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Friday, October 24, 2014

15 Caramel Apple Candies I’ve Reviewed

A favorite treat in late summer and into fall are caramel apples. I often start seeing them as fair season starts, but at this point they’re available all year round. The combination of a fresh apple and well made caramel is interesting. The apples are crispy and juicy, with a tartness and sort of quick sweetness. Caramel has a slow lingering sweetness and chew as well as the more toasted notes of the burnt sugar and browned butter. It’s hard to imagine a candy that can replicate this, and they pretty much can’t. The flavor combination has been a trend in the past few years, so here’s a recap of a few that I’ve tried.

Jolly Rancher Cruncn n Chew - Caramel AppleName: Jolly Rancher Caramel Apple Crunch ‘n Chew
Brand: Jolly Rancher (Hershey’s)
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $1.00
Size: 1.55 ounces
Calories per ounce: 109
Type: Hard Candy
Review: 7 out of 10
In Short: What’s lacking here is the true Jolly Rancher green apple hard candy with its smooth texture, but if you set those expectations aside, these are pretty good.

Twizzlers Caramel Apple Filled TwistsName: Twizzlers Caramel Apple Filled Twists
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Ralph’s (Glendale)
Price: $2.29
Size: 10.29 ounces
Calories per ounce: 101
Type: Chew
Review Rating: 6 out of 10
In Short: Twizzlers has created a candy no one asked for. It might actually have been worse if the caramel twist was on the outside and it was filled with green apple goo.

Laffy Taffy Caramel AppleName: Laffy Taffy Caramel Apple (Limited Edition)
Brand: Wonka (Nestle)
Place Purchased: Ralph’s (Glendale)
Price: $2.50
Size: 10 ounces
Calories per ounce: 102
Type: Chew
Review Rating: 5 out of 10
In Short: These are definitely tangy, but lack a good caramel flavor, which is too bad because the texture is quite nice.

See's Caramel Apple PopsName:Caramel Apple Lollypops
Brand: See’s Candies
Place Purchased: See’s (The Grove)
Price: $.65
Size: .7 ounces each
Calories per ounce: 100 (70 each)
Type: Hard Candy/Caramel
Review Rating: 7 out of 10
In Short: See’s makes an excellent caramel pop, and these have just a touch of apple flavor to them. But if you’re really in a caramel mood, just get the regular flavor.

Russell Stover Big Bite Caramel AppleName: Big Bite Caramel Apple
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Walgreen’s (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 135
Type: Chocolate/Caramel/Peanuts
Review Rating: 7 out of 10
In Short: For the most part, these are just well-rounded caramel patties with the added interest of an apple flavoring. The crushed peanuts on one version add a new dimension to this category.

Jolly Rancher Caramel Apple LollipopsName: Jolly Rancher Caramel Apple Lollipops
Brand: Jolly Rancher (Hershey’s)
Place Purchased: Target (WeHo)
Price: $2.69
Size: 9.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: 109
Type: Lollipop
Review Rating: 5 out of 10
In Short: If you’re looking for a very sour version of a caramel apple candy, look no further. If you’re looking for authentic apple flavor or caramel texture ... move along.

Charms Super Blow Pop Caramel AppleName: Super Blow Pop Caramel Apple
Brand: Charms (Tootsie)
Place Purchased: Walgreen’s (Studio City)
Price: $.89
Size: 1.125 ounces
Calories per ounce: 101
Type: Hard Candy/Gum
Review Rating: 4 out of 10
In Short: The gum is terrible.

Shurms Soft Candy Chews: Caramel AppleName: Caramel Apple and Caramel Coffee Soft Candy Chews
Brand: Shurms Candy
Place Purchased: samples from Shurms Candy
Price: $4.59
Size: 3 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Type: Jelly/Caramel
Review Rating: 7 out of 10
In Short: This is by far the most inventive version of this flavor combination with a good caramel and interesting pectin jelly candy. They’re also beautiful.

Tootsie Caramel Apple Pops - Green AppleName: Caramel Apple Pops: Orchard Assortment
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Glendale)
Price: $2.99
Size: 15 ounces
Calories per ounce: 94
Type: Caramel/Hard Candy
Review Rating: 6 out of 10
In Short: Though I didn’t give them a high rating, these are probably the favorite for most people. The apple candy base is reliable and the caramel coating, though sticky and not appetizing to look at, is smooth and creamy.

Milky Way Caramel Apple MinisName: Limited Edition Milky Way Caramel Apple Minis
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: CVS (Bryn Mawr, PA)
Price: $4.49
Size: 11.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 125
Type: Chocolate/Nougat/Caramel
Review Rating: 6 out of 10
In Short: This is a confusing mess, as it combines both nougat and caramel with the apple flavor then throws chocolate on top. I think shifting this over to the Simply Caramel version might be more successful, but what do I know? This has been coming back as a seasonal item for four years now.

Werther's Original Caramel Apple FilledName: Werther’s Original Caramel Apple Filled Hard Candies
Brand: Storck
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only Store
Price: $1.00
Size: 2.65 ounces
Calories per ounce: 118
Type: Toffee
Review Rating: 6 out of 10
In Short: It’s interesting to see a German take on this combination, especially since Werther’s is so great with caramel. Though they’re not bad, they’re not as good as the traditional caramels that they do.

Caramel Apple Sugar BabiesName: Caramel Apple Sugar Babies
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: samples from All Candy Expo
Price: $1.00
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 112
Type: Caramel/Sour
Review Rating: 6 out of 10
In Short: Sugar Babies are great, don’t mess with them. If you want a caramel apple version, just eat some apples with your Sugar Babies.

Milk Maid Caramel Apple Candy CornName: Milk Maid Caramel Apple Candy Corn
Brand: Brach’s
Place Purchased: Long’s (Dublin, CA)
Price: $1.49
Size: 9.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Type: Halloween/Caramel
Review Rating: 5 out of 10
In Short: The color is weird, but the quality is good. I didn’t care for them, but like many of the other candies profiled here, they’ve been returning for years so someone must like them.

Goetze's Apple Caramel CreamsName: Apple Caramel Creams
Brand: Goetze’s
Place Purchased: Giant Eagle (Liberty, OH)
Price: 1.00
Size: 12 ounces
Calories per ounce: 108
Type: Caramel
Review Rating: 5 out of 10
In Short: In retrospect I think these were worse than they actually were.

Hershey's Caramel Apple KissesName: Caramel Apple Kisses
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Hershey’s Chocolate World
Price: $3.00
Size: 10 ounces
Calories per ounce: 128
Type: Chocolate/Caramel
Review Rating: 5 out of 10
In Short: Hershey’s has really pared down its list of seasonal items, and these did not make the cut, probably compared to the Pumpkin Spice Kisses, which are made with less actual chocolate content.

Bonus Candies (reviews are coming):
Brach’s Milk Maid Apple Caramel Royals: Enveloped in Brach’s signature caramel and crafted with real milk, each piece is like a home-made caramel apple straight from the cookie sheet… without the seeds or stick to get in the way.
RM Palmer Caramel Apple Cups: Bite into one of these individually-wrapped chocolaty cups with a caramel apple flavored center and find out why everyone’s falling in love with Caramel Apple Cups!

Conclusion: This is no great caramel apple candy ... that won’t keep me from trying them, but I’d prefer to focus on flavors that do make great candy.

Related Candies

  1. Halloween Candy Spotting 2013
  2. 10 Underrated Candies
  3. Halloween Candy Spotting 2012
  4. 6 Candy Corn Candies That Aren’t Candy Corn
  5. The 110 Essential Candies for Candivores
  6. Four 99%-100% Chocolate

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:24 pm     CandyHalloweenHighlightFun StuffComments (0)

Candyology 101 - Podcast Episode 1

I’ve been a guest on Marvo‘s podcast The Nosh Show a few times now, so we thought maybe a podcast devote just to candy might be fun. So candy blogging buddies Lauren from Candy Bar Reviews and Maria from Sometimes Foodie and I will be getting together twice a month to run down the sweet news on Candyology 101. Our first episode is about Halloween candy.

Brach's Autumn Mix

You can listen here or check out the website for full links to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or via RSS.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:29 am     Behind the ScenesCandyHalloweenHighlightRadio InterviewsComments (1)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Theo Peanut Butter Cups (Milk and Dark Chocolate)

Theo Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter CupsWhat the world needs is more versions of the peanut butter cup.

What Theo Chocolate is offering in their new line of peanut butter cup are the following qualities: organic ingredients, ethically sourced chocolate, kosher, no palm oil or soy ingredients and free from genetically modified organisms. The new cups come in two varieties, milk and dark chocolate, and the dark chocolate is vegan. Though they’re Theo Chocolate branded, they’re actually made in Canada.

The Theo Chocolate Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups were $2.25 a package, I picked them up at the factory store in Seattle (I’ll have a write up about the factory tour after Halloween) but they should be available at stores that carry Theo Chocolate soon as well. The packages are 1.3 ounces, so they’re only .2 ounces smaller than the usual Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup packages. Theo uses peanut butter from CB’s Nuts, a small batch nut roaster and butterer.

Theo Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

They’re not your ordinary round cups, nope, these are little heart shapes. They’re .65 ounces each, a nice size with a more even proportion of chocolate to peanut butter than some cups with thinner chocolate shells. There’s no oily puddle on the top, but my cups were probably extremely fresh since I bought them at the factory store.

They smell very toasty, the chocolate is crisp and has a good snap to it. The peanut butter is not fatty or oily, but also not quite crumbly. The overall roasted notes of both the chocolate and peanut butter are very strong. For a milk chocolate product, this is only very barely sweet. If you’re a fan of the more savory elements of peanut butter and chocolate, this is probably a good match for you.

The texture of the peanut butter is similar in particle size to Reese’s ... it’s not whipped smooth, there are little crunchy bits and a dryness to it that keeps it from feeling to slick on the tongue. The chocolate is lightly bitter as well but has a milky note and smooth melt.

Theo Milk and Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

There’s no notation as to the percentage of cacao, but this photos shows that the milk chocolate cups are very dark looking compared to the dark ones.

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups Ingredients: Cocoa Beans, Sugar, Peanut Butter (roasted peanuts), Cocoa Butter, Powdered Sugar (sugar and non-gmo corn starch), Peanut Flour (roasted peanuts), Salt, Rosemary Extract, Ground Vanilla Bean [67% fair trade ingredients | peanut butter sourced in the U.S.]

Theo Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter CupsThe Theo Chocolate Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups are packaged so similarly to the milk chocolate variety, the sales staff at the factory store would let each customer know as they rang up their order that they’d chosen a particular variety ... so I sense that there may be a change in the future to help distinguish them.

Theo Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

The cups are beautiful, again, a little smaller than the Reese’s Peanut Butter version, but lacking the little fluted paper cups. Instead they just sit on a little paperboard tray. The mold detail includes the Theo logo on the bottom of the cups, if you’re so inclined to actually look at them before you gobble them up.

Theo Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

These have the same deep roasted scent as the milk chocolate, but without the light dairy note to it. The dark chocolate is immediately bitter and creamy, with a very silky melt but a strong coffee flavor. The peanut butter balanced the intensity of the chocolate with a lightness, a little hint of salt and a comforting peanut flavor.

Just one cup was exceptionally satisfying.

These are much pricier than the traditionally produced peanut butter cups on store shelves, but have none of the additional ingredients that give many folks pause. However, they’re still made in a facility that processes wheat, tree nuts, egg and soy so they’re not for those sensitive folks.

Though Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups were first to market with ethically sourced ingredients, I think I prefer these for the texture and intensity.  (But I’ll probably still hand out Justin’s for Halloween since they’re available in singles.)

Related Candies

  1. Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups
  2. Theo Salted Almond Dark Chocolate
  3. Nectar Nugget Peanut Butter and Almond Butter Cups
  4. UNREAL #77 Peanut Butter Cups
  5. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
  6. Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups
  7. Dark Chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  8. Factory Fresh Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  9. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Line


Name: Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Theo Chocolate
Place Purchased: Theo Chocolate Factory (Seattle, WA)
Price: $2.25
Size: 1.3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 154
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Theo, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Kosher, Organic, Peanuts, 9-Yummy, Canada


Name: Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Theo Chocolate
Place Purchased: Theo Chocolate Factory (Seattle, WA)
Price: $2.25
Size: 1.3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 146
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Theo, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Kosher, Organic, Peanuts, 9-Yummy, Canada

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:05 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewTheoChocolateEthically SourcedKosherOrganicPeanuts9-YummyCanadaComments (0)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Brach’s Candy Corn Nougats

Candy Corn NougatsI’ve purchased quite a few candy corn themed candies this year, so it was easy to toss the Brach’s Candy Corn Nougats in my basket as well.

Brach’s makes a variety of holiday versions of their individually wrapped nougats, but this is the first year they’ve made a Halloween Candy Corn version. The bag holds 12 ounces of three different color varieties of the candies. They come in yellow, white and orange, just like the layers of candy corn and each features a little image of candy corn at the center. Like many of Brach’s other candies, these are made in Mexico.

Brach's Candy Corn Nougats

Nougat is already very similar to Candy Corn in its ingredients. It’s basically sugar, glucose (sugar syrup), honey and a little protein (in this case egg whites, some candy corn uses gelatin). It’s a little different from taffy in that it’s usually a bit softer chew and has a mild honey flavor. Nougat is usually a smoother texture than fondant, but they should both have a clean and fresh melt on the tongue without much tooth-sticky.

It’s hard to say that these are bad when they succeed at being exactly what they’re supposed to be. They’re a soft nougat that tastes like candy corn. So that’s good.

The chew is soft, really too soft. They’re not quite foamy or puffy like a marshmallow, but not chewy like a taffy. They’re not quite melt in your mouth divine like a French nougat, either.

Related Candies

  1. Melster Candy Corn Circus Peanuts
  2. Brach’s Christmas Nougats Mix
  3. Charms Candy Corn Pops
  4. 6 Candy Corn Candies That Aren’t Candy Corn
  5. M&Ms White Chocolate Candy Corn
  6. Brach’s Cherry Cordial Nougats
  7. Eat with Your Eyes: Pinwheel Nougats
  8. Nougat de Montelimar


Name: Candy Corn Nougats
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Brach’s
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $2.49
Size: 12 ounces
Calories per ounce: 116
Categories: Candy, Halloween, Brach's, Ferrara Pan, Nougat, 5-Pleasant, Mexico, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:33 pm     CandyReviewHalloweenBrach'sFerrara PanNougat5-PleasantMexicoWalgreen'sComments (0)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Russell Stover Big Bite Apple Pie & Pumpkin

Russell Stover Apple PieAh, yes, a holiday candy with a bit of cognitive dissonance.

This is a pumpkin shaped candy that’s flavored like Apple Pie. This is really nothing new, as Russell Stover has more than half a dozen holiday shaped treats that are flavored like baked treats: Carrot Cake, Birthday Cake, Wedding Cake, Pumpkin Pie, Gingerbread, Cookie Dough and Red Velvet. The packaging looks pretty much like the other Russell Stover one ounce pumpkin shaped candies, so I had to look carefully on the shelves to find it.

The Russell Stover Apple Pie Pumpkin is an apple pie flavored fudgy center covered in milk chocolate. At only one ounce, it’s a small little treat.

Russell Stover Apple PIe

Since there are two versions of the Apple Pie on shelves, I thought I’d compare them.

The milk chocolate pumpkin is compact and has a nice enrobed milk chocolate coating. It’s not overly sweet but is milky and creamy. It’s a nice balance to the fudgy, grainy filling. It’s like a spice fudge center. It’s mostly a spice blend of cinnamon and nutmeg maybe with a hint of lemon zest but there’s also an apple flavor that kind of floats above it all. There’s just enough salt to keep it interesting. Some of the other cake flavored pumpkins have actual cake mix in them (uncooked flour) but this is just a sugary, buttery center.

I enjoy these sorts of confections in small quantities and the chocolate kept it all together well, even if it kind of kept it from tasting like actual apple pie.

Russell Stover Apple PieRussell Stover has started making year-round versions of some of their usual holiday items. The Big Bite line includes the Big Bite S’mores (which aren’t sold in any other format to date) and some Big Bite Caramel Apples. The Big Bite Apple Pie actually accomplishes an Apple Pie experience a bit better than the Pumpkin.

Like the Big Bite S’mores, this confection features a graham cracker base.

Russell Stover Apple Pie

The Big Bite Apple Pie is twice the weight of the regular Pumpkin but features a large graham cracker base. The milk chocolate coating seems a little thinner, but the spiced penuche fudge filling is about the same. The addition of the graham cracker really brought home the pie notes, but the lack of actual apples and the anomalous existence of milk chocolate in an otherwise chocolateless pie kept this from being the best emulation ... but taking it for what it is, it’s a fun little candy. It’s different, it works.

In some other news, Russell Stover was purchased this year by Lindt & Sprungli, the same company that already owns Ghirardelli Chocolate. This makes Lindt the third largest chocolate company in the United States (behind Hershey’s and Mars, bumping Nestle out of third). It will be interesting to see what sort of changes Lindt will make, and I’m hoping they’re only improvements but they don’t lose this quirky little seasonal line.

Related Candies

  1. Brach’s Apple Pie Candy Corn
  2. Russell Stover Eggs: Carrot Cake, Birthday Cake and Wedding Cake
  3. Dilly Dally Pickle Candy and Barrels of Yum
  4. See’s Holiday Pie Truffles
  5. Jelly Belly Ice Cream Parlor Mix


Name: Big Bite Apple Pie
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Olympia, WA)
Price: $1.00
Size: 2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 115
Categories: Candy, Halloween, Russell Stover, Chocolate, Cookie, 7-Worth It, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:27 pm     CandyReviewHalloweenRussell StoverChocolateCookie7-Worth ItUnited StatesWalgreen'sComments (0)

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Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.

 

 

 

 

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COUNTDOWN

Halloween Candy Season Ends

6 days

Read previous coverage

 

 

Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
  •   Christmas
  •   Valentine's Day
  •   Easter

 

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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• 10 Candies that Shouldn’t Be So Disappointing

• Brach’s Royals: Caramel Apple and Sea Salt Caramel

• Dove Dark Chocolate Cranberries

• Russell Stover Big Bite Pecan Pie

• Orgran Molasses Licorice

 

 

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