Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate filled with Caramel

Trader Joe’s recently introduced a new line of Belgian chocolate bars {filled with} stuff. They made a big splash on my radar because one of them was {filled with} speculoos cookie spread, which is SO MUCH NOMS!, and my Trader Joe’s didn’t carry them and probably never will.

Instead, it carried the other two, caramel and chocolate buttercream. I’ll review the caramel today and save the chocolate buttercream for Wednesday.

I think the full name of this bar is Les Chocolats de Belgique Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate {filled with} Caramel. Why yes, those {} are rather silly. I shall now ignore them.

The chocolate bar was six conjoined segments of caramel-filled milk chocolate. There were a few tiny bubbles in the chocolate, but otherwise the surface looked smooth and matte.

The milk chocolate was solid enough to bite into with a slight snap, and it had a thick and tongue-coating melt. The chocolate alone was quite caramelly with  a dairy creaminess.

The center caramel was positively limpid. It was far too liquid to chew and just melted away on the tongue, leaving behind notes of scorched butter and sweet brown sugar.

One segment of this was delicious, so I broke off a second segment. To corroborate my tasting notes, of course.

The second segment took the sweetness level over the top. What was nice took on a sour, throat-burning tinge.

This is a bar to be savored one segment at a time. An OM if you can stop at just one chunk.

Russell Stover – Caramel

Today is the last of the assorted Russell Stover chocolates that I picked up in a post-holiday sale. Monday was coconut, Wednesday was mint, and today we conclude with caramel.

The caramel is milk chocolate around a square of honey-amber colored caramel. The milk chocolate is thin and nicely shatters/crunches when bitten into.

There’s not too much of a noticeable flavor profile for the milk chocolate. It’s fairly sweet and gets swallowed up by the caramel’s more powerful flavor.

The caramel was solid when bitten into but them became sticky when chewed. It’s sweet but not too sweet and rather round and mild tasting for a burnt sugar confection.

There’s a hint of brown sugar to the caramel’s finish. It was okay, but I like my caramels scorchy and complex, while this was a sweet and simple treat.

A high O for that I’d eat again but not something that I’d buy again.



Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramels

These Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramels were an expensive (I think ~$7?) impulse candy buy from my last Trader Joe’s run. They came in a round plywood tub with a lid, sort of like a hatbox.

The tub described them as “buttery, soft chewy caramels with imported French sea salt.” It had two sealed pouches of individually cellophane-wrapped caramels.

Be prepared for some serious teeth picking if you decide to chew these up. They’re incredibly sticky and impossible to eat in polite company.

When held on my tongue, they were buttery and smooth, though constant vigilance was still required to keep them from adhering to the backs of my teeth. When eaten this way, they left a greasy feeling on my lips.

They tasted lightly sweet and mostly of butter with a hint of butterscotch flavor. There was a slightly salty hit at the end that brought just the tiniest edge of sourness.

For me, they were too one-dimensional and way too sticky/chewy. The salt just wasn’t pronounced enough, and I wish the caramel was deeper and more complex.

They were a fine treat, but there are better caramels out there. An O. Cybele liked them more than I did, so your mileage may vary.


See’s Scotchmallow

Surprise! I’ve got one more See’s review for y’all. An extension of last week’s See’s week, I guess.

I’ve breezed over the See’s Scotchmallow before, and it’s near the top of my list of favorite candies. It’s about time it warranted a full review.

You can get Scotchmallows by the box, as part of an assorted box, or as a hefty, 1.5 oz. individually wrpaped bar, as I did here. The website calls them, “a delicious layer of See’s caramel with a layer of See’s honey marshmallow enrobed in rich dark chocolate”.

In bar form, they only come in milk chocolate. That milk chocolate shell had a slight snap. It had a great duskiness with hints of malt and slight notes of coffee.

The marshmallow was dense and foamy with a light pull when bitten into. It’s unlike anything you could pick up in a grocery store – it’s lightly sweet and vanilla-y, and the texture is a toothy pleasure.

The caramel was extremely chewy and sticky. It tasted of sweet, brown sugar with a slight grit at the end.

The mix of flavors and textures was sublime. The sticky caramel chew combined with the fluffy marshmallow chew plus the melting milk chocolate is a chomping pleasure, and the malty chocolate goes great with the scorchy brown sugar caramel and vanilla marshmallow.

It’s incredible how the different types of sweetness play off each other and bring out each others’ flavors. I could eat Scotchmallows for days.

I prefer the dark chocolate version because it better cuts the sweetness, but this bar version is still a favorite. An enthusiastic ZOMG!


Harbor Sweets Sand Castle Dark Chocolate and Caramel Bar

Harbor Sweets is a Massachusetts based handmade chocolatier that makes cute molded chocolates, sometimes with various add-ins. They claim to “[celebrate] outdoor living [and] embrace the coast, gardening, and equestrian-sports”, hence the existence of a chocolate called the Tallyho!

I got a free sample 16-piece box of their dark chocolate Perennial Sweets, which I’ll review on Friday, and this Sand Castle Dark Chocolate and Caramel Bar.

The hefty bar of dark chocolate was prettily molded into an epic example of a sand castle. I was impressed by the level of detail to the molding. I could make out the castle’s stonework.

The chocolate was snappy with a thick, mouth-coating melt that left a slightly fatty/greasy feel after it melted away. It had a nice duskiness and a nice, light touch of sweetness, which is exactly how I like my dark chocolate.

The caramel was not oozy at all. As you can see, when the bar was broken in half, it stayed right where it was. It was thick and sticky when chewed and gave my jaw a nice workout, but it also had a nice smoothness to its texture.

While the caramel had a light butteriness when I carved out a chunk to taste in isolation, that flavor was so subtle that it was overwhelmed when mixed with the chocolate.

I appreciated the quality of the dark chocolate and caramel, though I wish the caramel had more intensity and complexity to it. Still, it was a tasty treat.

Based on flavor alone, I’d give it an OM. I have to take into account, however, that the bar costs $5.95, which is on the steep side for a 2.3 oz bar, so an O with the expense factor. I don’t think it’s something I would splurge on for myself, but the beautiful visual detail would make it a nice gift.

Hedonist Salted Caramels

These salted caramels from Hedonist Artisan Chocolates were free samples that I got in the same package as the candy cane bark (Wednesday’s review). I’m a total sucker for salted caramels, especially when they’re covered in chocolate.

The label simply described them as “buttery caramel and sea salt enrobed in rich chocolate.” The box of 10 had 5 that were milk chocolate and 5 that were dark. All were sprinkled with a pinch of sea salt.

The caramel centers were a beautiful amber color flecked with little black vanilla seeds. The caramel had no pull when bitten into but was thick and sticky when chewed.

It was possible to hold the caramel on my tongue and just let it melt into a pool of sweet, limpid butteriness. Alas, I was too impatient and preferred to pick the deliciously sticky errant strands out of my teeth.

The flavor of that caramel was incredible. It tasted as deep and scorchy as it looked. It was just shy of burnt, which gave it a great complexity and just a hint of bitter edge.

The caramel itself was salted as well. Every once in a while, I’d chomp on a crunchy bit of sea salt, which released a flash of saltiness that really set off the scorchy brown butteriness of the caramel.

The milk chocolate coating added a mild sweetness and light malty chocolate flavor to the caramel. I preferred the dark chocolate version, which added a deep, rich cocoa complexity.

My only complaint was that some of the caramels with larger salt pinches were a tad too salty. But that wasn’t much of a deterrent – I polished off over half the box in my tasting session as I kept reaching for “just one more” to lock down my tasting notes.

This gets a ZOMG! in the true sense of the rating, as I was a little frightened at how quickly my box of 10 disappeared.


Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Tahitian Vanilla Caramels

Cybele reviewed Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Tahitian Vanilla Caramels about a year ago, which first put them on my radar. The little bag nearly escaped my notice in the store. It was near the checkout counters in impulse buy territory.

The caramels were beautiful round balls with a captivatingly glossy sheen. That outer coating quickly melted away when I held the caramel in my mouth, but I much preferred to bite into them.

When I bit into it, the outer shell yielded easily with a soft crunch as it splintered, then melted smoothly. The inner caramel was initially soft and then quickly became chewy.

The caramel and chocolate were amazing. The chocolate had a great cocoa depth with a lovely, dusky finish, and the caramel had a smooth butteriness with some light rum notes and a butterscotch finish.

The combination of the two was absolutely stellar, a whole that was greater than the sum of its parts. The sticky caramel mixed well with the smooth chocolate, and the dusky cocoa flavors played off the buttery caramel.

I loved the complexity of this treat – far better than Milk Duds – and can’t wait to pick up another bag. An OMG.

World Market Toffee Caramel Milk Chocolate

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 .

Vosges Black Salt Caramel Bar

I picked up this Vosges Black Salt Caramel Bar at Cost Plus World Market, one of my favorite new candy sources. It contained “black Hawaiian sea salt, burnt sugar caramel”, and a 70% dark chocolate.

Like their Blood Orange Caramel Bar, the caramel here was oozy and runny. It definitely made the bar messier, but goodness did it have an intoxicating mouthfeel! The caramel sat limpidly on my tongue and was velvety in texture.

The caramel in this bar was extremely buttery with just a hint of saltiness and a nice smokiness. It paired quite nicely with the dark chocolate.

The chocolate here was divine, as expected from Vosges: it was super dark with a sharp snap and a smooth, matte melt. It tasted lightly smoky and dusky.

The combination of caramel and chocolate was addictively sweet and salty. For me, though, the caramel made this just a hair too sweet in the finish. An OM.

Sanders Peanut Butter Crispies and Milk Chocolate Pecan Titan

Today I’m wrapping up my coverage of the Sanders chocolates that I bought in a hospital gift shop. In case you missed it, I reviewed their Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel on Wednesday.

Today I’m covering the Peanut Butter Crispies (top) and Milk Chocolate Pecan Titan (bottom right).

Was it a coincidence that the Peanut Butter Crispies came in an orange wrapper? I wonder how often candy companies try to emulate Reeses’ orange wrapper when packaging their own peanut butter candies.

Like the Sea Salt Caramel, the chocolate here was fairly standard. The peanut butter center was nutty and dry, like a reconstituted powder. It tasted mild and natural, like freshly ground peanut butter.

The crispies were great. They were almost impossibly light, with a great puffy air crunch. It made the chocolate nearly irridescent!

My only complaint was that the treat needed just a hint more salt to really bring about that perfect marriage of sweet chocolate to nutty peanut butter. An OM.

Finally, the Milk Chocolate Pecan Titan. As best as I could tell from the image on the wrapper, it was basically a pecan turtle.

The sweet milk chocolate hid a creamy caramel with tiny bits of roasted pecans. The pecans here were mildly flavored and brought just a light nuttiness. I wished they had a stronger nuttiness.

The caramel here, too, was lacking oomph. It was somehow more mild here, perhaps without the salt of the Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel to punch it up.

The treat was okay but paled in comparison to the other two. An O.