Posts Tagged dark chocolate

Freeze Dried Banana & Walnut Candy Bar

A little while back, I noticed that Trader Joe’s started carrying a wide variety of freeze dried fruits. They have strawberries, bananas, pineapples, apples and a couple others I can’t remember off hand. I’ve seen freeze dried berries at the regular grocery store before, but they were always really expensive for small bags. At Trader Joe’s, I picked up a pouch of bananas for only a couple of bucks.

freeze_dried_banana_bar_ing

So, I decided to throw some of the banana pieces into a candy bar mold with some chopped walnuts and dark chocolate (sorry, no pics). The bananas tasted awesome with the chocolate and are really crispy. In fact, I don’t think the walnuts were even necessary. If you ever get a chance, I recommend trying out some of the Trader Joe’s freeze dried fruits with your favorite chocolate. You don’t have to make it into a bar if you don’t want. Just eat the chocolate and the fruit at the same time and I’m sure it’ll taste great.

Comments (1)

Review: Nidar Yade

I don’t often see molded candy bars that have both milk and dark chocolate. In fact, the Nidar Yade is probably the first one I’ve had. It seems most manufacturers assume that milk chocolate and dark chocolate are mutually exclusive and that consumers want one or the other, not both in the same product.

nidar_yade_wr

Structure
A thin, wide molded bar with a bottom layer of dark chocolate and top layer of milk chocolate. Small, caramelized bits of macadamia nuts and hazelnuts are mixed in.

nidar_yade_cs

Texture
Perfectly tempered with a nice snap when you break it into the smaller, triangular pieces. The hazelnut and macadamia nut pieces are really small, but add a nice contrast to the smooth chocolate.

Taste
There’s about two or more times milk chocolate than dark chocolate, but in terms of taste, the two are split evenly. The dark chocolate is more pronounced when you first bite in, but the milk chocolate becomes more noticeable on the finish. It’s difficult to taste any hazelnut or macadamia nut because the pieces are so small, but you do get some extra sweetness from their caramelized coating.

Verdict
I don’t actually finish many of the candy bars that I review on this blog myself. I try to share with others if they’re good or I sometimes toss out the rest if they’re really bad. So when I eat an entire candy bar myself, like I did with the Nidar Yade, that’s a sign that it’s a damn good candy bar. I would put the Yade easily in the top tier of the candy bars I’ve tried so far.

Leave a Comment

Review: Nidar Troika

I like most candy bar packaging. There are plenty of examples of both upscale and common candy bars that have great packaging. The Troika, on the other hand, has terrible packaging design. I think they were trying to make it look upscale, but in failing to do so, created a design that looks cheap and generic. More annoying though, is that the packaging of the Troika fails to convey anything about the product itself. I shouldn’t have to comb through the ingredients in small print on the back to get an idea about what’s in the product.

nidar_troika_wr

Structure
The Troika consists of three inner layers enrobed in dark chocolate. From top to bottom, these layers are raspberry jelly, chocolate truffle, and marzipan.

nidar_troika_cs

Texture
Upon biting in, the chocolate shell broke off into thin pieces – separating easily from the rest of the bar. The jelly was soft. It reminded me of canned cranberry sauce, though a little firmer. The chocolate truffle layer was lost in the mix between the jelly and the noticeably dry and crumbly marzipan. Overall, kind of an odd combination of textures.

Taste
I’ll start with the good news. The dark chocolate coating is very high quality and tastes great. The bad news… the rest of the flavors aren’t good at all. The raspberry flavor is underwhelming and didn’t work with the marzipan at all. Like the texture, the flavors were an odd combination.

Verdict
This candy bar just isn’t very good. I don’t understand why they tried to put together this combination of ingredients. Marzipan and raspberry jelly? I don’t understand the appeal of that. The one bright spot for this product was the chocolate, but I’m kind of annoyed good chocolate is being wasted producing Troikas.

Comments (1)

Review: Choxie Dark Chocolate Key Lime Truffle Bar

In the candy aisle of my local Target, on a shelf full of $3 Choxie candy bars, I spotted this one marked down to $2.50. That’s not exactly a good sign, but I thought maybe people were scared away by the thought of lime and chocolate. I thought to myself however, that this bar conceptually worked. I’ve had frozen key lime pie covered in dark chocolate down in Key West and it was delicious. I’ve also made lime flavored white chocolate candies with graham pieces and they were delicious. So despite the suspicious sale price, I had high hopes for this candy bar.

Structure
The label has the following detailed description: “Dark chocolate with a truffled filling of white chocolate balanced with tart key lime and crunchy graham biscotti cookies.” The bar is constructed by lining an 8-segment mold with dark chocolate, filling the cavity with white chocolate lime ganache and sealing the bottom with another layer of dark chocolate.

Texture
The dark chocolate coating is a bit waxy, but still smooth with a firm snap. The truffle filling feels pretty much like regular white chocolate. The difference between the hardness of the dark chocolate and the inside is slight. It’s almost like biting into a solid, thick chocolate bar. The graham biscotti cookie bits are small and sparsely sprinkled throughout. This was disappointing because I was hoping they’d provide some crunch and contrast to the texture of the chocolates. Overall, the texture of this product is very one-dimensional.

Taste
The lime flavor is very subtle. I had an expectation of a sweet and sour citrus burst countered with the bitterness of dark chocolate. Instead, both the lime and the chocolate were underwhelming. You do get a little bit of the sour lime flavor on the finish, but it’s not nearly as pronounced as I would have liked. The flavor of tiny graham bits is imperceptible. Without the aid of the product label, I wouldn’t have been able to tell that they were graham biscotti versus any other type of cookie bit.

Verdict
I give Choxie credit for trying to create a unique candy bar, but I think they fell short on the execution. It’s almost like they were scared to make it taste TOO much like lime. This is unfortunate because if you’re the kind of person who would pluck this product off the store shelf, that’s exactly what you would be looking for. I wasn’t completely turned off by the Choxie brand though and I’m sure I’ll be trying out some of their other products in the future.

Comments (4)

Review: Freia Peanøtt Kubbe

The Peanøtt Kubbe (“Peanut Log”) is a Norwegian product manufactured by Freia – a subsidiary of Kraft Foods. This bar didn’t stand out much amongst the dozen or so candy bars I currently have from Norway. The ingredients list – chocolate, peanuts, and toffee -looked good enough, but it’s not exactly exotic; we have bars like that here.

Structure
The inner toffee core is first surrounded by a layer of dark chocolate and next by chopped peanuts and milk chocolate. The package contains two segments.

Texture
I was expecting the toffee center to be firm and chewy. To my delightful surprise, it was very soft and smooth. The milk chocolate is soft and creamy, while the dark chocolate is a bit harder and the chopped peanuts provide crunch. All together, there are many textures and they work together wonderfully.

Taste
The flavor is deep and complex. The toffee center has a burnt caramel flavor. The dark chocolate cuts the sweetness of the milk chocolate and adds to the uniqueness of the overall flavor (I can’t think of many candy bars with dark and milk chocolate). Of course, both of the chocolates used are high quality and taste great. Finally, the roasted peanuts add to the mix by providing a nutty background flavor.

Verdict
The Peanøtt Kubbe is an amazing candy bar with many textures and flavors all working well together. It’s one of the best candy bars I’ve ever had actually. I’d say this one is even worth buying online and having it shipped, but I can’t find a place online that sells it. If you ever come across one, either online or off, do yourself a favor and buy it.

Comments (2)

Review: Chocolove Cherries & Almonds in Dark Chocolate

I received this bar as an Easter gift a while ago, but with so many candy bars lying around in my place waiting to be reviewed, it’s taken me a while to get to this one. I see these Chocolove bars all the time at Target, but since I actually don’t like the packaging design, I’m never tempted to buy them. If I hadn’t received this as a gift, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up for myself. Of course, I’m happy to try out any new candy bars and this is no exception.

Structure
It’s 18 segments of molded dark chocolate with pieces of toasted almonds and dried cherries mixed in.

Texture
The first thing you’ll notice is the strong snap to the chocolate when you bite in. It’s definitely one of the best tempered chocolates I’ve had. The almonds are chopped up pretty small and are toasted well, so they have a nice crunch. The dried cherries are a little chewy and stuck to my teeth after the chocolate had melted away.

Taste
You can taste right away that the Belgian dark chocolate is high quality. It’s only 55% cocoa, so it’s fairly sweet for dark chocolate, which is good because it counteracts the slight sourness of the dried cherries. The toasted almonds have a nice subtle flavor that complements the other components well.

Verdict
I didn’t love the dried cherries and would have enjoyed the bar more without them. Even so, this is a quality candy bar that I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m anxious to taste some of Chocolove’s other varieties. In fact, I have a Crystallized Ginger in Dark Chocolate bar sitting around that I’ll have to try out soon.

Comments (1)

Recipe: Peanut Butter Caramel Peanut Bar

I’ve been telling people for a while that I make candy bars. However, I’m not sure everyone believed me. While I’ve eaten my own creations and frequently shared with my girlfriend and family, I hadn’t shared with many others (namely, my co-workers). So, I decided I was going to make some to bring into the office. The one that seemed to be the biggest hit was the Peanut Butter Caramel Peanut Bar shown below. I know… that’s not a very creative name, but I was just going for something descriptive, not catchy.

peanut butter caramel candy bar

Here’s how I made it.

Step 1: Making Peanut Butter Caramel
Start by making a batch of soft caramel. Once you’re done, let it sit for a few minutes to cool down a little. Then, mix in a half cup of creamy, natural peanut butter. Let it melt and stir gently to fully incorporate.

Step 2: Preparing Peanuts
I used three different versions of peanuts – all derived from the same jar of dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts. First, I chopped about 1/4 cup in a nut chopper. Second, I left about 1/4 cup untouched. Third, I baked 1/3 cup at 350 degrees on a baking for about 10 minutes that had been coated in a slurry of water, sugar, and salt. When I was done, I mixed all of these together with the Peanut Butter Caramel and let sit until it was at room temperature.

Step 3: Tempering Chocolate
You must temper chocolate. Otherwise it’ll be soft, grainy, and discolored. I won’t get into the specifics of how to do it here, but there are a ton of resources available on the internet that will help you figure it out. Here’s a good place to start.

Note: I used dark chocolate, but milk chocolate would have worked just as well.

Step 4: Assembly
The center is very soft, so I decided to use a mold to construct this bar. You’ll need something with a big enough cavity to fit the caramel and peanuts. I have one about the size of a regular Snickers bar, so I went with that. Coat each cavity of the mold the tempered chocolate. I’ve seen recommendations to use a pastry brush, but I prefer to use a small spoon and gravity to evenly coat everything. If there’s excess chocolate in a cavity, either let it pour out or coerce it out with the spoon. Once the cavities are lined, let the chocolate sit until it has hardened enough to be filled.

The center at room temperature is almost the consistency of cookie dough, though a little softer. I took out about a tablespoon of filling and rolled it first into a ball and then into a log about the length of the bar. I pressed this down lightly into the mold, so it filled in all of the space. After a couple of bars, you’ll get a sense for how much it takes to fill the mold.

Finally, after you’ve filled all the molds with the peanut butter caramel, top each one with a small spoonful of tempered chocolate. I used an offset spatula to smooth everything down, so it was flush with the mold. Let the bars sit for while until everything sets up and they’re ready to be unmolded.

Comments (3)

Older Posts »