Ann Arbor-based Zingerman’s is famous for their crumbly brownies and made to order stacked deli sandwiches, but did you know they also make decadent candy and chocolate bars? YES, they do — it’s some of the best candy I’ve ever tasted. And trust me, I’ve eaten A LOT of candy. Like, a lot.
Zingerman’s Candy Manufactory has actually been around since 2009. Over the years they’ve been able to develop a flavor profile that includes luscious ingredients like full-flavored Valrhona and Guittard chocolates, muscovado brown sugar, and some of the biggest peanuts I’ve ever seen in candy. When they offered to send me some samples, I just couldn’t resist.
You’re going to spend a little bit more on one of their handmade Zzang! bars than you would on a mass-produced candy bar, but there’s really no comparison when you look at quality, ingredients and, most importantly, flavors. I mean, Zzang! bars come in their own individual boxes. You know you’re in for a treat when you get one of these bad boys.
Everything isn’t limited to candy bars, either. Zingerman’s makes some of the sexiest peanut brittle I’ve ever seen (yes, candy can be sexy, you’ll see what I mean below) along with sweet sesame halvah (how have I never heard of this deliciousness before?) and chocolate covered coffee beans (I passed on these because I hate coffee, but everyone who tried them went to grab seconds).
The first and bestselling candy bar features layers of caramel, peanut butter nougat, and butter roasted peanuts dipped in dark chocolate.
I can see how this was the first candy bar that started it all, and their best seller, because it is basically perfection. The nougat and smooth caramel are delightfully chewy with roasty peanuts in every bite and a hint of salt to finish. The deep dark chocolate is what really makes this a winner, it’s so creamy and rich yet melts in your mouth at the same time.
Zzang! What The Fudge?
Creamy layers of milk chocolate fudge, muscovado brown sugar, caramel, and malted milk cream fondant are stacked up and dipped in dark chocolate.
You better be in the mood for a chocolate bar before you eat this thing, or willing to share with a friend, because it is rich. It reminds me of a decadent little truffle you’d get at Valentine’s Day, but in a big ol’ bar form. It’s almost like a hot chocolate in candy bar form. The chocolate fudge layer is crumbly, the malted milk fondant adds creaminess and the luscious caramel brings everything together in perfect harmony. Not to mention it’s covered in that rich dark chocolate. Your sweet tooth will be thanking you!
Zzang! Ca$hew Cow
Cashew butter, roasted cashews, our own cashew brittle, a bit of puffed rice, milk chocolate and a pinch of sea salt are dipped in dark chocolate.
This candy bar has so much going on, and I love it. It’s packed with nutty flavors and has a perfect balance of sweet and saltiness. There’s a certain smoothness to the cashew butter, a crispness from the puffed rice and that unmistakable crunch of brittle. The cashews are a delicious departure from the peanuts and almonds that are typically used in a candy bar like this.
We start with a layer of rich raspberry chocolate ganache. Next comes smooth, fresh raspberry nougat dotted with raspberry chewy candies, then wrapped with dark crisp chocolate.
I was most excited to try this bar because, anything that has ganache just screams “Eat me!” Unlike the other bars that have thicker fillings, the fresh raspberry is so pillowy that there’s not much structure to this candy bar — you’re going to get sticky. But don’t let that bother you, because it is SO worth it. I could probably eat the raspberry nougat straight out of a bowl. It is airy and tart but at the same time isn’t overpowered with raspberry flavor. The chewy candies add a nice texture and the dark chocolate coating was so thick, it seemed like it was dipped 20 times. I was actually sad when it was gone because I wanted to keep eating more.
Milk Chocolatey Karamel Krunch
We start with muscovado brown sugar caramel that we mix with crisped rice, then we enrobe it all in milk chocolate.
This chocolate bar almost tastes like it is homemade — it reminds me of being a kid. The caramel adds a nice chewiness to the crispy puffed rice, all covered in creamy milk chocolate. Actually, I think the best way to describe this candy bar is like a chocolate-covered caramel Rice Krispies treat.
Peanut Butter Crush
Creamy peanut butter with tiny bits of crunchy, buttery deep-cooked sugar, crispy rice, and sea salt, all covered in crisp dark chocolate.
This candy bar is so good, you’re going to want to eat it as slow as you can to make that moment last. I’m not just saying this — the Peanut Butter Crush is probably the best tasting candy bar with peanut butter that I have ever had, ever. It’s that good. First, the peanut butter level is through the roof, but not in an overpowering way where it’s the only thing you can taste. Next, the texture is almost addicting! It has a smoothness from the filling with crispy bits of sugar (think peanut brittle without the peanuts) and just a little pop from the crisped rice. Best of all, these are sold in a six pack — because one definitely isn’t enough!
Freshly roasted Jumbo Runner peanuts in deep, gold cane sugar brittle, with pure vanilla, midwest butter, and the perfect amount of sea salt. The texture is crispy and shattery, just as peanut brittle should be but rarely is!
Just look at how thick that peanut brittle is and tell me it’s not sexy. I literally have never seen peanut brittle of this proportion, especially not with those giant peanuts. It’s buttery and smooth enough to melt in your mouth, yet still shatters in crisp sugary shards when you bite in or break it in half. The peanuts are perfectly roasty with just the right amount of crunch, too. Candyman and owner Charlie Frank clearly knows what he’s doing here. Not to mention — how perfect is that? Charlie owns his own candy factory. I’m insanely jealous.
Chocolate-Covered Peanut Brittle
We start with Jumbo Runner peanuts toasted right in the sugar with butter, sea salt, and real vanilla. Then the peanut brittle is coated in our own blend of fabulous, luscious 62% dark chocolate.
If you thought Zingerman’s peanut brittle couldn’t get any better, you’re wrong — because they went and covered it with not one but two kinds of full-flavor, semi-dark chocolate. If you like peanut brittle but hate how it gets stuck in your teeth, you’ve got to try this. Honestly, even if you’re not a huge fan of peanut brittle, I suggest you try this because the addition of chocolate might just bring you around.
Deep sesame aroma with a hint of pure Michigan honey. Big, delicious toasted sesame flavor backed by the muscovado brown sugar, and it’s got a perfectly crumbly and luscious texture. Finish is sesame and honey all the way!
Honestly, I had never heard of halvah prior to this and my first thoughts when I heard sesame seeds covered in chocolate weren’t exactly pleasant. But it’s not like that at all. The chocolate flavor is very sweet with a fudgey texture and the ground up seeds really weren’t that bad. They almost reminded me of shaved coconut, with a different flavor of course. It wasn’t my favorite treat out of the bunch, but I can appreciate its history.
Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans
I know it’s against popular opinion, but I hate coffee. The only thing I like about it is the way the beans smell. Other than that, nope. However, literally everyone else I know can’t get enough of it. So on this one, I’ll defer to them. What I’ve gathered is that these things are tiny, little bombs packed with coffee flavors. The espresso beans are generously dusted in dark chocolate — that part I can get on board with, but that’s about it — and leave a taste lingering in your mouth that is hard to ignore. Everyone who tried them wanted a second handful, so they must have been good!