What creeps you out the most on Halloween? Goblins and witches? Spiders and ghouls? Or is it the load of processed, corn syrup-laden, artificially flavored “treats” that will fill your children’s smiling plastic jack-o-lanterns? Bet I can scare you even more. Did you know that some of those well known candies they’ll be ingesting contain ingredients like TBHQ (a form of Butane)? TBHQ, believe it or not, is an ingredient in many processed food items ranging from candy to chicken nuggets. The following excerpt from author Michael Pollan discusses TBHQ in regards to it’s placement in a McDonald’s Chicken McNugget:
“But perhaps the most alarming ingredient in a Chicken McNugget is tertiary butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ, an antioxidant derived from petroleum that is either sprayed directly on the nugget or the inside of the box it comes in to “help preserve freshness.” According to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, TBHQ is a form of butane (i.e. lighter fluid) the FDA allows processors to use sparingly in our food: It can comprise no more than 0.02 percent of the oil in a nugget. Which is probably just as well, considering that ingesting a single gram of TBHQ can cause “nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse.” Ingesting five grams of TBHQ can kill.”
— Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals)
Did that spook some Halloween fear into you? When our kids come home after an evening of tricking and treating, we can offer them a fresh, more natural alternative than what’s mischievously hiding within their smiling plastic pumpkins. This week we will deconstruct two Halloween candy staples: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (which contain TBHQ) and Nestle Crunch.
**Note: TBHQ is also contained in the Eggo Buttermilk Waffles we previously deconstructed. See LEGGO O’ THE EGGO
THE COMPARISON: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & Nestle Crunch vs. Out of the Box Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Treats & Out of the Box Dark Chocolate Crispy Bars
(All ingredients followed by an * can be referenced at www.wikipedia.org by clicking on the ingredient)
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
- milk chocolate (sugar; cocoa butter; chocolate; nonfat milk; milk fat; lactose; soy lecithin*; PGPR*, emulsifier)
- TBHQ* (preservative)
Nestle Crunch Bar
- milk chocolate (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, nonfat milk, lactose, milkfat*, soy lecithin*, vanillin-an* artificial flavor*)
- crisped rice (rice flour,sugar, barley malt, salt)
**All listed product ingredients are taken from product’s package label. Though Out of the Box Food makes every effort to provide complete ingredient information, please check the package for the most current information.
Out of the Box Food Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Treats
Time: 1 hour 15 min. (includes chilling time)
Serves: 24 Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Treats
Special Equipment: mini paper baking cups, mini muffin pan (optional) double boiler (or small sauce pan with heat proof bowl)
- 10.5 oz 72 % chocolate, broken into pieces (we used Trader Joe’s 72% Cacao bar)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 C peanut butter
- 1/2 C powdered confectioners sugar
- Line mini muffin tin (if using) with paper baking cups.
- In a double boiler (or a heat proof bowl set over a pan of boiling water), melt butter and 2/3 of the chocolate until just melted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and quickly whisk in remaining chocolate until melted.
- With a pastry brush, “paint” a bit of melted chocolate into each paper baking cup, covering entire cup. TIP: hold baking cups in hand for easier paining, then return to muffin tin. If not using a mini muffin tin, place painted baking cups on cookie sheet.
- Leave remaining melted chocolate over the warm water for later use.
- Refrigerate painted cups for 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix peanut butter and powdered sugar.
- Remove chocolate covered baking cups from refrigerator.
- Spoon peanut butter mixture in baking cups, filling to 3/4 full.
- Spoon remaining melted chocolate over the peanut butter to cover, then let sit until hardened or refrigerate for 30 minutes or until chocolate solidifies.
*Note: Store in an airtight container. If you refrigerate the finished candies, it is best to store them in the refrigerator.
Out of the Box Dark Chocolate Crispy Bars
Time: 10 minutes
Special Equipment: 8×8″ square pan, parchment paper, double boiler (or small sauce pan with heat proof bowl)
- 10.5 oz 70% chocolate, broken into pieces
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3/4 C brown rice crispy cereal (Not Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, please check ingredient list)
- Line 8×8 pan with parchment.
- Over double boiler (heat proof bowl over pan of boiling water), melt butter and 2/3 of the chocolate until just melted. Remove from heat and quickly whisk in remaining chocolate.
- Stir in crispy rice.
- Pour chocolate mixture into parchment lined pan and smooth with the back of the spoon.
- Leave at room temperature to cool, or you can refrigerate to quickly solidify. Lift parchment from pan and cut chocolate into bars.
**Note: Store in an airtight container. If using refrigeration to quickly solidify chocolate, candies should then be stored in the refrigerator.
I’m going to try something I’ve never done this year: read the ingredients on my children’s Halloween candy. Then I’m going to tell them about TBHQ offer a bowl of our homemade treats. Now I’m not promoting the consumption of sugar (though I feel a little real sugar is okay), I am just strongly against the consumption of Butane. Until next week…
© 2010 – 2011, kimgerber. All rights reserved.