Bonnie: The Bite of the Best team first learned about Dark Chocolate Dreams from a community member who suggested we try it.
”If you like peanut butter and you like chocolate you will love this product,” wrote Barbara Allen. “I used to be able to find it only in gourmet shops and I am embarrassed to say that I would travel miles to get it. Now I see it in the local supermarkets. This product needs no bread and certainly no jelly. Just scoop up the dark creamy chocolaty nectar straight from the jar. It’s heaven on a spoon.”
We listened to her and others spouting the deliciousness of this peanut butter. So we tried it. And we agree—it is heaven on a spoon.
I remember laughing when I read her comment, thinking, “How could one bite of this be so good?” But it’s true.
I met up with Lee Zalben, the owner of Peanut Butter & Co, at the recent fancy food show in NYC and learned that his company began as a sandwich shop in New York’s Greenwich Village, a block from New York University and Washington Square Park. He had wanted to serve college students and moms with kids a PBJ sandwich using an all-natural peanut butter.
In 2002, a buyer from the Dean & Deluca specialty store in Manhattan told Lee he wanted to sell this peanut butter at his store—and wouldn’t take no for an answer. From there, the business spread….
Today, Peanut Butter & Co offers 10 varieties of peanut butter on its website, including this heavenly Dark Chocolate Dreams.
Lee shared with me his favorite recipe using Dark Chocolate Dreams:
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bread Pudding (not for dieters)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish. Make 6 sandwiches on (at least) day-old brioche or challah bread, using 1/4 c of Dark Chocolate Dreams in each; cut each sandwich into 8 pieces and pile the pieces in the prepared dish.
Heat 2 c light cream, 1 t vanilla and 1/2 t salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot.
Whisk together 3 large eggs and 1 cup sugar in a large bowl. Slowly add the hot cream mixture, stirring constantly to make sure the eggs do not cook. Pour the mixture over the bread, cover the dish with foil and place in the center rack of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, removing the foil after 20 minutes. The finished pudding should be golden brown on top. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Bryan: Raise your hand if you don’t like peanut butter and chocolate. OK, the two people out there with their hands up can simply stop reading now. For everybody else, listen up…. This stuff is good! I have to admit upfront that I’m a super fan of this flavor combo. A warm peanut butter cup is one of my all-time favorite candy choices and the cooler version, found by combining the two into ice cream, is truly divine.
It almost seems too obvious, but somehow we’ve all overlooked the most fundamental union of these two powerhouse flavors — simply a chocolate peanut butter. Forget the combinations, forget the peanut center with a chocolate coating…. Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter is a melding of the two flavors, not a presentation, side by side, like all the others.
Peanut Butter & Co’s Dark Chocolate Dreams is just one of a number of flavors the company offers directly from its website (and its shop in Greenwich Village, NYC). Other highlights include: Mighty Maple, Bee’s Knees (honey), White Chocolate Wonderful, The Heat Is On (spiced PB) and Cinnamon Raisin Swirl (so good on a bagel). It was a “no discussion needed” topic to write on the chocolate. Not only is that flavor a soft spot for Bite of the Best, but it is the star of the lineup.
I was worried as I opened the jar that it would be too sweet, sickeningly sweet. I imagined 25 peanut butter cups blended into a paste, packed into a jar. The thought excited me, but made me wonder which spoonful would make me push the jar away in disgust. I was pleasantly surprised right from the foil, which I removed from the top and subsequently licked clean! I then dipped a knife into the jar and just had a taste. Subtle, I thought, with a sweet but natural finish, the unsweetened peanut and cocoa — not the sugar — dominating the palate.
Three knivesful and two finger swipes later, I was not only not disgusted, I was ready for a PB sandwich — and my first thought was banana. You may think it odd, but I went for rye bread, giving my creation just enough touch of the savory to bring it back from dessert. I think it could also make for an interesting substitution for Nutella, the Italian chocolate-hazelnut spread, in my next crêpe experiment.
A fun product, and amazingly even better for you than a commercially flavored PB, the Dark Chocolate Dreams has 170 calories with 13 grams fat (2.5 grams saturated) and 7 grams sugar. A store-bought honey roast flavored PB I had on hand has 190 calories with 14 grams fat (3 grams saturated) and 8 grams sugar. All in all, if you’re a chocolate fan, this could be a wonderful new snack treat to consider!
Eric: I am probably one of the biggest peanut butter enthusiasts out there. On a daily basis I eat at least one peanut butter sandwich, usually switching between a combination of strawberry jam, Nutella or banana (although when I was growing up and visiting my friend Eric Drumm’s home, I used to reach for the fluff, but find it too sweet nowadays.