Archive for the 'caramel' Category

Guest post: Hema Caramel & Biscuit Candybar Mini

May 6th, 2013 by Neil

Here’s another guest post from ex-pat friend Neil! ~Rosa

A staple of Dutch towns is the HEMA department store. I dither on its American equivalent. K-Mart? Target? Everything there is their own brand, from clothing to sausage to the carpet cleaner.

Often, when you ask a Dutch person “Where would I buy a…”, the answer is “HEMA”. I discovered recently that they have candies I’m curious about. To that end, I bought a huge bag of mini caramel & biscuit bars.

Each bar is about 3 inches long. The form is your basic, chocolate-covered candy bar. It turns out it is tough to cleanly eat these.

[Note from Rosa: Do these individually wrapped chocolate bars remind anyone else of wrapped tampons?]

The chocolate flakes fall, the biscuit crumbs drop, and the caramel threads stretch. This mess is the least of the bar’s issues.

The chocolate taste simultaneously involves acidity and salt. The caramel falls flat, flavorwise. And the biscuit is there for just texture, it seems.

My officemate may have put it best when saying that this is trying to be a Twix, and failing miserably. They’ve become an office snack for when I’m desperate for sugar but not discriminating on any other level. These rate a .

Category: --, caramel, chocolate, cookie, European, guest post, review | 2 Comments »

See’s Assorted Chocolates Week 2 – Day 3

May 3rd, 2013 by Rosa

Back in 2009, I devoted a whole week to See’s Chocolates as I reviewed an assorted box that they sent me. This week will be another week of See’s Chocolates reviews, only this time, I’ll be reviewing a box that I bought and picked out myself in Seattle.

On Monday, I covered four of their truffles. Wednesday, I reviewed four Dark Chocolate without Nuts pieces. Today, I’ll wrap up the week with reviews of two Dark Chocolate with Nuts and two Milk Chocolate without Nuts pieces.

Dark Cocoanut (sic) was “buttercream with angel flake coconut”. I’ve reviewed the milk version of this before, but the fresh version of the cocoanut was world’s better. It also turns out that my coconut tastes have changed over the years!

The fresh Cocoanut blew my mind, as its coconut center was so fresh that it was shiny and moist. It tasted strongly nutty with great fresh coconut flavors.

The chewy shreds squeaked between my teeth and left behind a sweet finish that was tempered by the dark chocolate shell. An OMG.

Marzipan was dark chocolate around “honey almond paste”, and it was another truffle that I’d previously reviewed. This, too, was greatly elevated while fresh, as the flavors were far stronger and more delicious.

My fresh Marzipan had a softly grainy center with just enough moisture to hold it together. It had lovely floral overtones of almond and a nutty finish that lingered after the treat was gone. An OM.

Milk Butterchew was the milk chocolate version of the Dark Butterchew from Wednesday. The caramel was buttery sweet and chewy, and here it was paired with a sweet milk chocolate with a great caramel finish.

I preferred the Dark to the Milk Butterchew, as I felt the dark chocolate better balanced the sweetness of the caramel, but I still wouldn’t turn down a Milk Butterchew. OM.

Finally, the Butterscotch Square was “firm brown sugar buttercream”, which I’d also reviewed before. In my maximally fresh version, the ganache was soft and slightly moist with a pleasant graininess.

I took a bite to take photos, let it sit for a day or two, and when I came back, it had dried and stiffened. It tasted of honey sweet brown sugar, which was complimented by the dusky cocoa finish of the milk chocolate coating.

It was so sweet that I couldn’t eat more than a bite at a time, but I enjoyed all of those measured bites. An OM.

I was pretty happy with all of my See’s selections. At $17.50/lb, See’s is pretty hard to beat in bang for your buck. Highly recommended all around!

Category: caramel, chocolate, coconut, OM, OMG, review, See's | No Comments »

See’s Assorted Chocolates Week 2 – Day 2

May 1st, 2013 by Rosa

Back in 2009, I devoted a whole week to See’s Chocolates as I reviewed an assorted box that they sent me. This week will be another week of See’s Chocolates reviews, only this time, I’ll be reviewing a box that I bought and picked out myself in Seattle.

On Monday, I covered four of their truffles. Today, I’ll review four Dark Chocolate without Nuts pieces (categories per See’s flavor guide).

Dark Bordeaux (TM) was simply described as “brown sugar buttercream”. It was a round truffle that was covered in dark chocolate and chocolate sprinkles.

The center was soft and sweet with an almost whipped texture. It reminded me of the first stages of cookie making when you whip sugar and butter together into a fluffy mixture of delicious fat and sugar.

The brown sugar and butter center was deliciously sweet, but also so sweet that it burned my throat a bit. The dark chocolate coating was mild with a cocoa-flavored finish.

Though I found it too sweet to have more than a little bite or two at a time, it was deliciously addictive enough to warrant an OM.

Dark Molasses Chip was “molasses honeycomb crisp”. One paper flute of these contained four 2-inch long fingers.

The honeycomb was sweet, crunchy, brittle foam candy. It was golden colored and golden honey flavored with a touch of amber sweetness and just a hint of sour fruitiness.

It crunched up easily, but it also got a bit stuck in my molars. The dark chocolate complimented the center well and a brought a bit of dusky cocoa finish to the end. A tasty enough OM.

Dark Butterchew was a “vanilla brown sugar caramel” coated in dark chocolate. That caramel was chewy with a smooth texture. It tasted sweet and buttery with no scorched notes.

The dark chocolate coating was a great foil to the sweet caramel. It could have been elevated with a hint of salt or scorch to the caramel, but it was still pretty darn good. OM.

Finally for today, Dark Patties were two disks of chocolate covered “chocolate vanilla caramel” per paper flute. This was one of my favorite treats of the box, thanks to its intense chocolate flavors.

The chewy caramel center was lightly sweet with strong cocoa notes and a bit of plumminess, while the dark chocolate coating was intense and bittersweet. An OMG.

One more set of See’s reviews to come!

Category: caramel, chocolate, OM, OMG, review, See's, toffee | 1 Comment »

Walker’s Assorted Toffee

April 15th, 2013 by Rosa

I love Walker’s toffees, so when my friends Emma and Jason asked me if I wanted any candies from England, I asked for some Walker’s. They brought me this box of Assorted Toffees (and also a box of After Eight thins).

The Assorted Toffees were English cream toffee, plain chocolate, milk chocolate, banana, and eclair. Eclair was in the last set of Walker’s Toffees that I reviewed four years ago, but the rest was new.

English cream toffee had a smooth and creamy melt and a super sticky chew. The flavor was incredibly buttery and sweet with rich, fresh dairy notes.

Plain chocolate had a thin dark chocolate shell. That chocolate’s flavor was on the bitter side of bittersweet, but as I chewed and chewed and chewed the caramel, the buttery golden sweet flavor of the toffee took over.

Milk chocolate was just like the plain chocolate, only with a thin milk chocolate shell rather than dark chocolate. It had just a slight, mild chocolate flavor.

I was dubious about eating the banana toffee since I hate artificial banana flavor. Fortunately, the banana flavor of this toffee, which came from a flavored cream center, was a pretty accurate representation of a real banana, so I could tolerate these (though they weren’t my favorite).

Finally, the eclair toffee was hiding a bit of (probably fake) chocolate in the center. The chocolate was dusky and sweet, with a bittersweet chocolatesque Tootsie Roll finish that toned down the buttery flavor of the toffee.

I think these still pale in comparison to the darker burnt flavors of Walker’s treacle toffee that I love so much. Still, I enjoyed chewing through their sweet buttery flavors. An O for the banana, and an OM for the rest.

Category: caramel, chocolate, European, O, OM, review | 1 Comment »

Trader Joe’s Chocolate Covered Sea Salt Butterscotch Caramels

March 1st, 2013 by Rosa

These chocolate covered sea salt butterscotch caramels are the last of my weekend Trader Joe’s candy finds. They came in a stand-up bag with a resealable zipper top.

The description on the back was loquacious: “intense and creamy, deeply flavored butterscotch caramels are tinged with sea salt and enrobed in dark, slightly bitter chocolate to offset the sweetness. That about says it all.”

The caramels were of the shiny, panned spherical variety, similar to Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Tahitian Vanilla Caramels. The dark chocolate component was divine – fruitily sweet with a dusky bittersweet finish.

The caramel centers definitely tasted of butterscotch, with butterscotch’s distinctive sour tinge to the caramel sweetness. The caramel’s sweetness finished with a salty hit.

I thought the caramel centers were too sweet on their own, but when chewed together with the dusky chocolate shells, they became perfectly balanced to create an addictively chewy sweet and slightly sour and salty treat. An OM.

Category: caramel, chocolate, OM, review, Trader Joe's | No Comments »

JinJu Chocolates – Akoya Collection

February 15th, 2013 by Rosa

Today’s JinJu Chocolates’ Akoya Collection came in the same dual-layer swivel box as the Fleur de Sel caramels that I reviewed on Wednesday. The collection consisted of 5 gorgeously painted/airbrushed molded dome truffles in mostly fruity flavors.

Berry Mascarpone was a magenta truffle decorated with red speckles and a brown X. It was a “summer berry jelly layered with mascarpone crème ganache in Swiss milk chocolate.” The prettily layered truffle had a bottom half of white mascarpone crème that made the berry pink of the jam really stand out.

The milk chocolate shell was sweet with caramel notes. The mascarpone crème was rich and slightly tangy, like a cream cheese, while the berry jelly added a brightly sweet top note of jammy fruitiness that was just lovely.

Tropical Fruit was airbrushed with a reddish-orange sparkle and was comprised of “passion fruit and mango with a hint of vanilla, in milk chocolate.” Its ganache was smooth and with a thinly fatty melt.

It started off with the milk chocolate shell’s dusky caramel sweetness, then took on the bright lemony citrus notes and an intense flavor of passionfruit.

Key Lime was an emerald green, a truffle of “fresh key lime juice and zest blended with white chocolate, in dark chocolate.” Its ganache was thicker than that of the Tropical Fruit and had a snappy dark chocolate shell.

It had a great intensity of key lime flavor – really bright soaring high notes of tart, fresh key limes with an undertone of slightly bitter lime zest – and a great finish of bittersweet dark chocolate. My favorite of the bunch for its complexity and balance.

Lemon White Chocolate was a white chocolate shell, airbrushed with yellow, and was described as “lemon infused white chocolate ganache in creamy white chocolate.”

Its ganache had the sweet flavor of a really nice vanilla frosting, then took on a flare of lemon sweet and sourness, before finishing with a creamy vanilla white chocolate finish.

Finally, Vanilla Dream was the only non-fruity one: “Tahitian vanilla bean infused caramel blended with Swiss milk chocolate, in dark chocolate.” It was speckled with white and gold, which looked great against the chocolate brown shell.

That shell hid a smooth and thinly limpid sweet caramel. The flavor was great, slightly sweet with a nutty caramel flavor that reminded me of cooked condensed milk. My second favorite of the mix.

This collection was top notch. Its flavor assortment was both delicious and creative, and the chocolates and packaging had a luxe, classy feel. An OMG for the mix, and a hearty ZOMG! for the Key Lime and Vanilla Dream.

Category: caramel, chocolate, OMG, review, white chocolate, ZOMG! | No Comments »

JinJu Chocolates – Fleur de Sel caramels

February 13th, 2013 by Rosa

JinJu Chocolates makes hand-crafted chocolates in small batches and, apparently, sells them online and via some classy Las Vegas joints. They sent me free samples of their Fleur de Sel caramels and their Akoya Collection, which I’ll cover on Friday.

The caramels and chocolate arrived in an ingeniously designed two-layer box that swiveled open so that you could access both layers at once. I’d never seen anything like it and was super impressed.

While the top layer of the Akoya Collection was assorted, I’m fairly sure that my bottom layer of caramels were all Fleur de Sel, though JinJu makes several different kinds.

JinJu describes the Fleur de Sel caramels as, “vanilla bean infused buttery caramel, covered in dark chocolate with “flower of salt” from Brittany France.”

I could bite easily through the caramels, but the caramel was stiffy chewy and sticky as I chewed it. When I held it on my tongue, it melted away with a golden amber butteriness that was lightly sweet.

The dark chocolate coating on the caramels was awesome. It was dark and dusky with a nice depth of cocoa flavor and just a hint of sweetness.

The sprinkle of salt that topped the caramels added a nice hit to set off the sweet caramels. I do wish, though, that the saltiness would’ve been more present in the caramel itself.

Still, a super tasty treat, and probably graded on a curve because I love chocolate-covered caramels. An OMG.

Category: caramel, chocolate, OMG, review | No Comments »

Truffles by Coquette – Classic

January 14th, 2013 by Rosa

Truffles by Coquette is a new online chocolate boutique/small business. They sent me a free box of their classic truffles for review.

The truffles came in a classy looking box with a gilded Coquette logo in the center. Inside were 12 spherical truffles, 4 each of the Colette, Annie, and Katherine.

Colette was described as “traditional French caramels with a touch of Fleur de sel de Guerande, enrobed in dark 55% cacao.” It was a snappy dark chocolate shell surrounding a limpid, liquid caramel.

The caramel was not sticky or chewy, but it also didn’t flow. Instead, it held its shape until it hit my tongue, after which it melted away in a sweetly golden pool of buttery deliciousness.

Each Colette was topped with a sprinkle of sea salt, which provided a nice flash of saltiness against the sweetness of the truffles. The dark chocolate was dusky with awesome cocoa depth and a lightly bittersweet finish that allowed the chocolate to linger.

Annie was “inspired by… the s’more. A gooey marshmallow filling is dipped in milk chocolate and topped with a miniature marshmallow.” I thought it was fun departure from the usual “classic” truffle mix.

The milk chocolate had a thick and creamy melt and tasted of sweet caramel with a dusky finish. While the mini marshmallow topper was textured, the marshmallow filling reminded me of marshmallow fluff: puffy and sweet with no chew.

Instead, it dissolved into the spot-on flavor of jet-puffed marshmallows. Overall, Annie was close to being too sweet for my taste, but I forgave it because it was so unique.

Katherine was ”filled with creamy dark chocolate ganache and then dipped in E. Guittard couverture.” Its ganache was thick with no flow, a smooth and cool, almost fatty melt with just a bit of heaviness on my tongue.

The chocolate base that made this chocolate was great. It carried a bright, cocoa fruitiness with a lingering finish of bittersweet cocoa depth.

The Colette was my favorite of the bunch. I’m a sucker for salted caramel, so it gets an OMG. Annie gets an OM for taste and inventiveness, and Katherine gets an OM as well for being a well-executed classic.

Category: caramel, chocolate, marshmallow, OM, OMG, review | No Comments »

Sanders Favorites

January 2nd, 2013 by Rosa

I’ve reviewed a few Sanders treats on this blog already, including some of their individually wrapped Favorites that Duke’s hospital sells in its gift shop. I snagged what I believe is the rest of the line at Sweets and Snacks back in May and tasted them last November (hence the slight bloom on the dark chocolates).

Maple Pecan Butter Cream was the only milk chocolate of the five. That milk chocolate covered a maple-flavored buttercream that was full of chopped pecans.

I found it to be absurdly overly sweet. The sweetness tasted of maple syrup and brown sugar, and holy cow was it overpowering.

A few notes of caramel and cocoa from the chocolate and nuttiness from the pecan bits valiantly struggled to be noticed. If you like pecan (pronounced pee-can, of course, not puh-kahn) pie, you’d like this.

For me, way too sweet. It made my teeth itch.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Supreme was Sanders’ version of a Mounds. It had a thick dark chocolate shell around a dry coconut center.

I appreciated the greater amount of dark chocolate here (oodles more compared to Mounds), as that chocolate had a nicely mild cocoa finish, but I thought the coconut center could’ve used more oomph. It lacked nuttiness and had only a light coconut flavor.

Caramel Butterscotch was a chewy, sticky caramel inside a snappy dark chocolate shell. The caramel was sweet and buttery, and though I didn’t get the candied flavor of butterscotch, exactly, it was a still a nice mix of chocolate and caramel.

Cookies and Cream Cruncher was a disk of “ivory confectioners coating” full of little beads of chocolate cookie. It was certainly crunchy, thanks to the high density of the Oreo-flavored cookies.

The fake white chocolate was throat-burningly sweet. It tasted super artificial, like canned vanilla frosting, and was made of palm kernel oil. Thumbs down.

Finally, Mint Royale was the most strikingly colored of the bunch: a bright pastel green with a dark chocolate cocoa center. It snapped when I bit into it but also had a smooth and creamy melt.

The whole thing reminded me of mint nonpareils but with more chocolate flavor. The mintiness was mild with cocoa undertones – too mild, I thought. For something called a Mint Royale, it really needed to go for broke on the mintiness.

The Caramel Butterscotch is the only one of these that I’d want to buy and eat again, so it gets an OM. The rest were generally too sweet and/or not flavorful enough, so they get Os.

Category: caramel, chocolate, cookie, mint, nuts, O, OM, review | No Comments »

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Truffles

November 30th, 2012 by Rosa

I’m so terrible about impulse buys at Trader Joe’s. Everything looks awesome! Like these Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Truffles.

What a mouthful of a title! Which came with a mouthful of a blurb on the box: “our three most popular flavors combined to create a sensational, sweet, salty bite. Rich, melt-in-your-mouth dark chocolate truffles with a creamy peanut butter center, layered with buttery caramel and a subtle salty finish.”

Each truffle came individually wrapped in shiny copper mylar. They were gorgeously shiny domes, the shape of giant gumdrops.

The chocolate at the bottom of the dome was much thicker than the chocolate of the upper shell. That chocolate had a nice snap and a smooth melt with an incredibly deep cocoa flavor.

The caramel was liquid and runny and left a light grain after most of it had melted away. It tasted of sweet butterscotch, with an especially buttery finish.

The peanut butter was smoothly creamy with a dry nuttiness. The nuttiness was noticeable even against the chocolate and caramel, but I wish it had been nuttier.

The truffle was a delicious mix of sweet and salty and nutty. I think the peanut butter flavor could’ve been turned up more, but it was still a darn good mass-produced truffle. An OM.

Category: caramel, chocolate, OM, peanut butter, review, Trader Joe's | No Comments »