Saturday, April 3, 2021

Taza Chocolate - 80% Cacao Crunch bar + Nicaragua Rosquillas cookies - Apr. 3, 2021

Chocolate(s) of the Day

Taza Chocolate
80% Cacao Crunch Organic Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good +
Weight: 1.25 oz. (35 g.) / 2.5 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 200 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $1.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Nicaragua Theme Week.

Today's featured 80% Cacao Crunch Organic Dark Chocolate (bar) was from Taza Chocolate (Somerville, MA).

This ultra-dark bar was made from cacao from an unknown origin(s). (The country (ies) of origin were not on the label.) However, it was a perfect pairing with the Nicaraguan Rosquillas cookies I made today. (More on these cookies below.) 

This Taza Chocolate bar was everything these cookies were not (except both were crunchy). The chocolate had a deep, dark roasted (yet not roasted),* green aroma. It conjured the feeling of being in a cool, green forest, with almost (but not quite) a mint/menthol note. It was, refreshingly, un-sweet (thank you!).

The even, stone-ground dark chocolate flavor also had depth (with a faint umami hint of leather). Embedded throughout the chocolate was a tiny riot of crispy, crunchy, puffed quinoa particles. 

Nicaraguan Rosquillas, chocolate cookies

Today's effortlessly light, crunchy shortbread style cookies were made using masa harina (finely ground corn flour). These relatively airy but substantial cookies were good with coffee, but could be enjoyed anytime. They were delicious and gluten-free. I made two different kinds. 

The first batch had "flower" petal-shaped indentations around the edges, with small mounds of panela (unrefined brown sugar) in the centers. 

And the second batch was made with an egg (making these cookies a bit lighter and fluffier) and these had Nicaraguan chocolate centers. 

I'm now a fan of rosquillas. They can be made slightly less sweet. (I used less sugar than most of the online recipes I found called for; and that did not seem to make a difference in the outcome.)

Taza Chocolate Ingredients: "Organic cacao beans, organic cane sugar, organic puffed quinoa, organic cocoa butter, organic vanilla beans."

*It's possible to have a blend of different roasted batches, each with a different flavor profile.

If makers heavily roast all their cacao, they run the risk of losing more subtle green and floral notes. (Occasionally more roasting time is used to lose objectionable flavors in lesser quality cacao.) However, if cacao beans are under-roasted, makers may miss out on some of the flavor development that comes with roasting. Some makers mix different roast batches to try to capture the best of both worlds. 

The best chocolate makers create several test roast batches to optimize roast settings/times for a given lot of cacao. Each cacao origin/variety may have different percentages of fat, moisture and various flavor attributes.

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