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September 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

Brach’s S’mores Candy Corn

Brach's S'mores Candy CornCandy Corn broke out of its traditional flavor set at least 10 years ago. It’s only natural, since the fondant candies known as mellocremes were capable of so much more than just being different colors for different holidays: reindeer corn and bunny corn.

But Halloween has always paid host to the more interesting varieties. Lately we’ve seen caramel apple flavors, fruits like tangerine and green apple or toffee. Some candy companies have even taken to covering them in chocolate. Brach’s has a large variety these days, my favorite from their assortment is still the Brach’s Halloween Mix, which is not candy corn but little Halloween shapes like bats, pumpkins and maple syrup jugs. They’re lightly flavored and come in cocoa, maple, banana and whatever that honey flavor candy corn is.

The Brach’s S’mores Candy Corn straddles the summer and fall line, as S’mores are often a summer camp favorite but can easily be made in the fall around a crackling fall bonfire.

DSC_3314rb

If I understand the point of these correctly, it should be a chocolate base, marshmallow middle and graham cracker flavored top. I have to say that they’re pretty ugly. The base is a dusty purple and bleeds into the white center.

They smell like a cross between the reliably over-sweet Candy Corn and graham crackers. The base is vaguely cocoa, but in the most watered down and flavored fashion. The middle layer is wonderfully vacant of flavors, kind of like a marshmallow. The orange tip has a distinct cereal and cracker note to it, like a graham.

The effect is something that’s very candy corn-like in flavor, but not very convincing as a S’more. I don’t see the point, really, especially since they’re not very attractive.

DSC_3319rb

S’mores Candy Corn contains gelatin, no surprise as most candy corn does and certainly marshmallows do. It’s also made in a facility that processes everything else:peanuts, tree nuts, milk and eggs plus it contains soy and sesame.

As a side note, Brach’s has changed hands quite a few times in the last decade, and this has made some of their products a bit inconsistent. The company was owned by Farley’s & Sathers most recently and they have merged with Ferrara Pan and the whole company is now called Ferrara Candy. The Candy Corn manufacturing for Brach’s was moved off to Mexico at least two years ago and I’ve heard many reports from die hard fans that it’s not the same any longer (even though the ingredients list appears the same). I agree, it doesn’t seem as smooth and consistent as it used to be and I have switched to recommending the Jelly Belly Candy Corn if you’re actually going to eat it. Brach’s is still fine for decorative purposes.

Related Candies

  1. M&Ms White Chocolate Candy Corn
  2. Pumpkin Pie Gourmet Candy Corn
  3. Toffee Flavored Chocolate Covered Candy Corn
  4. Brach’s Chocolate Candy Corn & Halloween Mix
  5. Milk Maid Caramel Apple Candy Corn
  6. Zachary Candy Corn & Jelly Pumpkins
  7. Brach’s Autumn Mix


Name: S’mores Candy Corn
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Brach’s
Place Purchased: Target (West Hollywood)
Price: $2.50 (on sale)
Size: 19 ounces
Calories per ounce: 101
Categories: Candy, Halloween, Brach's, Ferrara Pan, Fondant, 5-Pleasant, Mexico, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:00 am     CandyReviewHalloweenBrach'sFerrara PanFondant5-PleasantMexicoTargetComments (8)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Werther’s Original Soft Creme Caramel

Werther's Original Soft Creme CaramelsI picked up Werther’s Original Soft Creme Caramels on sale at Rite Aid, suspicious that I’ve had these before even though it says new on the package.

Werther’s does an excellent hard caramel (or toffee) and the parent company, Storck of Germany, makes one of my favorite mass-produced caramels, the Storck Chocolate Riesen. But I was a little confused how these were different from the other caramels that Werther’s already sells.

Werther's Original Caramel Creme

The pieces are small, narrow and wrapped in waxed paper with a foil label around the center. They were easy to twist open and didn’t stick to the wrappers.

Werther's Original Caramel Creme & Chewy Caramel

So, I also purchased the Werther’s Original Chewy Caramel for comparison. The bag looks nearly the same, and inside, the candies are wrapped identically. Opening them, though, it’s clear what the difference is.

The Chewy Caramel (on the right) is stringy and chewy, smooth and pleasant with a balanced milk and caramelized sugar flavor. The Caramel Creme (on the left) is what I would call a “short caramel”, a caramel where the sugar has been caramelized, but allowed to create a bit of a crystallized matrix instead of a silky but stiff chew. It’s sort of like penuche, or like the Krowki Cream Fudge from Poland.

Werther's Original Soft Creme CaramelThe flavor is fresh, not like some fake buttery flavored toffees. The texture is chewy but still a little gummy. It dissolves well and though there’s a detectable grain, it’s not crystallized or gritty.

It’s pleasant, and I enjoyed eating them, but I preferred the Chewy Caramel version, especially since the bag I purchased for this comparison was especially fresh and chewy. I do prefer this to the flavor profile of Kraft Caramels, though I can’t attest to how they would perform in recipes.

Related Candies

  1. Werther’s Original Hard Candies
  2. Eat with your Eyes: Cows
  3. Storck Merci
  4. Krowki: Polish Cream Fudge
  5. Storck Toffifay
  6. Dots Elements: Earth, Air, Fire & Water
  7. Werther’s Original Chewy Caramels


Name: Werther’s Original Soft Creme Caramel
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Storck
Place Purchased: RiteAid (Studio City)
Price: $1.50 (on sale)
Size: 4.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 119
Categories: Candy, Storck, Caramel, 7-Worth It, Germany, Rite Aid

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:11 am     CandyReviewStorckCaramel7-Worth ItGermanyRite AidComments (1)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Jolly Rancher Caramel Apple Lollipops

Jolly Rancher Caramel Apple LollipopsIn the ranking of Halloween candy, hard candies were usually pretty close to the bottom of the list. Unless it was Jolly Ranchers. A handful of green apple and cinnamon were welcome in my trick or treat bag, and even better if the home gave out the sticks.

It’s fun to see Hershey’s Jolly Rancher brand branching out a little bit for Halloween with their new Jolly Rancher Caramel Apple Lollipops. I found these at Target but saw them earlier at CVS and RiteAid (for at least a dollar more) so I think Hershey’s has given them very wide release.

It’s hard to believe that these will topple the current seasonal Caramel Apple Pop favorite from Tootsie.

Jolly Rancher Caramel Apple Lollipops

The smell is confusing. I get a lot of buttery notes, but it’s like artificial butter flavoring or something. The flavor is immediately tangy and overly sour apple. But then again, this is a Jolly Rancher candy, so it I guess it just has to be mostly green apple. The green and caramel color swirls look like the flavor should vary, but I didn’t detect enough of a respite from the tartness of the green apple in the caramel.

The texture is good, I didn’t notice any voids or sharpness. The pieces were all perfectly formed and didn’t have any of that sticky/deformation/melting problem that the Tootsie Caramel Apple Pops have.

Overall, though, these are just too tart for me and don’t have enough actual caramel or toffee in them. However, they do seem to be free of actual dairy products, so if you’re looking for a caramel product without milk, cream or butter, this might be for you. I’m not planning on eating the rest of this bag, but I’m confident the neighborhood kids won’t be disappointed on October 31st.

Related Candies

  1. Russell Stover Big Bite Caramel Apple
  2. Limited Edition Milky Way Caramel Apple Minis
  3. Werther’s Original Caramel Apple Filled
  4. Tootsie Caramel Apple Pops
  5. Festival HiCHEW: Candied Apple & Cotton Candy
  6. Milk Maid Caramel Apple Candy Corn
  7. Caramel Apple Sugar Babies


Name: Jolly Rancher Caramel Apple Lollipops
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Target (West Hollywood)
Price: $2.69
Size: 9.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: 109
Categories: Candy, Halloween, Hershey's, Hard Candy & Lollipops, 5-Pleasant, Mexico, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:25 am     CandyReviewHalloweenHershey'sHard Candy & Lollipops5-PleasantMexicoTargetComments (4)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Russell Stover Pumpkin Pie

Russell Stover Pumpkin PieRussell Stover is often up on flavor trends with their seasonal single serve shapes. Their most recent introduction was the Red Velvet, which is now available in a Halloween version.

I spotted the listing for the Russell Stover Pumpkin Pie on the Russell Stover website about a month ago and I went on the search as soon as the stores in my area started putting out their Halloween candy.

The package looks generally the same as all the other Russell Stover pumpkins, of which there are at least a dozen now. It’s a mylar wrapping with a generic pumpkin illustration on the front an simple lettering to depict the contents.

Russell Stover Pumpkin Pie

The pumpkin is interesting to look at. I like enrobed candies and this one looks rustic and handmade. The shape isn’t specifically pumpkin though, as it has no ribs, so I can imagine this being sold as an ornament in different packaging later this year. This is the first time, though, that I’ve found the shape of the candy to actually reflect the candy flavor. Note that this is pumpkin pie, not pumpkin spice. I wanted to know what made this different from a regular spiced cream center and the ingredients list brought the answer.

It’s like pumpkin pie, including the crust. There’s wheat flour in the ingredients. In fact the ingredients list “spice cake mix” which includes wheat flour, egg whites and nonfat milk in addition to the spices. So the center here is more like cookie dough than a cream, rather like the Red Velvet piece they’re also making now.

Russell Stover Pumpkin Pie

So, after I got my head around that weirdness, I just adjusted my expectations. This is like a chocolate covered cookie dough, but instead of those lackluster Cookie Dough Bites, these are actually made with pretty good milk chocolate and some nice proportions.

The milk chocolate is creamy, the center is a bit doughy and has a slight sugar grain to it. It’s dense but not too sticky. The spices are light, not overwhelming but also not terribly distinct. It’s a generic background of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg with a touch of clove.

I appreciate that it’s different from other sticky cream candies right now. I would have preferred a dark chocolate and maybe a little more powerful spice, but overall, for a 50 cent candy, it’s pretty good.

Russell Stover Dark Chocolate Orange CreamRussell Stover Dark Chocolate Orange CreamThe Russell Stover Dark Chocolate Orange Cream is also new, though I couldn’t find it on the Russell Stover website.

This pumpkin is a bit thicker than the Pumpkin Pie version. The glossy dark chocolate looks great, with robust swirls on top. It smells like dark chocolate with a hint of orange zest. The cream filling is actually something like a meringue. It has egg whites in it, though I ended up calling it a marshmallow, it’s actually okay for vegetarians. The texture is wonderfully smooth and though it tastes like it’s creamy, there’s far fewer calories in this treat than the other creams that Russell Stover sells. (120 calories per ounce, so this is a pretty slim little candy if you’re watching calories but want something fulfilling.)

Russell Stover Orange Creme Pumpkin

The filling has a sweetness, but it’s not as cloying as some of the more fudgy creams. There are bits of orange zest and an authentic orange flavor to the whole thing (though some artificial coloring which I thought was unnecessary). The chocolate is thick and stands up well to the center and doesn’t fall apart as you eat it.

Russell Stover Coconut & AlmondRussell Stover Coconut & Almond is also a new twist on an old favorite from Russell Stover.

The center is coconut cream and the milk chocolate enrobing includes lots of crushed almonds on top. Think of it like an Almond Joy, but without the large lumps on top. This is also a new item, and unfortunately doesn’t seem to come in dark chocolate right now.

Russell Stover makes two coconut seasonal candies right now. There’s the Nest, which is just coconut and milk chocolate. They also make their coconut creams, which are covered in either milk chocolate or dark chocolate.

Russell Stover Coconut and Almond

Each of these elements is well balanced. The coconut is soft and chewy, a bit sweeter than I care for, but still fresh and tasty. The almonds, though not spread evenly are crunchy and big enough to provide the added texture to the experience. The milk chocolate, though also sweet, is far and away better than the Hershey’s version on Almond Joy bars. This is a bit on the milky side, but creamy and fudgy. I would definitely buy this again, but what would put it over the top would be a dark chocolate version. It’s a good value at 50 cents for a one ounce piece made with real chocolate right here in the United States.

Related Candies

  1. Russell Stover Big Bite Caramel Apple
  2. M&Ms Pumpkin Spice
  3. Russell Stover Cookie Dough Egg
  4. Russell Stover Red Velvet Santa
  5. See’s Pumpkin Spice & Root Beer Lollypops
  6. Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses
  7. Russell Stover Orange Marshmallow Pumpkin


Name: Pumpkin Pie in Milk Chocolate
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Studio City)
Price: $.50 (on sale)
Size: 1 ounce
Calories per ounce: 140
Categories: Candy, Halloween, Russell Stover, Chocolate, Cookie, 7-Worth It, United States, Walgreen's


Name: Dark Chocolate Orange Cream
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Studio City)
Price: $.50 (on sale)
Size: 1 ounce
Calories per ounce: 120
Categories: Candy, Halloween, Russell Stover, Chocolate, Marshmallow, 7-Worth It, United States, Walgreen's


Name: Coconut & Almond in Milk Chocolate
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Studio City)
Price: $.50 (on sale)
Size: 1 ounce
Calories per ounce: 140
Categories: Candy, Halloween, Russell Stover, Chocolate, Coconut, Nuts, 7-Worth It, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:52 am     CandyReviewHalloweenRussell StoverChocolateCoconutMarshmallowNuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesWalgreen'sComments (0)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Candy Tease: Mars 2014

I usually wait until a trade show rolls around to introduce new candy product notes, but I was really excited about the new products set to be presented at the The Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing show (NACS) in Atlanta from 12-15 October by Mars. So, I decided to roll out the announcement for these a little early. Sadly, nothing comes out this year, the earliest new release is January:

MMs Birthday CakeName: M&Ms Birthday Cake
Brand: Mars
Description: Delicious milk chocolate infused with birthday cake flavor creates an exciting new treat worth celebrating. Available in single serve bags and 8 ounce packages.
Introduction Date: May 2014
Notes: There’s no word whether this is a limited edition or if it’s a permanent addition to the M&M varieties. Also, no indication what birthday cake flavor is, I think it’s something like vanilla poundcake. (Personally, my birthday cake has usually been chocolate devil’s food with peppermint whipped cream.)

UPDATE: Here’s the review of Milk Chocolate flavored Birthday Cake M&Ms which started showing up in CVS stores in February.

Mega MMsName: Mega M&Ms Milk Chocolate & Peanut
Brand: Mars
Description: Featuring 3x the chocolate of regular M&Ms. The peanut variety uses larger peanuts in the center. Available in single serve bags and 11 ounce packages.
Introduction Date: May 2014
Notes: This is at least the third time Mega M&Ms have been introduced, if you include the Shrek version. The limited edition and flavored varieties, such as Coconut and Pumpkin Spice are already using this larger format, so it seems like Mars already has the equipment in place for this new/rebooted line.

Dove Sea Salt CaramelName: Dove Promises Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel
Brand: Dove
Description: offers a decadent blend of creamy caramel mixed with savory sea salt and wrapped in silky smooth dark chocolate. Will retail for $3.49 for a 8.5 ounce bag.
Introduction Date: January 2014
Notes: These have been a Target exclusive for over a year now, and I can attest that they are quite good. With their upcoming sustainable sourcing certification, these might just be the best mass-produced dark chocolate caramel in the big box stores.

Twix BitesName: Twix Bites
Brand: Mars
Description: Unwrapped, bite-sized cubes that are a miniature version of the iconic bar brand, ideal for consumers looking for the full taste experience of a TWIX Bar in a smaller portion. Available in 2.83 ounce king size and stand up, resealable pouches.
Introduction Date: April 2014
Notes: Twix is strange for me. Conceptually, I should love it, but I never like them when I try them, they’re not ideal for the ratios I prefer. So this version, which I suspect will have more chocolate, might hit that perfectly. I’m quite excited about this, especially if they decide to make the Triple Chocolate or Java version.

Milky Way Caramel BitesName: Milky Way Simply Caramel Bites
Brand: Mars
Description: Gives consumers more of what they love in the MILKY WAY Simply Caramel Bar – rich, creamy caramel coated in irresistible MILKY WAY chocolate – in sharable bite-size pieces. Available in 2.83 ounce king size and stand up, resealable pouches.
Introduction Date: January 2014
Notes: I’d be curious to try these head to head with the Rolo Minis, as they’re a similar product. (Rolo are molded, Milky Way Caramel are enrobed.) The Milky Way Simply Caramel has become far more popular than I would have thought, and I think the brand is ripe now for its own new versions, such as new flavors.

3 Musketeers BitesName: 3 Musketeers Bites
Brand: Mars
Description: Offers the same taste experience as the full-size bar—light and fluffy nougat covered in delicious chocolate – in unwrapped, bite-sized cubes. Available in 2.83 ounce king size and stand up, resealable pouches.
Introduction Date: January 2014
Notes: I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the Milky Way Bites, as they seemed to have more malt flavor and a fresher overall taste. So, now I’m looking forward to the 3 Musketeers, which is a brand that has slipped away from me as something I might eat. These sound like they would be great with those flavor extensions they do for the different holidays (though I wonder how you’d be able to tell if they did mixes).

Snickers Rockin Nut RoadName: Snickers Rockin Nut Road
Brand: Mars
Description: Packed with marshmallow flavored nougat covered with crunchy almonds and smothered in dark chocolate.
Introduction Date: January 2014
Notes: This bar also came out back in 2008 (original review) during a time when Snickers was trying out a lot of different limited editions. I liked this one the best, as it seemed less sweet and the marshmallow-cream style nougat was smoother. I’m looking forward to this return.

Related Candies

  1. Candy Tease: Mars 2012 Announcements
  2. Candy Tease: Mars 2011 Announcements
  3. Candy Tease: Mars 2010
  4. Candy Tease: All Candy Expo 2009 - Mars

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:36 am     CandyNew Product AnnouncementMarsM&MsHighlightFeatured NewsComments (4)

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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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