August 30th: 'Bits n Bobs' - Cakes, Biscuits, Brownies & Chocolate

Despite what you guys might think, I unfortunately don't spend all my day writing about chocolate (though I wish I did!!). Reality is I work an office job Monday to Friday. The office in which I work is a very friendly, sociable place, and people often bring in all types of cakes, chocolates and snacks for our tea area.

Every once and while I of course bring in things myself, so I thought it only right to do a quick fire 'Bits n Bobs' post reviewing some of the more interesting things to make to our tea area recently.

Marks & Spencer Rocky Road

Kcal 355 Fat 20.7g Fat(sats) 15.2g Carbs 38.5g (per bar)

These Rocky Road cakes were on a '4 for 3' deal last time I was in M&S. On the pack they came described as 'Biscuit, marshmallow and sultanas in a rich Belgian chocolate coating' - the first thing that struck me here was lack of cherries!? I wasn't particularly fussed by this myself as I'm not a great fan of them, but I wasn't too sure if this could be classified as a fully fledged Rocky Road without them (to be fair my other colleagues who tried them didn't notice!!). Poor old M&S were always going to be compared to the Heavenly Cakes Rocky Road and I'm afraid to say this didn't match up in any criteria. The chocolate and constituents were of a fair quality, but neither had the richness of the Heavenly Cakes alternative. The sultanas and marshmallow pieces added interest texture wise but failed to create much of an impression in terms of enhancing the taste. I probably wouldn't buy this again.

6.4 out of 10

Tunnock's Dark Chocolate Tea Cakes

Kcal 105 Fat 4.7g Fat(sats) 2.5g Carbs 14.6g (per Biscuit)

I have to hold my hands up straight away here and admit that I'm a bit of fanboy of these. I've been buying them for years now and they happen to be a pretty staple purchase whenever I do my weekly shopping in Sainsbury's (annoyingly my Tesco doesn't stock them). For those that haven't seen a Tunnock's Tea Cake before (where have you been living haha!), they are described as 'biscuit bases, topped with marshmallows covered in chocolate'. To cut the long story short, I like these dark chocolate ones just a bit more than the original milk chocolate variety that are more widely distributed. In comparison I think the unsweetened nature of the 'dark chocolate' balances the sweetness of the mallow centre a little better. Just like the milk chocolate ones, I don't find them the most satisfying of snacks but there is just something so comforting about them that makes me buy them time and time again - it must be nostalgia!

7.2 out of 10

The Co-Operative Fairtrade Chocolate Brownie

Kcal 320 Fat 12.6g Fat(sats) 6.0g Carbs 34.6g (per brownie)

Just like the Rocky Road cake above, this poor, poor brownie was always going to be compared to the Heavenly Cakes milk chocolate brownies I had the delight in reviewing a few months ago. It will be more fun for me to try and pull out the advantages that this Co-op brownie has over the Heavenly Cakes offering, rather than me just be totally blunt and say IT DIDN'T TASTE AS NICE haha! So what sort of case can I build!? Well ... for a start it was Fairtrade - 41% Fairtrade sugar, 4% Fairtrade cocoa powder, 7% Fairtrade Cocoa Mass and 1% Fairtrade cocoa butter ... hurrah for equality!! Secondly it only cost me 75p - so there was an obvious price advantage over Heavenly Cakes. Thirdly when I bought it I got to eat it straight away - no waiting in the post my brownies thank you very much. Sadly I would like to say those three things make it a superior product, but unfortunately not. In my opinion this brownie was nowhere near as rich, or as insanely indulgent in it's chocolate delivery. It will do a good job if you fancy a brownie on the impulse, but if it is the highest quality you're after look in the direction of Heavenly.

7.8 out of 10

Marks & Spencer Milk Chocolate & Caramel Layered Cookies

Kcal 180 Fat 9.4g Fat(sats) 5.5g Carbs 22.2g (per biscuit)

Save the best until last!? Would I really do something like that :D ??? ... Of course I would! You can now find these 'biscuits topped with a layer of caramel, crisp rice and milk chocolate' in a M&S near you, and I was lucky enough to snaffle a few boxes of them on a introductory £1 offer. If you factor in the likes of the new Cadbury and Mikado biscuit offerings, the chocolate biscuit market has been pretty active recently in terms of new products available in the last year, so these were going to have to be something special to make them stand out from the rest. Frankly ... they were! They were tremendous! The chocolate was thick and took a substantial grip on the taste, whilst the caramel layer was more creamy and Dulce de leche like, rather than being just sugary, syrup gloop. The biscuit bases were also very tasty with their shortbread, buttery flavours - even the outer bits of chocolate puffed rice were fun looking and proved to be just a nice touch. Looking at the calories you probably don't want to go replacing these with your daily custard cream, but if you are after some 'posh biscuits' to bring out for the guests round your house I'm sure these will go down tremendously.

8.7 out of 10