Archive for the 'nuts' Category

Fudgie Wudgie Rocky Road Fudge

May 21st, 2012 by Rosa

Though I love candy of nearly all forms, I actually don’t like fudge. I find it to be far too sweet. Chocolate is great as it is; why turn it into a super-saturated sugar bomb?

Thus, when online candy retailer sent me a free box of Fudgie Wudgie Rocky Road Fudge to review, I approached it with guarded suspicion.

It came in a super shiny red box adorned with a stretchy gold elastic tie. Inside was trapezoidal plastic trough, about 2″ X 2.5″ X 6.5″. It was heavy and dense and jam-packed with fudge.

The Rocky Road Fudge had a thick milk chocolate fudge base. The texture was really nice – totally smooth and creamy without any sugar graininess – while the flavor was that of ultra sweet chocolate. It was so sweet that it finished on a noticeably sour tinge.

The fudge was speckled with fluffy pockets of foamy marshmallow that tasted of sweet sugar. Based on the size and pure whiteness of the marshmallow pockets, I’m going to guess that they used to be standard mini-marshmallows, like what you’d get at the grocery store.

Bits of walnut were also distributed throughout the fudge, I think more sparsely than the marshmallow was. Most of the bits of were small, but I came across one giant half piece in the small tasting sliver I cut. The big chunk was nice, as it enabled the mild walnut to balance out the sweetness of the fudge.

I was pleasantly surprised as I enjoyed this more than I thought I was. It was definitely still too sweet for my palate, but I loved the creaminess of the texture. An O.

Category: chocolate, marshmallow, nuts, O, review | 3 Comments »

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Bar – Toffee with Walnuts and Pecans

May 4th, 2012 by Rosa

Today I’m reviewing a second Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Bar on the heels of Wednesday’s review (that I briefly accidentally posted on Tuesday; oops!). This time, it’s toffee with walnuts and pecans. Here’s its epic description from the back of the box:

“The beauty of caramelized sugar reveals itself in flying colors when mixed with butter and artisinal sea salt to create rich toffee. Add walnuts and pecans to that toffee, then pair it all with our sophisticated deep, dark chocolate…”

This solid bar was scored into 8 rectangles. Mine had slightly bloomed, but I didn’t notice any detriment to its flavor or texture.

It had a sharp snap that revealed bits of toffee and nuts along the break. The roasted nuts and cleanly cleaving toffee added a pleasant, dry crunch that made me want to chomp this bar rather than let it melt.

The nuttiness of this bar was immediately noticeable. Walnut’s mild, acrid nuttiness and pecan’s darker nutty tinge were both present, and the whole thing finished on a strongly salty note.

The toffee added a light sweetness. Though I didn’t get any caramel complexity, the sweetness played off the salty and nutty quite well. It would’ve been nice to get more scorchiness, but it served its role just fine as is.

I’ll call this bar a win for Trader Joe’s. Though I thought it was a tad too salty at the finish, I enjoyed the toffee and loved the strength of flavor of the nuts. An OM.


Category: chocolate, nuts, OM, review, toffee, Trader Joe's | Comments Off on Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Bar – Toffee with Walnuts and Pecans

Recchiuti Sesame Nougatine

March 26th, 2012 by Rosa

Here’s another A Southern Season‘s splurge, a full-sized Recchiuti Sesame Nougatine bar to go with their Asphalt Jungle Mix. It was described as “dark milk chocolate with sesame nougatine and fleur de sel.”

This bar came in a plastic inner wrapper inside a classily designed cardboard sleeve. That plastic inner wrapper was infuriating – there was nowhere to grip or tear to open it, and I wrestled with it for several minutes before I gave up to fetch a pair of scissors.

The bar itself was gorgeous, with the gold nougatine playing out in pretty swirls against the deep brown of the chocolate. Some of the squares were etched with a cursive Recchiuti or R.

The randomly cut assortment of different sized squares and rectangles was pretty and made the bar look like abstract art. They were also impractical, as you couldn’t break the bar neatly because of the intersecting lines.

The milk chocolate was quite creamy with a nice malty edge to it. It melted thickly and sweetly, finishing with a hint of salt.

The sesame nougatine part turned out to be disappointing. I was expecting a crunchy, toffee-like treat.

Instead, this bar’s nougatine had no crunch, either by design or lack of design that let the nougatine take on too much moisture. The sesame added a bit of grit and a light, mild nuttiness.

The flavors were nice – the milk chocolate was great, and I enjoyed the taste of the nougatine – but the textures could have been improved. I wanted caramelized crunchiness, not a soft, chewy seediness.

I bet this bar would be great if it were fresh and crunchy. As is, just an O.

Category: chocolate, nougat, nuts, O, Recchiuti, review | Comments Off on Recchiuti Sesame Nougatine

French Broad Chocolates – Part 2

March 21st, 2012 by Rosa

Here’s part 2 of my review of some French Broad Chocolates purchased at A Southern Season. On Monday, I reviewed the vanilla bourbon and mole negro. Today, we’ll cover the fig and port and the sorghum caramel.

Fig and port was “55% cacao Hawaiian dark chocolate, coconut cream, a puree of local figs from an old man’s back yard, and port, coated in 91% extra-dark chocolate and rolled in toasted almonds.”

This truffle had a sticky ganache with a thin chocolate shell that was then rolled in almond bits. Those almonds brought some nuttiness, which was nice, but also some astringency, which was less nice. They didn’t taste toasted to me; I think they’d gone a bit stale in A Southern Season’s chocolate case.

The ganache, on the other hand, was great. It had a lightly jammy scent and tasted of a sweet, figgy fruitiness that became noticeable brighter as the chocolate melted.

There was a lightly sweet grapey boozy note to the finish. Like the vanilla bourbon, it captured all of the alcoholic flavor of the port without any of the burn. I enjoyed the ganache to this one, but the less-than-fresh almonds were a bust.

The sorghum molasses was the only molded truffle that I purchased. Its milk chocolate shell melted thickly with dairy caramel notes to reveal a prettily oozy, thick liquid caramel center.

The texture of that caramel was gorgeous, a velvety smooth pool that lay on my tongue and melted into my taste buds without any sticky chewiness. It started off sugary sweet with buttery, scorched notes.

Then, the flavor took on maple syrup’s amber edge. Finally, it finished with a flash of fruitiness and just the right slight bitterness. The chocolate was maybe a tad too sweet, but I forgave it because man, that caramel was divine!

The fig and port gets an O because of the almond detraction. Without those nuts, it would’ve earned an OM.

I suspect that had I purchased them at French Broad Chocolates’ actual store, they’d be fresher and tastier. Who knows how long they’d been hanging out at A Southern Season?

The sorghum molasses gets an OMG. It haunts my dreams, and I’d happily spring for another one when my wallet has recovered enough to return to A Southern Season.

Category: caramel, chocolate, nuts, O, OMG, review | 2 Comments »

Recchiuti Asphalt Jungle Mix

March 16th, 2012 by Rosa

A little over a week ago, I discovered the new eater of my minimal grad student disposable income: A Southern Season. It’s a megalopolis of gourmet goods: fine meats and cheeses and chocolates and pastas and pastries and spices and candy…

I wanted to eat all the things! But all the things were too expensive, so I splurged on a few high end pieces from Recchiuti and Vosges. Today, I’m starting with the high-ending-est of them all: Recchiuti’s Asphalt Jungle Mix, which was a super splurgey $19.99 for a 6 oz box.

Why the crazy profligate spending? I remembered Cybele writing positively about it and David Lebovitz raving about it. Though now that I revisit David Lebovitz’s post, I see that he’s lucky enough to be buddies with Mr. Recchiuti and didn’t have to pay for his mix…

The minimalist box calls them “a riot of burnt caramel hazelnuts & almonds, cherries two ways, and peanut butter pearls.” Let’s break them down, shall we?

Burnt caramel hazelnuts and almonds were chocolate covered and cocoa dusted. Those hazelnuts were awesomely roasty and crunchy and hazelnutty – they tasted incredibly fresh – with a tinge of burnt sugar sweetness to the finish and a overall cocoa sweetness.

Similarly, the almonds were intensely nutty and sharply crunchy. If there was burnt caramel to these, I didn’t notice it, but I still loved the intensity of toasty nuts.

Cherries one way was a cocoa dusted, chocolate-covered candied cherry. It was juicy and slightly moist and chewy, bright and flavorful with a slightly boozy finish. This was my favorite of the bunch, as it positively burst with flavor.

Cherries the other way was a dried cherry covered in dark chocolate. That cherry center brought an amazing flash of fruity sweetness that was slightly tart. It was good, but the other way was better for me.

Finally, peanut butter pearls were really fun. They were little balls of milk chocolate peanut butter with a dark chocolate center that then contained a little ball of crisped rice. A Matroyshka treat!

It started out with a creamy milk chocolate and the texture of the rice crisp, then transitioned to an extreme peanut butter nuttiness that finished with a flash of salt. Peanut butter lovers would love this.

This mix was tasty and delicious. But at $53/lb, I can’t see myself ever buying these again; they’re just too expensive. Though I did love those chocolate candied cherries… An OMG for the candied cherries and an OM for the rest.

Category: chocolate, nuts, OM, OMG, organic, peanut butter, Recchiuti, review | 3 Comments »

Endangered Species Organic Health – Dark Chocolate with Goji Berry, Pecans, and Maca

March 14th, 2012 by Rosa

This Spider Monkey Endangered Species bar was part of their Organic Health line. I think the “health” part means that they’re full of those trendy superfruits and things of dubious actual health benefit.

The bar was Dark Chocolate with Goji Berry, Pecans, & Maca. Maca seems to fall pretty squarely in that trendy health claims category. Wikipedia claims it may help gentlemen in the bedroom…

The 70% rainforest alliance certified cocoa had a softer snap than that of the 72% I reviewed on Monday. It smelled lightly and pleasantly fruity.

The chocolate bar’s melt was thick. It was sprinkled through with little white bits of pecan and… stuff.

It started off nice, then brightened and became fruitily sweet, probably thanks to the goji berry. It then took on a medicinal weirdness that was quite artificial and off-putting.

The little embedded bits of stuff added a puffed wheat essence of toastiness, which was nice, and a heavy astringency, which was not so nice.

The finish was extremely bitter and quite astringent. It left a bad taste and feel in my mouth. I didn’t notice any pecan flavors, and I just couldn’t bring myself to try more of the chocolate to try to find them.

I was disappointed. This bar seemed so promising and ended up tasting so awfully medicinal and moisture-sucking. A .

Category: --, chocolate, Endangered Species, nuts, organic, review | 1 Comment »

Endangered Species – Dark Chocolate with Hazelnut Toffee

March 12th, 2012 by Rosa

Endangered Species is a brand that I’ve had a few times but only properly reviewed once. A sale at Whole Foods prompted me to pick up a couple of bars for review.

Their gimmick is that they give 10% of their profits for animal conservation. As an added plus, their cacao is “100% ethically traded”, which I think is in the spirit of Fair Trade without the full certification.

Each flavor is branded with an endangered animal, and the inside of the wrapper describes the animal and their plight. The Dark Chocolate with Hazelnut Toffee was the black rhino.

The beautifully tempered bar was scored into 12 squares, each imprinted with their tree logo. The 72% dark chocolate had a sharp snap and broke pretty cleanly along the breaks.

That chocolate was dry with a smooth, non-creamy melt with no astringency. Its flavor was that of dusky cocoa powder with a light sweetness.

The toffee bits were sprinkled throughout the bar. They were pretty tiny and added a light crunch and little flashes of sweetness.

I didn’t get any buttery toffee notes, but there was a light but noticeable nuttiness from the hazelnuts. I wish the toffee made more of a noticeable impact.

An OM, mostly carried by the great flavor of the chocolate, with a lament about the missed toffee opportunity.

Category: chocolate, Endangered Species, fair trade, nuts, OM, review, toffee | Comments Off on Endangered Species – Dark Chocolate with Hazelnut Toffee

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almond Toffee

March 9th, 2012 by Rosa

These Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almond Toffees are packaged and priced like their Tahitian Vanilla Caramels. I somehow missed them when I bought the caramels, but I nabbed them for a taste test on a recent visit.

The bag called them “crunchy toffee and roasted California almonds, covered with premium dark chocolate.” They were shiny panned chocolate spheres with a toffee/brittle center.

The dark chocolate shell was on the thick side and had a great semisweet flavor. Its melt was thick and smooth, and the chocolate itself was lightly sweet with a dusky finish.

The toffee center had a light crunch with a clean break. It was studded with small bits of nutty almonds.

Alone, that toffee center had a strong saltiness that overwhelmed its buttery nuttiness. With the chocolate, however, that saltiness became a great foil for the sweetness of the chocolate.

The chocolate and toffee were both of high quality and went well together, making these a greatly poppable mix of textures and flavors. An OM.

Category: chocolate, nuts, OM, review, toffee, Trader Joe's | Comments Off on Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almond Toffee

Trader Joe’s Soft Peanut Brittle

February 29th, 2012 by Rosa

Happy Leap Day! If you cry, Leap Day William might bring you some candy…

This bag of Soft Peanut Brittle was yet another Trader Joe’s impulse buy for me. I think its proper name is Trader Joe’s Soft Peanut Brittle Covered in Milk Chocolate.

The bag deemed it a “flaky, crispy peanutty treat.” It came in a stand-up pouch with 8 oz of treats inside.

The actual bits weren’t nearly as pretty as they looked on the package. The package depicted milk chocolate covered rectangles striped with contrasting dark chocolate.

In reality, my domino-sized brittles came out of the bag rather scuffed. The stripes and coating looked to be the same shade of semisweet chocolate brown to me.

The center brittle was a mix of pale golden brown and white. It snapped cleanly and sharply when bitten into.

I think the center was mostly sugar was small bits of peanut inside. It shattered into thin flakes stacked on top of each other. After chewing, the brittle got embedded in my molars.

The flavor started with a mild sugary sweetness before being taken over by a strong peanutiness. That nutty flavor was heavy with the thickness of peanut butter. It finished with a flash of saltiness that set everything off quite nicely.

The chocolate was mostly overshadowed by the sweet brittle center. It added just a bit of cocoa duskiness.

These were a touch too sweet for my taste, and a few pieces were too heavy on the salt. I also wished for some more burnt sugar complexity to the brittle, but I found them enjoyable enough nonetheless.

I think they’d  be great with ice cream, as the back of the bag suggests. An O.

Category: chocolate, nuts, O, review, toffee, Trader Joe's | Comments Off on Trader Joe’s Soft Peanut Brittle

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Rocky Road Squares

February 27th, 2012 by Rosa

When I was checking out, my Trader Joe’s cashier commented on this tub of their Dark Chocolate Rocky Road Squares. She said it was one of her favorites.

The tub contained 9.5 ounces of square tiles of dark chocolate studded “with marshmallows and peanuts.” The squares were irregularly sized, with some more rectangular than square.

The peanut pieces were yellow and most were no bigger than a quarter peanut. The white marshmallow bits were similarly sized and looked more like crisped rice to me.

The chocolate had a thick snap and a non-smooth melt. It was on the sweet side for dark chocolate with a dusky, sweet finish.

The peanuts brought a mild nuttiness, while the marshmallows added a hint of sweetness and a light grainy crunch. Again, they were basically like rice crisps rather than marshmallow.

I thought these were okay, but they’re far from my favorite thing that Trader Joe’s makes, and I won’t buy them again. The add-ins were too mild to make much of a flavor difference and got lost in the mix. An O.

Category: chocolate, marshmallow, nuts, O, review, Trader Joe's | Comments Off on Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Rocky Road Squares