Sunday, March 8, 2009
Slamming and Jamming
To begin with:
Harvest Herb Teas' Zhena's Gypsy Tea Caffiene-Free Chocolate Chai is good -- less sweet than hot chocolate, but obviously more chocolatey than your basic chai mix. Angela sent this canister in a box of birthday snacks and goodies a few weeks ago. I made a mugful last night in order to facilitate a Slam-Off between Tim Tams (caramel) and Penguins, which are apparently the biscuit on which Tim Tams were based.
I've referenced the Tim Tam Slam several times on this site. I'd heard, too, that there were British cookies with which one could approximate the Tim Tam Slam experience -- that is, the experience of sucking a hot beverage through the graham layer of a chocolate-coated cookie, melting the cookie from the middle out before popping it quickly into one's mouth to chew, savor, and swallow.
I've also been told that Tim Tams' recent appearance at US Target Stores, cross-branded in this country with Pepperidge Farm, was the first time that Tim Tams have been widely available in the United States. As excited as I was to find and purchase some for myself, my supply is now running low and there is no Target nearby. As my stores dwindle, I have been in search of a reasonable substitution for future Slams. And if it turns out that the "reasonable substitution" is actually the original cookie (and that the Tim Tam is the lesser knock-off), I can certainly handle that.
So, enters the Penguin into my pantry:
When Dan shopped a British imports store in NYC for Tim-Tam-like birthday presents for little old me, neither of us had heard of the Penguin. But he was told by the shop-keep that McVities' Penguins were just what I'd been looking for -- a chocolate-covered graham cookie that would behave like a Tim Tam in a Slamming situation. So Dan purchased a pack of nine for us to try. That package delighted me on my birthday, as it boldly encouraged me to "P P P Pick Up a Penguin" right on the overwrap.
How could I say no?
Moreover, how could I not take this opportunity to Slam both the Penguin and the Tim Tam, so as to compare?
(Penguins are on the right; Tim Tams with caramel are on the left)
To be fair I really should have compared Penguins to original Tim Tams (without the caramel layer), but I have so far been unable to find original Tim Tams for purchase in NYC. I personally feel that the caramel Tim Tams had a superior flavor to the un-caramel Penguins, but Penguins are quite excellent in their own right. I would eat either one without distress. Penguins are thinner and crisper, while this variety of Tim Tam is fat and richer, but both are slammable.
What's this? A late entry into the battle?
Dan also bought me a package of British Jacob's Club Orange biscuits for this Birthday round. These I Slammed with green tea, as I feared Chocolate Chai might not be the correct flavor to pair with the orangey Club cookies. My first Club Slam transmitted the tea better than the Penguin bar. In fact, its straw-like efficiency may have outpaced the Tim Tam, too. The conclusion of the Club Slam wasn't as tidy, though. Clubs are longer and thinner than either of the other two cookie varieties, so I had to ingest it in two bites (rather than shoving the whole thing in my mouth as it melted, as is traditionally done). However, it did not seem to sog into mush as quickly as the Penguins or T.T.s. The orange+chocolate flavor of the Clubs was another bonus, as I am quite fond of these two tastes together, but the Tim Tam with caramel remains a superior cookie.
All three are tasty. All three suck (in the right way) when you Slam. All three are well-suited to be birthday gifts for your loved ones. Club Kids, Penguin Peoples, and Tim Tam Fans -- join hands and live as one.