a chocolate version....

I have to say, since I started thinking about all of the ways I could combine the peanut butter and jelly, I couldn't get this little tune out of my head:

 I'm evil. Now the song is in your head.

A few more things about Hero Fruit Spreadables---they are sold exclusively at Super Target stores nationwide for a suggested retail price of $2.49. Besides being free of artificial ingredients, they contain more fruit than traditional jams, and, just so you know this isn't a fly by night company, Hero first started making natural fruit jams in Switzerland in 1886!
Just for the record, I did receive free product in order to write this review. Am I lucky or what? Now, I'm thinking maybe a PB&J Cinnamon Roll might be in order......