Archive for the 'toffee' Category

Zeke’s Butterscotch + Giveaway

June 6th, 2012 by Rosa

I received this box of Uncle Zeke’s Old Fashioned Cracked Butterscotch, or Zeke’s Butterscotch, for short, as a free sample from the manufacturer. My only experience with butterscotch has been with the little gold Brach’s discs, and I didn’t know what to expect from the Old Fashioned moniker.

The butterscotch came in shards of various sizes dusted in powdered sugar to keep it from sticking to itself. It smelled liked buttery caramel with scorchy notes that were almost sour in their intensity.

The texture was really interesting – there was both a button and a sticker on the packaging with the instructions, “Suck, don’t chew!” I’m still deciding what I can do with my button for maximum humor impact.

The pieces were hard and, if broken sharply, would cleave with a smooth break. Once it warmed up in my mouth, however, it took on a stiffly pliable texture that increasingly softened as it warmed and melted.

It was just like a Now and Later in texture. If I had tried to chew it, it definitely would’ve gotten cemented in my teeth.

It had a round, buttery sweetness to it, with scorchy undertones in the finish. The flavor is reminiscent of Werther’s Originals but with a bit more complexity thanks to the high quality of the ingredients (real butter, pure cane sugar, and molasses) that went in it. It was definitely a far cry above the disc version.

This was an unusual and tasty treat to be slowly enjoyed in small doses. I sprinkled some in a recent batch of brownies that I made – SO GOOD! An OM.

If you’d like to try these for yourself, Zeke’s is letting me give away a box to one lucky reader. Leave a comment on this post about what I should do with my “Suck, don’t chew” button by June 13, 11:59 PM EST (let’s keep it PG-13, please). Make sure you put a working email address in the email field. Only I’ll be able to see it, and I’ll only use it to contact the randomly select a winner. U.S. readers only please.

And if you don’t win this giveaway, keep an eye on their Facebook page. It looks like they do giveaways through different blogs on a fairly regular basis.

Category: caramel, giveaway, OM, review, toffee | 11 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 | No Comments »

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 | No Comments »

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 | No Comments »

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 | No Comments »

See’s Cafe Latte Krispy and Mint Krispy

January 13th, 2012 by Rosa

Happy Friday the 13th! Great time to wrap up a week of See’s reviews (see Monday and Wednesday for previous reviews this See’s week).

I got today’s candies the best possible way: the mall See’s stand had a little basket of individually wrapped candies by the register, and the owner told me to help myself to as many as I wanted. I nabbed a Cafe Latte Krispy and Mint Krispy, along with a Butterscotch Square and Dark Butterchew.

Both pieces were squares of flavored toffee covered with a thin layer of chocolate. The Cafe Latte Krispy was a golden brown coffee toffee hidden in milk chocolate.

The toffee chip cleaved into shards with a great crunch. It had a bit of a tendency to gather as grit in my molars but mostly melted on my tongue.

The thin milk chocolate coating melted thickly and tasted of malt and caramel. The toffee had a nice coffee flavor without any bitterness. Combined with the chocolate, it had a nice mocha frappucino effect.

The toffee crispness kept the whole treat feeling light. It was a nice mix of texture and flavor and OM-worthy.

The Mint Krispy was a white mint toffee covered in dark chocolate. The texture of the mint toffee was the same as that of the Cafe Latte: light and crisp.

The minty center was powerful in flavor and scent. It tasted strongly of peppermint oil and was nearly spicy in how it set my mouth a-tingling, with just a hint of bitterness to the finish.

The strength of that mintiness overpowered the dark chocolate, which came through as just a hint of cocoa flavor undertone. I enjoyed the treat but it was too minty. An O.

See’s has long been one of my favorite confectioners for good reason. They make delicious treats at reasonable price points, and they may be enough impetus to get me back to the mall more than once every six months.

Category: chocolate, coffee, O, OM, review, See's, toffee | No Comments »

See’s Awesome Peanut Brittle Bar

January 9th, 2012 by Rosa

I am no longer the mall shopping machine that I was when I was in middle school and high school. These days, I just don’t have the patience anymore and mostly shop online.

Thus, I had lived in Durham for nearly six months before I finally set foot in a mall for an Apple store errand. Lo and behold, the mall had a See’s stand! I picked up enough treats to make this week another See’s week.

The See’s Awesome Peanut Brittle Bar was a 1 oz. bar that they described as “crunchy peanut brittle drenched in milk chocolate.” It was a beautifully enrobed slab.

The brittle cleaved cleanly and was full of peanuts, some whole and some in pieces. When chewed, some of the brittle shards came together and got a bit stuck in my molars, but it was mostly a clean chomp.

It was salty and buttery with a hearty nuttiness thanks to the roasted peanuts. The milk chocolate added a light duskiness that was a great pairing with the salty sweet brittle.

I’m generally meh about peanuts, but I really enjoyed this treat. I love toffee that cleaves like this brittle did, and the flavors were great – predominantly that of roasted peanuts with a nice balance of salty and sweet. An OM.

If you want other opinions, Cybele and Sera both reviewed this on their sites long before I did. In my defense, I’ve never lived in a city with any sort of See’s shop before!

 

Category: chocolate, nuts, OM, review, See's, toffee | No Comments »

Harbor Sweets Perennial Sweets

December 16th, 2011 by Rosa

On Wednesday, I reviewed my free sample Harbor Sweets‘s Sand Castle Dark Chocolate and Caramel Bar. Today, I’m reviewing their Perennial Sweets, another free sample that I received.

The Perennial Sweets was a box of “dark chocolates inspired by the garden.” My box of 16 contained 4 Nantucket Baskets, 4 Topiary Toffees, and 8 Sweet Irises, each individually wrapped in gold foil.

The chocolates themselves reminded me of cameo jewelry due to their oval shapes and raised (really molded) decorations. As with the Sand Castle bar, I was impressed by the detail captured by the molding, as well as the lack of air bubbles in the chocolate.

The Nantucket Basket was a “rich, dark chocolate with dry roasted almonds” with a pretty basket of plants as its molding. The thick oval of chocolate was snappy with a smooth melt.

The chocolate carried a hint of cherry sweetness and was studded with whole almonds. While the almonds were nutty with a nice roasted flavor, they got bitter at their gritty end. I thought they were a tad too tannic.

Topiary Toffee had a potted tree decoration and was described as “rich, dark chocolate with almond butter crunch.”

It was also thick with a solid snap, and though the dark chocolate looked identical to that of the Nantucket Basket, I thought it tasted just a hair sweeter and had a thicker melt.

I expected the almond butter crunch to be dispersed throughout the treat as little nuggets. Instead, there was a big triangular slab of almond butter toffee hidden inside.

The toffee was simply lovely and paired well with the dusky, thick chocolate. It had the just-shy-of-burnt sugar taste that I love with just a hint of nuttiness. It cleaved cleanly, shattering into shards of deliciousness when bitten into.

Sweet Iris, “rich, dark chocolate with raspberry crunch,” was markedly thinner than the other two. Each Sweet Iris well held two chocolates while the Nantucket Basket and Topiary Toffee were one per well.

The Sweet Iris smelled extremely fruity. There was a light grit to the chocolate that I thought maybe came from raspberry seeds or bits of dehydrated raspberry but actually were bits of “lemon crunch,” according to the ingredients list.

The dark chocolate had a nice cocoa duskiness from the chocolate and a brightly sweet fruitiness. It was nice but a bit too artificially fruity sweet for my taste.

The Topiary Toffee was my favorite of the bunch and gets an OMG, while the other two get Os. They get high marks for prettiness, though. If I owned a bed and breakfast, I’d leave these on the pillows.

Category: chocolate, nuts, O, OMG, review, toffee | No Comments »

Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate Covered Toffee Popcorn

November 14th, 2011 by Rosa

Over the weekend, I went to Trader Joe’s to stock up on pumpkin butter. While there, I couldn’t help nabbing some of their store brand candies. This week will be a week of Trader Joe’s reviews, starting with their Milk Chocolate Covered Toffee Popcorn.

The fat nuggets of popcorn looked so tantalizing, tumbling out of the bag with their slight sheen. Their outer coating was a thin layer of milk chocolate. Beneath that was a thin layer of toffee glaze, and then the fattest, fluffiest popcorn I’ve ever seen.

I wonder if Trader Joe’s is starting with some seriously genetically modified corn or something. Every piece was nearly all lovely puffy popped part and barely any noticeable gets-stuck-in-your-teeth kernel part.

The milk chocolate was malty and sugary sweet. The toffee added a bit of crunch and a light buttery scorchiness, and the popcorn fluffiness capped it all off as a light, neutral foil.

This treat was a great synthesis of flavors and textures. Chocolate-covered popcorn style treats tend to be pricy (looking at you, Moose Munch), but this was only $2.99 for the 8 oz bag. Sold!

My only complaint is that it got a tad too sweet in the finish after a few pieces in a row so it gets a slight downgrade for that. An OM.

Category: chocolate, OM, review, toffee, Trader Joe's | 1 Comment »

World Market Toffee Caramel Milk Chocolate

November 2nd, 2011 by Rosa

I’m working my way through Cost Plus World Market’s store brand of chocolate. Monday, I reviewed the Strawberry and Champagne Dark Chocolate. Today, we’ve got the Toffee Caramel Milk Chocolate.

I was curious as to exactly what World Market meant by toffee caramel. Generally speaking, your basic combination of sugar and butter is either toffee or caramel, depending on the texture, so how could something be both? I guess they were just trying to cover all their bases.

The chocolate bar had an unusual appearance. Flecked with bits of toffee throughout, it was funnily speckled and rather visually unappetizing in my opinion.

The toffee bits were visible along the break of the bar. Some looked craggy, while others looked light and full of air pockets.

It smelled strangely of spices with a strong overtone of anise. Blech. I hate anise, hence my aversion to licorice and fennel and absinthe.

Alas, that anise scent crossed over to the flavor of the bar. It just tasted off, like no toffee/caramel I’ve ever had, and I couldn’t handle more than a bite.

The texture didn’t help matters either. It had the same poor melt and deficient mouthfeel as their dark chocolate. A .

Category: --, caramel, chocolate, review, toffee | 2 Comments »