Recently in Dessert Category

Taste Test: Vosges Black Salt Caramel Bar vs Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Bar Caramel with Black Sea Salt

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Two Dark Chocolate, Caramel, Black Salt bars

When we were flying to Austin for Thanksgiving last year, we noticed that there was a Vosges chocolate shop at O'Hare. We stopped in and picked up some gifts for Fuzzy's mom, and a new chocolate bar that we had never seen before, the Black Salt Caramel bar. We've been a fan of Vosges for a while, I love salty sweet things, Fuzzy loves caramel, and I can really only eat dark chocolate these days (milk is too sweet for me), so it looked like the perfect bar for the two of us. It was. We became obsessed with it, and for a while this year, I was buying them by the handful because I couldn't get enough of them. But at $7 a pop, that can start to add up.

At the end of July, it was our five-year wedding anniversary. We stayed at a shi shi hotel downtown that had a full bar and a bottle of wine in our hotel room. The bottle of wine was $60, but the hotel was right across the street from a Trader Joe's. We popped over for some cheap champagne and stopped to look at the chocolate offerings. We saw a sign for a dark chocolate caramel salt bar, but didn't see the bar anywhere. A women popped in next to us and said "yeah, they never have them, cause they are so good." and walked away. Just then, we noticed a stash of them on a different shelf, and so we grabbed two to take back to the hotel. The price? Only $2.

And so, we had to do a side by side comparison.

At a glance, they look about the same, only you can see the salt crystals on the outside of the Trader Joe's bar. Both bars are hard to break on the indentations, and if left open sideways will leak the caramel from the rest of the bar into the package (not to worry! It is easy to lick off the package.)

We both agree that the flavor of the Trader Joe's bar is a little more intense. It is saltier than the Vosges bar, and the chocolate is more bitter and the caramel a little sweeter. The Vosges bar is more refined--the flavors blend together a little more and it is a more subtle taste.

Fuzzy's Pick: Trader Joe's!
Erica's Pick: Vosges!


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In the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons happen at the opposite time of the year as they do up here in the Northern. And so Christmas is a summer holiday down there. In Australia and New Zealand, a traditional Christmas dessert is the light-and-airy Pavlova--a sort of fruit-topped meringue.

The Pavlova was invented in Australia or New Zealand in the 1920s to honor a visiting Russian ballerina. Exactly which country is, evidently, a matter of some contention. But since our Christmas Pavlova was being baked by a New Zealander, we all firmly accepted his avowal that recent research has shown that it was totally New Zealand.

Steven made the "Pav" at our house, to avoid having to transport the delicate final product. And also we have an electric beater. And like any meringue, there's a lot of beating. As we were getting up in the tens of minutes of electric beating of egg whites, we were marveling at the work that must have gone into making one of these in the days of hand beating. (Though, we were using pasteurized-in-the-shell eggs, which there seems to be some contention as to whether they whip up as easily as normal eggs.)

Here's the recipe we followed, though we totally forgot the cornstarch. Oh well.


Here's a Happy Combo

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Hoosier Mama raspberry peach pie with crumble topping and New Belgium Ranger IPA. The tartness of the beer offsets the sweetness of the pie and vice versa. Happy happy combo.

All Our Dreams Came True

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Last night, Fuzzy and I did something that we've been dreaming about for years.

We made our own ice cream.

I have to start by making a confession. I think the world knows that I hate but the other night, Fuzzy came in and said the following: "Um, I don't want to upset you, but there is a really deal right now for ice cream makers on Woot." My hatred for Woot was overshadowed by my love of homemade ice cream and a good bargain. So we got it.

And it is glorious. Shiny and red, like our toaster oven. And last night, we let 'er spin. We started with a simple vanilla, but I can't wait to try fun flavors and the slushy cocktail that they included a recipe for.

Tonight we try the full frozen version, but we couldn't help but give the "soft serve" a little taste. It was Super Yum!

UPDATE: The homemade ice cream is AMAZING! Icy and sweet and delish. WE DID IT! 


First Ice Cream.jpg

Fuzzy adds:

The model of ice cream maker we got was a Cuisinart ICE-25-R. It's the kind of ice cream maker that has a special bowl that you freeze ahead of time. The advantage over the older style of icecream maker is that you don't have to keep supply of rock salt on hand. The disadvantage is that you have to clear out space in the freezer and freeze the bowl for 6-24 hours ahead of time, depending on how cold your freezer is. And if you want to make two batches in a row, you'll have to have an extra bowl and even more space in the freezer.

We started with the simplest recipe in the booklet that came with the machine: a cup of milk, 3/4 cup of sugar, 2 cups of cream, vanilla extract. Right out of the machine after 25 minutes of churning, the consistency of the ice cream was much like soft serve, and it melted pretty quickly. But after overnighting in the freezer (the recipe book said at least 4 hours) it was a nice ice-creamy consistency.

Haribo Cocktail Acid

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Haribo Cocktail Acid

Yeah man! Score some of this Acid and you'll be seeing frogs and fried eggs and cokes and alien egg pods just floating in the air, dude. And everything is, like, electric. Whoa.

(Originally posted on FuzzyCo, Dec 29, 2008: Haribo Cocktail Acid)

Apple Dumplings

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Apple Dumplings

I suppose if you dump 2 cups of butter and sugar over anything it would taste good, but these apple dumplings were extraordinarily good. We made them without the Mountain Dew, but only because we forgot to get a can.

(via Making Light)

(Originally posted on FuzzyCo, Mar 6, 2008: Apple Dumplings)

Together at Last

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Bacon can make just about any food taste better. And just about anything tastes good covered in chocolate. So why not put the two together? Which is just what Chicago-based chocolatier Vosges Haut-Chocolat has done with their Mo's Bacon Bar.

This is no joke-food, like the Jones Cola Turkey Dinner Soda or what-have-you, it's a for-real-eating candy bar (and at $7 a pop, it'd better be). Small pieces of crispy bacon are embedded in a really rich milk chocolate. The texture of the bacon is just the sort of crunchy contrast to the creamy chocolate as in countless other candy bars, and the saltiness pairs well with the sweet. And just so I know I'm not crazy, Erica likes it too.

Vosges Haut-Chocolat
520 N Michigan (North Bridge Mall)
951 W Armitage

(Originally posted on the Chicago Metblog, Jul 22, 2007: Together at Last)

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Dessert category.

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