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The Great Chocolate Experiment (Part 2)

Categories: Candy,Candy Recipes,Chocolate Candy,Gum

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Chocolate Experiment 2 Original Ingredients

In Part 1 of our Great Chocolate Experiment, we conducted a series of scientific tests in an attempt to determine which foods go well with chocolate. (You may wish to reacquaint yourself with our original hypothesis and research methodology, as well as the results of the first experiment.)

Based on the results of the first test, this researcher and her trusted Research Assistant came to the conclusion that some foods taste good coated in chocolate, while others do not. But the results were largely inconclusive – we knew that there were still many foods in the world that could prove to be chocolate’s undiscovered perfect partner. Clearly, more tests were required. So, we carefully hand-selected a new batch of quality ingredients, gathered our materials, and forged ahead into the great unknown wilds of candy making.

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

Raisin Bran: Chocolate breakfast cereals are nothing new. But in this researcher’s opinion, they’re always missing two things: real chocolate… and nutrition. By coating healthy raisin bran in chocolate, we will attempt to create the ultimate chocolate cereal treat… that’s actually good for you.

Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Fruit and chocolate is a time-tested pairing. But what many people don’t know is that, scientifically speaking, many so-called “vegetables” are actually fruits too. Will tangy sun-dried tomatoes go as well with chocolate as more conventional fruits do?

Bubble Gum: The biggest problem with chocolate? It all too quickly melts away into nothing. By combining chocolate with gum, the longest-lasting candy known to mankind, will we create a chocolate treat that keeps on giving?

Roasted Garlic: This pungent bulb is a favorite flavor all over the world, and mild, mellow roasted garlic is among the best ways to use it. But will it be as delicious in candy form as it is in main dishes, soups and sauces? (We chose to combine our roasted garlic with cream cheese as we felt the flavor might be too overpowering if mixed directly into the chocolate.)

Procedure:

Step 1: Cut the top off of a whole head of garlic (paper and all). You just want to cut the tips of the cloves off. Put the garlic in the center of a piece of foil, drizzle with cooking oil and wrap tightly. Roast the garlic in a 400ºF oven for about 45 minutes until the garlic is browned and softened:

Chocolate Experiment 2 Roasted Garlic

Allow the garlic to cool and squeeze the softened cloves out of their skins. Mash three or four cloves with three or four tablespoons of cream cheese. (I used the rest of the garlic to make roasted garlic mashed potatoes – it’s good stuff!) Spoon the cream cheese mixture onto a plastic wrap-lined cookie sheet in about one teaspoon dollops (it’s too soft to roll into proper truffles.) Freeze for about one hour until very hard.

Step 2: Put three or four sun-dried tomatoes (dry, not oil-packed) into the bottom of a mug. Cover with boiling water and let stand for around 20 minutes until softened. Drain the tomatoes very well, cool and chop finely.

Step 3: Melt fine shavings carved from a big block of Callebaut dark chocolate (or your preferred brand of baking chocolate) as described in Part 1. (You will have to melt more chocolate in between items.)

Step 4: Using chopsticks, turn a few small-sized gumballs in the chocolate until completely coated. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Step 5: Put about a half cup of raisin bran cereal into a bowl. Spoon enough melted chocolate over the bran flakes that when tossed, all the flakes are covered. Spread the raisin bran evenly in the baking sheet.

Step 6: Mix the chopped sun-dried tomatoes with a few tablespoons of chocolate. Spoon onto the baking sheet. (Our chocolate seized up a bit, perhaps due to the amount of liquid in the tomatoes, so we spooned more liquid chocolate over our tomato clusters in order to get a nice smooth finish.)

Step 7: Remove your frozen garlic centers from the freezer. Revel in the aroma of roasted garlic that rises from the truffle centers as you dip them, one at a time, into a fresh batch of melted chocolate with your chopsticks. (It’s best to put the chocolate in something a little bit tall and narrow, like a mug.) Transfer the garlic truffles to the baking sheet.

Step 8: Put the baking sheet into the fridge or freezer and allow to harden until all the items have become firm and cold to the touch and don’t melt too much on your fingers.

Here are the items after coating:

Chocolate Experiment 2 Final Ingredients

Step 9: Taste the items, with or without a Research Assistant of your own. (Mine braved an impending case of the stomach flu to bring these creations into the world – give her a big hand, folks!) My family also filled in as Assistant Tasting Panel.

Observations:

Chocolate Experiment 2 Raisin BranRaisin Bran: We made two batches of this. For the first, we used the same mug that we used to melt the chocolate, and the confined space made it difficult to mix the flakes with the chocolate without breaking them up. This batch was not all that crunchy – the chocolate seemed to soak into the broken flakes, leaving them with a dense, cookie-like texture. In the interests of Science, we gave it another go.

The second batch was made in a larger bowl, which allowed for a more gentle tossing of the cereal and chocolate. This batch turned out crisper, but had a heavy, bran-like mouth feel. These were well-received by the Tasting Panel, but they lacked the light crispness of other chocolate-cereal combinations like Nestle Crunch or the Ritter Sport cornflakes bar.

One thing was missing from both batches: raisins. Our test sample of Raisin Bran did not contain very many, and I did not detect even a single one in the pieces I tasted. (Two scoops, my butt!) My Research Assistant found a few, and she proclaimed them “Really chewy, like the Skittles were last time,” perhaps due to the freezing process used to set the chocolate. A tasty treat overall, but not spectacular.

Experiment status: Moderate Success


Chocolate Experiment 2 Sun-Dried TomatoesSun-Dried Tomatoes: Due the problem with the chocolate seizing up, our sun-dried tomato clusters had hardened into lumpy, deformed monstrosities that even the coating of fresh chocolate did little to hide. Undaunted, we forged ahead. We took our first bites of the chocolate-tomato blend and found it… surprisingly good.

The large chocolate clusters were still a little soft on the inside. When combined with the chocolate, the saltiness of the tomato was mostly masked, leaving the flavor sweet and fruity and just a little bit tart. In fact, the combination was remarkably similar to chocolate-coated dried cherries. The flavor was quite pleasant, and this researcher had no trouble at all finishing a whole one, despite its large size.

For future experiments, the researcher recommends draining the tomatoes better and warming them before adding to the chocolate to prevent the chocolate from seizing. But all in all, this is a tasty combination and we would not be at all surprised to see a chocolate and sun-dried tomato bar on store shelves at some time (if there isn’t one already).

Experiment status: Success!


Chocolate Experiment 2 GumballsBubble Gum: The chocolate gumballs had set into such pretty, perfect spheres that we were sure they would taste delicious. And they did – for the first two bites. The gum’s sweetness was just beginning to be noticeable beneath the stronger chocolate flavor, when something happened that we, despite our scientific backgrounds, were at a total loss to explain. In those few bites, the gumballs softened. And kept softening. The gum… ceased to be gum.

The combination of chocolate and gum base must have caused some sort of bizarre chemical reaction, because the gum almost instantly dissolved into a sort of gum-flavored liquid. And not a good gum-flavored liquid, but a liquid flavored like old gum that you’ve been chewing for hours too long because you didn’t have a place to spit it out. (The flavor of the chocolate was not evident beyond the first few bites.) “It’s like you can taste all the chemicals that went into the gum,” my Research Assistant said. Other comments from the Tasting Panel included “Where’s a glass of water?” “Eeeyurgh!” and “After this I’m actually looking forward to the garlic!”

In summary, our research team could never have predicted that combining two such innocent ingredients would have such bizarre and terrifying results. This, my friends, is what science is all about!

Experiment status: Epic Failure


Chocolate Experiment 2 Garlic TrufflesRoasted Garlic: The rather misshapen “truffles” remaining on the plate had haunted us as we ate our way through tomatoes, cereal and that awful, awful gum. But at last, the moment of truth had arrived. Each picking up a truffle, we raised them to our mouths and bit. Our mouths were flooded with the taste of cream cheese, garlic and dark chocolate. And it was… tasty. Really tasty!

The chocolate had set nicely into a hard, crisp shell surrounding the creamy interior. The garlic flavor was definitely discernible from within its cream cheese base, but it was surprisingly compatible with the dark bitterness of the chocolate shell. The flavor of the filling was just a little too salty to be a perfect match for the chocolate, but reducing the amount a bit, or perhaps replacing the cream cheese with a stiff ganache and making true chocolate truffles, would probably solve this problem… and this reviewer is actually considering making another batch in order to test this theory. “I enjoyed the garlic the most of everything we tried,” my Research Assistant said. The lone member of the Tasting Panel who was brave enough to taste one agreed.

Chocolate and garlic: a delicious match – and remember, you read it here first!

Experiment status: Success!


Conclusion:
In today’s experiment, our palates were pleased by some truly unlikely combinations, and a seemingly innocent pairing proved to be the vilest thing we had yet concocted. But it doesn’t end there. There’s more to come. And to make it happen, I’m opening up Part 3 to suggestions from YOU, our beloved readers! What foods would you like to see us test next? (Make comedy suggestions like “dog poop” if you must, but only items that are actually food will be considered.)

There’ll be more thrills, chills, (chocolate) spills, and eating of combinations that Nature never intended in Part 3 of The Great Chocolate Experiment!

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15 Responses to “The Great Chocolate Experiment (Part 2)”

  1. 1
    Jeni says:

    How about Skittles dipped in chocolate? Purple onions? French fries? Honey Nut Cheerios?

  2. 2
    MasterKacey says:

    I’ll take your word for it on this experiment, because I don’t think I’m ready to try chocolate coated tomatoes or garlic yet. Euuuurgh.

    Kudos to you guys for trying it!

  3. 3
    Beck says:

    I second the french fries suggestion!

  4. 4
    Sarah says:

    Chocolate and Cranberries are DELICIOUS!!! I hate them together in a bag of trail mix and absolutely loved it!

  5. 5
    Sarah says:

    whoops…i meant ate them…not hate them! sorry its been a long day!!!

  6. 6
    Sparkina says:

    I have some suggestions for dipping foods that may be chocolate’s undiscovered perfect partner

    Cocoa Puffs cereal
    Popcorn
    Rice cakes
    Orange Marmalade (Take a dollop of marmalade and dip it in the choc)
    Fruta Bomba (syrupy sweet canned papaya pieces, available in the ethnic foods aisle of your supermarket)
    A dollop of Cool Whip
    A dollop of Canned frosting.
    C. Howard’s violet mints.
    Pieces of baked sweet potato
    Ritz crackers
    Cheez-its!
    Popcorn
    Fritos.
    Carrot cake
    Vanilla wafers
    Fruit snacks

    For the really soft items like marmalade, cool whip, and frosting, you might want to coat them with hard-shell ice cream topping before dipping the pieces in the melted choc so they don’t melt to nothing from the heat of the chocolate

  7. 7
    Robby says:

    I recommend trying graham crackers, fig newtons, wasabi nuts, corn nuts, cornbread, various fruits (apples, oranges, mango, pineapple), and jelly beans.

  8. 8
    Sea Hag says:

    Hooray! I was hoping that you guys would do more of these and I dig the items you decided to chocolate-coat. I vote for chocolate-covered beer.

  9. 9
    Sid says:

    When ever I swallowed my gum as a child, I would eat a bit of chocolate to make sure it melted instead of following me around for seven years lol.

    Anyway, things to dip into chocolate:
    Jackfruit (found at asian markets in cans)
    Sushi
    Pickles
    Crabcakes
    Sweet Condensed Milk
    Lemon Curd
    Bacon
    Honey Mustard Pretzel Pieces

    That’s about all… I think they will do well.

  10. 10
    Candy says:

    You guys are HILARIOUS!!! LOVE the experimenting AND the description. I could NOT bring myself to taste chocolate coated garlic though. Eeewwww!!! I’ll have to take your word for it that it works.

  11. 11
    Laurie says:

    Thanks for all your great suggestions, everyone! I’ll keep them in mind for Part 3.

    Laurie

  12. 12
    Clammy says:

    Heres some suggestions
    Hot dogs
    Mozzerella
    scallops
    string beans
    hard boiled eggs
    corn on the cob
    buffalo wings!

  13. 13
    JASON says:

    Chocolate Bacon sounds good too.

  14. 14
    Sparkina67 says:

    Chocolate dipped crabcakes? Chocolate dipped hard-boiled eggs. How revolting is that?

  15. 15
    lollirocks says:

    FRENCH FRIES!!! Sorry.:)

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