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Supermarket Sampler: Label info only flaw for tasty Twists

I need to clarify a portion of our review of NECCO Chocolate Wafers that ran in Supermarket Sampler the week of Jan. 20. NECCO Wafers are still made with corn syrup. The New England Confectionary Co. did NOT remove high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) from its updated NECCO formulation, as NECCO candies never contained HFCS, a processed form of corn syrup. HFCS is a controversial ingredient that some companies are removing from some of their products.

— Bonnie Tandy Leblang

Pepperidge Farm Petite Treats. Raspberry Twists, Sweet Cinnamon Twists, Chocolate Creme Pirouettes and Chocolate Hazelnut Pirouettes. $3.39 per 3-ounce to 5.3-ounce can.

Bonnie: I get irritated at what companies decide to tout on their product labels. Take these new Pepperidge Farm Petite Twists and cream-filled Pirouettes, for example. Emblazoned on each can is a 90 in a circle and the words "90 calories in 3 wafers" on the Pirouettes, and "less than 90 calories in 2 pastries" on the Twists.

The implication is that a serving has 90 calories. Wrong. There are 120 calories and 4 to 6 grams of fat in a serving of four Pirouettes, and 130 calories and 4.5 grams of fat in a serving of three Twists. Not bad for cookies (I personally prefer the less-sweet Twists over the sugary Pirouettes), but not 90 calories.

Lesson: Make your purchase decisions based on a product's government-regulated Nutrition Facts panel rather than package advertising.

Carolyn: This new Pepperidge Farm Petite sub-line is the cookie equivalent of Skinny Cow ice cream novelties or Dove Promise chocolates: Namely, a sweet indulgence that won't crash the diet.

The problem (as Bonnie just pointed out) is that the two-Twist or three-Pirouette-wafer 90-calorie snack suggested on the can front is neither enough nor an official serving size. These cookies are also not individually wrapped and so tasty that without a cellophane barrier, it's unlikely many will be satisfied with even a larger, Nutrition Facts-defined serving.

Pepperidge Farm — and other companies — have made pirouette-like cookies for years. The only thing new about these Pepperidge Farm ones is their reduced size. No, the real excitement here besides the cute cans (perfect for storing something — don't throw them out!) — is the debut of Pepperidge Farm Twists, a grocery store incarnation of your local bakery's multilayered elephant-ears pastries.

Frozen pastry-maker Pepperidge Farm is introducing these in this mini form, but I, for one, hope these crunchy, sugary delights will soon be offered in larger sizes.

McCormick Flavored Ground Black Pepper. Worcestershire Blend, and Smokehouse. $1.99 per 2-ounce can.

Bonnie: I like McCormick's new flavored black peppers. The Smokehouse is infused with an applewood flavor that lends grill-smokiness to foods cooked indoors and enhances it on grill-cooked items. As a fan of fresh-ground pepper, I only wish McCormick would also offer this as smokehouse whole black peppercorns, with or without its own grinder.

I'm not as fond of the Worcestershire one, only because I'm not wild about Worcestershire sauce in general. If you like it, try seasoning a dish first with this pepper to see whether it provides enough Worcestershire flavor for you. If so, you'll be saving about 75 milligrams of sodium over a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce.

Carolyn: I also liked this new smoke-flavored black pepper. It's a really fast, easy mess- and calorie-free way to add a grilled flavor to food, compared to preparing a grill, soaking meat in marinades or dousing it in sauce.

The other variety does the same thing for Worcestershire, but the Worcestershire flavor is much weaker, which is why I don't recommend it.

In both cases, it's imperative that you like black pepper flavor as much as smoke or Worcestershire. I do, which is another reason I'm a fan.

Kashi Heart to Heart Warm Cinnamon Oat Cereal. $3.49 per 12.4-ounce box.

Bonnie: This new Kashi Heart to Heart Warm Cinnamon Oat Cereal contains soluble fiber from oats, natural antioxidants and 12 grams of whole grains per serving — three-quarters of one of the three servings the government recommends we get each day. It's also low in sodium (80 milligrams), rich in fiber (5 grams) and modest in sugar (5 grams).

So nutritionally this is good, but tastewise, it is mediocre with an airy texture, not hearty enough for me.

Carolyn: Let me clear up one point right away: Heart to Heart Warm Cinnamon Oat Cereal is not hot oatmeal cereal, but rather a cold one featuring the "warm" — at least to Kashi marketers — cinnamon-spice flavors.

It's similar to Heart to Heart's Honey Toasted Oat cereal, a Honey Nut Cheerios wannabe, although neither Kashi cereal is as good as Cheerios. Here's why: Heart to Heart has a lot bigger agenda than the good taste of Cheerios.

In fact, the good-tasting oats at the heart of this Heart to Heart cereal are all but overwhelmed by many other healthful ingredients, including oat bran, rye, barley, buckwheat, brown rice, even white and green tea! Heart to Heart's puffed oats are also harder and less sweet.

Many other healthy and moderately healthy cereals taste much better — plain Cheerios and Raisin Bran, among them.

Bonnie Tandy Leblang is a registered dietitian and professional speaker. She has an interactive site (www.biteofthebest.com) about products she recommends. Follow her on Twitter: BonnieBOTB. Carolyn Wyman is a junk-food fanatic and author of "The Great Philly Cheesesteak Book" (Running Press). Each week they critique three new food items.