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Top Pick Of The Week

June 10, 2008

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Organic Chocolate Peanut Toffee

If you need an excuse to have some of this chocolate-covered peanut toffee: It’s organic. Photography by Saidi Granados.

WHAT IT IS: Artisan toffee with organic ingredients and flavor twists.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Complex, layered flavors: chocolate-covered peanut, cranberry almond and double-pecan.
WHY WE LOVE IT: A combination of wholesome goodness that transports us back a century, plus the sophistication of deftly-developed recipes.
WHERE TO BUY IT: MadisonMarcela.com.
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Madison & Marcela Toffee :
Organic Candy Is Dandy

CAPSULE REPORT: Madison & Marcela, located in a small seaside town in the low country of South Carolina, has hit a grand slam home run with three very different toffees. Chocolate Covered Peanut Toffee is a heavenly product—or perhaps a devilish one, as once you take the first bite, the bag is all but gone. CranAlmond Toffee (for those who want their antioxidants) is a beauty: cranberry-studded toffee on one side, lovely white slivered almonds on the other. For those who like things simple but perfect, Madison Crunch is a double-layered pecan toffee.

All of the ingredients are USDA-certified organic, with the exception of the chocolate on the Chocolate Covered Peanut Toffee (which is the excellent Callebaut brand from Belgium). The sweetener is raw cane sugar mixed with agave nectar. The agave nectar adds flavor dimension while cutting down on the sweetness (and it’s much lower on the glycemic scale than sugar—not that we’re claiming this as health food). Yet with all this organic goodness and handcrafting, the candy is still so inexpensive that you’ll want to order lots for party favors, stocking stuffers, teacher gifts, and just to hand out, because they taste so good, they put you in a munificent mindset.

While we discovered these toffees months ago, we wanted to put them on hold as a last-minute Father’s Day gift. If you haven’t yet remembered Dad, Grandpa or Uncle Sidney, here’s your chance. Take a closer look at all three flavors in the full review below.

     
THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.

 

Make Your Own Candy

The Ultimate Candy Book Caramel Truffles, Candies & Confections
The Ultimate Candy Book: More than 700 Quick and Easy, Soft and Chewy, Hard and Crunchy Sweets and Treats, by Bruce Weinstein. Fudge, taffy, brittle, the works. Click here for more information or to purchase. Caramel, by Trish Deseine. The 130 recipes show caramel not just as a dessert, but paired with vegetables and meats as well. Click here for more information or to purchase. Truffles, Candies, & Confections: Techniques and Recipes for Candymaking, by Carole Bloom. Go ahead—try the vanilla cream caramels. Click here for more information or to purchase.

Madison & Marcela Toffee: Organic Candy Is Dandy

INDEX OF REVIEW

MORE TO DISCOVER

Introduction

People looking for a delicious confection are well advised to buy the toffees of Madison & Marcela—who, by the way, are the grandson and foster child of the owner (and both so young that they don’t know how good the toffee is).

But in the endless march of of candy that we taste each year, these toffees are standouts: wonderful ingredients, a great recipe and innovative flavors. There are three right now, but Madison & Marcela, a five-year-old company, is at at work on more.

It’s just as well that you try the three current ones, because that choice is manageable. If there were ten this good, we wouldn’t know where to begin. But with three varieties, at these small prices and sizes ($7.99 for an 8-ounce bag), there’s no need to choose: Try them all. In a world where most toffee is made with pecans, nut lovers will appreciate the variety: in addition to an almond toffee (or in this case, cranberry almond), there are peanut and pecan varieties.

Cranberry Almond Toffee
CranAlmond Toffee: ruby-like cranberries on one side, ivory almond slices on the other.

Toffee Varieties

One might say that these toffees taste so good because they are made to order in small batches. But we hoarded some pieces for a few months before we reordered, and they were still as good. The old family recipes are light and crunchy (easy on the teeth). In addition to organic raw cane sugar, they are sweetened with organic agave syrup from the Otomi Indian tribe of Mexico.

A word about the organic ingredients: While each of the ingredients in the toffees (except the Callebaut chocolate on the Peanut Toffee) is USDA-certified organic, the products themselves are not certified organic. Numerous small manufacturers that are committed to using organic ingredients don’t have the resources (time and money) to go through the USDA certification process, which involves annual paperwork, fees and inspection of their premises.

Pecan Toffee
Madison Crunch is a double pecan toffee: pecans
inside the toffee and on top.

Chocolate Covered Peanut Toffee

We loved all three toffee flavors, but this was by far our favorite, transporting us back to our childhood, when we often shared a Charleston Chew with our father. If the Charleston Chew were reborn as the most perfect incarnation of chocolate-covered peanut toffee it could be, it would be Madison & Marcela’s Chocolate Covered Peanut Toffee. The only problem is that we couldn’t stop eating it. (Photo at top of page.)

CranAlmond Toffee

Plump, ruby-red cranberries from Massachusetts and California almonds create a sweet-and-tart toffee, although these lovely cranberries produce no pucker. (Photo above.)

Madison Crunch

Madison Crunch is crunchy indeed. While many toffees have nuts embedded in the toffee with a dusting of ground nuts on top, this “double” pecan toffee is studded with large pieces of South Carolina salt-roasted pecans, for a sweet-and-salty profile (see photo at left).

Toffee is a great all-year-round gift, and it doesn’t melt even in the summer (with a variance on the Chocolate-Covered Peanut Toffee). Tote it around as a bite-size treat, send it to worthy friends and bring it as gifts. And be prepared to become a lifelong friend of Madison & Marcela.

— Karen Hochman

FORWARD THIS NIBBLE to anyone who loves nuts and a good piece of candy.

MADISON & MARCELA TOFFEE
Chocolate-Covered Peanut Toffee, CranAlmond Toffee, Madison Crunch (Pecan Toffee)

  • 8-Ounce Bag
    $7.99
  • Chocolate-Covered Peanut Toffee
    has a warm weather shipping surcharge
    May 1 to September 30—but don’t let
    that stop you

Purchase online* at
MadisonMarcela.com

Or telephone 1.843.215.6868
Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Eastern Time.

*Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. THE NIBBLE does not sell products; these items are offered by a third party with whom we have no relationship. This link to purchase is provided as a reader convenience.

Madison & Marcela
The resealable bags are pretty enough for gift-giving.

 



Check Out These Other Top Pick Of The Week” Candies:

 

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