Chocolate Score


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The new chocolate I found at TJ’s is my newest foodie product score.

If I have no other great food discoveries in 2012, I can rest happily for the rest of the year with this find because this stuff is good.  Very good.

Four squares of Trader Joe's poundplus chocolate

I made something with it and realized that it melts so smoothly, so evenly, so perfectly.

Sometimes you really have to “finesse” chocolate chips in order to get them to melt and really work at it, and some brands require more finesse and encouragement than others.

That’s because chocolate chips have stabilizers in them so that when you put chocolate chips in say, a batch of cookies and bake them at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, that you don’t end up with a pile of chocolate soup all over your cookies.  The stabilizers keep the chips intact; the chips melt and soften but do not liquify, which is good in cookies.

But not so good when you’re melting chocolate to make say, a homemade peanut butter cup, and you want liquified chocolate and have to keep re-heating it, stirring, repeating to get proper meltage going.

Raw vegan peanut butter cups cut in half

Enter the new chocolate.

It melts so easily and it’s as smooth as buttah.

Four squares of Trader Joe's poundplus chocolate

I literally put a slab in a bowl, powered the microwave on, and in 40 seconds the slab had nearly melted on it’s own, no finessing necessary.

I barely touched it with a spoon and it was like a house of cards that fell apart by liquifying with great ease.  It was chocolate magic.

Box of Trader Joe's poundplus chocolate

And the flavor is rich and creamy, just like the lady told me it was.

I will never go back to other brands, i.e. Bakers, if I can help it and this is a reminder for me to stop struggling with trying to melt chocolate chips when I can just melt a few squares from a PoundPlus bar.

Baker's chocolate squares and bag of chocolate chips

There may be more Pretzel Peanut Caramel Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Truffles in my future sooner rather than later now that melting chocolate just got easier.

Pretzel Peanut Caramel Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Truffle in half

Or more Butterfinger Bars (No Bake, 3 ingredients, Microwave with Vegan & GF options)

Butterfinger bars with candy corn

And maybe I’ll whip up a batch of Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge (Microwave, 3 ingredients) with it…

Stack of chocolate peanut butter fudge

Or some homemade Turtles

Chocolate turtle
cut open chocolate turtle with caramel and popcorn

And I made something else with it.  Recipe coming soon.

Moving onto the winners of the NuNaturals Giveaway:


Rebecca @ Naturally Healthy and Gorgeous

Michele Sparrow



Do you ever struggle with melting chocolate? 

Do you have a favorite brand of chocolate chips or chocolate bars?

I am partial to the TJ’s semi sweet chocolate chips.

Trader Joe's white chocolate and chocolate chips

I feel the flavor is much richer, deeper, and smoother overall compared to Nestle chocolate chips.

I rarely buy Ghirardelli or Scharffen Berger because they’re much more expensive.  I have, however, heard rumors that Trader Joe’s own chocolate, both their chips and their bars, is Scharffen Berger in disguise, re-labeled according.  I have no idea if this is true but I have read it multiple times over the years.

And sorry to those of you who don’t have a TJ’s nearby can can’t race out to buy a PoundPlus bar.

Do you have any cookie or baking tasks you struggle with?

Anything that has to do with a candy thermometer, I fail at.  I make glue rather than candy with them.

Any fun food finds of 2012 yet?  Or in 2011?

P.S. I have all my chocolate recipes compiled, with photos and links of all them, here

Enjoy your weekend!

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  1. I love the TJ’s dark chocolate sea salt caramel bar! I’m 99% sure it’s Vosges… the packaging is nearly identical. It’s my favorite TJ’s find so far… but I am definitely going to be on the lookout for that pound plus bar the second I get home from Hawaii!

    1. You’re right…the packaging IS super close. Try the pound plus bar..for the money, really, can’t be beat IMO!

  2. Dude! Chocolate is so cheap at TJ’s! In Norway we have to pay double price for HALF the amount of those bags of chocolate.. I wish I could live in USA, but my boyfriend doesn’t :p

  3. Sure, find something awesome that’s 75 miles away from me at best! :P I’ll stock up on my bi-yearly excursion to TJ’s.

  4. This:

    BEST white chocolate EVER. I know I’m no expert, but HOLY HELL. I ate so much of this at the house I was staying at. Best part of the vacation, really. ;)

    THere is also a double chocolate one….both are amazing. I like them both better than the TJs, but they may cost more. I am pretty sure the white is cheaper though. And worth it. So worth it.

    1. I’ve had plenty of just plain white ghira

      Never tried that one you linked but yes, ghira is good stuff.

      There is a Dutch white choc I can get in Aruba, like the dutch cookie butter, it blows anything else away. I get very spoiled there and it’s all CHEAP! And to think the Nestle White choc chips are twice the price of higher quality white. Not fair.

  5. Going to TJ’s in the morning! Going to pick up a bar of the chocolate! I hate melting chocolate. I have used semi sweet chocolate chips and it never melts right, it either gets to hard, or I think I burn it, plus it never seems creamy enough! So with t hat, I will try TJ’s new pounder bar and hopes for better results!

  6. i just bought a block of it, based on your recommendation. Can’t wait to try it out.
    I also bought some of the Speculoos Cookie Butter (no shortage here) form TJs and made your chocolate chip cookie dough balls, subbing the cookie butter for maple/agave. They are AMAZING!!!!!!!

    1. Oh I’m so glad you tried the cookie butter! I bet that it’s great in the choc chip cookie dough balls and have you seen these

      You could use graham crackers or really any dry ingredient, crushed, if you dont have the cookies I used as the dry ingredient.

      I also have a few recipes coming up that you could sub the cookie butter in for, too…I wish they weren’t still out of stock at my TJs :( Others across the country though have said they’re still out. Consider yourself lucky to have no shortage :)

  7. Peanut Butter Fudge is the one recipe my sister and I struggle with!! It’s either too much or too little of one ingredient and it goes haywire!!

    BTW, I think I need to go to Trader Joe’s more often!!

  8. Very interesting chocolate info here and awesome find! I have actually never melted chocolate, but you’ve mastered it and created some amazing treats.

  9. I struggle with melting chocolate ALL the time, particularly those stupid chocolate candy melt things, that are specifically designed for melting but never do! I use them for cake pops and they cause me nothing but frustration.

  10. I LOVE that bar from TJ’s!!! I, however, do not care for their chocolate chips, I think they’re too sweet. I buy Ghiradelli when they’re on sale, usually 2/$6 (which is comparable to TJ’s) or sometimes even cheaper. I also buy like 4 of the big bags when they’re on sale at world market over the holidays. My fav brand however is Guittard, but those are a splurge, and only when they’re really on sale! The pound plus bar is awesome to bake with, but I was really disappointed when they discontinued the semi-sweet chocolate caillets, the little discs…. those were by far my fav and I was crushed when I stopped seeing them on the shelf :(

  11. Oh my gosh, if there is a way to mess up a recipe, I will find it! It’s like a (not-so) secret gift I have, lol. I had no idea that I should be using bars to melt instead of chips. That would have made my Christmas candy making so much easier! It’s a long trek to Trader Joe’s, but I might have to swing by again. I still haven’t found a real reason to go out there, this might be it!

  12. Wow, to get good quality dark chocolate (70%+) in that quantity is so hard for me to find up here! Next time I nip over the border I’m heading straight for TJ’s :).

  13. My fabulous foodie find was Mountain Rise Granola from Wegmans the other day!! I’ll actually be doing a review of it later this evening. It’s seriously the perfect granola. The one I purchased is vegan, with cinnamon, raisins, and nutmeg. It’s just sweet enough so you know there is sugar, but not so sweet that you feel like your eating dessert. Reminds me of a really delish oatmeal raisin cookie. Best part is that Mountain Rise is a small family run (organic) company in upstate NY. I love supporting small family farms! :)

  14. YES! I love that chocolate. I bought so much of it for the holidays because I made three different kinds of chocolate bark! Great price, great quality.

    I FAIL at things with the candy thermometer. It took me FOUR TRIES to make caramel!

    1. Girl I won’t even make caramels anymore. Have ruined far too much good sugar, butter, and cream to attempt it yet my mother is a pro at them. But me…no.

  15. I hate when melted chocolate turns all gritty. I’ll have to try TJ brand.

  16. Hi Averie! I am going to pick up some of that chocolate this week! It has always caught my eye! I have the Wilton Chocolate Melting Pot and it is perfect for melting chocolate. We make buckeyes every year and it is such a time saver! You would love it :)

    1. I’ve thought about getting one of those things but I don’t make enough truffles to justify it..or I am purposefully telling myself, I don’t need it! :)

  17. that is the best chocolate from TJ’s!! i always melt it with a touch of coconut oil, never really do the double boiler thing, just keep it on super low heat to not burn. have a great weekend averie :)

  18. Now I’m going to start petitioning Trader Joe’s to please come to my very small hometown. Just for the chocolate! :)

    These all look fabulous!

  19. I think I’m going to try your butter finger bars in my mini muffin tin tonight. :)

  20. I think i would give a kidney to have some of your Pretzel Peanut Caramel Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Truffles shipped to my house haha.

  21. I alwaysss seem to burn chocolate when I go to melt it. I’ll keep that in mind about the stabilizers and look for one without next time. My favorite bars are lindt dark with sea salt.

  22. I always melt bars of chocolate rather than chocolate chips – I think the chocolate in chocolate chips can sometimes taste a bit artificial and I much prefer the real thing. Can’t wait to see what you come up with with your new chocolate!

  23. Oh girl – I totally screw up melting chocolate. Turned white chocolate into almost brownies trying to melt it just last week.

  24. That’s good to know. I usually avoid recipes calling for melted chocolate because I don’t enjoy wrestlling with it.

  25. On my list for my next TJ trip. Hershey’s special dark is horrendous to melt, it clumps together and then turns into a solid chocolate frosting! Love the taste (and the price, usually my other choices are ghiradelli, which is costly, or the store brand at my local super, which is poor quality) but hate the work involved, so thanks for the suggestion!

    1. Yes I know what you mean. That chocolate lump that just does not ever melt or come together.