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December 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Truffles

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel TrufflesLet’s see, if I was going to make my own candy, what would be the most popular ingredients to include? Dark Chocolate. Peanut Butter. Caramel. So it’s not surprising that I bought this gable box of Trader Joe’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Truffles.

The box holds about 15 individually wrapped bon bons filled with layers of caramel and peanut butter all covered in dark chocolate.

The front of the box says that there are no artificial flavors or colors, but that doesn’t mean that the ingredients are simple. There are things like malto-dextrin, fractionated palm oil (organic) and tocopherol (Vitamin E). But part of what makes the list so long is also how many of the items are preceded by “organic” such as the caramel (organic milk, organic sugar, etc).

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Truffles

The bronzy twisted mylar wrappers hold the bon bons well. They’re glossy and nicely domed, about 1.125 inches in diameter. They’re about 12 grams each, which is approximately the same size as a Lindt Lindor Truffle (though not spherical).

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Truffles

The shell yields easily to the soft interior. The burst of caramel comes first, as it’s more of a syrup than a firm chewy variety. The flavor is good, a little hint of burnt sugar but mostly a salted sweetness. The peanut butter base is very smooth with a smoky flavor for the most part and a light burst of salt as well. There’s a bit of chocolate in the filling as well, it looks like maybe a layer between the caramel and peanut butter - probably to keep them from mingling. The melt of it all is less than stellar, the chocolate is quite firm but the peanut butter is soft but slightly waxy (is that what fractionated palm oil is like?). Overall, it just never came together for me as a decadent whole. I’ll probably finish the package at some point but I’ve passed them over plenty of times when looking in my goody drawer over the past week, which is a rating in and of itself.

I still might consider these as a hostess gift, especially if you know the person is inclined towards the elements of caramel, dark chocolate and peanut butter. Even though they’re not as flashy, I prefer Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (which I’ve been eating by the tub-full for extra calories).

There is no ethical sourcing statement for the chocolate on the box, though the organic status of many of the ingredients bodes well for the attention the makers pay to sourcing ingredients. The truffles contain soy, peanuts and milk. They’re made in a facility that also processes wheat, eggs and tree nuts.

See also Rosa’s review at ZOMG! Candy.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
  2. Trader Joe’s A Very Merry Mingle
  3. Madelaine Duets
  4. Snickers Peanut Butter Santas
  5. Lindt Lindor Truffle Eggs
  6. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels


Name: Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Truffles
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (3rd & Fairfax)
Price: $3.99
Size: 6.34 ounces
Calories per ounce: 158
Categories: All Natural, Christmas, Trader Joe's, Caramel, Chocolate, Kosher, Peanuts, 7-Worth It, Canada

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:06 am     All NaturalCandyReviewChristmasTrader Joe'sCaramelChocolateKosherPeanuts7-Worth ItCanadaComments (2)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Russell Stover Red Velvet Santa

Russell Stover Red Velvet SantaThe store shelves at the drug stores in my neighborhood are filled with Christmas candies, including the seasonal array of Russell Stover candies in Santa shapes. There’s a new one this year, the Russell Stover Red Velvet Santa in dark chocolate.

I have to say that I found the idea of a Red Velvet and Santa Claus combination intriguing. It seems like a natural fit and evokes the tactile elegance of a rich, deep red St. Nicholas coat and the traditional white ermine fur trim. But this was much better in my head than the actual execution. The wrapper doesn’t play upon that Victorian image, instead has a cartoon-style Santa on the front, holding a teddy bear.

Russell Stover Red Velvet SantaI have very little experience with Red Velvet as a baked good. I’ve had the cake a few times, including several times baked from scratch as well as some high-end cupcakes. The cake is usually a buttermilk yellow cake with a dash of cocoa for light flavor along with either beets or loads of red food coloring. (Before the era of Dutched Cocoa, a little vinegar in the recipe would turn undutched cocoa deep red.) The selling point, for me, is the cream cheese frosting (but I usually satisfy that with a dense Carrot Cake sans nuts when given the chance).

In this case the candy is constructed of a cream center made from white chocolate (a lovely substitute for cream cheese) and actual Red Velvet cake mix according to the list of ingredients. (So this has wheat in it.)

Russell Stover Red Velvet Santa

The filling is a creamy red and a little grainy, probably because of the cake mix in there. It looks like it should be raspberry, but it’s not. The flavor is a little doughy, like a cookie dough bite, but better. The dark chocolate coating is just the right ratio - it’s not too thick or chalky and has a good, bittersweet counterpoint to the sweet center. It’s very filling.

If I had been given this lump (which doesn’t look like Santa, by the way) without any description, there is no way I could have guessed that this was a Red Velvet influenced object.  I’m guessing it’s more like a cake pop (which I’ve never tried, either). I’m glad they went with dark chocolate and not white chocolate, but hypothesizing that it could have been worse is hardly a recommendation.

Related Candies

  1. Godiva Cake Truffles
  2. Candy Tease: Sweets & Snacks Expo 2012 - Part 2
  3. Cupcake Bites
  4. Russell Stover Santas
  5. Cookie Dough Bites
  6. Recipe: Peppermint Stick Layer Cake


Name: Red Velvet Santa
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: $1.25
Calories per ounce: 144
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Russell Stover, Chocolate, 5-Pleasant, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:27 am     CandyReviewChristmasRussell StoverChocolate5-PleasantUnited StatesWalgreen'sComments (4)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Nestle Crunch Noisettes

Nestle Crunch NoisettesI was excited to see this Nestle Crunch Noisettes bar in New York at Zabar’s. I scooped it right up from the display basket by the cheeses (and looked in the same basket to see if there were any other exotic flavors).

The bar is made in Italy by Nestle and is a twist on the classic Crunch bar, which is a milk chocolate bar with crisped rice. The exotic twist here is the inclusion of noisettes ... hazelnuts.

Nestle Crunch Noisettes

This bar is very attractive.The mold design is inventive and practical. The sections break easily but instead of a typical grid they’re faceted polygons in a vaguely rectangular format. Even though I carried this all the way across the country, it still came out looking practically pristine.

Nestle Crunch Noisettes

The back of the bar reveals a bit more about the contents. The crisped rice is large and classic looking, unlike the newer cereal rice flour bb’s that are in the current American Crunch bar. There are also a far number of crushed hazelnut pieces.

The bar smells comforting, a mix of sweet milk, cereal and toasted nuts.

Nestle Crunch Noisettes

The snap is crisp and the melt of the chocolate is a little sticky but overall smooth. The texture is on the fudgy side with a lot of milk and a slight grain to it. The milk flavors predominate along with a hint of malt and the fresh and crunchy hazelnuts. The chocolate recipe is a little different from the American Nestle Crunch, this version has whey in it, which is not allowed in American chocolate (if it is to be labeled chocolate), but at least it keeps the mouthfeel similar and adds protein to the bar ... which keeps it from being overly sweet. I wanted more crisped rice, but feel like the ratio of hazelnuts was just perfect.

I liked it and had no trouble eating the whole bar over the period of several days. Given a choice, I’d probably opt for a Ritter Sport bar, as I prefer their milk chocolate profile and more transparent ethical sourcing though they don’t actually have a crisped rice bar (but an excellent milk chocolate with corn flakes will do).

This bar has wheat gluten in it, along with dairy, soy and tree nuts.

Related Candies

  1. Ghirardelli Squares Milk & Hazelnut Crisp
  2. Nestle Crunch - Even More Scrumptious
  3. Ritter Sport Neapolitan Wafers
  4. Pralus Creme de Noisette
  5. Wonka Tinglerz & Nestle Buncha Crunch
  6. 3400 Phinney: Fig, Fennel & Almond and Hazelnut Crunch
  7. Ferrero Rocher


Name: Nestle Crunch Noisettes
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Zabar's (New York City)
Price: $1.99
Size: 3.52 ounces
Calories per ounce: 166
Categories: Candy, Nestle, Chocolate, Cookie, Nuts, 7-Worth It, Italy

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:11 pm     CandyReviewNestleCookieMockolateNuts7-Worth ItItalyComments (0)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Peeps Gingerbread Men

Peeps GingerbreadMarshmallows in the shape of Gingerbread Men seems like a natural holiday treat.

The Peeps Gingerbread are a little harder to find than the Snowmen and Christmas Trees. In my case I bought them at the overpriced FAO Schweetz because I was concerned I wouldn’t find them anywhere else. ($3.49 for a package of 6.)

The name pretty much says it all, they’re spiced cookie flavored marshmallows in the shape of a trio or conjoined gingerbread men. The package has two rows of cookies, all in a fancifully designed package that looks like a gingerbread house. I looked over the packages carefully, as they have the expected icing eyes and mouths, but some were not smiling. I chose the happiest looking set I could find.

Peeps Gingerbread

A serving is a whole row of Gingerbread Men, which is about 1.1875 ounces and only has 120 calories. (They’re gluten free but may contain traces of milk. There’s no statement about peanuts or tree nuts.) Each Gingerbread Man is about 2.75 inches high.

Peeps Gingerbread

They smell quite nice, like toasted marshmallows. The marshmen are coated with a brown sugar crust that has a light, spicy flavor that might described as “cinnamon.” The marshmallow center is a similar creamy brown color but has less flavor. It might just be a brown sugar flavor, which is fine with me, I like the slight toffee note to the usually overly sweet marshmallows. I wish they were a little more spiced, I’m not getting any hints of ginger or cardamom or even clove. But it’s a Peep, which is the mildest of all candies, so I shouldn’t expect too much from them.

Overall, it’s a great combination of flavor and form and makes far more sense as a holiday novelty than so many other Peeps. The only thing missing are the gum drop buttons and raisin eyes. My next step might be to try them in hot chocolate. (I often put a bit of spice in my hot chocolate, usually nutmeg and cardamom, so this may go very nicely.)

Related Candies

  1. Peeps Chocolate Dipped Sugar Cookie & Candy Cane
  2. See’s Marshmallows
  3. Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallows + Vanilla, Cinnamon Bun, Strawberry, Chocolate Royale, Gingerbread
  4. Peeps Peepsters (Milk & Dark Chocolate)
  5. Niederegger Ginger Marzipan
  6. Peeps Chocolate Mousse (Bears & Bunnies)
  7. Peeps Spooky Cats & Cocoa Bunnies


Name: Peeps Marshmallow Gingerbread Men
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Just Born
Place Purchased: FAO Schweetz (NYC)
Price: $3.49
Size: 2.375 ounces
Calories per ounce: 101
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Just Born, Marshmallow, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:09 pm     CandyPeepsReviewChristmasJust BornMarshmallow8-TastyUnited StatesComments (5)

Page 2 of 3 pages  < 1 2 3 > 

Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.

 

 

 

 

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COUNTDOWN

Sweets & Snacks Expo Starts

-93 days

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Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Eat with your Eyes: Nougat

• Yowie Hollow Chocolate with Toy

• Orgran Molasses Licorice

• Rogue Chocolatier

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

 

 

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