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The Great Chocolate Experiment (Part 1)

Categories: Candy,Candy Recipes,Candy Reviews,Chocolate Candy,Gummi/Gummy Candy,Soft Candy

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Ingredients before

Purpose: Chocolate goes well with many flavors, both sweet and savory. As well as the traditional sweet ingredients, sea salt, curry powder and even bacon can also be found in chocolate bars these days. In the spirit of these unusual creations, the purpose of this experiment is to pair chocolate with new and unexpected flavors in an attempt to discover which ones will provide inspiration to the chocolatiers of tomorrow.

Hypothesis: Some items will taste good coated in chocolate, while others will not.

The following ingredients will be tested in today’s experiment:

Gummy Bears: Will coating this fruity favorite in chocolate create a treat that’s twice as nice? Or will this portion of the experiment “bear”-ly make the cut? (This researcher apologizes profusely and promises to avoid attempting to make puns in the future.) This combination is the same as Muddy Bears, which Heather decided weren’t great but weren’t terrible.

Skittles (Original fruit flavor): Will “tasting the rainbow” still be as delightful an experience when that rainbow is smothered in sweet, sweet chocolate?

Cheetos Puffs: The researcher’s sister swears that in elementary school, Cheetos dipped in chocolate pudding were “like, the best lunch ever.” Will the experimental data support or refute these claims?

Broccoli: A nutritious vegetable, but, to some people, not a delicious one. By combining this healthy foodstuff with chocolate, can science create a treat that will convince kids (and maybe even former US presidents) to eat their greens?

Procedure:
Step 1: Using a cutting board and kitchen knife, cut a hunk of Callebaut semisweet baking chocolate (or your preferred brand) into fine shavings.

From this…

Callebaut chunk

…to this.

Callebaut shavings

Transfer the shavings to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on High for 2-3 minutes, stirring with a spoon every 30 seconds, until the chocolate is nearly melted. Remove from microwave and stir until chocolate is smooth.

Step 2: Coat your ingredients in the melted chocolate. Use chopsticks to turn a handful of gummi bears in the chocolate until covered on all sides, a few at a time, then carefully transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper. Arrange a handful of original fruit-flavored Skittles on the baking sheet in clusters of three or four and spoon the chocolate over until they are fully covered. Coat a handful of Cheetos and two large florets of steamed broccoli, chilled and thoroughly blotted dry, by holding them by one end, dipping them into the chocolate, then spooning chocolate over until they are covered to your satisfaction. (You may wish to use a separate small bowl for the Cheetos to avoid cheese powder cross-contamination with the other ingredients).

Step 3: Place the baking pan in the refrigerator. Chill for 30-60 minutes or until all the chocolate is firm and cold to the touch and the items come easily away from the paper.

Here are the ingredients after being coated. (Is your mouth watering yet?)

Ingredients After

Step 4: Taste each item and record your observations. You may wish to have a Research Assistant aid you in this task. (This researcher recommends bribing him or her with leftover Cheetos and gummy bears.)

Observations:

Chocolate-coated gummy bearsGummy Bears: The standard fruity gummi bear flavors were still noticeable under the chocolate layer and, in this researcher’s opinion, went quite well. But even fresh out of the refrigerator, these didn’t have as much “snap” to them as commercial ones. And after sitting out on the table for a few minutes, they were quite soft, with the coating melting easily on the fingers. For future experiments, a thicker layer of chocolate is recommended.


Chocolate-coated SkittlesSkittles: The Skittles seemed firmer than usual, perhaps due to being refrigerated, making these a bit of a hard chew. The combination of strong, tangy artificial fruit flavor and chocolate is reminiscent of cheaper fondant-filled chocolates like Pot of Gold – the flavor comes off a little harsh. The chocolate melts faster than the Skittles, leaving you with just a mouthful of chewed-up Skittles with a faint chocolate taste.

What did the Research Assistant think? “I’ve never actually liked Skittles,” she confessed, and these did little to change her mind. Overall, not a bad treat by any means, but certainly not the new taste sensation this experiment aimed to discover.


Chocolate-coated cheesiesCheetos: “They’re crunchy, then if you chew it, you get kind of a cheesy chocolate taste,” said the Research Assistant. The chocolate coating seems to meld with the cheese powder on the exterior of the Cheetos, largely covering it up. The crunch is rather pleasant, but you don’t really get any cheese flavor unless you hold it in your mouth for a while and give it a good long chew.

The mild salty flavor goes OK with the dark chocolate, a little like the salt/chocolate combination in chocolate-covered pretzels or potato chips, but it isn’t strong enough to draw any definite conclusions. Perhaps the semi-liquid state of chocolate pudding would provide a better vehicle for the cheesie/chocolate combination.


Chocolate-coated broccoliBroccoli: We did not have high hopes for this portion of the experiment, but it came out better than we had expected. The broccoli flavor was really not especially noticeable when paired with the strongly flavored dark chocolate, providing more of a wet vegetable crunch under the hard coating.

The soft florets had soaked up quite a bit of melted chocolate, leaving them quite saturated, so the strength of the chocolate flavor was rather overpowering without another strong flavor to balance it out. (Admittedly, we had also been licking leftover chocolate from the mixing bowls all afternoon, so our tongues may have simply been over saturated with chocolate at this point.)

Despite our best efforts to dry the steamed broccoli florets thoroughly before coating, they were still quite wet and some of the chocolate came off in chunks during the taste-test. The wetness turned off my Research Assistant, who remarked, “It’s a good thing we only made two pieces.”


Conclusion:
None of the items tested were especially delicious. However, our experiment sample size was not large enough to draw a definite conclusion at this time. This researcher recommends that future research be conducted with a second sample of ingredients.

(There’s more to come in Part 2 of The Great Chocolate Experiment, where we coat stuff in chocolate and taste it… FOR SCIENCE!)



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13 Responses to “The Great Chocolate Experiment (Part 1)”

  1. 1
    Sea Hag says:

    Is it just me or does the front of a box of Muddy Bears look like the bear is screaming in agony at being covered in scalding, melted chocolate? Maybe it’s a look of ecstasy. One can only hope.

    I loved this! This is science we can all enjoy. Can’t wait to see Part 2. I might have to do some experiments of my own. Mwah ha ha ha!

  2. 2
    ajewel says:

    I just read a blog article about a dad that made chocolate covered shrimp… http://www.dadgonemad.com/2008/07/another-notch.html

  3. 3
    Robert B. says:

    I made chocolate covered pretzels and chocolate dipped oreos for Christmas last year. In both White and Milk chocolate…. I grossed out my wife and got expeimentive with the “left over” chocolate. I covered gummy bears, potato chips (Lays and Doritos), carrots, Wheat Thins, and much more inclouding BRUSSEL SPROUTS! I actually got sick of chocolate after trying all these.

  4. 4
    Debby says:

    Very fun! That’s too bad nothing worked well, though. The winning combo is out there!

  5. 5
    cb says:

    Hah! I love reading stuff like this. And as a lover of broccoli, I’m going to have to try that.

  6. 6
    sp says:

    Interesting experiment. I think what makes your chocolate melt in your hand and lacks the snap is because the chocolate was not temper. Typically with all chocolate product that uses cocoa butter needs to be tempered to properly set. So, maybe you can try to temper it again the next time you want to do this experiment. Interesting experiment nonetheless.

  7. 7
    laurie says:

    sp – That’s an excellent point, and that’s something that would automatically differentiate my homemade candies from commercial ones. I’ll have to consider it for Part 2.

  8. 8
    MasterKacey says:

    Chocolate covered broccoli, uuurgh. Sounds like something my dad would do to try to make me eat my vegetables.

    I would like to make some chocolate covered gummi worms. Tasty and fun to eat!

  9. 9
    Sharon says:

    i love cotton candy!!! And a nutty candy bar snickers.

  10. 10
    hannah says:

    this sounds so fun. we have to find an experiment for ag class n we are so gonna do this one so we can eat it all in the process!!! this is gonna be fun. (but were not using broclie or chettos…ewww) :)

  11. 11
    cierra says:

    im hannah’s partner in the ag class expeiment n i am so excited to do this!! we both love chocolate n we r gonna eat untill we cant eat anymore!! cant wait!!

  12. 12
    DevyBaby...15 says:

    WOW!!!!!…..ia doin a “Melting Chocolate” Experiment.

  13. 13
    Stress, and chocolate-coated broccoli « Observing A Curious World, with Matt Seaman says:

    [...] Search for strange receipes, like, chocolate-coated broccoli. [...]

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