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Monday, April 14, 2014

Creamy Lemonhead and Friends JuJu Flowers

Creamy Lemonhead & Friends JuJu FlowersIn the list of candy holidays, Easter ranks at the top by creating more Candies You Can Play With than any other. The product name, Creamy Lemonhead and Friends JuJu Flowers, actually sounds weird. A lot of those words don’t seem to go together. The Lemonheads and Friends as a brand doesn’t work for me, as I don’t think that the friends are that identifiable. The word creamy before Lemonhead is absolutely jarring and the idea of Jujus are anachronistic enough but then adding the shape of them just makes for a string of “I don’t think I’ve had that before, have I?”

These pretty morsels aren’t shaped like eggs or rabbits, but simply like little six petal flowers. (For the record, I looked up jujubes, they’re in the same order as roses and do actually have five petals or multiples of five.)

The flavors sounded interesting: marshmallow creme, orange creme, strawberry creme, lime creme and banana creme. The last one, banana creme was the one that really got me. Banana is not a common flavor, so this pretty much was why I plunked down my dollar.

Lemonheads & Friends Juju Flowers

Marshmallow Creme is pretty much flavorless. Not that there’s anything wrong with sugar flavored candy. It was very clean with a light vanilla note. I liked using it as a palate cleanser between the other flavors.

Lime Creme has a rather interesting flavor profile. The creamy background gives this a key lime note, though there’s no tart note to it like actual citrus fruit.

Orange Creme is refreshing. It’s like a creamsicle without the zap of the orange juice. It’s just sweetness with the creamy smoothness of the jelly chew and a hint of zest.

Lemonheads & Friends Juju FlowersStrawberry Creme , unfortunately, has some red dye flavors that just ruin it for me. It’s more strongly flavored that the other pieces, the strawberry is rather fake instead of clean and fresh, which is too bad. Since there’s no tangy component, a candy like this should taste rather like cotton candy, not a vinyl inflatable beach ball.

Banana Creme was not what I’d hoped. Instead of a creamy, sweet tropical banana flavor ... it really tasted like a bland lemon creme to me. It tasted do much like lemon that I have to wonder if the packaging label was a mistake. Now, as a lemon creme, it’s passable, actually good. It’s like the marshmallow but with the slightest hint of lemon.

All the flavors were mild, but the whole thing was, well, simply pleasant. They’re like Dots, except they don’t stick to my teeth quite as much (but they still stick).

I wouldn’t buy these again for eating, but they are really great looking. Their outside texture is smooth and dry, so they don’t stick together at all. The colors are bright enough that they could be used for something other than Easter, as well. I could see these as a nice jar of candy for a candy buffet for a wedding or shower. They’re certainly inexpensive, at $2 per pound, if you wanted to sort them to use only particular colors, that would be a viable option for many budgets. They’re not gummis, so there’s no gelatin in there. They’re made in a facility with peanuts, tree nuts, milk and soy.

Related Candies

  1. Brach’s Carrot Cake Candy Corn
  2. Lemonhead & Friends Jellies
  3. Ferrara Chocolate Candy Coated Chocolate Covered Almond Eggs
  4. Ferrara Pan Chicks & Bunnies Jelly Candy
  5. Eat with your Eyes: Easter Dots
  6. Lemonhead & Friends Jelly Beans
  7. Christmas Dots
  8. Marich Easter Select Mix
  9. Dots
  10. Jelly Belly Deluxe Easter Mix


Name: Creamy Lemonhead and Friends JuJu Flowers
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Ferrara Pan
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Candy, Easter, Ferrara Pan, Jelly Candy, 5-Pleasant, United States, Dollar Tree

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:47 pm     CandyReviewEasterFerrara PanJelly Candy5-PleasantUnited StatesDollar TreeComments (2)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter CupsThis fall Nestle announced it was launching Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups in January 2014. Butterfinger is an iconic American candy bar, combining peanuts and sugar and chocolate. The bar has been adapted into a half a dozen other formats and confections. There’s were Butterfinger BBs, Butterfinger Crisp, Butterfinger Snackerz, Butterfinger Stixx, Butterfinger Bites, Butterfinger Chocolate Bars and even the caffeinated Butterfinger Buzz.

I suppose it was only a matter of time before Nestle decided to take on the cup format and the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Nestle plans to go big with their launch of the Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups, with a full ad campaign including a commercial during the 2014 Superbowl.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups

There’s a couple of curiosities about these cups. First, they have no paper cups. They are fluted, but there’s no paper liner on the tray in the package.

The second thing is that they’re not round. The circular base is far smaller than the top, which is a rounded square. There’s quite an angle towards the top which means that the ratio of chocolate to filling changes at the perimeter versus the center.

The cups are described simply as Smooth & Crunchy on the package.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups

The filling is quite salty. There’s a creamy component that is very sweet, then the chunky, crunchy bits of Butterfinger centers. There’s a very strong artificial butter flavor to the whole thing, much stronger than an actual Butterfinger bar.  The chocolate profile itself is overshadowed by the butter flavor of the center, so it’s hard for it to contribute anything other than texture. That said, it’s pretty smooth though sweet. It’s certainly better than the coating on a Butterfinger Bar.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups

The ingredients are interesting, notably that they’ve removed the artificial colorings from this candy. (Butterfinger Bars have artificial yellow and red food coloring in them.)

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups Ingredients: Milk chocolate (Sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, nonfat milk, milkfat, lactose, soy lecithin, vanillin), sugar, peanuts, peanut toffee pieces (sugar, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, peanut butter [peanuts, dextrose, hydrogenated rapeseed and cottonseed oil, salt], peanuts, butter, salt, soy lecithin, paprika extract color), fractionated palm kernel oil, partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil, less than 2% of milk, nonfat milk, salt, cocoa butter, hydrogenated palm oil, natural and artificial flavor, hydrogenated rapeseed and cottonseed oil, soy lecithin, soybean oil, TBHQ, annatto and paprika extract color.

Contains milk, soy and peanuts, may contain nuts. No mention of gluten.

The package has the Cocoa Plan logo on the front. This is Nestle’s new initiative to bring sustainable practices to their cocoa growers through education programs. The programs are to help growers use better practices to increase yields, reduce losses as well as creating schools for the children in their communities. It’s an internal program that Nestle operates that does not, as far as I know, have any external audits or benchmarks, though they do also buy from Fairtrade and UTZ certified sources in quantities to match certain products so that they can bear their logo.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups & Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

There are a lot of similarities between the Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups and the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. It’s probably not a coincidence. Each cup is .75 ounces, with the package holding two totaling 1.5 ounces.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups & Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

From the above you can see the long and complicated ingredient list for the Butterfinger Cups. The Reese’s cups are far simpler.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Ingredients: Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, nonfat milk, milkfat, lactose, soy lecithin, PGPR), peanuts, sugar, dextrose, salt, TBHQ.

Simpler does not necessarily mean better. Both cups have TBHQ in them, which is a preservative (keeps the peanut oil from getting rancid). But both are rather small in mass for a candy bar these days. A Snickers Bar or Butterfinger Bar is over 2 ounces. These cups are kind of puny.

But in the ingredients list, you’ll notice that the Reese’s have no added oils, no fractionated palm kernel oil or hydrogenated rapeseed oil. But I’ve got to admire the bang for the buck I get with the Butterfinger, it has 20 more calories from fat than the Reese’s. Here’s the comparison of the nutritional panels for both cups:

Butterfinger Reese Comparison

So, the Butterfinger is less salty and just slightly fattier - some of the protein grams of the Reese’s are fat grams in the Butterfinger. This is an odd observation, since the Reese’s Cups I know and love usually have a soft, greasy spot in the center of the chocolate on each cup where the peanut oils have migrated from the peanut butter into the chocolate. As far as I can tell, the Butterfinger Cups are far more stable and consistent.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups & Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

They’re different candies. They share some of their format and the basic flavors but the textural experience is different. I still prefer the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, but that’s probably because I’ve grown up with it. I don’t care for the fake, overly sweet butter flavor of the Butterfinger Bar or these Cups. But I do appreciate the variation in the textures. Overall, I usually go for the smaller ingredients list and I prefer my candy to have the innate oils from the flavor ingredients, not added ones. But it’s a good candy and I think they’ll probably last longer than Butterfinger Stixx.

Related Candies

  1. UNREAL #77 Peanut Butter Cups
  2. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
  3. RM Palmer Giant 1/4 Lb. Peanut Butter Cup
  4. Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups
  5. Nestle Butterfinger Pumpkin
  6. Nestle Butterfinger Snackerz
  7. Head to Head: Clark, Butterfinger & 5th Avenue
  8. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Line


Name: Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Torrance)
Price: $.79
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: Candy, Nestle, Chocolate, Kosher, Peanuts, 7-Worth It, United States, Dollar Tree

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:54 am     CandyReviewNestleChocolateKosherPeanuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesDollar TreeComments (10)

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 (4)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mike and Ike Strawberry Reunion

Mike and Ike Strawberry ReunionI’m on a bit of a kick with Just Born products, not just because they sent me a package of Peeps last month, but because they’ve got a lot going on with their other product lines. (Once I start, I feel like I have to explore all the versions of a product.)

Mike and Ike have been around for some 70+ years. They’re pretty much jelly beans, sold in boxes in a limited assortment of 2 to five flavors.

The newest Limited Edition version is Mike and Ike Strawberry Reunion. Recently Just Born did a big advertising push for Mike and Ike, including a whole narrative about the characters of Mike and Ike breaking up ... and (spoiler!) getting back together. This version has a strawberry theme, including: Strawberry, Strawberry Banana Smoothie, Strawberry Watermelon, Strawberry Tangerine and Strawberry Pineapple.

If you want to read more about the marketing, AdWeek had a nice summation of it.

Mike and Ike Strawberry Reunion

Strawberry Watermelon is a light pink color with darker spots and completely believable in its flavor. It’s a floral and tart and ends with the watermelon flavor notes without tasting like chemicals.

Strawberry was red rather ordinary, but still a good piece.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie is yellow. It’s tangy at first with an artificial note of banana and none of the creamy component that makes strawberry banana smoothies so great. As an artificial creation though, it’s nice candy.

Strawberry Tangerine is orange and fantastic. Tangy and citrusy and floral all at once. It has a zesty finish to it, instead of being purely sweet.

Strawberry Pineapple is speckled and more peachy. There weren’t as many of these in my box, which is too bad because they were also wonderful. Tart and zippy with more pineapple than strawberry.

Overall, a nice mix, each of them were distinct but could also be combined ... the only one that didn’t like to play with others was watermelon.

Mike and Ike - Lem and Mel and Cherri and Bubb

Just Born also recently started releasing their candies in classic packaging. To go along with that, they brought back a few of their old flavor varieties. I found the Mike and Ike Lem and Mel and the Mike and Ike Cherri and Bubb at the Dollar Tree.

These are full variety mixes though, each box only contains a pair of flavors ... and odd pairs at that. The packaging has a fifties feel, a little more muted and simplified, but a quick check online shows that the Lem and Mel variety was introduced in 1991 and the Cherri and Bubb was out in 1989 ... back when we had another obsession with nostalgia.

Mike and Ike - Lem and Mel

The Mike and Ike - Lem and Mel is yellow and green, featuring Lemon and Watermelon flavored jelly bean rods. The lemon is already found in the classic Mike and Ike fruits box and a pink version of the watermelon is in the RedRageous package.

Lemon is not as sparkly as the Lemonade Blends. It’s sweet and zesty, but not tangy. Watermelon is sweet as well, with only a tart hint and then a sort of cotton candy finish.

Mike and Ike - Cherri and Bubb

Cherri and Bubb is Cherry and Bubble Gum. I bought this variety because of the Bubble Gum Peeps and though maybe I’d review them together, but ended up separating the products this way instead.

The cherry is an odd sort of flavor. It’s very bold, it starts out with a strong wild cherry flavor that reminds me of Sucrets throat drops. Then it gets very sweet and has a little bit of a raspberry note. They’re not for me.

Bubble gum is pink. They seemed a little bit stiffer, not quite as soft and jelly-like as the cherry. This make them seem more bubble gum-like as well. It’s a good bubble gum flavor, a bit on the sweet strawberry side with only the lightest note of wintergreen. It’s fresh and veers off into juicyfruit. There’s no weird aftertaste from the artificial colors, which was my problem with the Peeps.

About 9 years ago I remember a Root Beer Float version of Mike and Ike, I’d like to see those come back ... or maybe a whole soda pop flavor mix.

They’re a really good value, for a buck a box which holds 5 ounces. It’s the kind of price that I don’t feel bad if I throw out the flavors I don’t like. I’d opt for the Strawberry Reunion or the Lemonade Blends out of all the Mike and Ike varieties.

Related Candies

  1. Bubble Gum Flavored Peeps
  2. Jelly Belly Snapple Jelly Beans
  3. Sour Patch Kids Berries
  4. Mike and Ike Fruit Flavored Bubblegum
  5. Mike and Ike Italian Ice
  6. Strawberry Yoghurt Mentos
  7. Mike and Ike Alex’s Lemonade Stand
  8. Mike and Ike Tangy Twister


Name: Mike and Ike Strawberry Reunion
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Just Born
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Candy, Just Born, Jelly Candy, Kosher, 7-Worth It, United States, Dollar Tree

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:32 pm     CandyReviewJust BornJelly CandyKosher7-Worth ItUnited StatesDollar TreeComments (3)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Jelly Belly Soda Pop Shoppe Gummi Bottles

Jelly Belly Soda Pop Shoppe Gummi BottlesA few years ago Jelly Belly introduced a mix of jelly beans flavored like popular sodas under their Soda Pop Shoppe line. They’re sold as the pre-mixed flavors or in individual packages and even in little soda bottles.

Their newest addition to that brand is their Soda Pop Shoppe Gummi Bottles which are gelatin gummis.

Each little bottle shape is about 1.75 inches long. They’re flat and lightly dusted, perhaps with starch, to keep them from sticking together instead of being shiny.

The ingredients are quite interesting. They start with corn syrup but use potato starch instead of corn starch. They do contain gelatin, but it’s Kosher gelatin (so it’s not pork, but not otherwise identified). They also contain small amounts of coconut oil and caffeine and phosphoric acid. They’re gluten free and peanut free.

Jelly Belly Soda Pop Shoppe Gummi Bottles

To emulate soda bottles, the shapes are “full” of color, though the flavor goes all they way to the top of the bottle. They’re soft but not quite a bouncy as many other gummis. They’re like a cross between a Swedish Fish texture and a gummi bear.

Grape is fun. There aren’t really that many grape gummis around, so it’s refreshing to see it included in a mix. It’s tangy and artificial but not quite as intense as a grape SweeTart which is pretty much my favorite.

Orange is ordinary. I only got one in my mix, so it’s hard to say more than it was just like Tang.

Root Beer is a star. It’s quite spicy and intense, much more than I expected from it’s rather muted appearance. They’re sweet, a little like wintergreen and bubble gum. It’s missing that little pop of nutmeg that sassafras often has, so it came off more like Birch Beer ... not that I object.

Lemon Lime is actually more lime. Lime soda is good, and this has a lot of zest to it and a nice tangy bite. But ultimately it’s just a piece of lime candy, which always ends up as one of the last flavors I pick when included in a mix. (Which is strange considering how affectionate I normally am towards citrus.)

Cherry Cola is, well, disappointing. It tastes to me more like Dr. Pepper, but my experience with actual cherry cola is absolutely empty. The cola flavors are mostly in the background, there’s no spicy cola bite and there’s no cherry tartness, it’s more of the maraschino flavor than a black cherry.

They’re not the first candy I’d pick up, but I love the concept and the execution is pretty good, better than the Trolli version. For folks looking for American-made candy that’s gluten & peanut free and fun for kids, this is a good mix. It’s too bad they didn’t go all the way and use natural colorings and flavorings.

Related Candies

  1. Tootsie Frooties - Root Beer
  2. Trolli Soda Poppers
  3. Kissables (Reformulated)
  4. Kenny’s Licorice Pastels & Root Beer Twists
  5. Soda Can Fizzy Candy
  6. Jelly Belly Soda Pop Shoppe


Name: Soda Pop Shoppe Gummi Bottles
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Jelly Belly
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 92
Categories: Candy, Jelly Belly, Cola, Gummi Candy, Kosher, 6-Tempting, United States, Dollar Tree

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:43 pm     CandyReviewJelly BellyColaGummi CandyKosher6-TemptingUnited StatesDollar TreeComments (0)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Clark Bites

Clark BitesThe Clark Bar is one of the oldest still existing combination candy bars in the United States. It was introduced in 1917 and is now made by Necco. (You can read lots more here.) The bar is a simple layered peanut butter crunch center similar to Butterfinger & 5th Avenue (head to head review) or Reese’s Crispy Crunchy and the Chick-o-Stick.

To expand the line, Necco recently introduced Clark Bites, which as the name would imply, are bite sized, unwrapped pieces instead of a full bar. There’s a strange campaign going on to promote them, called Where’s Zipper, which uses a cartoon character called Zipper the Squirrel based on the Squirrel Nut Zippers candy also made by Necco. There’s a website and a poorly attended Facebook page for it. But there’s lots of info there about the new Clark Bites, the fact that they come in stand up snack bags, individual bags plus these theater boxes.

A while back I reviewed the re-introduced Butterfinger Bites, which I thought were terrible. The coating was greasy and waxy and overly sweet with no chocolate notes whatsoever. The center was too stiff or dense and lacked an easy crunch. Since I prefer the new Real Chocolate Clark Bars already, I had high hopes for these.

Clark Bites

The box is interesting, it feels masculine and utilitarian. All the info is there. They’re made with real chocolate, the image on the front shows what the candy looks like and they’re made in the United Sates. The box is a bit big for the contents, there are only 3.5 ounces in there, but I’d say it’s a good value for a buck for an all natural product. Inside the box, the candy is inside an unmarked cellophane pouch.

There are no preservatives in the candy, so it’s all natural. It’s a milk chocolate coating and there’s a confectioners glaze on it, so it’s not appropriate for vegans or even strict vegetarians. (There’s also soy, peanuts and milk in it for those with allergies and processed in a plant that also has tree nuts, egg and wheat.)

Clark Bites

The nuggets are well proportioned. They vary in size, some are sort of square shapes, other are more rectangular versions. They’re between three quarters to almost an inch long.

The center is light and crispy with lots of layers. The flavor isn’t strongly peanutty and the chocolate coating is rather thick. So the whole thing is pretty sweet though there is a small touch of salt in the center. The flaky crunch has a little bit of rustic peanut butter in it, but mostly notes of molasses.

One the whole, they’re quite poppable. They’re a lot lighter and crunchier than the Butterfinger version and of course the chocolate is real. There’s no partially or fully hydrogenated oils in here, but plenty of real chocolate, milk products, sugar and peanuts. A serving is a half of the package (1.75 ounces) which comes in at 240 calories but does have 4 grams of protein and even 4% of your calcium and 2% of your iron.

I really hope these become more widely available. I was so optimistic after reading the label when I bought them that I picked up three boxes and I’m glad I did.

Related Candies

  1. Nestle Butterfinger Bites
  2. Treat Trip: Bevan’s Own Make Candy - Peanut Butter Sticks & Molasses Chips
  3. Clark Bar Wicked Mix
  4. Nestle Butterfinger Snackerz
  5. Head to Head: Clark, Butterfinger & 5th Avenue
  6. Clark Bar (Get Real - Milk & Dark)
  7. Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kisses
  8. Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews


Name: Clark Bites
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Necco
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 137
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Necco, Chocolate, Peanuts, 8-Tasty, United States, Dollar Tree

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:30 am     All NaturalCandyMorselizationReviewNeccoChocolatePeanuts8-TastyUnited StatesDollar TreeComments (4)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Candy Sweet Spots

Candy Sweet SpotsHere’s a new twist on a classic product. The classic Candy Buttons are a small strip of paper, like a receipt, that has little crunchy sugar dots on them in bright colors.

This new version is amped up in size and has another twist, actual flavors to the candy buttons (the classics may be flavored, but it’s not perceptible). They’re called Candy Sweet Spots and they’re made in China by Greenbrier International, Inc.

The package is big. The strips are 11 inches long and 4.25 inches wide. There are three strips inside, which provides a full 2.4 ounces of candy - I paid a buck for it.

I’ve never seen a package include, perhaps even advertise, the word artificial so much. The name of the candy might actually be Candy Sweet Spots Artificially Flavored. Then at the bottom there’s a little arrow that points up to the candies themselves that also exalts, “Assorted Artificial Fruit Flavors!”

Candy Sweet Spots

The package goes on to list all of the flavors, right there on top of the actual candies in the see through package. I appreciate the information.

Candy Sweet Spots

Yes, they are bigger than the traditional paper buttons. For the most part they’re 1/3 to 1/2 of an inch in diameter. The old style buttons are a little less than 1/4 of an inch.

Candy Sweet Spots

They come in four flavors: Artificial Cherry, Artificial Orange, Artificial Lemon and Artificial Raspberry. There are fifteen Sweet Spots of each flavor on each sheet.

Candy Sweet Spots

The Sweet Spots are pretty much regularly sized and shaped. The bonus over their traditionally sized cousins is that these come off the paper rather easily. I had no trouble getting them off, no bits of paper stuck to the bottom. But they do leave a little residue of color/candy on the paper (so you can’t reuse the paper for notes or anything).

Candy Sweet Spots

Cherry (red) is sweet and mild, it has an actual authentic artificial taste to it and even a little note of Red #40.
Orange (orange) is sweet and mild and has a hint of actual orange flavor.
Lemon (yellow) is barely different from orange, except that it tastes like stale lemon pound cake.
Raspberry (blue) is ghastly, like the syrupy and flat stuff at the bottom of a can of grape soda. Yes, it tastes more like grape than raspberry.

They’re really not that good as candy, but as something to amuse a small child for a while, they’re okay. They’re also made in China and contain gelatin and artificial flavors and colors.

I would say that they’re a good accent item, but the original Candy Buttons are too. You can peel them off the paper and put them on a decorated cake or cupcake, which is especially useful if you just want to do a plain uncolored frosting and not have to mix anything else. (And easy for kids to do.) Unless you’re looking for something in a larger scale, I’d say move along to some candy that’s actually good. But if you can’t resist the look of these, well, the price is good and the quality of the colors makes them at least a good deal as decorations. Other party ideas include hanging a strip on the wall to make “lickable wallpaper” or as an accent behind a candy buffet.

There’s another version of these called Mega Candy Buttons which are actually even bigger and are Kosher (so probably don’t have gelatin in them).

Related Candies

  1. Peter Rabbit Gummy Candy
  2. R.M. Palmer Quax - The Yummy Ducky
  3. Big Bite Gummy Bear
  4. Junior Fruit Cremes
  5. Baby Bottle Pacifier Tarts
  6. Bug Jar Candy
  7. Soda Can Fizzy Candy


Name: Candy Sweet Spots
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand:
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 2.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 116
Categories: Candy, Compressed Dextrose, Novelty/Toy, 4-Benign, China, Dollar Tree

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:05 am     CandyReviewCompressed DextroseNovelty/Toy4-BenignChinaDollar TreeComments (3)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Zachary Mini Mints

Zachary Mini MintsZachary has distinguished itself in the past few years as the premiere maker of offbeat flavors for Candy Corn (Egg Nog, Tangerine, Gingerbread, Creme Brulee and Cinnamon Fangs to name a few). They also have a line of economical mints, mostly available in discount and dollar stores.

I’ve noticed that their mints come in the after dinner patty variety, the Thick Mint and now I’ve found these Zachary Mini Mints in a theater box. It holds 3.85 ounces and inside the box is a little cellophane bag to keep the mints fresh.

They also make a little Chocolate Coated Caramel too, like Milk Duds, I did a taste comparison with those last year.

Zachary Mini Mints

The package is functional and distinctive enough that it caught my attention. The background is a flat, medium green with a starburst of a darker green shade behind the logos and product image. It describes the candy as bite-sized cool creamy naturally flavored peppermint covered in real chocolate. This particular box has 10% more free, so my guess is that there are other even plainer looking boxes out there with only 3.5 ounces in them.

The topography isn’t offensive or riotous like the Cookie Dough Bites family of products, so at least they had that going for them. But the quality level of the product feels like it deserves something a little better. The world of design has changed, bad design costs the same amount to print as good design, so the difference in overall price for making something that’s pedestrian is pretty much nominal.

All that aside, it’s about what’s on the inside, after all. The ingredients here are pretty good - like the package said, it’s naturally flavored. It’s real semi-sweet chocolate (with some dairy in it) and a fondant center made of sugar, some gum arabic and egg whites along with some other ingredients including oil of peppermint. There’s a confectioners glaze on the outside to complete the trifecta of animal ingredients to make this off limits to all but those lacto-ovo vegetarians and omnivores.

Zachary Mini Mints

The pieces are big and slightly ovoid. The tallest were about 3/4 of an inch. The chocolate shell is thick, shiny and nicely tempered. The mint fondant center is firm and mostly dry, though not quite as crumbly as the center of a York Peppermint Pattie is. It’s almost doughy, except that it doesn’t have a flour/cake note to it. The chocolate coating is smooth and creamy, except for the slightly waxy coating. The mint is mild but pretty much perfectly balanced. The chocolate doesn’t taste like mint, it tastes like chocolate. The center tastes like mint and not like cardboard. (I also tried their Old Fashioned Creme Drops a few years ago, which I thought were dreadful, so this is worth noting.)

For a cheap mint, I think Zachary really delivers for a mostly chocolate product. The ingredients are good (though made with soy, milk, eggs and coconut and on shared equipment with everything from peanuts to tree nuts without any statement about wheat/gluten). It’s a good option for movie snacking, certainly a good price. I don’t know if I’d grab them over Junior Mints, but I’m not afraid to keep trying Zachary products.

Related Candies

  1. Head to Head: Haviland Thin Mints vs. Maxfield’s Cream Sticks
  2. Ritter Sport Peppermint
  3. Christmas Mint Round Up
  4. Cream Drops versus Creme Drops
  5. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almonds
  6. Zachary Candy Corn & Jelly Pumpkins
  7. Junior Mints Deluxe


Name: Mini Mints
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Zachary Confections
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 3.85 ounces
Calories per ounce: 128
Categories: Candy, Zachary, Chocolate, Mints, 7-Worth It, United States, Dollar Tree

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:24 pm     CandyReviewZacharyChocolateFondantMints7-Worth ItUnited StatesDollar TreeComments (2)

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