For weeks, I’ve been seeing this commercial for International Delight’s One Touch Latte, which I have been calling — with great curiosity — “spray latte.”
It’s not actually a spray latte; it’s the International Delight creamer in a can packed with so much pressure that it shoots out at a speed high enough to whip a foam on top of your coffee. A neat idea to make a latte-like beverage at home, but does it work and how does it taste?
I tried one of these newfangled coffee sprays in today’s Facebook livestream, and since I was talking about coffee, tasted a sweet cream cold brew from Stumptown and a draft latte in a can from La Colombe.
Don’t forget to share your home cooking pics by adding #Austin360Cooks to your posts on social media! (#Austin360Eats is for restaurants, food trucks and the like.) We are gearing up for prime fall cooking, so I’m looking forward to seeing what you’re making this season.
It’s good to be back in the livestreaming saddle after a short vacation break!
Today, I tried a handful of Texas products that have been part of H-E-B’s Quest for Texas Best competition in recent years, including a chipotle yogurt dip from Dip It and cream cheese-filled bagel bites from Bagel Dots, and went on a little rant about overpriced lactation cookies, protein-packed chocolate chip cookies that need better marketing and packaging and a frozen gumbo I really wanted to like but found disappointing.
I also tried some brownies that my editor, Emily Quigley, made for my birthday, which was a few weeks ago. Turns out, she used a boxed mix and added dried cherries, cinnamon and chocolate chips. I’ve been so focused on from-scratch brownies lately, but I realized her additions to the boxed mix are a great #Austin360Cooks tip!
I’m always amazed at the spectrum of flavors you’ll find in honey.
Honey tastes different depending on where the bees that made it live, and those differences become apparent when you do a side-by-side taste test, say, on a fresh piece of breakfast toast.
I did that recently with H-E-B’s new desert and mesquite honeys, and you could have picked out the mesquite flavor even if you didn’t know that was one of these samples. The woodsy, almost smokey honey wasn’t as sweet as the one made from bees in the desert, but on the flip side, the desert honey had more layers of floral notes and a more intense sweetness.
That informal honey taste test made for an interesting breakfast the other morning, but the biggest honey news this week comes from Round Rock Honey, the Williamson County-based honey company that has added two specialty honeys to its produce line-up, including its first flavor-added honey.
Sweet-hot, flavored honey has been a food trend for a few years now, and Round Rock joined the competition with an orange cinnamon honey that I was afraid was going to taste like a Red Hot candy. In my livestream taste test this week, I found that neither the orange nor the cinnamon overpowered the already rich honey and that the balanced sweetener would be good on toast, in tea or to add a beautiful layer of flavor to a cake or cookie.
You’ll find bottles of this honey ($12) at select H-E-Bs around Austin, as well as the farmers markets where you usually find Round Rock Honey: Downtown, Sunset Valley, Mueller, Cedar Park, Wolf Ranch, Lone Star and Waco.
When I tasted that orange cinnamon honey, I didn’t realized there was another new Round Rock Honey product coming my way. Later in the day, I received a bottle of the companies’ bourbon barrel-aged honey. This product is so new and limited, it doesn’t even have a label, but I can see why people are clamoring for it. After spending time in a bourbon barrel, the honey picks up so many nuances of one of my favorite spirits. Just a small taste overwhelms the palate with the familiar aged aroma of bourbon with a little tickle in the back of the throat to remind you there was booze involved at some point.
However, these three Luby’s fans were less than thrilled when we finally got a chance to try the fried fish (about $8 for two filets) in a livestream a few weeks ago.
I’d already tried the mac and cheese (about $7 for 40 ounces), and it was D E L I C I O U S. Probably the best mac and cheese I’ve ever microwaved at home, and as a frozen food eater, that’s a sizable amount of mac and cheese.
Both are available at H-E-B, although not all stores carry both products. We’ll keep you posted if Luby’s releases any more of its beloved foods in a grocery store version.
You probably don’t, but just in case you do, scientists have recently figured out why baking, cooking and other creatives tasks make you feel better on a gray, rainy or otherwise blue day.
I’m usually annoyed by stories and claims like this, but something about this one struck me. Maybe it was this part from the lead author of the study: “People who worked on little creative projects every day also felt they were “flourishing”—a psychological term that describes the feeling of personal growth.”
My go-to dessert right now are these fudgy brownies from our Year of Baking series last year. Good Housekeeping originally published the recipe years ago, and it’s so good, it’s worth republishing on the blog. (Want a vegan or gluten-free brownie recipe? We got ya covered.)
Super rich, with lots of deep, dark chocolate flavor, these brownies have a moist and fudge-like texture. The sugar cools down the heated butter and chocolate so that you don’t accidentally cook the eggs. Feel free to use any combination of chocolate you’d like. Eight ounces of chocolate chips will work in a pinch but not quite as well as the bars of chocolate you’ll find in the baking aisle. You could reduce the recipe for an 8-inch-by-8-inch pan by using half of a cup flour, a pinch of salt, a stick butter, 2 ounces of chocolate, a cup of sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla and two eggs.
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. granulated salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 oz. unsweetened, semisweet or dark chocolate, broken into chunks
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, broken into chunks
2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
5 large eggs, beaten
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and salt.
In a heavy, 4-quart saucepan over low heat, melt butter and add chocolate pieces, stirring with a whisk or wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs and stir until well mixed. Stir flour mixture into chocolate mixture until just blended. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
When cool, lift out the brownies and peel foil away from the sides. Cut into pieces and serves. Makes about 24 brownies.
In my livestream taste test today, I had Katey Psencik, the Austin360 staffer who took on the Whole 30 earlier this year and recently blogged about the ups and downs of the challenge.
We tried all kinds of flavors of sunflower seeds from an Austin-based company called Chinook Seedery, honey peanut butter from HomePlate, a high-protein coffee drink from High Brew and new bubbly water from Sway Water, an Austin beverage company.
Harad also wrote a book about perfume, so I figured she would be an excellent guest to help me taste test these new mystery flavored Peeps. She confessed that she is decidedly anti-flavored Peeps but was willing to come in and try them anyway.
I can’t wait to see how her savant sense of smell — or more accurately, her keen ability to describe scents — affects how she tastes these mystery Peeps, but the biggest takeaway is going to be learning how and why she intentionally ages or stales Peeps for maximum enjoyment this time of year.
Join us for the livestream at 3 p.m. today to find out!
Editor’s note: On my weekly taste test today, I had a guest: Savannah Olson, a freshman at Texas State University who is studying electronic media. She’s from Elgin and lent her tasting and writing expertise to write this post as part of her day with me.
In our taste test today, Addie and I discover a new frontier for spicy food: yogurt.
Whenever someone grabs for a yogurt, they tend to buy one that’s sweet and maybe a bit bitter. But with Noosa’s new blackberry serrano yogurt, spice lovers can now enjoy a kick in their creamy morning or afternoon treat. We were both pretty skeptical, but we had a shocking revelation: yogurt and peppers do go together after all.
Along with the blackberry serrano yogurt, we tried some odd Lay’s chips (queso or beer brat chips, anyone?), a single Peep-filled Oreo, a throwback to cornbread in chip form and the La Croix copycats that are trying to cash in on the sparkling water trend.
Trying out these products with Addie has been so fun and interesting! I probably would have passed by the blackberry serrano yogurt if I saw it in the store, but now I’m definitely going to have to pick it up for my mini-fridge in the dorm. If you see a new product you think Addie should try (or if you think she should have me back on the show) let her know in the comments, on social media (@broylesa) or via email: email@example.com. I’m @notsavvie on Twitter and Instagram, and you can check out some of my music writing at ktswblog.net.
Ghost chilies, among the hottest peppers in the world, don’t often taste that good in salsa.
More often than not, salsa-makers add far too much of the pepper for the consumer to actually enjoy the salsa. But Charlie Crenshaw, the sixth generation of Charlie Crenshaws and nephew of golfer Ben Crenshaw, has the right touch with those searing-hot peppers. Crenshaw has recently turned his salsa-making hobby into a business, and six flavors of his Crenshaw’s C6 Salsa are now available for sale at Buc-ee’s, Flying Threads and Mikey V’s Hot Sauce Shop in Georgetown, as well as on Amazon, with additional retailers coming soon, Crenshaw says.
In my Austin360 Facebook livestream taste test yesterday, I tried his ghost chili salsa and was surprised when I wanted to keep eating it. The hot and tequila lime flavors were equally appealing because they didn’t have too much sugar, vinegar or salt — common problems in store-bought salsa. I also really liked the smooth texture; chunky salsa reminds me of pasta sauce or the worst store-bought salsas of my youth in Missouri, far, far away from the real deal salsas you can readily find here.
I also tried a strawberry cashew yogurt from Forager Product, which isn’t a local product but is notable as a dairy-free yogurt alternative, as well as the locally made Sassy Lassi, an easy-to-drink probiotic yogurt in fantastic flavors, such as pineapple, rose and mango. (They also make a celery lassi that I’m both terrified and eager to try, but I haven’t been able to find it.)
The Austin-based Lick Honest Ice Cream has a ton of seasonal flavors already in stores this year, including a dewberry corn cobbler ice cream that was about as corny as it gets without tasting like actual corn on the cob.
I love trying new food products in this series! With some of them, companies will drop off samples, but I discover plenty of others while I’m browsing supermarkets and corner stores. If you see a new product that you think I should try, let me know in the comments, on social media (I’m @broylesa) or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.