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Andrew Watson, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

15 Chocolate-Covered Treats You Didn't Know You Needed

Andrew Watson, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Chocolate has a certain set of natural matches, like peppermint, peanut butter, and caramel, but sometimes, those classics can be a real snooze. Theoretically, anything can be dipped in the sweet stuff, and over the years culinary risk-takers have made pairings that led to many a raised eyebrow and confused-yet-grumbling stomach. Here are 15 of those combinations.

1. ONIONS 

An onion has many layers, and at Mueller Chocolate Company in Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market, the final one is chocolate and sprinkles. The unusual dessert was created in the '80s by Glenn Mueller and his wife, Theresa. “We were in a building at 5th and Market, right next to Channel 3," Mueller told Philadelphia City Paper. "The comedians were doing a half-hour spoof called ‘Double Muppets, Hold the Onions.’” What started as a gag for the show became a real product that’s sold in multiple chocolate shops all over Philadelphia.

2. BACON 

John, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Thanks to Americans' (un)healthy love of bacon, you can get the delicious meat prepared pretty much any way you would like. Lovers of salty sweet combinations might be intrigued by chocolate covered bacon, which can be found at county fairs, chocolate shops, and novelty stores across the country. 

3. CORN DOGS 

As if corn dogs weren’t decadent enough, you can also get them dipped in chocolate. They can be found wherever you can also find fried Kool-Aid and beer-battered bacon. 

4. ROSES 

Roses and chocolate are a classic romantic duo, so why not save time and money by combining them? For Valentine’s Day, candy company Roni-Sue’s Chocolates sells chocolate truffles with actual rose petals inside. They’re not currently on sale, but you can make your own version of the treat using this Instructables tutorial, where you literally dip whole roses into chocolate. 

5. SLIM JIMS 

This is a recipe so outlandish, you need to make it yourself. Using Habanero Slim Jims and homemade ancho chili chocolate, you can create spicy sweet meat sticks for the whole family. 

6. BEEF JERKY 

Knowing that someone has taken the time to dip Slim Jims into chocolate, it probably shouldn’t shock you that chocolate beef jerky also exists. But what’s more surprising is that it’s mass-produced and can be purchased at a grocery store. Chocolate company Wild Ophelia makes bars of chocolate with actual bits of beef jerky in it. If you find that ratio not to your liking, there's always the homemade route of drizzling some melted chocolate over Jack Link's. 

7. CHILI PEPPERS

Another spicy and sweet option: chocolate-covered chili peppers. A frequent treat at county fairs, these chocolatey peppers are an exciting change from the usual (read: boring) selection of chocolate-covered fruits. 

8. SCORPIONS

You might have seen scorpions in your lollipops or vodka, so it was only a matter of time before the creepy-crawlies were smothered in chocolate and put on your plate. You can have one these unnerving candies mailed to you for the surprisingly low price of $5 on Thailand Unique

9. MUSHROOMS 

In January 2015, chef René Redzepi's opened his Tokyo pop-up Noma in the Mandarin Oriental hotel. The restaurant intrigued eaters who were treated to things like cuttlefish "noodles" in wild rose petal broth and shrimp covered in ants. For dessert, the restaurant served cepes mushrooms dipped in chocolate. According to Action Bronson, they’re delicious. 

10. CHEETOS 

Here is another off-the-wall take on chocolate-covered dining: Cheetos. The Cereal Baker details the steps for making these crunchy candy snacks (with both regular and white chocolate) at home. Good luck having any left by the time the chocolate hardens. 

11. SQUID 

For Valentine’s Day this year, Instructables user noahw suggests you look for inspiration in the sea. Simply boil a squid and dip it in chocolate to create a delightfully nautical treat. While we can’t tell you what they taste like, they certainly look cool. 

12. WASABI PEAS 

If you want the crunch of the chocolate Cheetos, and the spiciness of the chocolate chilis, consider these dark chocolate wasabi peas. Nuts.com sells bags of them for about $8 a pound. According to Kay from Medford, New Jersey, they’re “Delish!!!”

13. SUN-DRIED TOMATOES

The Cereal Baker—not content with just creating chocolate Cheetos—has also made chocolate-covered sun-dried tomatoes. The cook's review of her own creation is hesitantly positive: “I don't know if I can describe the flavor exactly, but I know it wasn't like ‘Ew, this tastes like a chocolate-covered tomato.’ So I consider it a success!”

14. KALE 

The kale takeover of 2015 wouldn't be complete without a chocolate-covered kale chip. This concoction actually isn't so odd, as chocolate-covered potato chips are pretty popular in their own right. It was only a matter of time before everyone's favorite superfood got dunked in chocolate. This recipe will guide you through making the somewhat healthy—if a bit schizophrenic—snack. 

15. CHICKPEAS 

While chickpeas don’t seem inherently dessert-like, if you roast them with a little cinnamon, maple syrup, and vanilla, they become very sweet. Add a nice layer of chocolate, and you have a somewhat healthier variation on malt balls or Whoppers. 

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10 Things We Know About The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2
Hulu
Hulu

Though Hulu has been producing original content for more than five years now, 2017 turned out to be a banner year for the streaming network with the debut of The Handmaid’s Tale on April 26, 2017. The dystopian drama, based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 book, imagines a future in which a theocratic regime known as Gilead has taken over the United States and enslaved fertile women so that the group’s most powerful couples can procreate.

If it all sounds rather bleak, that’s because it is—but it’s also one of the most impressive new series to arrive in years (as evidenced by the slew of awards it has won, including eight Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards). Fortunately, fans left wanting more don’t have that much longer to wait, as season two will premiere on Hulu in April. In the meantime, here’s everything we know about The Handmaid’s Tale’s second season.

1. IT WILL PREMIERE WITH TWO EPISODES.

When The Handmaid’s Tale returns on April 25, 2018, Hulu will release the first two of its 13 new episodes on premiere night, then drop another new episode every Wednesday.

2. MARGARET ATWOOD WILL CONTINUE TO HELP SHAPE THE NARRATIVE.

Fans of Atwood’s novel who didn’t like that season one went beyond the original source material are in for some more disappointment in season two, as the narrative will again go beyond the scope of what Atwood covered. But creator/showrunner Bruce Miller doesn’t necessarily agree with the criticism they received in season one.

“People talk about how we're beyond the book, but we're not really," Miller told Newsweek. "The book starts, then jumps 200 years with an academic discussion at the end of it, about what's happened in those intervening 200 years. We're not going beyond the novel. We're just covering territory [Atwood] covered quickly, a bit more slowly.”

Even more importantly, Miller's got Atwood on his side. The author serves as a consulting producer on the show, and the title isn’t an honorary one. For Miller, Atwood’s input is essential to shaping the show, particularly as it veers off into new territories. And they were already thinking about season two while shooting season one. “Margaret and I had started to talk about the shape of season two halfway through the first [season],” he told Entertainment Weekly.

In fact, Miller said that when he first began working on the show, he sketched out a full 10 seasons worth of storylines. “That’s what you have to do when you’re taking on a project like this,” he said.

3. MOTHERHOOD WILL BE A CENTRAL THEME.

As with season one, motherhood is a key theme in the series. And June/Offred’s pregnancy will be one of the main plotlines. “So much of [Season 2] is about motherhood,” Elisabeth Moss said during the Television Critics Association press tour. “Bruce and I always talked about the impending birth of this child that’s growing inside her as a bit of a ticking time bomb, and the complications of that are really wonderful to explore. It’s a wonderful thing to have a baby, but she’s having it potentially in this world that she may not want to bring it into. And then, you know, if she does have the baby, the baby gets taken away from her and she can’t be its mother. So, obviously, it’s very complicated and makes for good drama. But, it’s a very big part of this season, and it gets bigger and bigger as the show goes on.”

4. THE RESISTANCE IS COMING.

Just because June is pregnant, don’t expect her to sit on the sidelines as the resistance to Gilead continues. “There is more than one way to resist," Moss said. “There is resistance within [June], and that is a big part of this season.”

5. WE’LL GET TO SEE THE COLONIES.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

Miller, understandably, isn’t eager to share too many details about the new season. “I’m not being cagey!” he swore to Entertainment Weekly. “I just want the viewers to experience it for themselves!” What he did confirm is that the new season will bring us to the colonies—reportedly in episode two—and show what life is like for those who have been sent there.

It will also delve further into what life is like for the refugees who managed to escape Gilead, like Luke and Moira.

6. MARISA TOMEI WILL APPEAR IN AN EPISODE.

Though she won’t be a regular cast member, Miller recently announced that Oscar winner Marisa Tomei will make a guest appearance in the new season’s second episode. Yes, the one that will show us the Colonies. In fact, that’s where we’ll meet her; Tomei is playing the wife of a Commander.

7. WE’LL LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF GILEAD.

As a group shrouded in secrecy, we still don’t know much about how and where Gilead began. That will change a bit in season two. When discussing some of the questions viewers will have answered, executive producer Warren Littlefield promised that, "How did Gilead come about? How did this happen?” would be two of them. “We get to follow the historical creation of this world,” he said.

8. THERE WILL BE AT LEAST ONE HANDMAID FUNERAL.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

While Miller wouldn’t talk about who the handmaids are mourning in a teaser shot from season two that shows a handmaid’s funeral, he was excited to talk about creating the look for the scene. “Everything from the design of their costumes to the way they look is so chilling,” Miller told Entertainment Weekly. “These scenes that are so beautiful, while set in such a terrible place, provide the kind of contrast that makes me happy.”

9. ELISABETH MOSS SAYS THE TONE WILL BE DARKER.

Like season one, Miller says that The Handmaid’s Tale's second season will again balance its darker, dystopian themes with glimpses of hopefulness. “I think the first season had very difficult things, and very hopeful things, and I think this season is exactly the same way,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “There come some surprising moments of real hope and victory, and strength, that come from surprising places.”

Moss, however, has a different opinion. “It's a dark season,” she told reporters at TCA. “I would say arguably it's darker than Season 1—if that's possible.”

10. IT WILL ALSO BE BLOODIER.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

When pressed about how the teaser images for the new season seemed to feature a lot of blood, Miller conceded: “Oh gosh, yeah. There may be a little more blood this season.”

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NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero
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Researchers in Singapore Deploy Robot Swans to Test Water Quality
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero

There's something peculiar about the new swans floating around reservoirs in Singapore. They drift across the water like normal birds, but upon closer inspection, onlookers will find they're not birds at all: They're cleverly disguised robots designed to test the quality of the city's water.

As Dezeen reports, the high-tech waterfowl, dubbed NUSwan (New Smart Water Assessment Network), are the work of researchers at the National University of Singapore [PDF]. The team invented the devices as a way to tackle the challenges of maintaining an urban water source. "Water bodies are exposed to varying sources of pollutants from urban run-offs and industries," they write in a statement. "Several methods and protocols in monitoring pollutants are already in place. However, the boundaries of extensive assessment for the water bodies are limited by labor intensive and resource exhaustive methods."

By building water assessment technology into a plastic swan, they're able to analyze the quality of the reservoirs cheaply and discreetly. Sensors on the robots' undersides measure factors like dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll levels. The swans wirelessly transmit whatever data they collect to the command center on land, and based on what they send, human pilots can remotely tweak the robots' performance in real time. The hope is that the simple, adaptable technology will allow researchers to take smarter samples and better understand the impact of the reservoir's micro-ecosystem on water quality.

Man placing robotic swan in water.
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero

This isn't the first time humans have used robots disguised as animals as tools for studying nature. Check out this clip from the BBC series Spy in the Wild for an idea of just how realistic these robots can get.

[h/t Dezeen]

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