Drexel’s Hershey Project

Last weekend I was involved in an extremely fun project through the Drexel Food Lab!

Hershey representatives came to Drexel and gave us specific guidelines for a new product they want to sell.  This new product needed to be indulgent, but light.  Therefore, you could eat a lot of it and not feel guilty for doing so.  Simple enough.  Hershey also wanted this product to be able to be eaten for 30 minutes (the length of a television show).  And, the product shouldn’t be high in calories.  It also needs to have a Hersheys product in it too! Challenge accepted!  (by the way, Hershey did say we can post about this eve on social media)

On a Friday afternoon, 24 Drexel students divided up into groups of 4, and started the “ideation” process for the product.  We discussed the types of desserts we could make to fulfill what Hershey wanted.  We also sampled other chocolate snacks and products to give us ideas on flavors, packaging, and the overall indulgent snack we wanted to make.

Each group of four was interdisciplinary.  In my group, there were two food science students, a nutrition student, and a design student with a focus on product design.  Each group needed to decide on two ideas that they were going to make and present to the Hershey representatives the following day after the four hour competition.

The first idea my group settled on was a light snack, made of chocolate balls, rice puffs, and popcorn.  We were going to make different flavors using numerous spices and bind it together slightly with Hershey’s chocolate.  The four flavors we made were spicy chocolate, turmeric ginger, chocolate peanut butter ( my personal favorite), and finally a chocolate pretzel popcorn mixture.

The second idea my group decided on was named “Air Kiss”.  They are named this because they are meringue cookies the same size and shape of a Hershey’s kiss.  Meringues are made from the manipulation of egg whites and sugar, so these “Air Kisses” were much more light (and less caloric) than an actual chocolate Hershey’s kiss.  We made six different flavors of these meringues, and each one was dipped in either dark, white, or milk chocolate.  They also had a minute amount of the same flavor ganache inside each one.  The flavors were blueberry-milk chocolate, chocolate almond-milk chocolate, peppermint-white chocolate, pumpkin spice-white chocolate, vanilla-dark chocolate, and expresso-dark chocolate.

The “Air Kisses” were a hit!  I was extremely proud of how they turned out, and the simplicity, yet indulgent characteristics they had.

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Six different types of meringues
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Four different flavors of rice puff and popcorn based chocolate snacks.

 

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The meringues packaged in their boxes for sampling.
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I made A LOT of each flavor because they were so small.

After the four hour competition, and presentation to the Hershey representatives, we found out who the top three teams were.  My team ended up placing second overall, and we received a prize!  Overall, it was a wonderful experience to be able to assist Hershey in coming up with ideas for their new product.

Keep your eyes out for “Air Kisses” on the shelves! (;

Meringues Kisses

Ingredients 

  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • Flavors: vanilla- add 1/2 tsp vanilla powder, expresso- add 1 tsp espresso powder, pumpkin spice- add 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice and orange food gel, blueberry- add 2 Tbs freeze dried blueberry powder and purple food gel, peppermint- add 1/8 tsp peppermint extract and red food gel, chocolate almond- add 2 Tbs coco powder and 1/2 tsp almond extract.

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 225 degrees F.  Line a tray with parchment paper.
  2. Add egg whites to a mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment (or you can use a hand held mixer, or by hand).  Slowly begin whisking until the egg whites are foamy.
  3. Add the cream of tartar, vanilla extract, and salt.  Increase the speed to medium.
  4. Slowly begin to add the sugar into the egg whites.  Once all the sugar is added, the whites will start to hold their shape and form soft peaks.
  5. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until the mixture is glossy and holds firm peaks.
  6. Add food coloring or any of the flavorings you want and mix in.
  7. Either pipe out the desired size/shape of the meringue OR make large meringue cookies by using a spoon to plop the batter on the trays.
  8. Bake for 30 min – 90 min depending on the size of the cookie.  (Once out of the oven they will harden even more).
  9. Enjoy!

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