Sunday, December 30, 2012

Trader Joe's - Dark Chocolate Almonds bar - December 30, 2012

Chocolate of the Day:

Trader Joe's
73% Cacao Super Dark Chocolate with Almonds
Good - Good +
Weight: .875 oz. (25 g.) serving / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) total bar
Calories: 150 calories in 1/4 bar
Cost: $1.99 total bar
Purchased from: Trader Joe's, Menlo Park, CA

Today's 73% Cacao Super Dark Chocolate with Almonds bar from Trader Joe's (Monrovia, CA) was, dark and rich, with a mild earthy, acidic fruit tang, and full of embedded almond bits on the inside that added some balance and texture to the "super dark" chocolate. The bar was relatively thick, but scored into twelve, nicely sized rectangular pieces, making it convenient for sharing with others, or rationing for snacks.

Trader Joe's has traditionally sold a large selection of chocolates at very reasonable prices, sourcing from several suppliers. I've bought many of their bars, and had leftovers. As part of my end of year (2012) Chocolate Vault clean-up, I decided to experiment with these bits of bars -- bittersweet mini bars and a Papua New Guinea dark bar from 2010 to make black currant (cassis) truffles. (Yes, dark chocolate bars can last that long if carefully stored in a cool, dark place.)

I first made some homemade creme de cassis (a liqueur popular in France that is usually made from black currants, sugar, and brandy). This liqueur was very nice with mineral water; sparkling or regular white wine (kir); or white grape juice over ice with a citrus slice or two. I should add, I also infused this liqueur with a cinnamon stick and a whole clove. (I kept these spices in overnight and took them out the following day.)

My homebrew creme de cassis liqueur mixed with the dark chocolate leftovers resulted in good truffles, but with a somewhat bitter fruit note. Admittedly, there were a lot of different tastes interacting in this truffle batch, as I'd experimented with adding some coconut oil along with the butter, and a bit of vanilla hemp milk in addition to the cream. Once again: mad scientistry yielded uneven results.

Next time I'll try a more conventional batch of truffles with just a hint of cinnamon and brandy, and enjoy a kir royale on the side -- perhaps for New Year's Eve tomorrow evening.

Today was Day #8 of Chocolate and Almonds Theme Week, and Day #3 of Chocolate and Currants Theme Week.

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