Tag Archives: chocolate

Easy Ways to Make People Click on Your Links

Display of Lindt chocolate bunnies

Image via Wikipedia

Here are two straightforward options to choose from.
1. Bribe them with US dollars or Lindt chocolate.
2. Threaten their life or their livelihood.

I recommend the bribe over the threat but that’s really a question of personal taste and what suits your lifestyle better.

But let me ask, do you REALLY want to know how to make people click on your links or share/buzz/retweet your message? Is forcing people to like your brand the best way to grow your company? I’m going to suggest not.

Hidden under the facade of forcing people is the real question. Do you know how to communicate a message that resonates so deeply with people that they develop a need to share it? That is a far more difficult question and one which achieves the real end goal which is brand love, admiration, and ultimately purchase.

If we’d all just stop trying to figure out how to make people ‘click here’ and instead figure out how make ‘messages that resonate,’ everyone would be much happier.

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Nanaimo Bars (and recipe) for the American Dessertly Challenged

Ah, my dear American friends, you have no idea what you’re missing out on. I constantly mention Nanaimo bars in my posts and tweets and it seems I stump a lot of people. Here is the delicious scoop on my favourite treat.

Top layer: Chocolate
Middle layer: Icing
Bottom layer: Crumb, coconut

The trick is getting the right consistency of the top two layers. The icing needs to be thick enough so it doesn’t goop out and the chocolate layer needs to be soft enough so you can actually bite through it without breaking. (Unless of course this is what you’re intending to do!)

Some people flavour the icing with mint or raspberry or mocha or the chocolate with caramel but that’s just a bastardization of perfection.

 

Nanaimo Bar Recipe

Bottom Layer

1/2 cup  unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

Middle Layer

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 – 3 tablespoons milk or cream
2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder (Bird’s) or vanilla pudding powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar (confectioners or icing) sugar

Top Layer

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Butter or spray a 9 x 9 inch pan with a non stick vegetable spray.

Bottom Layer: In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.  Stir in the sugar and cocoa powder and then gradually whisk in the beaten egg.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens (1 – 2 minutes).  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and chopped nuts.  Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom of the prepared pan.  Cover and refrigerate until firm (about an hour).

Middle Layer: In your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until the mixture is smooth.  If the mixture is too thick to spread, add a little more milk.  Spread the filling over the bottom layer, cover, and refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes).

Top Layer: In a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the filling and refrigerate until the chocolate has set.

To prevent the chocolate from cracking, using a sharp knife, bring the squares to room temperature before cutting.

Makes about 25 squares

Here is the original recipe

Here isBottom Layer:
1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa (I use Dutch-processed)
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (200 grams) graham cracker crumbs
1 cup (65 grams) coconut (either sweetened or unsweetened)
1/2 cup (50 grams) walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped
Middle Layer:
1/4 cup (56 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 – 3 tablespoons milk or cream
2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder (Bird’s) or vanilla pudding powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (230 grams) powdered sugar (confectioners or icing) sugar
Top Layer:
4 ounces (115 grams) semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butterButter or spray a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) pan with a non stick vegetable spray.

Bottom Layer: In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.  Stir in the sugar and cocoa powder and then gradually whisk in the beaten egg.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens (1 – 2 minutes).  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and chopped nuts.  Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom of the prepared pan.  Cover and refrigerate until firm (about an hour).

Middle Layer:  In your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until the mixture is smooth.  If the mixture is too thick to spread, add a little more milk.  Spread the filling over the bottom layer, cover, and refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes).

Top Layer: In a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the filling and refrigerate until the chocolate has set.

To Serve:  To prevent the chocolate from cracking, using a sharp knife, bring the squares to room temperature before cutting.

Yield: Makes about 25 squares

A Chocolate Q-Sort Quiz #MRX

The q-sort is a useful technique in psychological research as well as market research.  And, it is a technique that is extremely useful in everyone’s every day life. How, you ask, could it possibly be useful in everyday life? Well, this is a typical evening in my life.

Last Halloween, I gave three people a set of halloween chocolates and candies, not stolen from small children, and asked them to sort the items from least favorite to most favorite.  And, I included a set of data representing my own results.

There are numerous biases to this particular research project. First, I did not use a probability sampling method that would permit generalization to the general population of Canada. I did, however, obtain a 100% response rate from the people who were home at the time of this ground-breaking study. You will also note that the full range of chocolates and candies was not included in this list, nor were all items the same size and weight.

The results from my scientific testing are displayed here. Apologies for the blurry images but you should be able to identify most of the brand names. Now, you might want to review the images and come to conclusions about what features of the candies result in them being placed at the top or bottom of the list but you might also want to guess which ranking is my result. Let’s play game #2.

The answer will come in a later blog. 🙂

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    1) We aren’t allowed to include research participants who might accidentally or willfully harm other research participants or the researcher.

    2) We have no access to the Jim Henson creature shop nor do we have the skills to make our own handcrafted muppets come to life.

    3) We were born thousands of years too late and have already been indoctrinated in the usefulness of far too many insignificant products.

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    #MRA_FOC #MRX Product Optimization by Mona Baker Wolf

    This was one session that I attended because I have no experience in this area. What better place to learn something new than at the MRA First Outlook conference!

    Here are some of my key takeaways:

    • We all have first hand experience with sensory testing and it consists of: Try it! You’ll like it!
    • The old marketing way of sensory testing consisted of finding out what flavour the VP liked the most.
    • You  can measure three things about products 1) consumer insights (what most of us do most of the time), 2) scientific measures such as saltiness or temperature, and 3) sensory properties including taste, touch, hear, smell, and sight.
    • Not everyone is qualified to be a sensory tester. In fact, a panel of taste testers goes from 100 to 8 people over six months of detailed training about vocabulary, protocols, etc.
    • I have never heard so many ways to describe the taste and texture of a sausage – bite down, chew down! 50 to 60 attributes per product! Wow!
    • Did you know that Coca-cola and Pepsi have cinnamon, lemon, and vanilla flavours? I didn’t.
    • You need a full range of scores to really understand a perceptual map – you need to know where the edges of the map are. As such, you need to test good and bad and strange and normal sausages to know precisely how the next sausage tastes.

    Now we’re being trained with a York mint chocolate. (I came to the right session!) We were told to open the chocolate but DON’T EAT IT! First, we were to enjoy the aromatics. Then, we were instructed to look ridiculous as a group and plug our noses while we took a bite. Well, what a surprise to me! It is not possible to taste the chocolate if your nose is plugged! As soon as we unplugged our noses, the chocolate taste appeared. It was quite interesting to learn that chocolate is an aromatic, and not sweet, salt, sour, bitter, or umami taste.

    • And, for the psychometrist in me, it was great to hear from another source that all scales are relative. In this sense, geographic location has little effect on the acceptability of a product. The only different thing is how people use a scale. While relationships between variables stay the same (e.g., A is always greater than B), the specific numbers may change (e.g., A is 7 or 8 but B is 5 or 6).

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    Conversition Strategies Social Media Research: By researchers, For researchers
    conversition strategies social media research by researchers for researchers

    Caution: May Cause Terror – Chocolate Cake in a Mug

    A fudge cake

    Image via Wikipedia

    If you’re ever in that terrifying zone where your pantry is so bare that you are considering making pudding just so you can eat something sweet, try this! I was a disbeliever but delightedly surprised in the end.

    In just five minutes, you can actually make AND eat chocolate cake!

    Enjoy!

    5 MINUTE CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE

    3 tablespoons flour
    3 tablespoons sugar
    3 tablespoons cocoa
    3 tablespoons milk
    3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
    1 egg
    1 tablespoon oil
    a small splash of vanilla extract

    Add dry ingredients to coffee mug, and mix well. Add liquids and mix well.

    Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high). The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

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