Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Truffles

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.

Sour Jacks

I’d never heard of Sour Jacks before I saw them at Sweets and Snacks earlier this year. It seems like they fight Sour Patch Kids for sour anthropomorphic candy gummi territory. I picked up free sample bags of their original Sour Jacks and their watermelon gummis at the expo.

Sour Jacks came in orange, lemon, green, and red, like Sour Patch Kids do, and they were similarly covered in sour sugar. The Jacks’s sour sugar packed quite a puckery sting.

The Jacks differed, however, in their texture, which was not as chewy as Kids. Instead, they started off stiff, then softened and became a bit squishier and a little molar-sticking.

Orange was lightly sweet and citrusy with a brightly zesty finish. Yellow was lemon. Sometimes citrus candies end up tasting similar to each other, but this lemon was distinctively lemony with a strong edge of lemon zest.

Green, on the other hand, lacked distinctiveness. It may have been lime, but it lacked any zestiness and only tasted vaguely citrusy.

Though green was blah, red was worse – it tasted medicinal and bitter. Hooray for artificial colors! I think it was supposed to be cherry?

I really enjoyed the yellow and orange half of the mix, but I found green lacking and red repulsive, so let’s say it evens out to an O.

Hedonist Cinnamon Chipotle Drinking Chocolate + Coupon Code

Last year, Hedonist Artisan Chocolates sent me free samples of their bittersweet drinking chocolate, but it never really got cold enough in North Carolina for me to bust it out. Recently, I got a free sample of their cinnamon chipotle drinking chocolate, which I made to get me through Thanksgiving prep.

Hedonist described their Cinnamon Chipotle drinking chocolate as “a thick, spicy dark chocolate beverage to warm your soul.” The directions were pretty simple: stir 3 tablespoons of the mix into 3/4 cup of very hot water or milk and enjoy.

The mix was made of bits of chocolate, cocoa powder, and cinnamon and chipotle spices. It smelled strongly of cinnamon with undertones of cocoa and a spicy smokiness.

The thickness and richness of the resulting drinking chocolate is really up to you – just add more mix or less water to change the concentration. I wasn’t super careful when I made my cup. I used a mix of hot water and milk and just kept adding mix until the thickness was to my liking.

The drinking chocolate started off sweet and chocolately before the chipotle come through with a lightly smoky undertone and strongly spicy kick. Cinnamon, which was so strong in the scent, was less dominant in the flavor, where it provided just a light hint. Rich cocoa undertones played below the drink’s flavor profile.

The chipotle definitely warmed up my tongue, and the tingling that it provided lingered for quite a while. This was not a drink for those who are scared of spiciness (for those people, I’d recommend the bittersweet version).

It was, however, a great drink if you love spicy chocolate. Turning the chocolate into a slowly sippable treat was a nice way to maximize the amount of chocolate enjoyment time that you get for your calories.

A $12 tin makes 5 standard servings, making it about a dozen times pricier than Swiss Miss cocoa mix. BUT it’s infinitely better and feels like a really special gourmet indulgence. An OM.

If you’d like to try this or any of Hedonist’s delicious chocolates for yourself, or if you need to pick up some holiday gifts (the drinking chocolate tins would make great hostess gifts!), you can get 20% off your online order from now through December 1st with the coupon code ZOMG!

Do yourself a favor and nab some of their salted caramels while you’re there.

Buddy Fruits Fruit Bites

Buddy Fruits was one of my saviors at Sweets and Snacks. After entire days of gorging on candy samples, their fruit pouches of blended fruit (basically apple+other fruits sauce in portable format) were a health preserver in a sea of sugar and salt.

In addition to free samples of their blended fruit pouches, which I ate while I at the Expo, I also got free samples of their Fruit Bites – little pouches of fruit gummis that were all natural, preservative free, and made only from fruit.

All of my Fruit Bites came in resealable, single-flavor 1 oz pouches. The Bites were soft with an instant give and no bounciness, similar to fruit pate but without the grain.

They reminded me of fruit leather, only in moist, gummified form. The colors were similar to those of fruit leather as well, deep purple-blacks and orange-browns that were clearly natural rather than due to artificial colors.

It meant that they didn’t make for super glam photos. I was nearly done with the photoshoot when I realized that the Bites were molded to look like their mascot’s face.

Pomegranate & Acai’s pouch contained 7 slices of apples and a pomegranate (I’m doubtful that’s a whole pomegranate, but it would be silly to say that it contained 48 arils or something). It tasted intensely of bright, sweet apple, and finished with a tannic edge of pomegranate juice, though if you told me it was cranberry, I would’ve believed you.

Raspberry’s pouch had 16 raspberries and 7 apple slices. The apple flavor here was less noticeable here – the seedy flavor of fresh raspberries dominated, which I enjoyed.

Banana had 10 slices of banana and 7 apples. It smelled strongly of overripe banana and tasted liked it smelled before yielding to the sweet intensity of the apples.

This was my least favorite. Though the banana flavor was genuine, it was almost too much so. I don’t like overripe bananas, and the Banana Bites just made me think of that half-mushed banana you dig out of the bottom of your backpack because you forgot you shoved it in there last week.

Apple’s pouch claimed 10 slices of apple. It packed a concentrated punch of apple cider sweetness into each little Bite.

Finally, orange (8 orange slices and 7 apple slices) was my favorite. It started off tasting just like a glass of orange juice before yielding to the bitter edge of zest and orange oil. I’m not sure how much little kids would like it, but I appreciated its complex capture of a real orange’s flavor nuances.

I was super impressed at how intense each Bite was. I felt satisfied eating just a few at a time because they packed so much flavor. Apple and orange were my favorites and get OMs and  Raspberry and Pomegranate & Acai get Os.

Banana gets an O as well – I didn’t like it, but I respect what it was going for, and I think people who really like bananas probably would like the Banana Bite as well.