Archive for the ‘chocolate’ Category
When I was growing up, the one thing that outlasted anything else from my Easter basket was that one bunny. It was always the biggest, most solid bunny, and it always had round, sugary eyes. Most of the time, there was even an element of colored chocolate. Weeks after Easter, I’d finally start pulling that guy out of the freezer.
First I’d break off the ears (and the eyes, of course). Next time, I’d hit it on the counter or drop it on the floor, hoping the base would break off. Then the middle part would provide two or three more moments of chocolatey bliss. This ritual somehow managed to extend the Easter experience (an underdog of a holiday if there ever was one) beyond the duration of more candy-centric holidays like Halloween.
Back in the Day…
My chocolate Easter bunnies came from the 80′s, and I totally enjoyed them. But it turns out that history has brought us bunnies and peeps that were even more special — vintage ones. In the 50′s and 60′s, Easter centerpieces were veritable sculptures made from intricately detailed high-quality chocolate. These treats were enjoyed by the whole family. People made memories about and around them. And the natural ingredients were as beautiful as the final product. I’m willing to bet that some families even admired their chocolate bunnies for so long that their ears turned white (the bunnies’, not the families’).
Great Easter Presents — in the Present
This Spring, CandyFavorites.com brings you a line of Easter chocolates that has all the goodness of old-fashioned favorites. Great chocolates of the past had two things going for them in the quality department — form and formula. Our gourmet Easter treats deliver both of these.
They’re all created for us by a local chocolatier that uses only traditional methods for making chocolate. The finest natural ingredients are hand-poured into authentic vintage chocolate molds from the 1950′s. These incredible confections will give you the chance this Easter season to enjoy the simpler things in life.
It’s the Crispy One, Not the Giant One
I’ve of course been incredibly curious about these. The giant version available at Honeydukes at Universal Studios has gotten a lot of coverage. But those reviews have been mixed — raving about the packaging and size of the frog, but mostly meh on the flavor and quality of the chocolate. Well, I don’t know who makes those, but it’s not Jelly Belly. Fortunately, the Chocolate Frogs available to the rest of us are more reasonably priced and more reasonable in size. It seems that what these lack in heft, they make up for in taste.
Nutrition and Whatnot
Now, I’m a label nerd, so the first thing I look at is nutrition facts. I like to enjoy my treats responsibly. The Harry Potter Milk Chocolate Frog with Crisped Rice is totally doable at 80 calories and 4.5 grams of fat. The other thing that struck me is that there are relatively few ingredients. This is real chocolate, complete with the cocoa butter you’d expect. For the gluten avoiders out there, you’ll unfortunately have to steer clear. The crisp rice is made with barley malt (scourge of foods that would otherwise be edible!)
The Magic Pack
So, the Chocolate Frog is wrapped in pretty purple foil packaging. It’s nothing you’re going to save forever. However, I was totally impressed with the way the important part — the collectible wizard card — is included. It’s enclosed in its own plastic sleeve that’s attached to the top of the wrapper. This suspends the card in the middle of the package, so it’s less likely to get bent or otherwise messed up before it gets to you, or in a backpack or what have you. It also prevents the chocolate from making contact with the card. So even if your frog melts, your card will survive unscathed. I’m sure that plenty of people will just keep the plastic on and build their collections in mint condition. I didn’t realize that the cards were holographic, either, which is a nice touch.
When you open the pack, you get a fragrance that’s chocolate plus a little bit more. Which is fitting, since that’s exactly what you’re about to eat. The chocolate frog itself is cute. It’s not lifelike, but I wasn’t particularly imagining or hoping that it would be. The little frog arms and legs (this guy is all knees) make it clear that you should start by biting off all the extremities.
Since this is chocolate with crunchies (technically known as “crisped rice), I thought it important to compare with other crunchy chocolates. So I broke out a Nestle Crunch and a Krackle. I have memories of absolutely loving Crunch bars, so I didn’t expect the Chocolate Frog to fare very well in a head-to-head. Shockingly, it turned out to be my favorite of the three. The color of our Chocolate Frog matches Nestle Crunch almost exactly, and is a bit lighter than the Krackle. The frog has the fewest obvious crunchies and looks as though it’ll be the creamiest.
Flavor and More Flavor
I started with the Krackle, which built to an almost acidic bitter flavor that kind of turned me off. The Crunch was better, but also finished on an unpleasant note. It’s more appropriate for moments of “I want something crunchy” than “I want some chocolate.” The chocolate in the Frog turned out to be very creamy and not your typical candy-bar fare. It has a consistent, mellow flavor and a mild finish that’s completely devoid of yuckiness. The crisped rice in the Chocolate Frog is far more subtle than in the other bars. As expected, the texture of Krackle is quite a bit granier than the frog, and even leaves a grainy residue on your hands. Nestle Crunch places the emphasis on the crunchies, making it almost a different beast than the frog. In my frog, most of the rice was at the bottom, adding a nice layer of texture without taking over the whole show.
All in all, I was totally surprised by my Chocolate Frog. It includes a nice, quality collectible bonus, which legitimizes the Harry Potter branding. And it’s a genuinely good piece of milk chocolate. I can definitely envision parents eating the frogs and giving the cards to their kids. You can order these now at CandyFavorites.com!
According to Gourmet Live, the first American chocolate bunny was made in the mid-1840s by Whitman, but the fad did not catch on until they were mass-produced and marketed in 1916 by Bortz. The tradition of chocolate bunnies started in Germany in the early 1800s, though. Probably they were more like sinewy, gangly hares than soft cute bunnies, though.
Whatever the history, you can’t deny that they are an Easter classic. How do you eat them? Ears first or feet first? Back in the day when I worked at NCA we had quite a lively office debate on the topic. I still eat them feet first. You don’t want the little guy scampering off. But tell us your method and reasoning. I think of the ears as a perfect handle to get the cute little feet taken care of but some say that’s the wrong way.
I recently shared a mango drink with a coworker and we got on the subject of sweet treats, talking about what we like as an occasional snack. She said her favorite was Snickers, one of my favorites as well. One thing I loved about working in the candy industry was the passion people have for their favorite sweets. It’s not just a preference, but a real love. My friend who was talking about Snickers rolled her eyes up as she talked about it, as if she were looking into the gates of heaven itself. Her joy, even from the discussion, was plain to see.
Candy makes us happy. It gives us a little sweetness for our day, a little joy that either picks us up or amplifies our good vibes. Because candy is so pleasing, the sensation gets stored in part of our brains that processes emotions, or at least seems to. Don’t believe me about that connection? Go talk to someone about their favorite candy. I’m no psychologist; I just know people and candy.
Snickers by Leonid Mamchenkov.
When I was a kid my brother and I ate almost nothing but candy, especially the yummy Easter chocolates probably until about mid-afternoon when our mother made us put down the sweet stuff in exchange for a plate of ham or something. Really? Trade chocolate for ham? Who wants to do that? One thing I always wanted to see in my Easter basket was one of those giant chocolate bunnies like the woman in the photo has. I practically dreamt of devouring one of those, eating it feet first so it couldn’t hop away.
That would have been awesome. Maybe Mom will read this and know what to send me. Despite my age, I would still accept an Easter basket if anyone offered. Yes, that’s a hint. Maybe Jon will send me some candy.
Photo by Theresa Thompson.
Denture Danger: 4
The Cadbury Mini Egg facebook page is filled with self-proclaimed addicts of this “solid milk chocolate with crisp sugar shell” novelty. Though I thought these eggs would be inadequate because of their solid nature, thus lacking the inner gloop that makes Cadbury’s Caramel Egg and Cadbury’s Crème Egg so fun, I was creating an unnecessary expectation.
Don’t let the lack of filling let you think that the mini eggs have less possibilities of variable eatability; creativity is always an option if you allow it to be.
You can suck on the mini egg until the sweet shell dissolves into the melty smooth milk chocolate, you can chew it up for a cruncharific chocolate experience, you can do your best to try and eat the shell off of the egg (though this is difficult to do cleanly without biting chunks out of the egg), and you can go for the mouthful of mini eggs for a mess of egg shell and milk chocolate mixing together like compost decomposing in the warmth of your mouth.
All of these are fun and none of them leave out any of the tastiness to be had by the miniature eggs; but don’t let me ruin the fun by telling you all the ways to eat these eggs, I bet you can think of a unique and personalized miniature egg eating style.
There may not be any goo to release in these mini eggs, but this product presents you with the opportunity to play the Easter bunny and give to the chocolate egg cravers in your community.
Denture Danger: 2
This dark chocolate dome shaped candy with little white beads of sugar coating the top is known by many as, the snowcap. The snowflakes of sugar and starch are what are called non pareils, in French meaning, “Without Equal.”
The Non Pareils really make this simple disc of chocolate into a marketable product. Just like every kid pumps adrenaline for sprinkles on his/her ice cream, people love sugar sprinkle beads on their chocolate.
For such a simple generic chocolate candy that I really can’t whip up much to write about, it is pretty darn popular and garsh darn, just as tasty. The Snowcap is one of those candies where the bag empties itself before you had a chance to even consider wrapping it up for later, in which case you can pour a good bite of purely Non Pareils (that have shed from Snowcaps) into your mouth.
It started in 2005 on Halloween night when I saw that my trick-or-treat bucket was mainly filled up with Hershey kisses. I only knew of one flavor… the original milk chocolate. Then I started thinking of all of the flavors of kisses that the Hershey Company could make.
I discovered that there were Hershey’s kisses with different wrappers as I dug deeper down into my bucket. I had gotten about four kisses with different wrappers. I soon found out that the different wrapper colors stood for different flavors. I decided to start collecting them, so I went down the candy aisle every time I went to the store, and I still do that today.
This is how I now have 59 different varieties of kisses and a website (www.lauracarey.com/kisses) with a photo and information of every kiss I’ve gathered in my collection. I’ve gone from having no idea what different wrappers stood for to being recognized in articles from all around the world! I’ve been in newspaper articles from Israel to Dallas, and many from my hometown. People have emailed me about my website from nearly all over the world, even as far away as Australia!
It’s always a good time to start collecting Hershey’s Kisses because you can find candy from ‘The Sweetest Place on Earth’ almost anywhere in the world and because Hershey’s Corporation manufactures new kisses all the time. What you don’t want to do to start off your collection is run out to the store and buy a bag of every single different kiss you see.
That’s what I did and low and behold five years later I still see those same kisses in stores every day. There are six types of kisses that will probably never be discontinued. These kisses are the Original Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Hugs, Milk Chocolate with Almonds, Caramel, and Cherry Cordial.
The types of kisses you want to look out for are the ones for sale around the holidays. These are almost always Limited Edition and don’t always come back the next year. Here’s a list of the holiday Limited Edition kisses that I’ve seen in the past…
Christmas: Irish Crème, Hot Cocoa, Candy Cane
Halloween: Candy Corn, Pumpkin Spice, Caramel Apple
Birthdays: Champagne Truffles, Confetti
Easter: Butter Crème, Vanilla Yogurt Crème, Lemon Crème, Orange Crème, Vanilla Crème, Valentines Day: Raspberry Hugs
The best part of a Hershey Kiss collection is… if you get tired of it, you can always eat it! Yum!!! (I don’t recommend that, though
Denture Danger: 1
Peanut Butter M&M’s are a breed of their own. A small glob of peanut butter is covered in M&M’s melty milk chocolate and the hard candy shell allows it to keep its shape. This type of M&M is relatively new. It was introduced in 1990 about 50 years after the original M&M hit the market. Peanut Butter is the best type of M&M to allow to melt in your mouth. A trick that my brother taught me when I was younger was to let it sit in your mouth for a minute and then push your tongue through the M&M and that way you get the full taste of the candy with direct contact to all taste buds.
I have noticed that through the years the Peanut Butter M&M’s have been the most rare to come by. They aren’t on the shelf next to the Kit Kat, Reese’s and Regular M&M’s. I actually don’t remember a time when I was successful in finding the Peanut Butter M&M’s on a store shelf. Their elusive quality is just another one to add onto the reasons why this is such an enjoyable candy to eat.