Saturday, July 28, 2012

Newman's Own Organics Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups



1.2oz in three peanut butter cups
Ingredients: Organic sugar, o. chocolate liquor, o. cocoa butter, o, soy lecithin, o. vanilla, o. peanut butter, o. whole milk powder, o. palm kernel oil, palm kernel oil, peanut flour, salt
12g sugar/34g package (35.3% by wt.)

Corporate Info: Newman's Own was famously founded by beloved (seriously—can you find anyone who would disagree?) actor Paul Newman in 1982, and his daughter Nell founded Newman's Own Organics in 1993. They are truly separate companies, as while Newman's Own Organics started as a division of the parent company, it split off in 2001; even the websites are entirely different. The older company makes the salad dressing, microwave popcorn, and other products (some of which are organic), while the younger produces all the chocolate as well as other sweets, snacks, and assorted items. Newman's Own is well known for its philanthropic intent and follow through, while Newman's Own Organics seems to make organic sourcing its sole priority. So you shouldn't think your chocolate purchases are helping with Paul Newman's charitable causes, but you can still feel good about the whole thing.

Today's Confection: Newman's Own Organics produces five kinds of chocolate cups: Dark chocolate filled with caramel, peanut butter, or peppermint, and milk chocolate filled with caramel or peanut butter. Most ingredients are organic, the cacao is Rainforest Alliance Certified, and the cost they pay for the cacao is “tied to the Fair Trade market price of organic cocoa beans.” I found this package on sale for I think less than $1.50, not a major luxury price. I should also mention that the ingredients' milk powder and other elements were part of “organic yogurt coating,” which I suspect was combined with the chocolate rather than being a separate piece of the cup or mixed with the peanut butter, but I'm really not sure.

Appearance: Flattish, steep-walled cups in a milky, friendly-looking brown.

Smell: Like chocolate and peanut butter. The chocolate smells like real chocolate, a little beany and raw but not too much, and the peanut is subtle but present.

Taste: The chocolate is smooth, creamy, and rich, holding its own but not the deep, intense type of dark. The peanut butter is soft and flowy but not liquidy, so you'll get some on your lips but not drip it on the floor. It's mostly smooth but like natural peanut butter, which is to say mouth-fillingly oily rather than the greasy, thick consistency of common store brands containing hydrogenated oils. (I'm not saying those peanut butters don't have a sort of appeal, but you can't deny that they share a texture with Crisco.) What I really like is the balance between chocolate and peanut butter, both because of the quantities and because the chocolate is mild enough not to overwhelm the peanut butter, one solution to the problem I had with Justin's similar product. The flavors of both elements won't approximate a Reese's, if that's what you're looking for, but Newman's Own Organics does an admirable job with its own peanut butter cups.

Conclusion: Newman's Own Organics Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups are well balanced in texture and flavor, a good choice for organic, not-too-sweet peanut butter cups.

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