When it comes to chocolate, I’m normally fussy.
I don’t much care for the overly sweet mass-produced stuff, though sometimes desperate times call for quantity over quality. Except for one: I am quite fond of the Cadbury’s Marvellous Creations bar.
If you haven’t come across it, Marvellous Creations is Dairy Milk with extras: jelly beans, Smarties or M&Ms (though neither being a Cadbury’s product, they don’t call them that), and popping candy. There’s something about the combination, especially with the jelly beans, that I really like. A bit like fruit and nut, another favourite.
The only problem, really, with the Marvellous Creations, is the Dairy Milk. Which has gone downhill, taste-wise, over the years. Or my tastes have matured, and I just can’t cope with the excess of sugar any more.
To solve this, I have been experimenting with combinations of jellied sweets, Smarties/M&Ms, and a suitable plain chocolate base. My go-to for plain chocolate is Aldi’s basics range. The milk one has a good balance between sugar and cacao, and has the bonus of not containing palm fats.
It’s very easy and straightforward, with all quantities adjustable to taste and preference. Simply melt your chocolate (I use the bowl over boiling water method), and when smooth, stir in whatever you’re adding. Spread out over a lined baking tray and leave to set in the fridge. Cut into squares and try not to eat it all at once.
So far, I’ve tried cherries, Haribo Strawbs, midget gems and Tesco’s jelly beans, mixed with either Aldi’s not-M&Ms or Smarties (depending on what was in stock). I haven’t yet found popping candy to add, but I’m not worried about that.
At present, the Strawbs are winning, beating even the original’s jelly beans. The only downside is that I have to spend ages cutting them into quarters to get them to the right sort of size. The midget gems do well, but I think I used too many of them.
For the future, I also want to try a real-fruit combination, perhaps apricots with cacao nibs. I think they’d give the right sort of crunch to replicate the candy-shell of the M&Ms.