Monday, January 6, 2014

Hershey's Chocolate Spreads Flavor Pairings!

We went from healthy fruit smoothies in my last post and talks of  being healthy and taking a break from the richness of the holiday season in the post before that, to a post filled entirely with rich chocolate spreads.  That doesn't make any sense, yet, here is this post.  You didn't think I'd forget about these fantastic Hershey's chocolate spreads, right?  No way.  There's always room for a little chocolate!  I first introduced these spreads back during my cookie week before Christmas, where I use the chocolate spreads to sandwich two oatmeal lace cookies together.  Now, I'm pairing the chocolate spreads with treats other than cookies. Hershey's gave me a a kit full of different snacks that could be enjoyed with the chocolate spreads, and it was a lot of fun trying them all out to see which I liked best.  My favorite, hands down, were the pita chips and pretzel crisps dipped in the chocolate spreads. That sweet-salty flavor combination is just irresistible to me!

While I really enjoyed the flavor pairings that already came in my Hershey's kit, I knew that I wanted to explore outside the kit to see what other great flavor combinations I could come up with.  Since my favorite pairings within the kit were with the pita chips and pretzels, I decided to stick with the salty direction first.  I had a solo tasting party (wise move?  I'm still debating that...), and dipped kettle cooked potato chips, plantain chips, and Wheat Thins in each of the chocolate spreads.  I seriously loved how these salty snacks paired with the rich chocolatey spreads, with the kettle cooked potato chips combination being my favorite.  The plantain chips and Wheat Thins were both great with the spreads too, but because they have a naturally subtle sweetness to them, I ended up preferring the pure saltiness of the potato chips paired with the chocolate.  I just love that sweet-salty contrast!

As much as I loved the salty combinations with the spreads, I did want to try out a few sweeter alternatives.  I went ahead and decided to use each spread in three totally different applications.  None of these are real recipes, but do show you just how easy it is to incorporate the different Hershey's spreads into simple and delicious snacks.  For the plain chocolate spread, I wanted to create a really simple, classic hot chocolate.  I simply whisked together a cup of milk, 2 1/2 tablespoons of the spread, and half a tablespoon of cocoa powder in a small saucepan over medium heat until the spread had melted smoothly into the milk.  I topped off the hot chocolate with a few mini marshmallows, and in less than five minutes, I had a mug of rich, velvety hot chocolate in front of me.  It was perfect, considering all the snow that's sitting outside my house!

For the chocolate hazelnut spread, I knew I wanted to pair it with bananas and strawberries in a panini, because who wouldn't want that for breakfast...or lunch...or dinner...

Unfortunately for me, I didn't have any strawberries at home, and my laziness got the better of me, so I didn't venture out to the supermarket in search of some strawberries.  Nevertheless, this panini made with the chocolate hazelnut spread and a few slices of banana was aaahhmazing anyway.  It takes approximately 2 minutes to make.  Simply smear some of the chocolate spread on two slices of bread, and arrange a few slices of banana on one of the bread slices.  Top with the other slice of bread, chocolate-side down, and heat on your panini press or in a skillet until it has heated through, and the chocolate spread is warm and gooey.  So easy, and so good.

I saved the chocolate almond spread for last because it's my favorite.  I wanted to keep it as simple as I could, so that I could really enjoy its flavor as much as possible.  I thought using the spread as an ice cream topping would really be the best way to go about this, and I'm so happy I went with this route.  I simply put a little bit of the spread in a microwave safe bowl, and microwaved it for a few seconds, stirring every now and then, until the spread had thinned out just a bit, and then drizzled it over a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream.  The combination of the warm chocolate and cold ice cream was perfect! 

I hope this has all given you some new inspiration for what to pair with your Hershey's spreads.  The almond spread may be my favorite, but trust me, they're all delicious!  In a couple of days, stay tuned for a real recipe featuring one of the spreads, in addition to some giveaway news that you won't want to miss!

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post by Hershey's Chocolate as a part of their #spreadpossibilities campaign.  I have received compensation and product samples, but all opinions and thoughts are my own.


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