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Hard Candy & Lollipops

Friday, February 23, 2007

Jelly Belly: Lollibeans

imageJelly Belly introduced a new product line this year: Jelly Belly Lollibeans.

They’re premium lollipops in Jelly Belly flavors. I tried a good assortment of their current line, courtesy of many visits to their booth at the Fancy Food Show and rummaging around in the samples bin.

Sizzling Cinnamon - a pretty sassy flavor. Not too hot, but a little too “flavory” for me without the burn that I was hoping for. I mean, they put “sizzling” in the name.

Cotton Candy - sweet and plain and delicious.

Tangerine - softly orange with a subtle zesty hit. No tart ring to make it juicy.

Bubble Gum - this one is the most alarming looking, it’s a bright, opaque pink. A slight tutti frutti element to it, but not really that unlike Cotton Candy.

Lemon - I’d call this light lemon. It’s sweet and fruity but has no tangy element to it.

Root Beer - I was really looking forward to this one. It smelled sweet and earthy. It’s smooth, like a really dense Root Beer Barrel (but no sharp voids to cut your mouth). I was not disappointed, this is a real winner.

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The quality of the candy is great. It’s very dense, ultra smooth and lasted a long time. However, the size and shape of the pop is a challenge. The bean is perpendicular to the stick, so it’s pretty wide (1.75”) for placing comfortably in the mouth. Sucking on them, because of the shape, also tends to be a little noisy, it took me a few pops before I got my consumption tactics honed to the point of silence. Another small pet peeve of mine with premium pops like this is that the stick is paper and you can suck air through when you dissolve far enough down on the stem, for reasons I don’t quite understand, this results in more slobber.

If you’ve ever had Linda’s Lollies, these are very similar. I think I still prefer the fruit flavors in Linda’s because they’re a little more rounded and of course there’s a much larger variety ... but she also has a 20 or so year head start.

The other flavors I didn’t try were Watermelon, Grape, Strawberry Cheesecake & Very Cherry.

These should be hitting stores soon, though there’s still nothing about them on the Jelly Belly website. You can order them on the web, but you have to get full cases of single flavors. Retail they’re supposed to go for 79 cents to 99 cents.

Name: Lollibeans
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Jelly Belly
Place Purchased: samples from Jelly Belly
Price: retail $.99 each
Size: 1 ounce
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Hard Candy, United States, Jelly Belly

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:36 am     Comments (15)

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Planters Peanut Bar Original

Following up on the Munch Bar post a few weeks ago, this is the competing product: Planters Peanut Bar Original.

As pointed out in the comments on the Munch Bar review, the Planters bar isn’t as toffee-like. In fact, there are no dairy products at all in this bar.

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It’s a heavily peanut bar, as you can see. The peanuts are jam packed together with the hard candy part just there to keep it all in one cohesive unit. The peanuts are toasty tasting and fresh with a nice salty hit from the candy.

It’s pretty satisfying even though it’s only 1.6 ounces. It also keeps well in harsh conditions, like warm summers or maybe in the car. It does just fine if it gets broken.

Of the two that I’ve had now (Planters Peanut Bar and Munch Bar), I think I prefer the Munch because of the more toffee-like candy cement. But I wouldn’t turn this one down. Both are a little hard to find. Drug stores seem to have a good selection, but I didn’t see this or the Munch bar at my usual 7-11s.

Name: Planters Peanut Bar Original
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Planters (Kraft)
Place Purchased: Walgreen's
Price: $.69
Size: 1.6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 144
Categories: Peanuts, Hard Candy, United States, Kraft, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:59 am     Comments (6)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Short & Sweet: Japanese Goodies

I have too much candy and at one review a day I’m never going to get to it all.

And if I review more than one a day, well, I’m just not going to have enough time for anything else.

So here it is, a “Short & Sweet” review of a buncha stuff Japanese stuff:

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High Concentration Milk Candy (made by UHA) -are little hard candies, kind of like a hard toffee. They taste distinctly of milk and are very sweet. They’re also rather satisfying without being too sticky. I’m sure there’s some high calcium content in there but the wrapper was all in Japanese.

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Cubyrop (made by Bourbon) - oh they’re such cute candies! Little fruit flavored hard candies in Strawberry, Pineapple, Orange, Peach, Lemon, Muscat and Grape. Some flavors were very tasty, but I didn’t care much for the peach, which was a rather difficult flavor to distinguish from the orange. Lots of vitamin C.

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They came in little wrappers that held two little candy cubes. They were completely random, so you’d never know when you were going to get a muscat and grape together.

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Look Nut ala Mode (made by Fujiya) is a strange little tray of chocolates in a box with a wide, envelope-like flap. Great for sharing, they’re pretty and of descent quality even for less than $2.00.

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It took me quite a while to realize that there were four different nut flavors ... not that each chocolate contained all flavors. I have no idea, beyond the rather green pistachio one which was which. I enjoyed all of them except for the macadamia, which seemed more coconutty.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:49 am     CandyReviewBourbonUHAChocolateHard Candy & LollipopsNutsToffee6-TemptingJapanComments (14)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Blow Pop Minis

imageI’m a big lollipop fan. (No, not that I like big lollipops.) My favorite cheapo lollipop is the Orange Tootsie Pop (though I enjoyed the Limited Edition Tropical flavors last year, too). Blow Pops aren’t quite as good, mostly because the gum isn’t candy and they don’t come in orange.

While wasting time at the Pittsburgh Airport, I found these Blow Pop Minis. They herald, “It’s a Blow Pop with NO Stick!” Hallelujah! Now adults can eat their Blow Pops without being branded Rejuveniles.

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While they say they’re Blow Pops without sticks, they’re also without mass. They’re wee little candies, about the size of a smooshed garbanzo bean. And they’re mostly candy. They come in four flavors: Watermelon, Blue Razz, Cherry and Sour Apple. (No, no grape, which is a classic Blow Pop flavor.)

imageI talk a lot about proportions when it comes to candy. Sometimes something can be coated in too much chocolate or not have enough of a particular element. Let me just say that the blow part of the Blow Pop Minis is sadly lacking.

First, the gum is hard and tacky. Some of the time it wouldn’t even chew, just sit in the crevasses of my molars until I picked it out or ate something to dislodge it. Second, if I got the gum to chew, it was a wee amount. We’re talking the size of a BB. It would probably take six candies to make the amount of gum in one Chicklet.

These are stupid. Why not make one large enough to hold a responsible amount of gum? These little candies are probably a third of the size of a Root Beer Barrel. And you’re wondering, why not just sell them has plain old unfilled hard candies? Well, then they’d just be Charms.

The gum ends up being tough and flavorless ... rather like chewing a stamp or a piece of paper.

The candy part isn’t bad but, of course, none of the flavors are favorites of mine.

This is just a bad idea.

Name: Blow Pop Minis
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Tootise
Place Purchased: Eckert (Pittsburgh Airport)
Price: $.69
Size: 2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 100
Categories: Hard Candy, , Gum, SourUnited States, Tootsie, Gum

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:11 am     Comments (17)

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Recipe: Candy Cane Sugar

One of the most flexible things you can make out of old candy canes (or any hard candy) is candy cane sugar which can be used just like regular sugar in a variety of ways.

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I made mine from a couple of humongo peppermint sticks by Spangler (each weighs 4 ounces). Two of these sticks will make 1 Cup of candy cane sugar.

image      image      image

There are a couple of ways to make it, I use the old fashioned method.

Supplies:
1 cutting board
1 kitchen mallet or hammer (with a flat surface to it)
2 heavy duty (freezer) plastic bags

Put the candies into one of the ziploc bags and then into the other. Once you start pounding away the sharp pieces will cut the bag a bit and if you don’t want a powdery-sticky mess, it’s best to double bag.

Whack away. Break up the big pieces first, hitting them as best you can with the flat side of your mallet or hammer.

After breaking up the candy, dump it into a bowl. Shake the bowl gently to get the larger pieces to the top, scoop them off and return them to the plastic bag for further pulverization. Repeat until you get your candy sugar to the grind that you desire.

Alternate Method:

Break up candy canes into small pieces by hand.

Put into clean Coffee Grinder (or food processor).

Pulse grind to break up big chunks. Continue until you reach the desired consistency.

For best results:

When finished put into an airtight container. If you live in a particularly humid area keep it in the fridge to prevent it from reforming into a sticky pile.

Use single-colored candy. Multicolored candy canes (such as red and green stripes) will make for a rather muddy colored sugar once it’s pulverized.

Do not use plastic produce bags, they’re just too thin and you’ll end up with bits of plastic in your sugar.

See the grand list of 33 Things to do with Candy Canes for ideas on how to use your Candy Cane Sugar. I made the Peppermint Stick Layer Cake!

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:54 am     CandyRecipesChristmasHard Candy & LollipopsMintsNewsComments (2)

33 Uses for Leftover Candy Canes

Here you go, oodles of things to do with those leftover candy canes. (Or maybe you want to pick some up on sale.)

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Use them whole:
1. Stir your hot cocoa
2. Stir your hot tea
3. Stir your coffee (works for lattes & cappuccinos, too)
4. Stir your cocktail
5. Stir your milkshake
6. Snap off the hooked end and dip the straight piece in the chocolate of your choice for homemade “reception sticks
7. Candy Kebabs (spear marshmallows and roll them in sprinkles or other crushed candies)
8. Valentine’s Heart (I’ll try to kitchen test this over the weekend)
9. Edible Fondue Sticks (best for marshmallows)

Crush them lightly:
10. Ice Cream Sprinkles
11. Cake Sprinkles
12. Cupcake Sprinkle
13. Frosted Cookie Sprinkles
14. On top of Whipped Cream in your Hot Cocoa
15. Roll marshmallows in them and eat them whole, toast them in the microwave or drop them in hot cocoa

Make Candy Cane Sugar:
16. Sweeten your Hot Tea
17. Sweeten your Iced Tea
18. Sweeten your Hot Cocoa
19. Sweeten your Coffee or Mocha
20. Use to rim your Cocktails (or this one)

Use them in recipes:
21. White Chocolate Candy Cane Fudge
22. Peppermint Four Layer Cake
23. Chocolate Mint Layer Cake
24. Chocolate Peppermint Bark (I like to pour mine into candy cups instead of making a bark.)
25. Make vanilla ice cream into Peppermint Ice Cream
26. Make your own Peppermint Ice Cream Sandwiches
27. Chocolate Candy Cane Sandwich Cookies
28. Candy Cane Chocolate Chunk Cookies
29. Candy Cane Brownies (these are vegan!)
30. Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheels
31. Peppermint Meringues
32. Add to Rice Krispies Treats
33. Candy Cane Cheesecake

So, what can you add to the list?

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:53 am     CandyRecipesChristmasHard Candy & LollipopsMintsFun StuffComments (16)

Recipe: Peppermint Stick Layer Cake

This was my traditional birthday cake throughout my teen years: The Peppermint Stick Layer Cake. My mother came up with it as a way to use up the remaining candy canes from Christmas but it’s a great cake to make any time of year. The whipped cream is lighter tasting and less sweet than a buttercream or sugar frosting, but you’re free to create your own adaptation with your favorite frosting recipe. When the cake is well chilled it’s almost like an ice cream cake.

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I like mine as a four layer cake because it means that the ratio of whipped cream to cake is about equal.

Ingredients:

2 8” Round Chocolate Layers (I make mine from Devil’s Food cake mix - use any recipe or mix you like)
1 pint of heavy whipping cream (well chilled)
1/2 cup of crushed peppermint candy canes (or starlight mints)

Allow your cake layers to cool completely before assembly.

Whipped Cream

Chilling is essential to great whipped cream. I make mine using a two bowl method.

Take a large pasta pot and fill the bottom with ice and then a bit of water. Fit a mixing bowl over it (I have a lipped bowl that fits inside my pasta pot well). Make sure the ice water mixture comes up to at least 1/3 of the side of the mixing bowl.

Pour in your pint of whipping cream. Add a dash of salt.

Whip using an electric mixer or whisk well.

At about the halfway mark (when the whipped cream starts to hold its shape) start adding your crushed peppermint candy.

Continue to whip and taste as needed.

I prefer my whipped cream a little less sweet but your mileage may vary depending on how chunky your candy is and how sweet you want it. Be prepared to add between 1/4 to 1/2 cup of crushed candy. If you want it really minty, add some peppermint extract. If you want it really pink, add some red food coloring.

Assembly

Once your cake layers have cooled, make sure that they are flat (cut off any mounding).

Either cut carefully or use dental floss to split each of the layers into two. (I’ve found cutting them easier if the cake is frozen.)

Place first layer on cake plate. Mound some whipped cream on layer and spread evenly.

Place next layer on top of that, repeat with as many layers as you have.

Frost top. Depending on how generous you’ve been with your whipped cream, you can also ice the sides, I kind of like being able to see all the layers without it being cut.

Dust the top with some remaining chunks of candy canes or whole starlight mints. Don’t add them until you’re ready to serve, they get a bit runny after about an hour in the whipped cream.

Chill cake if you’re not serving immediately. You can even freeze it and serve it that way.

Other variations:

● Use Cinnamon Candies instead of Peppermint
● Use white cake instead of chocolate
● Use a square cake pan and divide in half both in height and width to create stack
● Sunset magazine featured a Candy Cane Cake too, they used a bundt shaped Angel Food cake, which means no layers. So as a whipped cream delivery device it’s sadly lacking. But if you’re looking for, you know, a balance and perhaps something that’s not quite as fatty as eating a half a pint of whipped cream yourself, then go for it!
● Make cupcakes and use pastry bag to fill them with minty whipped cream and then frost them with it as well

Related: How to make Candy Cane Sugar and 33 Things to do with Leftover Candy Canes

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:43 am     CandyRecipesReviewChristmasChocolateHard Candy & LollipopsMints9-YummyComments (14)

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Munch Bar

Every once in a while I get a hankering for peanut brittle. But aside from buying a tin of it or making it myself, it’s not that easy to find.

Enter the Munch bar. Billed on the label as “Only 6 Simple Ingredients” it’s just a buttery hard candy studded with peanuts. In fact, there’s more peanuts in here than most brittle I’ve had. The ingredients are: peanuts, sugar, butter, corn syrup, salt and soy lecithin.

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The bars aren’t that easy to find, which is a shame, because they’re a nice alternative to a chocolate bar. Kind of like a Payday. Mars actually markets it using its wholesomeness as a selling point. I like it because it’s sturdy. You can expose it to higher temperatures without it losing its shape and taste.

The candy part of the bar is sweet and crunchy, not quite toffee and more solid than the usually slightly foamy peanut brittle candy. It’s buttery and has a light salty hit. The peanut flavor is, of course, the attraction. I love peanuts. There are 6 grams of protein in this bar, and at less than 1.5 ounces, that’s a lot of protein which makes it quite filling and satisfying.

They’re an excellent summer bar and worth the work at finding them. There’s another version of this made by Planters, I’ll try to have a review of that soon.

Name: Munch Bar
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: Long's Drug
Price: $.69
Size: 1.42 ounces
Calories per ounce: 155
Categories: Peanuts, Hard Candy, United States, Mars

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:10 am     Comments (15)

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

 

 

 

 

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COUNTDOWN.

Halloween Candy Season Ends

-51 days

Read previous coverage

 

 

Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
  •   Christmas
  •   Valentine's Day
  •   Easter

 

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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

• Dandelion Chocolate

• Trader Joe’s Holiday Roundup 2014

 

 

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