Saturday, May 26, 2012

Captivating Toffees & Caramels

A new wonderful company has entrusted us here on The Chocolate Cult to reveal their products to you.  Carol Greenwald from Captivating Confections, Inc., sent us samples of their toffees and caramels to share with you all.  The caramels are in the smaller boxes, six pieces each in two flavors, and the toffees are in the bigger box also in two varieties.  Located in East Islip, New York, they made all of their treats by hand and their flavors vary by the season but also upon request for specific occasions.  Let's take a closer look at these offerings she sent us to reveal to you all.

Their website won't give you even a hint of the variety of caramels Captivating Confections makes but their Peanut Butter Banana is the year round variety you can find online.  This milk chocolate covered caramel varies in size, these are handmade, I expect this, but all are more than a quarter an inch thick.  There is a strong scent of peanut butter and milk chocolate when I bring one cool piece to my nose; perhaps an undercurrent of banana and some sweetness, too.  This isn't at all what I was expecting when I take a bite.  Instead of chewy or sticky caramel the inside is more creamy with a strong sweet peanut butter flavor and a much stronger banana essence than the scent suggested there would be.  What it reminds me of are those frozen banana on a stick treats but with a peanut butter flavor to them instead of the crunchy pieces on the outside.  In terms of caramel I just am not getting that but in terms of the chocolate, banana, and peanut butter those flavors are there, identifiable yet also blended well together.

Carol also sent me a Dark Chocolate Sea Salt caramel to try out as well and as you can see in this photo, I hope, the sea salt is visible on the top of the dark chocolate coating.  These two vary in size though my set seemed a bit larger than the previous variety over all.  This has a salty and deep chocolate scent, no hint of caramel.  It makes a snap when I take a bite and immediately my tongue is beset by the salt and the chocolate then a burst of tangy sweetness that fades back into the salt and the dark cocoa flavors.  The caramel isn't sticky or chewy, more firm but I can tell it is indeed a tangy style of caramel.  I actually like this a lot because until a traditional googy caramel I can take these with me and not worry so much about them melting and the dark chocolate is very strong even against the sweetness and the salt.

Just like there is a standard caramel you can always find on their website, there are five toffee varieties you can see online but Captivating Confections offers seasonal varieties as well.  The first up is the Teri's Toffee that is topped by hazelnuts that you can easily see in this photograph.  The toffees are broken into pieces making them easier to eat and I've flipped a few over in the photo to show you the bottom as well as the dark chocolate on the top.  This has a sweet scent plus a bit of the dark chocolate's essence and it makes a very loud snap when I take a bite.  The hazelnuts have a subtle flavor and crunch to them.  By itself the dark chocolate have a good buzz potential to it but it is almost overwhelmed by the buttery toffee on the bottom layer that lingers long after the first bite is consumed.  This is basically what I have come to expect from chocolate covered toffee really so for toffee, this ranks as well as several others we've tried.  If you want more of the chocolate flavor, place that side down on your tongue but the sweet tang of the toffee is going to be the last essence regardless.

Last but not least is the S'more's Toffee that Carol sent us that has a milk chocolate top with mini-marshmallows and a graham cracker bottom layer that I hope you can see in the pieces I've flipped for the photo.  The cracker layer is a bit thicker than the milk chocolate but not by much and the marshmallows seem fairly evenly placed over the chocolate layer.  This has a very slight scent over all, a hint of the milk chocolate, some graham cracker sweetness and flour and a hint of that cornstarch that covers marshmallows.  On closer examination I can see three layers, a toffee layer is between the chocolate and the graham crackers and this definitely comes out when I take a bite.  There is a very some sound and the cracker layer crumbles into my mouth to leave the tang of the toffee dominant.  The milk chocolate and the marshmallows are there but again over whelmed by the toffee.  Still if you close your eyes and focus on your mouth you can get the sense of a candied up s'more treat.

These are unique chocolate treats that are made with great ingredients by a very nice lady.  Of these four, the Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt Caramel was my hands down favorite because the chocolate was the strongest here.  One of the neatest aspects of the toffee is that I could see the cracker base for them and that reminded me of how I've made homemade toffee myself, confirming that these are indeed made by hand and actually making me wonder if I could try to copy the s'mores idea for August... but that's getting away from the treats themselves.  They make a lot of other chocolate treats and we'll see more of Captivating Confections later in the year because they are the first company to get on board for our 4th Annual Halloween Treat Challenge so that event is off to a great start.  Check them out and let us know if you've tried their creations yourself.


CakeWhiz said...

You are so lucky you got to review these chocolates. that way, you got to eat them and every single one of them looks delicious. i think my favorite would be the sea salt caramel one too...hehe
-Abeer @

TammyJo Eckhart said...

Abeer, thanks for reading and commenting. Actually I do not eat all of the products we are sent -- I'd be even huger than I am -- I have a group of volunteers numbering at nine individuals now who help me with the products. Some products I never sample but every one who helps me, knows the procedure I want them to follow.

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