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The Reason Why Everyone Loves Peanut Butter and Chocolate

Blame it on science
Why Do Peanut Butter and Chocolate Go Together?
Photo: Brian Legate via Flickr

If you think peanut butter and chocolate are a match made in heaven, you're not alone. Most Americans are crazy about the combo, which is why we see these two ingredients used together in so many desserts.

Peanut butter-chocolate pie aside, there are also a plethora of candy options on the market that let us satisfy our peanut butter-and-chocolate addiction anytime, anywhere—specifically, the popular Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg.

 

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According to a spokesperson from The Hershey Company, "The Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg is the best largest-selling Easter candy in the U.S. Of the roughly $1.2 billion Easter confection category we track in Nielsen, about $100 million is the Milk Chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg and White Crème Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg." These products give the consumer exactly what they want: more peanut butter. "Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs have the highest ratio of peanut butter to chocolate than anything in the portfolio," a spokesperson shares.

The good news is there's a study that explains why we can't put those Peanut Butter Cups down. According to Penn State University professor Gregory Ziegler, a phenomenon called "dynamic sensory contrast" is why everyone is obsessed with the duo.

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The "smooth melt of the chocolate and the crunch of the nut pieces" provide a "pleasing contrast, he mentions in an interview with Mic. A theory similar to "dynamic sensory contrast" is the "ice cream effect," which explains why people still crave the taste and feeling of cold ice cream melting on their tongues even when they are so full they feel like they're going to burst.

Ziegler goes on to explain how "[chocolate and peanuts are] complementary because they produce flavor through the Maillard reaction. That's the reaction you get whenever you roast nuts, grill steak or bake bread. . . . The reaction produces these flavors that have a unique pull to people."

The smell of roasted peanuts might also help explain why as soon as we split open that Peanut Butter Cup packaging we're already thinking about the next one. This Easter, if you find yourself going for seconds, blame it on science.

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