Who says you can't have fun with your foods?! Ok, you all know by now that I love to really get into my product reviews and see what I can do with products. Why? I am (possibly) just insane but mostly it's because I like to show everyone that food allergies should not make you afraid of foods. Food allergies should always make you love the foods that you can have. So when I got a package from the peeps at TruJoy Sweets I wanted to figure out how I could incorporate their Organic Peppermint Choco Chews and Organic Candy Canes into our allergy-friendly holidays. And what screams holidays more than anything? REINDEER! So imagine my utter happiness when I realized that the Peppermint Choco Chews are squeezable, mold-able even. Say, as a reindeer-
- Break candy cane evenly to have the arch of the cane as a full “u” shape (these are the antlers)
- Form one of the Choco Chews into a rectangle
- Gently place the candy cane antlers into the top of the rectangle
- Mold the second Choco Chew the same way and place on top of the antlers, aligning it with the bottom chew
- Continue to mold the Choco Chews together, forming a head
- Gently insert the white jelly bean halves into the Chew (these will be the eyes)
- Insert the red jelly bean half for the nose
- Cut the remaining ½ Choco Chew in half and form two ears
- Attach them to the side of the reindeer’s head, molding as you go
- Dip the toothpick into the melted chocolate and “paint” pupils on the reindeer’s eyes
- Cut the feet of the gummy bear off (this will be the bow)
- Apply a dab of chocolate to the green food item and attach the bow
- Apply another dab of chocolate to secure the bow on the reindeer & allow to cool
But what about the leftover Candy Cane stick?! Use that and additional Chews to make a lollipop! Add alone or insert tiny treats (such as mini marshmallows or chocolate chips) on the inside of the Chews for an unexpected treat.
Allergy Labeling I did want to make sure that I included the allergy information for both of these products as well. I did notice that although TruJoy Sweets are organic, they do mention producing their products on equipment that also produces some allergens (such as peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, soy and wheat). They also had two different allergy statements on each package. Since the last thing I would ever want for anyone would be to use a product without proper allergy information, here is what was explained to me:
"For Peppermint Choco Chews, Fruit Chews and Choco Chews: they are formulated without nuts however, the equipment they are produced on also processes nuts, dairy and soy. They are certified GFCO- gluten free.
For Candy Canes (and heart-shaped lollipops & bunny-shaped lollipops): they are produced on dedicated nut-free and gluten-free equipment in a segregated area of the facility that also processes dairy, eggs, soy and wheat. They are on a separate floor with a separate ventilation system. And (as per the company contact) the risk of cross contamination is minuscule, however we want to give consumers full information and let them make the final decision."
My Allergy-Safe Recommendation as always, I appreciate the allergy information that was given to me but I strongly recommend that everyone research the products and contact the company directly to ensure the safety of your allergy needs. My recommendation for TruJoy Sweets- a plea for our food allergy community to consider revamping these processing procedures in the future. For our family, these treats were tasty for myself and NutriDaughter but definately off-limits for NutriSon with multiple food allergies.
The Tru Taste Test Tasting is the most enjoyable part of product reviews. Overall- loved them! The Organic Peppermint Choco Chews are similar to a familiar other chocolaty chew candy (cough, Tootsie Rolls) but a little less stick-in-your-teeth and softer. The taste starts out with an overall smooth chocolate flavor followed by a mild peppermint undertone. The Organic Candy Canes taste like your typical candy cane, maybe a little less strong-minty but I personally prefer not so minty so what's not to love? What I DO love about both of these are the fact that they have no artificial colors, flavors or corn syrup- an extra mom point for that one.
Hugs to TruJoy Sweets for asking me to try their products out for them and for making us tasty sweets that are not loaded with all of the usual "gunk". Make sure you check out their other products that they have at http://www.trujoysweets.com (yup, they have some more!).