Almondina Cookies: No Bake Valentine’s Day Gelato, Sorbet and Ice Cream Heart Treats

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For those of you unfamiliar, Almondina is a thin cookie that is not only less punishing caloric (only 30 calories each) wise but absolute deliciousness!  Most dunking cookies I love more how they look than how they taste because the cookies are so dry, they suck the moisture out of your mouth.  You try to dunk them to soften them and then they fall apart, so now your hot coffee is not so enjoyable anymore with pieces of dissolved cookie with every sip!  Almondina has fixed the problem but I find them better than most packaged cookies I have ever enjoyed because they are so versatile!  You do not have to commit to one flavor because they are thin cookies that come in different varieties.  You have chocolate based to the original vanilla tasting ones, to cinnamon, to even pumpkin.  You want yogurt dipped, Almondina has it and even chocolate dipped, so again this is more than just a cookie you have with a hot drink.  It is a cookie that stands alone in it’s own class of thin (but delicious) crisp cookies.  I love almonds and it started with how the nut tasted but it is also a healthier alternative.  What I like is the amount of almonds and fruit you get too.  I am not cheated out of anything, just eating less fats!  It may be a “better-for-you” cookie but what makes this dreamier, is you get all the flavor and can’t believe one thin cookie could do so much! I will be reviewing the cookies later this week and will have a giveaway for my readers.  Yes, that means the sample pack I received could be yours! So, stay tuned and just a small hint, start following and liking them on Facebook 🙂

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Let Almondina Cookies make your Valentine’s Day treats not only easy and quick to make, but they will look like you dedicated all day to them. The cookies are toasted already so no need to toast in the oven. You can even add sprinkles, chocolate ganache or just the Almondina crumble itself.

I started by using Almondina Choconut, a delicious chocolate cookie that is studded with almonds and raisins. I take the cookie and break off some of the nuts to use later as decor. Using a food processor, I pulse until get a nice mix of fine and medium crumbs. In a small bowl, I add the crumb to be used for later. I again repeat the above process with the Original Almondina cookies and the Almondina AlmondDuo, a double nut cookie, which features not only almonds but also pistachios.

Take your Valentine’s Day cookie cutters (I have both metal and plastic) . Get your favorite ice cream, sorbet, or even gelato out of the freezer. I do one flavor at a time and if I do not have a flavor…..I make it. I had left-over boysenberry preserves I made a few days ago and folded it into vanilla bean ice cream to make boysenberry ice cream. You can use a cherry preserves or any flavor you desire. This not only saves money but also makes those flavors you dream of into reality.

I use a parchment square and under that place some plastic wrap. You can also use the plastic wrap by itself if you do not have parchment.  Take your cookie cutter and place it in the center of the paper/plastic. Stuff the cookie cutter with the above frozen treat of your choice and I find using a spoon and stuff by the “sliver” versus scooping is the easiest way to avoid air pockets. I use a small spatula to smooth out the Gelato and then simply use my hands to push the form out. You can also use the assistance of the parchment paper you used the cookie cutter on if you have enough overage, this also avoids getting ice cream on your fingers. Rinse and repeat!

*The above is Pistachio Gelato

 

*The above is Coconut Sorbet 

*The above is Dark Chocolate Gelato and the Boysenberry Ice Cream I made

I then place cover the molded treat and place it in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. If you are making more than one, make sure to not allow your ice cream to soften too much. I suggest placing the pint back in the freezer to keep it from melting. This is why I like to work with different flavors because I can rotate as I work.  If I need to hurry up a creation, I place it in the ice cube tray for a fast chill.

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While everything refreezes, I start making ganache. Ganache is a simple recipe of 1/2 heavy cream and 1/2 chocolate. I use a mix of bittersweet and semisweet chocolate and slowly melt it on the stove. For convince, I place my ganache in a glass dish with a spatula for easy scooping.

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Once the molded heart has hardened again, I take out one heart at a time and begin to decorate. You can use several ways:

  • Spread Ganache and then the Almondina Cookie Crumbs.
  • Stud the hearts with the nuts you recovered from the cookies before making the crumb and then only applying crumble to the sides.
  • Make a Mold of Gelato and fill only 1/4 of the way, add Almondina Crumble and then fill again with Gelato. This gives you a crumble in the center.
  • You can do half Ganache and half crumble, so you get different textures

Return the decorated heart back and allow it to set for 20 to 30 minutes. This will of course vary by size of cookie cutter and amount of frozen treat used.

I used some ganache and stencils to not only decorate the dessert but also my plate. You just smear a small amount of ganache and then some red colored sprinkles, or any color of your choice. Lift the stencil and then you have a cute design. Place the plate in the fridge and if the plate is freezer safe, it is much better because it then gets as cold as the hearts, This buys you time when you put everything together. Get your Love Bug and you have a gorgeous and delicious dessert that required no oven and just some opening and closing of the freezer ❤ This also a very kid friendly project, so make it a family thing too ❤ Enjoy!

To locate where you can buy Almondina’s Cookies or to view their large selection, please visit:

  • On-line– http://www.almondina.com/
  • Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/Almondina.Brand
  • Twitter– https://twitter.com/almondina

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

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Graze.com: Healthy Snacks delivered to your door

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Here’s something new for snackers. Graze is a “snack subscription” service. I was able to try Graze at zero cost, with no commitment (And you can too!). The program allows you to pretty much “Nay” or “Yay” items, but you can’t select what snacks you want in your box, otherwise “build-your-box”. I like the surprise-me idea and because they sort of catalog your tastes before, I gave it a go!

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I was told my box would arrive the first week of February and it arrived the last week of January, so that was a pleasant surprise. My snack box was shipped via USPS and you get four treats, each individually sealed. Codes are also included to share with friends and work sort of like a referral program. Included is also a Nutrition Facts card, which lets you know the caloric count, sugars, ect.. However if you want a full list of ingredients, it states to check on-line….so very easy with even an exact unique link listed on there that coincides with the item.

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My first item to try was the Herby Bread Basket. My husband and I tried the garlic crostini, a mini basil breadstick, and a oregano rice cracker. I tried the cracker first and the cluster seems to be made from brown rice going by the taste but has a very sugary flavor that tends to not bump nicely with the herb notes. I did not detect oregano and more of what you get when you use parsley flakes, but that can be from flavors combining in the packet. My Husband just stated he really does not like how those taste. The sugary notes were overwhelming and hard to look past them and maybe would fit better with an Asian mix, versus a mix that seems more Italian-like going by the flavors. The garlic crostini is just like a crouton would taste and not overly garlic. Think of the square croutons that are meant to be used for making stuffing but in a pinch you see them used on salads. Now, the mini basil breadsticks were pleasant but salty. I even rinsed my mouth thinking the sugary notes from the rice cracker were influencing my taste buds but unfortunately it was not. 1 out of 3 items in this snack were okay-ish,so I gave this one a “Nay”

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The next day we tried the HoneyComb Flapjack, made of rolled oats and drizzled with chocolate. The item is soft in texture and smells a little like a oatmeal cookie does minus the raisins. Took a bite and the first thing that came to mind, a no-bake cookie. You do not taste the chocolate and I give you that the square does not have a processed flavor at all but it was lacking in flavor period. The square smelled better than it tasted. My Husband bailed on taking a second bite because the grainy texture was just not his thing. I dumped the rest into my yogurt cup and it sort of got lost in there. This is when I noticed the grains I eat from my granola mix had more flavor than the Flapjack. We gave this a “Nay”.

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I wanted to end on a good note so I opened the Trail Mix. My mix had redskin peanuts, roasted hazelnuts, jumbo raisins, and cranberries. It’s so my kind of thing that this mix was created for me. I peel open the container and noticed it does not smell like what I am seeing. Sort of musty. I taste a peanut and my Husband takes a very non-jumbo sized raisin and walks off. My peanut was soft in texture and tasted rancid so I did not finish it. I then hear from the other room in the house, “don’t taste the raisin, I had to spit it out”. Ummmm….okay, so I taste a hazelnut and roasted it is not and suffers from that same softness and weird off taste the peanut does. I gave up and disposed of this mix. The nuts are soft like if they had been in a cooler and then sweated a bit when they were warmed (maybe while in transit). Nonetheless, they were bad! Nay again!

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The Booster Seeds I would love to say are my next choice by I am starting to grow shy here. The Booster mix has sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and golden flax seeds. I eat flax seeds and pumpkin seeds on a routine basis, so this is again familiar territory. I peel open the container……..these smell and taste fine!!! Yay!! the seeds have crunch and no musty smell. They are plain with no salt and sugar and play well with anything or you can enjoy them as-is. We have a winner and the quality is decent.

So, 4 snack boxes in total and 1 out 4 was a winner. These 4-box units usually cost $6.00, plus that includes shipping. I will say that $6 with shipping would make me buy at least once a month but when only 1 snack item was a hit and it was the plainer of the bunch, that would be one over priced 1.2 ounces sized snack. I really wanted to be a Graze fan because the idea of trying new snacks and with a healthy twist, plus delivered to your door is something I desire……sort of dreamy for me who likes this kind of “stuff”. The freedom to move deliveries around to fit your needs or even budget makes this a friendly company, which is rare today. The site is welcoming and easy to see what they offer. I just would not want to cringe at opening a packet and being welcomed by rancid nuts that made the dried fruit taste like something that you want to only taste once and never repeat. I worry about when Summer hits and if the quality will “boing” all over the place but have to share for my first-time try, Graze left me wanting to graze from my pantry versus from my mailbox. I may try again in the future because I would love to support a company with good intentions that maybe were caught on a bad day!

If you would like to give Graze a try, visit them at:

  • On-line– https://www.graze.com/us/products
  • Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/grazeusa
  • Twitter– https://twitter.com/intent/user?screen_name=grazeusa

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

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 🙂

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.

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