Marzipan Creams

Local’s Guide: July 2017

Marzipan Creams

Marzipan Creams are our Item of the Month at Branson’s Chocolates in July. Marzipan is a sweet paste made of finely ground almonds and sugar or honey, and often flavored with vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange, or lemon. It is a traditional European treat eaten like candy, often molded into fruit shapes, sometimes dipped in chocolate. Our Marzipan Creams start with our classic cream recipe, stir in almond paste, and then dip it all in our delicious rich semi-sweet chocolate.

Across the world, Marzipan has many variations. In Latin America, the almonds are replaced by peanuts, and they call it Mazapan. In Mexico, pine nuts and pistachios are substituted for the almonds. In the Middle East, Marzipan is usually flavored with orange-flower water.

Marzipan treats have an ancient history. Legend has it that during a 15th century famine when flour became scarce, bakers created a replacement using eggs, sugar, and stores of almonds.In Germany and throughout much of northern Europe it is considered good luck to receive a Marzipan pig on Christmas or New Year’s Day. Marzipan is a traditional food to eat on weddings and religious feast days in Italy, Greece, and Cyprus.

But don’t think that Marzipan is only for European history buffs with a sweet tooth. People everywhere love Marzipan so much that it has its very own holiday—January 12th is National Marzipan Day.Marzipan is even the name of a character in the Nutcracker ballet. How sweet is that?

We won’t be out and about in July, so come see us in the store at 1662 Siskiyou Boulevard here in Ashland. We’re just a block south of 7-11, in the Minute Market shopping center. We’re open Monday-Friday 10-6, and Saturday 11-5. If you’re lucky, youmight even catch us dipping and pouring chocolate!

You can find Branson’s Chocolates on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and at bransonschocolates.com for online chocolate shopping.

We will be closed on July 4th, come join us in celebrating our nation’s independence. Ashland puts on quite a party for the Fourth of July, starting with a hometown parade and ending with a fantastic fireworks display. Happy Fourth of July to you!

(Thanks to www.seriouseats.com/2010/12/marzipan-history-what-is-it-almonds.html  andwww.bbcgoodfood.com/glossary/marzipan .)

The English Lavender Farm’s Lavender Square

Local’s Guide:June 2017

The English Lavender Farm’s Lavender Square

We have partnered with our local English Lavender Farms this month to bring you English Lavender Farms Lavender Squares. We have been making Lavender and Sea Salt Bitter-Sweet Chocolate Bars and Lavender Salted Caramels. English Lavender Farms Lavender Squares will join our gourmet line. We steep English Lavender Farms lavender buds and infuse them into a semi-sweet ganache center, then dip the ganache in our semi-sweet chocolate, and top it with a stripe made from purple- tinted white chocolate. The lavender is a subtle background flavor and beautifully complements our dark, delicious chocolate. English Lavender Farms Lavender Squares are an indulgent, aromatic treat for the senses.

The English Lavender Farm, run by Sue and Derek Owen, opened to the public for the first time in the summer of 2014. They have been planting Angustafolias (English Lavenders) since 2012 and are turning their lavender farm into a luxurious venue for weddings and other events. Their farm is set on a gentle hillside, and there are stunning vistas of row upon row of purple lavender. They have spent time in Provence with French lavender farmers, and love to discuss the history of lavender production. Their drying barn serves also as a gift shop, and it is well-stocked with a wide variety of handmade lavender products produced on the farm, including Branson’s Chocolates English Lavender Farms Lavender Squares, Lavender and Sea Salt Bitter-Sweet Chocolate Bars, and Lavender Salted Caramels.

We won’t be out and about in June, so come see us in the store at 1662 Siskiyou Boulevard here in Ashland. We’re just a block south of 7-11, in the Minute Market shopping center. We’re open Monday-Friday 10-6, and Saturday 11-5. Maybe you will even catch us dipping and pouring chocolate!

You can find Branson’s Chocolates on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and at bransonschocolates.com for online chocolate shopping.

 

(Thanks to http://www.englishlavenderfarm.com/)

Ginger Squares

Local’s Guide: May 2017

Ginger Squares

Dark Chocolate Ginger Squares are the newest item at Branson’s Chocolates. We use Spiritopia Ginger Liqueur, “The World’s Finest Sipping Ginger”, crafted locally in Corvallis. Spiritopia uses only “ultra premium ingredients because taste rules”, uses no artificial ingredients, and we are proud to feature their Ginger Liqueur. Our Dark Chocolate Ginger Squares start with a dark chocolate ganache center made with Ginger Liqueur, then we dip the ganache in another layer of dark chocolate, and top it with a white chocolate stripe. It has a deliciously warm and slightly spicy flavor.

Ginger has a very long history of being used in traditional and alternative medicine, and is given the status of a “natural medicine chest” in ancient Ayurvedic medicine because of its numerous health benefits. Ginger has many benefits beyond helping fighting the flu and the common cold. Ginger has been used to help digestion, is often used to treat chronic indigestion, and appears to be highly effective against nausea, having long been used as a remedy for morning sickness and sea sickness. There is some evidence that it may even be as effective as prescription medication. The active ingredient in ginger can help fight infections, ginger’s anti-inflammatory effects can help with osteoarthritis, and may be effective over time at reducing muscle pain and soreness.

In relatively new research, substances in ginger appear to lower cholesterol levels, improve brain functions and protect against Alzheimer’s, lower blood sugars, improve heart disease risk factors, and even help prevent cancer.

Ginger is delicious added to hot tea, juice, or smoothies, or the best idea of all, our Dark Chocolate Ginger Squares.

If you want to catch us out and about in May, we will be at—

  • The Jackson County Master Gardener’s Spring Garden Fair at the Jackson County Expo, May 6th and 7th, Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 10am-4p.

You can find Branson’s Chocolates on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and at bransonschocolates.com for online chocolate shopping.

 

(Thanks to https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-benefits-of-ginger/ and http://www.foodmatters.com/article/10-healing-benefits-of-ginger)

English Toffee

Local’s Guide: April 2017

English Toffee

We are featuring English Toffee this month at Branson’s Chocolates. Our Old-Fashioned English Toffee is cooked in a copper kettle and poured onto a table to cool, then each piece is hand-dipped in creamy Milk Chocolate or rich Semi-Sweet 58% (Dark) Chocolate and topped with bits of roasted, salted, almonds.

 

Crunchy, buttery caramelized sugar with nuts and chocolate—what’s not to love? As it turns out, only its name. The English Toffee so many of us prize is actually an American invention. What the English call Toffee is a plain candy made of sugar and butter, sometimes with added nuts. But what Americans call English Toffee is actually what the English call Buttercrunch. Either way, this crunchy chocolaty confection is one of our best sellers! Come on in, get some for yourself, and find out why.

 

Easter Sunday is April 16th, and even though we always make chocolate bunnies till we’re bursting at the seams, they are so popular that we always manage to run out. This year, in order to guarantee your bunnies in the chocolate of your choice, we are accepting pre-orders. Please call 541-488-7493.

 

If you want to catch us out and about in April, here’s where we will be—

  • April 6th, Thursday 7:30-10:30pm, I will be at the 16th Annual Ashland Independent Film Festival’s Opening Night Bash – Savor the Rogue®. This event includes delicious tastings of local foods and beverages, and a no-host bar. Tickets are required. ashlandfilm.org

 

  • April 7th-8th, Friday 3-10pm and Saturday 10-5pm, I will be at the Pear-a-Fare in downtown Medford during the Pear Blossom Festival. This event includes vineyards, breweries, distillers, local artisan food makers are all under the festival canopy serving tastes, and selling products. Tasting glasses and tickets to sample the flavors will be for sale at the Pear-a-Fare entrance. Vendors will also be selling wine, beer, coffee, and other local drinks by the glass. Our artisan food makers will have a wide variety of products for sale as well as samples available.org

 

You can find Branson’s Chocolates on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and at bransonschocolates.com for online chocolate shopping.

 

(Thanks to http://www.sallybernstein.com/food/columns/zonis/toffee-buttercrunch.html)

Earl Grey Tea Squares

Local’s Guide: March 2017

Earl Grey Tea Squares

Maybe you’ve heard the story of about a gift of black tea and bergamot oranges being sent from China, only to have the tea accidentally absorb the orange’s flavor during shipping. Or the one about how a friend of the Earl Charles Gray blended bergamot oil into the Earl’s tea because of the mineral flavor of the water? Or maybe how the recipe for Earl Gray Tea was actually given to the Earl as a reward for his accomplishments in China? However the recipe came about, today Earl Gray Tea is a well-loved favorite with many benefits.

  1. The bergamot in Earl Gray Tea relaxes and relieves stress, fights anxiety and depression, and boosts mood. And it has enough caffeine for a boost of energy, clarity, and focus.
  2. One of the most popular effects of Earl Grey Tea is weight loss, and it is considered to be a natural cold remedy, both thanks to the bergamot extract.
  3. Tea helps you stay hydrated due to its high potassium content.
  4. Earl Grey Tea contains high quantities of antioxidants, which helps fight off free radicals that cause diseases such as cancer. Antioxidants also help your skin to stay healthy by fighting the free radicals that damage skin.
  5. A study found that people who drank three cups of black tea daily dramatically lowered their triglyceride levels and increased their ‘good cholesterol’ HDL after three months, lowering their risk for heart disease. The participants also had increased levels of antioxidants. And research on patients with high levels of blood fats found that ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) was reduced by 39% after a month of taking Earl Grey extract. It also reduced blood sugars by 22% and raised ‘good’ cholesterol by 41%. The reduction in blood sugar also shows that Earl Grey Tea may be highly beneficial for those suffering with diabetes.

But the best thing about Earl Gray Tea is that it is delicious, which is why BRANSON’S CHOCOLATES created our EARL GRAY TEA SQUARES. We steep Earl Gray Tea into rich cream, and then stir it into a dark chocolate ganache. We cover the ganache in milk chocolate, and top it with a stripe of more dark chocolate. We are passionate about local products from local vendors, so we use tea from Full Leaf Tea Company based in White City, and cream from Umpqua Dairy.

You can find us, and our EARL GRAY TEA SQUARES, at

  • The Oregon Chocolate Festival at Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites, March 4th-6th, Friday & Saturday.
  • The Oregon Cheese Festival at Rogue Creamery on March 18th-19th, Saturday & Sunday.

Bransons Chocolates              @bransonschocolates         Branson’s Chocolates

https://bransonschocolates.wordpress.com/  for our new blog!

https://bransonschocolates.com/  for online chocolate shopping

 

(http://worldteanews.com/insights/brief-history-earl-grey  and http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-surprising-benefits-earl-grey-tea-you-never-knew.html)

My First Chocolate Bar

My First Chocolate Bar

Did you know that Branson’s Chocolates has not always produced chocolate bars? We used to be strictly focused on the production of everything but chocolate bars; truffles, barks, turtles etc.

In July of 2009, Ashland Springs Hotel asked me to make a hazelnut cranberry in milk chocolate bar as well as a marionberry in dark chocolate bar for retail purposes. As well as these being my first chocolate bars, this was also my first major custom labeling and custom flavor order. There are unique struggles that come with learning how to create a new confection. It took me about six weeks to get the ideal consistency of filling that would be considered hotel friendly. Chocolate can be a messy item!

Currently, 3/4 of our production is chocolate bars. You will see our bars in many different locations from Ashland Spring Hotel to Butler Automotives thank you gifts!

We have a variety of flavors including almond, blueberry, blackberry, caramel, cayenne cherry, coconut, cranberry, espresso, hazelnut, macadamia nut, mint, peach and many others! If you do not see a flavor you enjoy we encourage you to place a custom flavor order with us! You can learn more about our custom ordering process by  clicking here to read our blog post discussing your options!

 

 

Chocolate Bars

Our Confections Series: Chocolate Bars

Chocolate Bars

If you have ever wondered what exactly a Truffle is, or what different flavors of chocolate bars we sell, this series will provide all of the answers to your questions. Over the next couple of months, I will be writing separate blog posts as part of a series on the different types of confections we offer including Truffles, Cremes, Chocolate Bars, etc.  To read our post about Truffles, the first installment in this series click here

Today we will be talking about one of our best selling products; Chocolate Bars!

So what exactly is a Chocolate bar? A chocolate bar is formed using a mold that can be filled with nuts or fruit or a variety of other items. All of our bars are handmade, hand-wrapped and hand-labeled with no chemical preservatives used in the process. However, we have not always produced Chocolate Bars here at Branson’s Chocolates. Click here to read more about my story of how I made my first chocolate bar.

If you enjoy our Chocolate Bars but are looking to try something new, you may also enjoy our Clusters. We produce four different types of clusters including Hazelnut, Peanut,  Coconut and Raisin Clusters.

Each individual bar can be purchased for $3.25 with a discount on our six piece box(website only). Many of our bars, along with many of our other products, can be purchased here on our website or in our retail location at 1662 Siskiyou Blvd in Ashland, OR.

We have 22 different flavors of Chocolate Bars, and if you find we do not have a flavor you want we offer the option of customizing your ideal bar!

Almond 

Our Almond Bar contains whole roasted salted almonds in the center of a milk chocolate or semi-sweet 58% (dark) chocolate bar.

 

Blueberry 

Our Blueberry Bar contains whole soft dried blueberries drenched in layers of semi-sweet 58% (dark) chocolate.

Blackberry 

Our Blackberry bar is created by cooking a seedless marionberry (Oregon Blackberry)  preserve combined with a semi-sweet 58%(dark) chocolate reduction covered in layers of semi-sweet 58% (dark) chocolate.

Caramel 

Our Caramel Bar is created by using our soft and chewy caramel covered in milk chocolate.

Cayenne Cherry 

Our Cayenne Cherry Bar uses soft dried cherries in semi-sweet 58% (dark) chocolate that has a cayenne pepper kick.

Cherry 

Our Cherry Bar envelops soft dried cherries in white chocolate.

Coconut 

Our Coconut Bar uses our creamy coconut center covered with layers of semi-sweet 58% (dark) chocolate.

Cranberry 

Our Cranberry Bar uses our soft dried cranberries and smothered in milk chocolate.

English Toffee 

Our English Toffee Bar uses our Old-Fashioned English Toffee and surrounds it with semi-sweet 58% (dark) chocolate.

Espresso 

Our Espresso Bar uses locally roasted and finely ground espresso beans gently stirred by hand into either milk chocolate or semi-sweet 58% (dark) chocolate.

Hazelnut 

Our Hazelnut Bar uses dry roasted Oregon Hazelnuts with layers of either milk chocolate or semi-sweet 58%(dark) chocolate.

Honey Comb 

Our Honey Comb Bar use pieces of Honey Comb (toasted expanded sugar) in a semi-sweet 58% (dark) chocolate bar.

Krunch 

Our Krunch Bar contains gluten-free brown rice Krispies covered in either milk chocolate or semi-sweet 58% (dark) chocolate.

Macadamia Nut 

Our Macadamia Nut Bar contains direct from the farmer in Hawaii, chopped macadamia nuts covered in milk chocolate.

Midnight 

Our Midnight Bar contains solid bitter-sweet 72% (darkest) chocolate.

Mint 

Out Mint Bar contains Seely Family Farms (Clatskanie OR) peppermint oil combined with semi-sweet 58% (dark) chocolate.

Peach (Seasonal) 

Our Peach Bar contains Beebee Farms (Central Point, OR) peaches, reduced to a preserve and reduced more using white chocolate and covered in dark chocolate.

Peppermint 

Our Peppermint Bar uses Peppermint candies mixed into White Chocolate with a touch of locally sourced Peppermint Oil.

Pumpkin Spice (Seasonal) 

Our Pumpkin Spice Bar uses a house blended pumpkin spice mixed into a white chocolate bar.

Solid 

Our Solid Chocolate Bar comes in milk chocolate, semi-sweet 58% (dark) chocolate, sugar-free milk chocolate or sugar-free semi-sweet 58% (dark) chocolate.

Salted Caramel 

Our Salted Caramel Bar uses handmade soft chewy caramel surrounded by Milk Chocolate or Bitter-Sweet 72% (darkest) Chocolate, topped with flakes of sea salt.

Strawberry 

Our Strawberry Bar uses a strawberry preserve and milk chocolate reduction smothered in layers of Milk Chocolate.

 

Thank-You Bars 

Our Thank-You Bars are engraved with the words “Thank You” into your choice of a milk chocolate espresso, milk chocolate or semi-sweet 58% (dark) chocolate bar.

 

Truffles

Our Confections Series: Truffles

If you have ever wondered what exactly a Truffle is, or what different flavors of chocolate bars we sell this will provide all of the answers to your questions. Over the next couple of months I will be writing separate blog posts on the different types of confections we offer including Truffles, Cremes, Chocolate Bars, etc.

Today we will be talking about one of our favorites; Truffles!

So what exactly is a truffle? A truffle has a ganache, (a combination of a chocolate butter cream and flavoring) based center. All of our truffles are gluten free except our specialty beer truffles. Our truffles are made by creating the center and dipping them twice in chocolate as opposed to being dipped only once or being processed in a mold. All of our truffles are handmade with no chemical preservatives used. Click here to read more about dietary concerns pertaining to each individual truffle. If you enjoy our truffles and are looking to expand your repertoire, we recommend the Wasabi and Jasmine which are also ganache based confections.

Each individual truffle can be purchased for $2.50 and we offer a discounted price on our six piece box. Many of our truffles along with many of our other products can be purchased here on our website or in our retail location at 1662 Siskiyou Blvd in Ashland, OR.

We have eleven regular flavors of truffles and six specialty flavors. Specialty flavors include our “Beer Truffles” made from locally produced beer.

Amaretto

Our Amaretto Truffle is made with Deseranno mixed into the ganache because of the more natural almond flavor as opposed to almond extract.The truffle is topped with chopped almonds.

 

Blackberry

Our Blackberry Truffle is made with Brandy Peaks Blackberry Liqueur (Brookings, OR) mixed in with the ganache. The truffle is topped with a purple colored white chocolate.

 

Crème de Menthe

Our Creme de Menthe truffle is made with Creme de Menthe and topped with a green colored white chocolate.

 

 

Espresso

Our Espresso Truffle is made with espresso grounds from Rogue Valley Roasting company. The truffle is topped with more espresso grounds.

 

 

Orange

Our Orange Truffle is made with Crescendo Arancello Organic Orange Liqueer (Eugene, OR). The truffle is topped with an orange colored white chocolate.

 

 

Hazelnut

Our Hazelnut Truffle uses Frangelico and is topped with a roasted hazelnut grown in the state of Oregon.

 

 

Pomegranate

Our Pomegranate Truffle is made with Pama, a pomegranate liqueur, and topped with a pink sugar pearl.

 

 

Raspberry Chambord

Our Raspberry Chambord Truffle uses Raspberry Chambord, a black raspberry liqueur from France. The truffle is topped with pink white chocolate.

 

 

Rich Chocolate (2010 Chocolate Fest Peoples Choice Award)

Our Rich Chocolate Truffle is dark chocolate finished with more dark chocolate

 

 

 

Tequilla

Our Tequila truffle uses Patron Silver topped with a mix of lime flavored green white chocolate and Fleur de Sel sea salt.

 

Rum

Our Rum Truffle uses 4 Spirits Silver Rum and is topped with white chocolate.

Beer Truffles

Our specialty beer truffles were created when my husband encouraged me to do something different and challenged me to create a “six pack of beer”.  We have six different flavors of beer truffles:

Mogli Truffle

 

Our Mogli Truffle is produced with Caldera Brewery Mogli and dusted with cocoa powder.

 

 

 

Tunguska

 

Our Tunguska Truffle is produced with a cream style ale by Opposition Brewery.

 

 

 

 

Bloody Hippie

 

 

Our Bloody Hippie Truffle is made with a blood orange wheat brew and topped with red chocolate.

 

 

 

Milk & Honey

 

Our Milk & Honey truffle is produced with Standing Stone Milk and Honey and topped with white chocolate.

 

 

 

 

Toasted Coconut

 

Our Toasted Coconut Truffle is Produced with Standing Stone Brewery’s Toasted Coconut and topped with flakes of toasted coconut.

 

 

 

 

Siskiyou Pass

 

Our Siskiyou Pass Truffle is made with Bricktowne Brewery Siskiyou pass and topped with dark chocolate.

 

All Things Peppermint & Eggnog

Locals Guide: December 2016

All Things Peppermint & Eggnog

December is the perfect month for peppermint and eggnog, and at Branson’s Chocolates that means Peppermint Bark, Peppermint Bars, and Eggnog Truffles. Our delicious Peppermint Bark is a layer of rich dark chocolate topped with a layer of white chocolate, crushed peppermint candy and a touch of locally sourced peppermint oil. Our scrumptious Peppermint Bars are white chocolate mixed with peppermint candies and a touch of locally sourced peppermint oil. And our smooth and creamy Eggnog Truffles have an eggnog ganache center made with local eggnog, which is dipped in white chocolate, and topped with a sprinkle of nutmeg. Naughty or nice, you deserve some chocolate, so come in and pick up some for yourself.

We’re often out and about at many of the local wineries and events. For the latest event updates, please check us out at https://www.facebook.com/bransonschocolates . If you’d like to see us at one of your favorite local events, you can contact us on our Facebook page or email us at info@bransonschocolates.com . We’d love to hear from you!

The holiday season is fast approaching, so now is the perfect time to come in and order chocolate for the holidays. Take the craziness out of the holiday season with our custom gift boxes complete with pretty bows. Stop on in and our friendly staff will help you put together the perfect gift of fudge, assorted chocolates, truffles, bars, and turtle

Almond Butter Cups

Local’s Guide: October 2016

Almond Butter Cups

For all those that love a great peanut butter cup—crunchy, delicious, and oh so chocolaty—have we got an upgrade for you! October’s Product of the Month at Branson’s Chocolates is Almond Butter Cups, featuring MaraNatha Organic Crunchy & Roasted Almond Butter and Branson’s Semi-Sweet (58%) Chocolate. MaraNatha says their Organic Almond Butter is “bursting with rich almond flavor and loaded with delicious roasted organic almond pieces for a satisfying crunch — this is the premier choice for the true almond lover.” We agree, and we know you will too, so come on in and see for yourself.

“Once considered a simple party snack, today almonds are recognized as a nutritional powerhouse. They represent one of the richest natural protein sources of any nut. Almonds have no cholesterol. They also contain monounsaturated fats, which have been identified as beneficial for helping to reduce one of the multiple risk factors associated with heart disease.
Recognizing these benefits, the FDA has approved a qualified health claim regarding almonds: ‘Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.’
Almonds are a good source of fiber, and they contain many other key nutrients. Scientific studies have linked regular almond and almond butter consumption to success in helping to manage weight and helping to control normal blood sugar levels as a part of a healthy diet. Preliminary research suggests that almonds have prebiotic properties that can help to maintain a healthy GI tract.” http://www.maranathafoods.com/health-facts/almonds

If you want to find us on the web, we’re at—

We won’t be out and about in October, so come see us in our store at 1662 Siskiyou Boulevard here in Ashland. We’re just two blocks south of Omar’s, in the Minute Market shopping center. We’re open Monday-Friday 10-6, and Saturday 11-5.

If you’d like to see us at one of your favorite local events, you can contact us on our Facebook page or email us at info@bransonschocolates.com . We’d love to hear from you!