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Cinnamon

Monday, February 10, 2014

Necco Sweethearts Hot Hearts and Cool Hearts

Necco Sweethearts Hot HeartsNecco has taken some heat in the past few years regarding their changes to the flavor and recipe for their iconic Sweethearts Conversation Hearts.

The idea of creating individually flavored packages if the Sweethearts seems like a great way to sort this out. Necco released to single-flavor packages this year: Necco Sweethearts Hot Hearts and Necco Sweethearts Cool Hearts. They’re cinnamon and peppermint (respectively). They come in attractive mini gable boxes and for less than a dollar, I thought it was much more attractive, mature and sophisticated than the little boxes of the multi-flavor version.

Necco Sweethearts Hot Hearts & Cool Hearts

The boxes are adorable, though frustrating to re-close. There’s a tab on the back, but it’s glued down and has nothing to tuck back into after you open it. You can slide the whole flap into the folded top, but it’s a bit of a trick and not something that can be accomplished with one hand.

Though they are nothing more than paperboard boxes sealed with glue, the candies were fresh and crispy. (Not that I know exactly what a fresh Sweetheart actually is supposed to be like.)

Necco Sweethearts Hot Hearts

The cinnamon flavored Hot Hearts are truly hot. I found them quite spicy and a little more nuanced than a straight burn.

The pink hearts have flirty mottoes like: Kiss Me, Wow Me, Ooh La LA and Wink Wink.

The flavor is cinnamony, it has an immediate warmth to it, but there’s a note of clove and some of the other more woodsy flavors of ground cinnamon. The texture is smoother than an Altoid, but they that that same crispy texture that you can let dissolve or crunch.

I enjoyed them quite a bit, though eating a lot of them does lead to a lingering heat in the mouth.

Necco Sweethearts Cool Hearts

The peppermint Cool Hearst are white with light blue-green lettering, though some of mine were blank. It’s obvious why these are sold in single flavors, as they’re very strong and would contaminate the flavor of anything placed in contact.

The mottoes for the Cool Hearts are also themed for the mint flavor: Chill Out, Frosty, Shivers, Icy Blast, So Fresh. There are other more puzzling ones, like an asterisk (which may be an homage to the romantic novels of Kurt Vonnegut or the Walmart logo) and the possibly insulting versions that say Got Onions? and Have a Mint.

The smooth texture and Altoid intensity was pleasant. They’re were definitely minty enough to be called mints instead of candy, but the price is certainly very good for this sort of product versus something like Altoids or Breathsavers (though they’re made with sugar, no artificial sweeteners like some breath mints).

I would buy either of these again, the packaging was pleasing but most of all the candy inside was surprisingly good for a Necco Sweetheart product. I feel like Necco has stumbled in their previous seasonal and pop culture tie ins (see Sweethearts Fire & Ice for Twilight) but these can definitely be called a hit.

Related Candies

  1. Trader Joe’s Organic Gingermints
  2. Necco Sweethearts Twilight Fire & Ice
  3. Necco Conversation Hearts (Sweethearts) 2010
  4. Canada Wintergreen
  5. Trader Joe’s English Soft Peppermints
  6. VerMints
  7. Pastiglie Leone


Name: Sweethearts Hot Hearts
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Necco
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $.89
Size: 2.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 121
Categories: Candy, Valentines, Necco, Cinnamon, Compressed Dextrose, 7-Worth It, United States, Walgreen's


Name: Sweethearts Cool Hearts
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Necco
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $.89
Size: 2.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 121
Categories: Candy, Valentines, Necco, Compressed Dextrose, Mints, 7-Worth It, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:45 pm     CandyReviewValentinesNeccoCinnamonCompressed DextroseMints7-Worth ItUnited StatesWalgreen'sComments (2)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Brach’s Christmas Nougats Mix

Brach's Christmas Nougats MixA few years back I reviewed one of the classic candies that Brach’s has been making for years, their Peppermint Holiday Nougat. The Brach’s style of nougat is made with egg whites, just like the European recipes have been for hundreds of years. This version is more of a chew, kind of a hybrid between a taffy and a fluffy honey-sweetened nougat from France, Italy or Spain.

The fun part about the Brach’s Christmas Nougats Mix is that they come in three flavors: Cinnamon, Peppermint & Wintergreen.

Enjoy Brach’s uniquely soft, handmade nougats mad with delicious peppermint, cinnamon and wintergreen flavors. Perfect for snacking or sharing with friends and family throughout the holiday season.

These kinds of nougats are assembled, truly, by hand. Large logs of nougat are colored and flavored, then stacked together to form the image inside which creates a much larger log. That is then placed on a machine that pulls it into a smaller cord and then cuts the pieces.

DSC_4563rb

I’ve reviewed the Peppermint version before, and find the same opinion to hold true today. It’s a soft chew, very smooth with a nice pop of peppermint. The nougat makes it a short chew, meaning it’s not gummy and dissolves pretty quickly without much grain. It has a bit of salt, which mellows out the bulk of the sugar.

Brach's Cinnamon Holiday Nougat

The Cinnamon version has a pink background. The cinnamon scent is quite strong and this chew was very soft. It’s a sizzling cinnamon, I was surprised at its strength, there was a bit of heat. It’s a unique sort of candy, so I appreciate that it’s attractive and well made.

Brach's Wintergreen Holiday Nougat

The Wintergreen version has a light green background. As much as I’m a fan of the flavor, I can’t say that this is the best use of it. Like the cinnamon, this is very strong. And like cinnamon, a lot of wintergreen at once can give a sort of warming “sports rub” sort of feeling. Wintergreen doesn’t go well with many other flavors, it’s not like this combines well with chocolate or wine, if you were snacking.

These make an attractive bowl of candy, though I think in the future I’d stick with either the Peppermint or the Cinnamon. Wintergreen is just to strange for a candy assortment for Christmas, but certainly something to keep in mind for that person on your list that does have a predilection for the stuff.

Note: the packaging on this predates the Ferrara and Farley’s & Sathers merger (the copyright said 2012) and Brach’s is planning on changing their packaging design and branding again next year. This bag was made in Mexico.

Related Candies

  1. Brach’s Cherry Cordial Nougats
  2. Eat with Your Eyes: Pinwheel Nougats
  3. Fard’s Persian Pistachio Nougat
  4. Canada Wintergreen
  5. Massam’s Nougat
  6. Brachs Bunny Basket Eggs


Name: Christmas Nougats Mix
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Ferrara Pan
Place Purchased: CVS (Park LaBrea)
Price: $2.49
Size: 9.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 116
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Brach's, Farley's & Sathers, Ferrara Pan, Cinnamon, Mints, Nougat, 6-Tempting, Mexico, Sav-On/CVS

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:15 pm     CandyReviewChristmasBrach'sFarley's & SathersFerrara PanCinnamonMintsNougat6-TemptingMexicoSav-On/CVSComments (3)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Red Bird Brand Puffs

DSC_3280rbSometime about a year ago I picked up some Root Beer Puffs, which were like buttermints but flavored like the soda. A few weeks later I got a note from a company called Red Bird Brand that makes candy puffs in a huge variety of flavors. It took me quite a while to find them, but I did pick up Soft Assorted Puffs at the 99 Cent Only Store that includes 15 different flavors. (Though perhaps not always in the same bag.)

The flavor variety is, well, extraordinary: Peppermint, Cherry, Lemon, Green Apple, Wintergreen, Strawberry, Orange, Grape, Peach, Blueberry, Butterscotch, Watermelon, Cream Penny, Cotton Candy, Passion Fruit. There’s a menu guide on the back that shows the key for the combination of colors and stripes. There are about 25 candies in the bag, but the flavors were not distributed evenly.

One of the differences between this style of Puffs and the traditional Buttermint of After Dinner Mint is the size. These are quite large, at about 1 inch across and all of them are individually wrapped. (No more candy dish with the stuck together.)

Red Bird Puffs

Cherry was bold and easy to spot. It’s a flavor that’s both heavily scented and with a light tartness to it. It was smooth and had a good melt, but overall, it’s not usually my favorite though at least this didn’t have a lot of red coloring in it.
Lemon smelled rather like lemonade drink mix. The flavor was a bit on the metallic side, but mostly reminded me of lemon meringue.
Green Apple is a strange flavor for this candy. It’s not intense enough to really stand out, so it may as well be lime.
Wintergreen is quite medicinal, with a wholesome Root Beer sort of flavor. Because it was green and not pink, like many wintergreen candies, I didn’t notice any extra aftertaste from the artificial colors. I would eat this one again. (But I only got one in the bag.)
Strawberry and cotton candy looked very similar, but I’m pretty sure this was Strawberry. It was light and fruity, but not floral enough. It was almost like a strawberry lemonade because of the little tangy note.
Grape was more intense than I expected with full on tartness but very little grape flavor. The softness of the whole thing was good, but the flavor was too artificial.
Peach was bland with a little note of peach fuzz or apricot. It was not that tempting overall.
Blueberry was what the whole bag might have smelled like. It’s quite fruity, a little floral and not really what I’d call a candy flavor, more like an air freshener.
Butterscotch is warm and sweet, a little on the maple side. I liked this one quite a lot.
Watermelon was pure nostalgia. It tasted like a Bonne Bell lipsmacker. It was one of the more intense flavors in the package and I both loved it and hated it. I’m not really that fond of watermelon candies, as I don’t eat watermelon for the flavor anyway. But this had that fresh flavor that balanced the sweetness and the tartness of the rind and a green flavor.
Cream Penny was a mystery. This one is all white with a dark red dot in the center. I still don’t know what it’s supposed to be. It was sweet, but had no other detectable flavor notes so I’m going to say that it’s vanilla.

The flavors not in my bag: Peppermint, Cotton Candy, Passion Fruit and Orange.

For the most part I didn’t like the fruity flavors. The others like butterscotch and wintergreen were more to my liking, even the unflavored Cream Penny were pleasant.

Soft Hot Cinnamon PuffsOne of the other items I picked up many months ago were the Red Bird Soft Hot Cinnamon Puffs. The bag holds only 4 ounces and was also $1.00, this time at Dollar Tree.

The puffs themselves are quite nice, I liked them more than the variety package. There’s a floral, sort of honey note to them. But they’re also quite cinnamony. I wouldn’t call them hot though, it was a nice heat but they never approached anything like the fire of an Atomic Fireball.

The cinnamon smell is strong, even when they’re in the package, so I had to keep them separated from other candies.

The package for the Assorted Puffs said it was Gluten Free, they’re also Kosher Pareve and appear to be vegan ingredients.

It was strange that I didn’t get the classic Peppermint in the Assorted mix, which is what Red Bird Brand is known for. Overall, the texture was good, they softened up nicely. The package mentions that they’re rather hard when they’re first made, but if you prefer a softer puff, to open the package and wait ... it was true. After a couple of months, mine reached the melt in your mouth texture that I was expecting.

Related Candies

  1. 10 Underrated Candies
  2. Katharine Beecher Party Mints
  3. Pennsylvania Dutch Candies - Root Beer Puffs
  4. Cedrinca Gran Mix
  5. King Leo Dark Chocolate Crunchy Patties
  6. Mint Cremes from the Makers of Jelly Belly
  7. Canada Wintergreen


Name: Soft Assorted Puffs
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Red Bird Brand
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only Store (Miracle Mile)
Price: $1.00
Size: 5.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 106
Categories: Candy, Hard Candy & Lollipops, 5-Pleasant, United States, 99 Cent Only Store


Name: Soft Hot Cinnamon Puffs
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Red Bird Brand
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree
Price: $1.00
Size: 4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 106
Categories: Candy, Cinnamon, Hard Candy & Lollipops, Kosher, 6-Tempting, United States, Dollar Tree

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:13 pm     CandyReviewCinnamonHard Candy & LollipopsKosher5-Pleasant6-TemptingUnited States99 Cent Only StoreDollar TreeComments (7)

Friday, September 13, 2013

M&Ms Pumpkin Spice

M&Ms Pumpkin SpiceAs usual, the candy shelves are stacking up with Halloween favorites and a few new novelty items.

The Pumpkin Spice M&Ms are a Target exclusive this year (just as the Candy Corn M&Ms were also exclusive their first year at WalMart). The package is cute and was easy to spot at the store. It features the orange M&M character looking like a pumpkin.

The flavor is not pumpkin pie itself, but the spices used to turn pumpkin custard into a seasonal dessert. Traditional pumpkin spices are a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, allspice, and/or mace. The ingredients for these M&Ms are vague, just listing “artificial and natural flavorings” at the end of the list.

M&Ms Pumpkin Spice

The pieces are, for the most part, the mega size. They’re larger than a standard M&M and come in three colors in the package: dark brown, orange and green.

M&Ms Pumpkin Spice

The flavor is overwhelmingly cinnamon. Though they smell like chocolate, they taste like chocolate milk sipped in a room with too many Christmas-scented candles. The candy shell is crispy and the milk chocolate center is, well, a bit fudgy and grainy. I think I prefer the size of the regular M&Ms, since the chocolate is merely passable. In this format the amount of sugar easily overwhelms the chocolate.

I didn’t actually notice that much of a difference from the previous limited edition Cinnamon M&Ms from two years ago. Maybe a little more note of clove. I would have preferred more of the nutmeg and ginger spices than the Tic Tac notes of cinnamon candies.

Pumpkin Spice seems to be a pretty hot flavor these days (though the Hershey’s Kisses version has been around since 2008), a lot of seasonal candies are being released (see list below of previous reviews). If you like Spiced Chai or cinnamon in general, it’s a great time to pick up this twist on old candy favorites. If not, wait a few months and the Candy Cane and Egg Nog versions will emerge.

Finally, with all the crazy flavors of M&Ms that have come out over the years, I’m a loss to why they’d go with something like peanut butter and jelly before coffee.

Related Candies

  1. See’s Holiday Pie Truffles
  2. M&Ms White Chocolate Peppermint
  3. Halloween Candy Spotting 2012
  4. M&Ms White Chocolate Candy Corn
  5. Pumpkin Pie Gourmet Candy Corn
  6. Limited Edition Strawberried Peanut Butter M&Ms
  7. See’s Pumpkin Spice & Root Beer Lollypops
  8. Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses


Name: M&Ms Pumpkin Spice
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: Target (West Hollywood)
Price: $2.66 (on sale)
Size: 9.9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Categories: Candy, Halloween, Mars, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Kosher, Limited Edition, 7-Worth It, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:50 pm     CandyReviewHalloweenMarsChocolateCinnamonKosherLimited EditionM&Ms7-Worth ItUnited StatesTargetComments (6)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

10 Underrated Candies

I often try to champion exceptional candies, ones that don’t have million dollar advertising budgets or huge fandoms on social networks. But there are other candies out there that have been plugging away for decades just being dependable. They’re not the best they could be, but they certainly don’t get the attention they deserve.

So here they are, not the only 10 candies that are underrated, but just 10 that I happen to love and find myself eating more often, now that I’ve circled around and tried a few thousand other candies in the past eight years.

Atkinson Chick-o-Stick

Chick-O-Sticks (Atkinson’s)

Description: Orange crunchy layers of peanut butter crisp rolled in coconut.

What’s to like about it?

Crispy peanut butter layers. You get right to it, no busting your way through some crazy overly-sweet mockolate. It’s just about the peanuts, it’s completely crispy, a little salty and totally nutty. The best format are the individually wrapped minis shown, they make far less mess than the long bar format.

They’re vegan and gluten free.

Hesitations?

Well, there’s coconut on the outside. I’m not sure why, but it’s there and it’s always been there. There’s not a lot and it really doesn’t contribute much to the flavor but does give a little chew to the texture. What would make me even happier is if they got rid of the artificial colors in it, which I could swear give them a slight bitter aftertaste that I don’t get from the equally lovely Atkinson’s Peanut Bars.

What makes it underrated?

The packaging is lackluster and they can be hard to find, especially in the Northeast.

Goldenberg's Peanut Chews

Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews (Just Born)

Description: a molasses chew studded with peanuts covered in dark mockolate.

What’s to like about it?

Molasses and peanuts. That’s it. It’s dark and mysterious, only slightly sweet, sometimes a little bitter. It’s chewy and crunchy and with a lot of nuts, it’s very satisfying and filling. They come in cute little bars, so you can just eat one or two and save the rest for later or share. They’re vegan!

Hesitations?

The mockolate coating is disappointing. It’s usually a bit toasty flavored but waxy so it lacks a creamy smooth quality that might really tip this over into being an incredible candy.

What makes it underrated?

The name and packaging marks it as an old-time, regional candy bar. Just Born, who bought out Goldenberg’s, renamed the candy, then brought back the classic name & design, further confusing people. The molasses component is a hard sell in artificial times.

Ferrara Pan Root Beer Barrels

Root Beer Barrels (Various Brands)

What’s to like about it?

It tastes like root beer! I tastes more like root beer than most of the cheap and weak sodas on store shelves and it’s more portable. It’s a hard to find flavor that really shines in hard candy form.

Hesitations?

Some brands are better than others. Voids in the candy can be sharp and make small cuts or abrasions on the tongue or palate.

What makes it underrated?

It’s hard candy and hard candy is for old ladies.

Honees

Honees Honey Drops (DiNatura)

Description: little honey flavored hard candies filled with honey.

What’s to like about it?

They’re dead simple and satisfying, the honey center coats the throat and does actually soothe without medication.

Hesitations?

They can be expensive and can be messy, as many packages get sticky because of the delicate filling in the pieces.

What makes it underrated?

They’re stuck in the cough drop aisle, not with the rest of the candy. Sure, they’re soothing, but they’re also comforting, and who doesn’t want to be comforted regularly?

Compartes Candied Orange Peel Dipped in Chcoolate

Chocolate Covered Orange Zest (your local chocolate shop)

Description: candied orange peel is dipped in dark chocolate

What’s to like about it?

It’s extremely simple with a good combination of textures and flavors. There’s the bitterness of the orange oils and dark chocolate, the chewy texture of the peel and the creamy melt of the chocolate.

Hesitations?

They’re a small treat, and the satisfaction is usually due to good quality peels done well (not to soft and sticky, not leathery tough) and appropriate amounts of chocolate. They’re often expensive, which is odd because it’s basically chocolate covered garbage, but they do require a bit of manual labor to make.

What makes it underrated?

Probably the fact that some places sell bad versions or put awful chocolate on them. They’re also not for everyone, citrus is just not everyone’s thing.

Hot Tamales

Hot Tamales (Just Born)

Description: rod shaped hot cinnamon jelly beans.

What’s to like about it?

They’re cinammony, soft and chewy. They’re not too hot, so you can eat a lot of them, unlike some other super sizzling cinnamon candies.

Hesitations?

The red food coloring is a bit overwhelming and sometimes I get a package that tastes like cherry.

What makes it underrated?

They’re just jelly beans. There’s only one flavor in the box.

Butter Mints

Buttermints (Richardson)

Description: buttery mint puffs

What’s to like about it?

They’re like sweet, minty air. They’re soft and melt in your mouth. They’re lightly flavored like peppermint, the opposite of the blast of flavor from an Altoid.

Hesitations?

They’re hard to find and can get stale quickly or take on flavors from other foods around them. If they’re sitting out in a bowl, they’re going to be disappointing.

What makes it underrated?

They’re marketed as an after dinner mint, not a treat in their own right.

Old Dominion Butter Toffee Peanuts

Toffee Peanuts (Various brands - shown is Old Dominion also Adams-Brooks Candies)

Description: crunchy caramelized sugar covering peanuts

What’s to like about it?

They’re often found at truck stops and in vending machines. They’re a great combination of satisfying peanut protein and sweet, buttery toffee. Though they’re similar to French Burnt Peanuts, they’re not as tough to crunch and often have a more authentic peanut and browned butter flavor to them.

Hesitations?

They can be sticky and sometimes if the bag has been shaken up too much, all the toffee comes off the nuts. (But then it’s just perfect as a topping for ice cream.)

What makes it underrated?

As you may have already noticed a theme here, underrated candies are usually in small pieces, not bar form. It’s easy to dismiss a toffee coated peanut because there are other, more trendy candies out there. But they’ve been making these for hundreds of years for a reason.

Spearmint Leaves

Spearmint Leaves (Generic)

Description: spearmint flavored jellies shaped like a mint leaf.

What’s to like about it?

There are so few spearmint candies in the United States these days, and these endure for a reason. They’re sweet but with a really powerful spearmint note to them that balances it out. The sugar crust balances the sticky jelly of the center. They’re usually vegan as there’s no gelatin used in gumdrops.

Hesitations?

They can get stale quickly, or worse, get sticky and damp. They’re not easy to combine with other candies in a trail mix. I feel like an old lady when I pick them out in the store.

Sugar Babies

Sugar Babies (Tootsie)

Description: caramel bits covered in a grainy sugar shell.

What’s to like about it?

If you’ve ever thought, “why don’t they make caramel jelly beans”, this is the answer. Why make a flavored item when you can give the same treatment to the real thing.

Hesitations?

When the get stale, they’re pretty hard. They don’t do well in trail mix with things like dried fruit because the moisture will make them even grainier or sticky.

What makes it underrated?

I think folks stop eating them when they grow up, and never go back.

So that’s my list. What do you think is undervalued or poorly marketed?

Related Candies

  1. Candy Tease: Bar None, Reed’s and Regal Crown Sours
  2. Flix Candy Flix Mix
  3. Candy Tease: Sweets & Snacks Expo 2011 Part 1
  4. Candy Tease: Nostalgia in 2011
  5. The 110 Essential Candies for Candivores

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:20 pm     CandyBrittleCaramelChewsChocolateCinnamonJelly CandyMintsMockolatePeanutsToffeeHighlightFun StuffComments (14)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hot Tamales 3 Alarm

Hot Tamales 3 AlarmOne of my favorite candies, especially lately, has been Hot Tamales. They’re incredibly simple, basically just spicy cinnamon jelly rods. They’re cheap and easy to find. I have been buying the five pound bags at places like Smart & Final and at Jack’s Wholesale Candy in downtown Los Angeles. They look great in a candy jar and are an excellent pick-me up in the middle of the day or during long car trips.

Just Born, makers of Hot Tamales, recently introduced a new twist to their standard box. It’s called Hot Tamales 3 Alarm and as you might imagine, has three different spice levels inside:

The heat index is off the charts with the new HOT TAMALES® 3 ALARM candies, featuring three increasing levels of heat – hot, hotter, hottest! Test your taste buds’ boundaries with the hottest HOT TAMALES® bean ever. Just remember, you’ve been warned.

Hot Tamales 3 Alarm

The Hot level is orange. It’s mild but still a good mix of spicy and sweet.

The Hotter level is red. It’s warming but it’s just in the shell and dissipates pretty quickly. The flavor is well rounded, the woodsy bark flavors of cassia (sometimes sold as cinnamon but with a slightly more floral note to it), the sweetness of the bark and then the burn. There’s some throat tingling, but pretty much the normal Hot Tamale experience.

The Hottest level is maroon. It’s hard to tell these apart from the Hotter level sometimes, unless they’re side by side. But make no mistake, there’s a difference in flavor. The hotness is obvious. It’s more than just cinnamon hot, I could swear there’s some sort of capsaicin (hot peppers) in there. It burned my throat quite a bit. If I ate it with another level of hotness, I could take it, but otherwise I found it unpleasant.

I like the Hot Tamales Fire and I like the Hot Tamales classic. But I’m not so keen on this Hottest level in Hot Tamales 3 Alarm and find the Hot level a little too tame. Seems like Just Born got it right the first time, so that’s what I’ll stick with. This is fun, but nothing that will become a go-to candy for me.

Related Candies

  1. Ferrara Pan White Hot Red Hots Jelly Beans
  2. Mentos Cinnamon
  3. Brach’s Cinnamon Jelly Hearts
  4. Good & Fiery
  5. See’s Cinnamon (Hearts & Lollypops)
  6. Cinnamon Fire Twizzlers
  7. Hot Tamales Spice Jelly Beans
  8. Cinnamon Imperial Hearts
  9. Hot Tamales and Hotter Tamales


Name: Hot Tamales 3 Alarm
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Just Born
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only (Silver Lake)
Price: $1.00
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Candy, Just Born, Cinnamon, Jelly Candy, Kosher, 8-Tasty, United States, 99 Cent Only Store

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:48 am     CandyJust BornCinnamonJelly CandyKosher8-TastyUnited States99 Cent Only StoreComments (0)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ferrara Pan White Hot Red Hots Jelly Beans

Ferrara Pan White Hot Red Hots Jelly BeansValentine’s Day is all about red. Red is the color of love and passion; candies for Valentine’s Day play upon the flavors that follow with red: cherry, strawberry, raspberry and cinnamon. The fruity flavors are usually easy to find, but cinnamon is a little less common.

I was excited to see this small bag of Ferrara Pan White Hot Red Hots Jelly Beans for sale at Walgreen’s in their Valentine’s candy display. What does White Hot Red Hots actually mean? The package doesn’t say, but the little window shows that the small jelly beans come in two colors: red and a red speckled pink. Any additional questions could be answered for a mere buck.

Ferrara Pan White Hot Red Hots Jelly Beans

The beans are pretty and well made. They’re glossy, consistently shaped and I appreciated that the bag was sized appropriately for the amount of candy actually in it. (Sometimes bags are absurdly large but have very little candy in them.)

The white hot part, I think, means that these are very spicy cinnamon. Red Hots is just a brand of cinnamon imperials made by Ferrara Pan.

DSC_7024rb

They’re a little larger than a Jelly Belly but smaller than the classic pectin bean. (Shown above with a Tic Tac.)

They are actually very spicy. I just ate a bag of Hot Tamales last week and I can confirm that these are just slightly hotter than those. The shape is good, it’s small and packs a powerful cinnamon punch. There’s a slight clove note to them and every once in a while I also got a little whiff of artificial watermelon, which may just be a manufacturing thing.

I liked them. It was easy to just pop a few as both a pick-me-up and a little breath freshener. They go well with coffee or tea. I’d definitely pick these up again especially because I like the smaller sized bag. Ferrara Pan already makes Lemonheads & Friends Jelly Beans but I would be curious to try a standard spice flavor array or maybe a mint blend. (Ferrara Pan is known for their Lemonhead and Atomic Fireballs, but they also do a lot of contract manufacturing for house brands and other major candy companies, so chance are you’ve had their jelly beans before.)

They’re made with confectioners glaze, so they’re not considered vegetarian (though there’s no carmine in there). They’re made in equipment that also processes dairy, soy, tree nuts and peanuts. No mention of wheat/gluten but “modified food starch” is listed as an ingredient without any indication of the source.

Related Candies

  1. Valentine’s Day Candy Spotting 2011
  2. Mentos Cinnamon
  3. Brach’s Cinnamon Jelly Hearts
  4. Heide Red Hot Dollars
  5. See’s Cinnamon (Hearts & Lollypops)
  6. Dots Elements: Earth, Air, Fire & Water
  7. Cinnamon Imperial Hearts
  8. Chewy Lemonheads & Atomic Fireballs
  9. Atomic Fireballs


Name: White Hot Red Hots Jelly Beans
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Ferrara Pan
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Union Square, San Francisco)
Price: $1.00
Size: 5.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Candy, Valentines, Ferrara Pan, Cinnamon, Jelly Candy, 8-Tasty, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:50 am     CandyReviewValentinesFerrara PanCinnamonJelly Candy8-TastyUnited StatesWalgreen'sComments (10)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallows + Vanilla, Cinnamon Bun, Strawberry, Chocolate Royale, Gingerbread

Jet-Puffed MarshmallowsThe best known American marshmallows are Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallows which are big, airy cylinders of fluffed sugar and gelatin. Lately there’s been a movement in the United States for more artisan marshmallows, flavored and in different shapes and often with less chalky corn starch on the outside. In other countries marshmallows are usually flavored (France and Japan have wonderful marshmallow offerings that are rather grown up, while the United Kingdom and Netherlands still have a large selection geared towards kids).

Kraft’s Jet-Puffed brand has a large selection lately that go beyond the unflavored white version. I picked up all that I could find over the past month for comparison and review.

Kraft Jet-Puffed MarshmallowsI’m often conflicted about whether Marshmallows are candy. Part of the confusion might be the fact that the most popular marshmallow brands in the United States are not sold in the candy and snack aisle but in the baking section. They’re used to make Rice Krispie Treats and S’mores, but I rarely see people just eating them.

The marshmallows are simple and cheap. I picked up most of the bags in this review for only a dollar - this bag was 10 ounces and nearly the size of an airplane pillow ... a lot of candy for a buck.

Jet-Puffed Marshmallow

Jet-Puffed are large, they’re about an inch and a third tall and about an inch in diameter. Each is about 7.5 grams (about a quarter of an ounce). Marshmallows are pretty low in calories, as there’s no fat in them - they’re just sugar with a little protein (gelatin) to keep them fluffy. Only 100 calories per serving of 4 (one ounce).

They’re chalky on the outside, coated with a light powdering of corn starch to keep them from sticking. They’re puffed, pliable but still firm. They’re a little latexy, like memory foam - squish it and it bounces back eventually.

The flavor isn’t quite vanilla and not a strong as pure sugar. They’re, well, marshmallows. Not much to write home about and not a candy I’d eat on its own. They toast up very well, with more of the burnt sugar flavors. The large size means that the center of mine usually cool while the outside is crunchy and the mantle is molten.

They’re very soft and moist when fresh, but I don’t mind a slightly stale marshmallow either. They get a little stiff and chewy on the outside, providing a little more textural interest.

Kraft Jet-Puffed SnowmanMallowsWhat started this whole marshmallow episode was this bag of Jet-Puffed SnowmanMallows I spotted at Target. They’re French Vanilla flavored, which sounded good, like a custardy version of the traditional American marshmallow.

They’re called mini-marshmallows on the bag, but they’re actually about the size of two of the standard mini-marshmallows.

Kraft Jet-Puffed SnowmanMallowsIs there a difference between the standard and the French Vanilla? Well, not really. There’s some yellow food coloring and a smidge less salt. So they did taste sweeter.

I prefer the format of the little one inch tall and half inch wide Man. He toasted up well, the smaller size meant that the center became molten as the outside crisped. Of course it was ridiculously easy to catch him on fire.

Kraft Jet-Puffed StrawberryMallowsThe Kraft Jet-Puffed StrawberryMallows were the only ones that I bought at the 99 Cent Only Store, which may mean that they were for an earlier season. (They expire at the end of the year.)

Jet-Puffed StrawberrMallow

They’re pink and remind me of the French guimauve, which often come in long ropes. The color is soft and pleasant. The scent is like Frankenberry Cereal. The flavor is a mild, floral and artificial strawberry. It was like a very watered down Strawberry Quik.

I toasted it hoping it would taste like cotton candy, but it just tasted like hot Strawberry Quik. Like many of the candies that I eat with Red #40 food coloring, I taste a weird, metallic bitterness towards the end and for a few minutes after.

Kraft Jet-Puffed Gingerbread MallowsThe Kraft Jet-Puffed Gingerbread Mallows made all of this worth it. They were the variety that inspired me to buy them all and review them.

This was the first variety that struck me as seasonal, obviously, but also the first one that I felt like achieved its goals of being an actual good candy. I recognize that not everyone likes gingerbread, so a gingerbread flavored marshmallow will not be as popular as strawberry or vanilla.

They’re shaped like little men. The get squeeze and deformed in the bag, so their little arms point in different directions. They’re about an inch and a quarter tall and about a half an inch thick and an inch from fingertip to fingertip.

Jet-Puffed Gingerbread Marshmallows

They smell rich and spicy. And they taste that way too. If you’re fond of the gingerbread spices: ginger, cinnamon, clove and pepper, you will probably dig these. The overriding flavor is actually ginger but there’s a little cinnamon and pepper warmth to them. It doesn’t taste artificial at all - just like a spicy marshmallow. It’s absolutely like eating a foamy cookie.

I tried toasting them and liked the result, but prefer the soft and foamy texture of them at room temperature.

Kraft Jet-Puffed Cinnamon BunI figured if Gingerbread was good, Kraft Jet-Puffed Cinnamon Bun would rate highly as well. After all, it wasn’t just a pink marshmallow with a little cinnamon oil like the StrawberryMallow.

This bag was slightly smaller, for some reason, with only 8 ounces in it. The mallows were also smaller, which was fine with me as I like to pop a whole one in my mouth. (The back of the package actually has a warning that says to eat only one at a time and supervise children plus cut them up for smaller children.)

Jet-Puffed Cinnamon Bun Marshmallow

They’re cute as foamy sugar buttons. They smell good, not that different from the Gingerbread, but definitely on the sugar and cinnamon side of things.

The flavor is like cinnamon the spice, not the hard candy. The corn starch coating kind of pushes that along with the slight chalky texture before it dissolves away. It doesn’t taste overtly artificial, but it’s also not as fun and nuanced as the Gingerbread. I expect they’d go great in hot chocolate. Toasted they were quite nice, but tasted much more sweet when hot.

Kraft Jet-Puffed Chocolate RoyaleThe Kraft Jet-Puffed Chocolate Royale was a problematic flavor. First, it’s a chocolate flavored marshmallow. There is no actual cocoa, let alone chocolate in there. The scent is ghastly. It was like wet cardboard. It was so bad that after I took a picture of the package and opened them, I had to sequester them.

The problem is that I don’t remember where I put them (I admit the Candy Blog Studios are pretty messy right now) but I can still smell them even though I stuffed them inside another bag first.

Overall, I’m inclined towards the generic American marshmallow and enjoyed the different flavors. I prefer the corn starch coating to the sugar sanding of Peeps. They’re a great candy to share and versatile to keep on hand as an ingredient. If you’re watching your calories, they’re very low stress - I can’t eat that many because their airy texture makes me feel full very quickly. But they’re also all sugar and the texture can be bland (but that’s why folks invented Rice Krispie Treats, Rocky Road and S’mores).

Related Candies

  1. Russell Stover “Day of the Dead” Skeletons
  2. Trader Joe’s Smashing S’mores
  3. Peeps Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows
  4. Hello Kitty Pineapple Marshmallows
  5. Campfire Mini Marshmallows
  6. Russell Stover Santas
  7. Choco-Fudge Mallow Sundae


Name: Jet-Puffed Marshmallows
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Kraft
Place Purchased: Target (West Hollywood)
Price: $1.00
Size: 10 ounces
Calories per ounce: 94
Categories: Candy, Kraft/Mondelez, Marshmallow, 6-Tempting, United States, Target


Name: Jet-Puffed SnowManMallows
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Kraft
Place Purchased: Von's (Glendale)
Price: $1.50
Size: 10 ounces
Calories per ounce: 94
Categories: Candy, Kraft/Mondelez, Marshmallow, 6-Tempting, United States, Target


Name: Jet-Puffed StrawberryMallows
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Kraft
Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only (Miracle Mile)
Price: $1.00
Size: 10 ounces
Calories per ounce: 94
Categories: Candy, Kraft/Mondelez, Marshmallow, 4-Benign, United States, Target


Name: Jet-Puffed Gingerbread Mallows
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Kraft
Place Purchased: Target (West Hollywood)
Price: $1.00
Size: 10 ounces
Calories per ounce: 94
Categories: Candy, Kraft/Mondelez, Ginger, Marshmallow, 8-Tasty, United States, Target


Name: Jet-Puffed Cinnamon Bun
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Kraft
Place Purchased: Target (West Hollywood)
Price: $1.00
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 94
Categories: Candy, Kraft/Mondelez, Cinnamon, Marshmallow, 5-Pleasant, United States, Target


Name: Jet-Puffed Chocolate Royale
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Kraft
Place Purchased: Target (West Hollywood)
Price: $1.00
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 94
Categories: Candy, Kraft/Mondelez, Marshmallow, 1-Inedible, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:06 am     CandyReviewChristmasKraft/MondelezCinnamonGingerMarshmallow1-Inedible7-Worth ItUnited States99 Cent Only StoreTargetComments (19)

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