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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Archer Farms Cinnamon Hot Cocoa Mix

If you've never tried Mexican hot chocolate, please go do so immediately. It's worth checking out. One brand to look for would be Abuelita, available pretty universally in the US nowadays. I think it's even available at Target stores.

I mean, this offering is pretty close flavor-wise, but it's less spicy and more sweet. That combo might appeal to many of you, but I'm partial to the original—although this stuff is nothing to complain about.

This is one of the few hot chocolates that actually tell you to "add milk." I mean, we always use milk or almond milk anyway, but the instructions generally say "just add water" as if milk is too fattening or expensive or scarce that most people simply don't have any on hand. I appreciate the honesty here. What kind of person adds water to his hot chocolate?

But milk is perfect here. It yields a creamy, flavorful mix, with a detectable amount of cinnamon. It's not overly or unpleasantly sweet, but I'd say it's nearer the sweet end of the hot chocolate spectrum. It's definitely not a "dark chocolate" type flavor here, and that's just fine with me.

The wifey grew up on Mexican hot chocolate, and she'll still take Abuelita over Archer Farms brand in most cases, but she thoroughly enjoyed this product as well. It's a great Valentine's treat—or perfect for keeping warm on a cold winter day. We both just wish it had a bit more kick from cinnamon and spice.

$3.99 for eight packets. Fifty cents a cup, plus the cost of milk isn't too bad at all.

I think this product is worthy of 9 out of 10 stars.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Archer Farms S'mores Granola

Ah, s'mores. Nothing brings to mind camping, ghost stories, the smell of wood smoke, and fond memories of boyhood like s'mores. And now it's a cereal at your local Target.

Dessert for breakfast. I love it. Carbs to keep you going throughout the day, spiked with sugar to jump-start your heart and get your sleepy head in the game.

If you're hoping for a breakfast that tastes exactly like a real s'more, you might be slightly disappointed here. There's not a lot of that graham crackery flavor in this breakfast cereal. It's more like granola with some cocoa-flavored pieces and mini marshmallows—the kind that you find in certain packets of instant hot cocoa. It's sweet, it's crunchy, and there's enough sugar and chocolate left in your milk at the end of the bowl to make it super-chuggable.

My wife loved this even more than I did. She thought there'd be too much chocolate flavor (is that even possible?) but was pleasantly surprised at how "well-balanced" the flavor was.

I just wish there were actual bits of graham cracker in the mix. The granola is fine and provides a good base for the cereal, but in my humble opinion, it's not grahammy enough to be authentically s'morey. Still a very tasty product.

I give this granola 8 out of 10 stars.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Archer Farms Blueberry Mini Muffins

When I was a very young lad growing up in Hershey, PA, my parents threw a grand soiree for their friends featuring home-baked goods to be shared by all the attendees. Only one other youngster was in attendance—my best friend at the time, whom we'll call Phillip for the sake of this blog post.

He and I were staying out of the way of the adults and were looking to get into a bit of mischief. We began sampling the desserts and pastries at opportune moments here and there when our parents weren't looking. There were pies, cakes, tarts, and a random assortment of cookies. At the end of the table, I spied a basket of blueberry muffins. I don't know what it was about those things, but I fell in love at first bite. I handed one to Phillip. His eyes lit up as he bit into the fluffy muffin. We were both completely enchanted by these treats. I was young enough that these might have been the first blueberry muffins I'd ever had. They were soft, sweet, and nearly perfect in every way.

Phillip and I consumed the entire basket within minutes, giggling as we devoured each one. We left only crumbs and blueberry stains across the bottom of the empty serving container. Suddenly, it dawned on me that our parents and their guests wouldn't be particularly pleased that there were no more blueberry muffins to be served at their party. Surely enough, as we hid out in my bedroom, we heard my mother scream my full name, middle included, and we knew we were in for it. I got a spanking and a stern lecture and Phillip was immediately escorted home. It was one of my earliest memories of corporal punishment—and certainly not my last—but at least in this case, I actually deserved it...all thanks to those delicious blueberry muffins.

These Archer Farms muffins were good enough that history almost repeated itself—except instead of getting in trouble with my parents, it was my wife doling out the corrections this time around. I had already eaten a few of the muffins for breakfast and I was exceptionally hungry after a long hike, and I wound up consuming the whole rest of the container. My wife did get a couple of the muffins in this case, before I managed to polish off the last few—and she liked them enough that she was hoping to go back for more.

It might just be because I was particularly hungry, or that I just always crave blueberry muffins ever since that incident when I was young, but I simply can't give these a low score. They went down pretty easily. Probably not the healthiest muffins I've ever consumed, but hey, it's the holidays. I'll take these blueberry muffins over Christmas cookies any day.

I give these muffins 8 out of 10 stars.

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