My Response to Chobani Products and Current Recall/not a Recall Issue

So, Chobani.

No doubt you’ve all heard about what’s going on with their “non-recall” recall. I found out from Hubby last Friday afternoon when he tried to pick up a few Flips for me only to find our local grocer actively pulling all the product from shelves and being warned not to buy it anywhere because Chobani has “recalled all their stuff”. Yikes. I quickly contacted Chobani because, not only am I a fan personally, I’ve endorsed them for years as a quality product. And I had some in the fridge.

Put simply, Chobani’s response to this has been an unmitigated disaster from a P.R. standpoint. From deleting or hiding hundreds of Facebook posts addressing this, and asking what’s happening, to refusing to acknowledge a recall, to the promise of “replacing product” only to fail to respond, to finally putting out a press release almost a week later…Horrible.

Look, I know that mistakes can happen. I get it. I goof up in the kitchen all the time, and I’m not cranking out millions of pieces of product in multiple flavors and variations and shipping all around the country. But it’s how you handle these problems that matters. Instead of getting out in front of this problem, acknowledging the issue and saying “Oops, we goofed!” and saying they’ll make it right, they instead denied, denied, denied until they couldn’t hide it anymore. Some bean-counting lawyer somewhere probably had “liability” concerns because, hey…Everybody sues nowadays, right? But how this was handled has made me decide Chobani has no place in my kitchen or fridge. I can’t endorse a company that acts this way. Hubby had already moved on from Chobani almost a year ago, since he said he noticed a change in quality and consistency. He’s a Fage fan, and it looks like I will be too. I liked Chobani’s flavors, the variety, the mix-ins. But I don’t like and will not support a company that acts as shamefully as Chobani has acted. So we’re a Fage house now, and if you have printed out any of my past recipes that used Chobani, bear in mind that I don’t recommend using Chobani for anything.

Chobani Vanilla Golden Crunch Flip

Flipping back to Flip Country and I bring you Chobani’s Vanilla Golden Crunch Flip. Called a Flip because you flip nutritious “goodies” from one cup to the bigger yogurt cup. You can then decide if you want it to be a topper or a mix-in, or a little of both. I like that you have that choice of texture that is kept fresh by keeping the ingredients separate.

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Let’s break down the cups-
The yogurt portion, which is the larger cup, is Vanilla low-fat yogurt. The “flip” is a joyful mix of cornflakes, honey oats and praline pecans! I told you it was a happy cup but you did not believe me! You also have Wildflower Honey minus the bees because they don’t always give up the golden nectar without a fight. No small detail went overlooked and even barley malt is present. That’s the stuff the gives corn flakes and shakes that extra oh so good flavor.

The Verdict-
This Flip remains at 150 calories and only 15 from fat. Twelve grams of Protein to get you going and 15% in Calcium.

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The Flavor-
Don’t let the Vanilla fool you in thinking this is a dull cup…….think Parfait. You have the pudding and the “crunchies” as I call them, bring that pudding alive. Who wants a bowl of corn flakes and milk, now that’s a soggy bore because I have Praline Pecans and my flakes don’t go floppy! That just changed the whole bowl for me and mine may be square but with Flips now on the block, square is in. Where have you been? Oh, you better be at the store….no the dairy aisle not where boring-o milk is nearby the eggs. You don’t want to get me started on eggs now ūüôā

The Ingredients-
Nonfat Yogurt (cultured Pasteurized Nonfat Milk, Live And Active Cultures: S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus And L. Casei), Oats, Evaporated Cane Juice, Milled Corn, Wildflower Honey, Sugar, Canola Oil, Pecans, Salt, Barley Malt, Vanilla Extract, Locust Bean Gum, Butter.

I received the above product free of charge from Chobani. I am not obligated to provide a favorable/positive review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the brand and products, which may differ from yours.

Greek Yogurt Ice-Box Cookies made with Chobani

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I am enthusiastic about Greek yogurt and the flavors I received from Chobani, that you just knew I had to honor them by baking. I present to you, Yogurt cookies! ¬†You can make them soft or crisper by reducing the baking soda amount and cutting them thinner. ¬†They taste great and you get to choose what yogurt flavor you wish to use. ¬†I used the Chobani Fig and Orange Peel Bite but you can pick the Raspberry with Chocolate morsels or even a nice plain to get that nice tart flavor. ¬†I wanted to create a cookie that is versatile but also healthier than a sugar cookie by adding yogurt. ¬†This cookie has protein and less fat so it’s a little way to indulge and still have the cookie that tastes delicious!

Greek Yogurt IceBox Cookies:
2/3 cup of Sugar
1/4 cup of Unsalted Butter (softened)
1 Egg
3.5 to 4.5 ounces of a Greek Yogurt of your choice (I used Chobani’s Fig & Orange Peel Bite)
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
2 drops of Almond Extract
1/2 a Vanilla Bean
3/4 teaspoon of Baking Soda  (want crisper cookies, use 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon)
Pinch of Salt
Dash of Nutmeg (optional)
2 cup of All-Purpose Flour
You begin by taking the sugar and the butter and beating until creamy. ¬†This takes about 1 to 2 minutes and don’t forget to scrape down a few times to make sure everything is incorporated.
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Add the egg and beat for 30 seconds and again scrape down in between.  Add the Vanilla and Almond extracts and beat for a few seconds.
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Then you can add the vanilla bean and beat for an additional 30 seconds, making sure everything combines.
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Add the Greek Yogurt and you can add between 3.5 to 4.5 ounces
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 Take the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg and whisk in a separate bowl.
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Then slowly start adding it to the bowl with the mixer on.  Again, take the time to scrape down and continue adding about 1/2 cup of the flour mixture at a time until done.
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Get a long sheet of plastic wrap and lay it on the counter, as you will be dumping the dough onto the plastic to create a log.
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The cookie dough log should measure around 13 to 15 inches, depending how wide you want the cookies.
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You then put the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes. ¬†I made hearts so at the 30 minute mark, you take the dough out and create a ridge on the top of the log to imitate the center portion of where the heart comes down. ¬†It should look like a “m” on top and still rounded at the bottom (flat-ish). ¬†You don’t need to do this and you can just form the log to resemble a cylinder and just cut rounds when the time comes. ¬†You can also shape it like a block, square/flat at all angles and cut squares when the time comes to slice.
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Again, put the dough back in the fridge for 35 minutes to an hour.  The dough needs to be stiff enough to cut and I have used the aid of the freezer when I am short on time but just make sure that the total time is close to an hour in a refrigerated setting, so the dough can rest and the flour absorb the moisture properly.
After the dough is cold and solid for cutting, you can begin by setting the oven to bake at 350 degrees.  While the oven warms, get a cookie sheet and align it with parchment paper or you can use a Silpat.  Begin cutting the cookies and I usually cut a portion of the log and return the rest back into the freezer or fridge to remain cold.
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I cut the cookies and since I am aiming for a heart shape, I slice and then pinch the bottoms and put them on the parchment.
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The cookies expand, so please allow about 1/2 inch room on each side. ¬†If you cut the baking soda to create less “poof”, you can shorten the space a little in between cookies. ¬†Keep cutting until your pan is full.
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When it comes to the thickness of the cut, that is up to you as I tend to stay around a 1/4 of an inch but enough to create a soft and fluffy cookie, since crisp was not what I was aiming for this time around.
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You bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes and then allow them to rest for a minute on the cookie pan before putting them on a cookie rack.  Continue the above routine until all cookies are baked.
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Allow the cookies to fully cool if decorating.
 
Variations- 
If you want sugar crystals, you just add the crystals right before baking and you can also use Turbinado sugar crystals in place of colored sugar crystals.
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The cookie can be also dusted with Powder Sugar once cooled.
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Feeling like Chocolate? You can melt white, milk, semi-sweet, bittersweet, or dark chocolate in a pan on low heat.  Takes about 1 to 2 minutes and make sure to stir and take the pan off and on to temper the chocolate correctly.  Once melted, you can drizzle as you wish or cover the cookies with chocolate, half dip them, whatever you desire.
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Since I used a Fig and Orange peel yogurt, I used poppy seeds that resemble fig seeds and sprinkled on top of some of the cookies.  You can also spread chocolate on half a cookie and powder sugar the other half.
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If you want to add mini chocolate or even yogurt chips, you can add them to the flour mixture.  Same if you want to add dried fruit and/or nuts.  I would not go for more than 1/2 a cup to not unbalance the dough too much.  Start there and the cookie will tell you if you can increase the next time you bake a batch.
These cookies are great plain and if you make the crisper version, you can spread jam in between and make cookie sandwiches and then lightly dust with sugar if you wish.
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To store-
They tend to soften if put in a container and covered. ¬†I have stored them in a covered container and then in the fridge, but allow the cookie to get room temperature before serving. ¬†Yogurt is moist and so are these cookies so I always no matter what version you baked, store it in the fridge if you have leftovers (better to be safe). ¬†They go quickly so they won’t be there long. ¬†I have put the cookies with chocolate in the fridge uncovered to allow the chocolate to set and then bagged them in a Ziploc bag and returned to the fridge. ¬†This way the chocolate is set and they stay perfect!
Enjoy and don’t forget to play in the kitchen and have fun!

The Chobani tour of Greek Yogurt Bite & Flips will begin shortly………

Below is the last preview of what I received and I will be posting reviews, plus a cookie recipe soon……………

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BzzAgent: Fage Yogurts Fruyo

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I have been on a yogurt kick and mainly Greek and European varieties. They tend to be thicker in texture and not as sweet as other types, plus I love the tartness they deliver among the other health benefits. ¬†In comes BzzAgent with their Fage campaign and I was excited to be accepted. I purchase at Costco the large variety pack, which comes in three flavors. The pack usually lasts us a good 2 weeks and it’s very economically priced.

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In our home, we use yogurt in many ways other than just eating it from the cup so getting the coupons for the larger size varieties fit us perfectly. I bake with yogurt as it tends to give baked goods moisture without the fats and calories. I have used it to make icings, fillings for cakes, to even a base for savory dips. Great to add to yeast doughs! My Husband mixes his whey protein mixes with yogurt when he is tired of using the mixes as drinks. It “ups” the protein content and I usually buy the 0% fat variety for those applications.

Fage strains it’s yogurts and this why you get a much firmer but still smooth texture. It holds up well to even freezing, so if you want a frozen yogurt without the guilt, Fage can come to the rescue. You can even add fruit before freezing and you get a perfect Summer treat.

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I also was able to try a new variety by Fage called Fruyo. It’s strained yogurt with pieces of delicious fruit and comes in several varieties. I purchased vanilla as I was curious about the taste. I have been disappointed with vanilla because as simple as a flavor it is, many companies resort to using artificial flavorings and sweeteners to augment the flavor and the results are not too pleasing. The worst thing when something is labeled vanilla or chocolate, is not getting the full real taste of it! As Fruyo is a fruit yogurt blend…….my curiosity was peaked.

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Fage’s Vanilla Fruyo has 7.5 grams of protein per 100 grams, so very nutritious but does it taste good?

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You have already a nice indicator this will taste good because it has natural vanilla flavor, plus ground vanilla beans. Zero percent fat and plain sugar and pectin used as sweeteners. A nice beginning to things when I can pronounce and know what each ingredient is. I found the thickness and richness still present like with the other Fage varieties, and you can literally take a spoonful of yogurt and hold the spoon upside-down, it won’t plop on the counter or move. Other yogurts have so much water that they also create that slime between the spoon and the product, which is not that great. Fage slowly dissolves in the mouth and I love their vanilla flavor. Not only does the product look beautiful with vanilla bean flecks, but the aroma and taste are there. I will be purchasing from their Fruyo line as they have Peach, Strawberry, Cherry, Pineapple and one I’m super curious about, Pineapple-banana cereals.

Visit their sites at:
Total- http://www.fageusa.com/products/
Fruyo- http://www.fage.gr/products.asp?cat=89&lang=EN

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I received the above product at no cost from BzzAgent and Fage. I am not obligated to provide a favorable/positive review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experiences with the brand, which may differ from yours.

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