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Hershey's

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Minis

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups MinisI got an early taste of the new Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Minis courtesy of the Sweets & Snacks Expo. As the name explains, they’re an extra miniature version of the classic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

The selling point in this version is that there’s no wrapper, no fluted paper cup. These morsels are ready to pop right in your mouth. The initial launch will be in King Size packages of 3.1 ounces, but I also expect them to be released as 8 ounce bags for baking. They won’t be hitting the stores until December 2010.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Minis

They look exactly like the foil wrapped miniatures, except of course, they’re smaller still. As ratios go, you can expect this to be the most chocolate version of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup you can get. (On the peanut-butter-heavy end of things, the Reese’s Egg is tops.)

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Minis

Each is exquisitely formed, they all had a precise and consistent shape. As you can tell, they get a little scuffed up rolling around loose in the bag, so no glossy chocolate sheen.

They smell sweet and nutty. The chocolate is cool and melts quickly, with only a light milky cocoa note. The peanut butter center is just a quick pop of roasted peanut butter, crumbly texture and salt. Since they’re so small, a mouthful takes at least two.

These would be ideal for snacking and I could see them as a huge hit in theater boxes. For those who miss the Reese’s Peanut Butter Bites, these might be just the thing (there’s no waxy glaze either). The ratios weren’t quite to my liking but I enjoy the fact that you don’t have to unwrap each individual piece.

Related Candies

  1. World’s Largest Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  2. Whoppers Reese’s Peanut Butter Flavored Candy
  3. Reese’s Pieces
  4. Trader Joe’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups
  5. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Line
  6. Hershey Bites: York, Reese’s Peanut Butter and KitKat


Name: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Minis
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: samples from Sweets and Snacks Expo
Price: $1.49 retail
Size: 2.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Hershey's, Chocolate, Peanuts, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:56 am     CandyMorselizationReese'sReviewHershey'sChocolatePeanuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (11)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hershey’s Drops: Milk Chocolate & Cookies n Creme

Hershey's Milk Chocolate DropsLast year Hershey’s announced their new expanded Hershey’s Pieces line at National Confectioners Association’s Sweets & Snacks Expo. This year the new product line is Hershey’s Drops.

Hershey’s Drops are billed as Hershey’s Happiness in a little drop of milk chocolate without a candy shell and featuring a light, shiny, mess free finish. They’ll be on store shelves starting in December 2010, starting with King Size packages of 2.1 ounces.

The packages I got to try are just sales samples, in little .6 ounce packets with ingredients listing but no final nutrition panel (which isn’t that surprising since they won’t be available for another six months).

Now your family can have all the goodness of bite-sized chocolate without the candy shell.

HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate DROPS have a light shiny finish, so there’s no mess. They’re perfect for snacking and sharing anytime, anywhere!

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Drops

The drops are larger than the Pieces about as big around as a nickel. Brits may be familiar with the size and shape, they’re rather similar to Mars’ Galaxy Minstrels, except without the shell - in fact, they’re exactly like the re-released Galaxy Counters (which I haven’t tried, but Chocablog did a nice review of a couple of months ago).

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Drops

Some may wonder if the light coating is like that on M&Ms Premiums. There is a light waxy coating on there, but it’s thinner than the latexy and colorful stuff on the M&Ms Premiums. It’s more like what you’d find on Junior Mints or Whoppers. Just a simple glaze that melts away quickly.

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Drops

The flavor is pure Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, not much else. A little tangy and fudgy, sweet and milky. The coating keeps them fresh and smooth, I’ve found that Kisses can taste a little rancid when left out of the bag, even though they have a foil wrapping. Of course I didn’t have these candies for very long, so I can’t say for sure that they’d be like that if left out in a dish.

Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme DropsThe second item in the Drops line is a bit more inventive, Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme Drops.

The confection is made of a white chocolate with cookie bits like Oreos mixed in. The white chocolate ingredients are a little muddy, the label says “cocoa butter, palm, shea, sunflower and/or safflower oil” so I don’t know how much of this white chocolate is actually cocoa butter. That and/or confuses me.

Hershey’s currently offers the Cookies ‘n’ Creme in a few formats. The original is their bar but there are also Kisses from time to time, Nuggets, as well as holiday foil wrapped versions. This little morsel version with no wrapper is actually a great new take on the candy.

Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme Drops

I have to admit they don’t look so great. They look muddy and dirty. The cookie bits show through. They’re consistently shaped, but the white isn’t quite white and not even that light yellow that French vanilla ice cream sports.

Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme Drops

They smell especially sweet and milky. The texture is thick and a little fudgy and heavy on the dairy flavors. The crispy bits of cookie are crunchy and crumbly, with a sandy grain to them that sets off the sticky melt of the white confection very well. It’s a little salty, so though it’s sugary at times and kind of throat searing, it doesn’t stay that way to the end. It’s more like cookies and cream ice cream than a candy version of a chocolate sandwich cookie.

Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme DropsI haven’t been much of a fan of the Cookies ‘n’ Creme bar up to this point, but I have to say that the smaller discrete bites do help. They’re best, as far as I’m concerned, mixed with the Milk Chocolate ones to keep it all from getting too sweet.

Overall, I think this is a fun new take. I’m glad that Hershey’s is making them with the bar version ingredients, instead of going the route they did with Kissables as a “chocolate candy”. I see the benefits to getting rid of the foil wrappings and the candy shells plus making the morsels larger than a chocolate baking chip. I’m sure some folks will be happy to see that there are no artificial colors in here either, since there’s no colored shell.

The ability to combine these with other items to create a custom trail mix snack is also intriguing. I’d like to mix them with nuts, pretzels or sesame sticks. I can also see a lot of possibilities with expanding this with other candies in the Hershey’s line.

Related Candies

  1. Cookies ‘n’ Creme Showdown
  2. Galaxy Minstrels
  3. Hershey’s Nuggets Double Chocolate
  4. Kissables (Reformulated)
  5. UK Smarties (no artificial colors)
  6. Hershey Eggs
  7. Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Mint


Name: Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Drops
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: samples from Sweets and Snacks Expo
Price: $1.39 retail
Size: 2.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Chocolate, Cookie, White Chocolate, 7-Worth It, United States


Name: Hershey’s Cookies’ n’ Creme Drops
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: samples from Sweets and Snacks Expo
Price: 1.39
Size: 2.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Cookie, White Chocolate, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:04 am     CandyMorselizationHershey'sChocolateCookieWhite Chocolate7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (12)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Short & Sweet: Dollar Store

I buy candy a lot of places, but probably the ones that fit best with the original intentions of Candy Blog are the dollar stores. Dollar stores and discounters like Dollar Tree, Family Dollar Store and 99 Cent Only Stores have a mix of closeout products, mainstream candies and then a bunch of weird stuff that you’ve never seen before and may never see again. One of the purposes of Candy Blog was to seek out those fringe candies and demystify them. Here’s a bunch of stuff I’ve picked up:

Old Dominion Butter Toffee PeanutsOld Dominion is a brand I never saw in stores until about a year ago when I found their cheap but tasty Peanut Brittle at the drug store. Now I see them everywhere.

There’s no reason a couple of handfuls of fresh peanuts and some sugar can’t be dirt cheap and delicious. The good news is that I think Old Dominion has done an excellent job filling that niche. Old Dominion Butter Toffee Peanuts don’t come in the most attractive package ever, but the package has five ounces and boasts only four ingredients: peanuts, sugar, butter and salt. They’re Kosher and American made.

Old Dominion Toffee Peanuts

They’re a simple panned nut. A buttery toffee coating on whole peanuts.

They’re buttery, a little salty, crunchy and fresh. Not much more to say except that I wish they sold these in the vending machines in the basement of my office building. (My old office had PNuttles from time to time, which is similar, but a little more “toasty” where these are “buttery”.)

Zachary Thick Mints

I bought the Zachary Thick Mints at the 99 Cent Only Store because they’re called Thick Mints. I mean, how could I resist. They’re mints and they’re thick.

Zachary Thick Mints

They’re real chocolate, so they have that going for them. I don’t know much about Zachary as a brand for chocolate, I’ve had their sugar candies around Halloween and found them passable, but I’m pretty forgiving when it comes to sugar ... not so much when it comes to chocolate. The tray is flimsy and insubstantial as a serving piece (it bends and spills out the contents) but it did its job along with the box of protecting the product.

Zachary Thick Mints

They are as advertised, they’re big and thick. They’re about the same diameter as the mini foil-wrapped York Peppermint Patties (about 1.33 inches across) but they’re at least a half an inch high. The inside is more like a Junior Mint (a flowing mint fondant) than a York Peppermint Pattie (a crumbly and dry fondant). The mint fondant is smooth, with a tiny grain to it but a smooth pull and strong almost alcoholic peppermint flavor. The chocolate is a letdown, not terribly cream and lacking a solid cocoa punch. It still does a good job of containing the minty center.

Chocolate & Mockolate CaramelsI come up with a lot of ideas for the blog and very few are actually implemented.

A couple of months ago I got the notion that I should review the chocolate covered caramel bites that come in Movie Theater boxes. (Yeah, a very specific genre of candy, but there are at least three of them.) This one got as far as the acquisition of the candy, photography and consumption. I just couldn’t think of much of a hook for it. But hey, I can’t let it go to waste.

I found Hershey’s Milk Duds, Tootsie Junior Caramels and Zachary Chocolate Caramels at the Dollar Tree. So they’re all the same price and basically the same thing. But very different.

Zachary Chocolate Caramels

Zachary Chocolate Caramels are the newest one on the market. The box is rather generic but at least well made. The photo of the baubles of milk chocolate are appetizing and the product within does actually look like that. The box holds 4.8 ounces, not the biggest value of the bunch, but still a lot of candy, especially if it’s real chocolate.

Zachary Chocolate Caramels

Of the three this was the only one that had a protective bag inside. They’re really big and have a decent milky smell. The milk chocolate is thick but not very flavorful. There are some dairy notes but the melt isn’t smooth. The caramel center is soft and easy to chew. It doesn’t have a strong butter or caramelized sugar flavor, it’s more like a cereal note. Just slightly toasty and sweet, it reminds me of Kraft Caramels.

Junior Caramels

The Junior Caramels box says that it has 10% more free, which is good because it doesn’t even manage to cram 4 ounces in there. The package says that they’re soft milk caramels in pure chocolate. (Here’s my original review when they were first introduced in 2005.)

Junior Caramels

The chocolate isn’t as thick as the Zachary ones and they’re not as glossy. They don’t smell like much and don’t taste like caramel or milk chocolate either.

The chew of the center is soft but not grainy. Again it’s lacking in butter, toasted sugar and that stringy pull that I love about caramel.

Milk Duds

Milk Duds have been around since the 20s. They’ve gone through many changes in corporate ownership, packaging and formulation. Recently Hershey’s stopped using real milk chocolate to coat these choice little caramel bits which is too bad.

Milk Duds

They really live up to their name when it comes to appearance, the caramel centers are rarely spherical, they’re flattened lumps. The caramel centers of Milk Duds are quite firm. The chew though is completely smooth and slick. The flavor is authentically toffee-like with a luxurious milky note. It’s so sad that the cardboard mockolate on the outside trashes the flavor with off notes and waxy cocoa.  (I can’t say that the chocolate was great when it was real chocolate, but at least the flavor wasn’t off even if the texture was.)

Chocolate & Mockolate Caramels

It’s hard to declare a winner with this motley bunch. I love the center of Milk Duds, but the Zachary really do look the most appealing. I can’t say I want to eat any of them again and will probably dump out the rest of them before I flatten the boxes to be saved in my collection.

Related Candies

  1. Milky Way Simply Caramel
  2. Old Dominion Brittle
  3. Nips: Caramel & Dulce de Leche
  4. Junior Fruit Cremes
  5. Junior Mints Deluxe
  6. P-Nuttles
  7. Chocolate Covered Sugar Babies


Name: Butter Toffee Peanuts
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Old Dominion
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: Peanuts, Toffee, 6-Tempting, United States, Dollar Tree


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


Name: Zachary Chocolate Caramels
    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: 4.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 131
Categories: Candy, Zachary, Caramel, Chocolate, 5-Pleasant, United States, Dollar Tree


Name: Milk Duds
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 124
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Caramel, Kosher, Mockolate, 5-Pleasant, United States, Dollar Tree


Name: Junior Caramels
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 3.96 ounces
Calories per ounce: 128
Categories: Candy, Caramel, Chocolate, Kosher, 5-Pleasant, United States, Dollar Tree

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:03 pm     CandyReviewHershey'sTootsieZacharyCaramelChocolateMockolatePeanutsToffee5-Pleasant6-TemptingUnited States99 Cent Only StoreDollar TreeComments (5)

Monday, May 3, 2010

KitKat Dark

KitKat DarkThe idea of a dark chocolate KitKat Bar is nothing new. The new part right now might be that Hershey’s is introducing this KitKat Dark not as a limited edition item but as a regular product. (Though that is never a guarantee that it will continue to be produced.)

It follows on the coattails of Hershey’s introduction of the Dark Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup after also flirting with various limited edition releases. The construction is just as you’d suspect: a semi-sweet chocolate covered stack of chocolate-cream filled wafers all molded into a four finger bar.

Some folks who also spend an inordinate time not only eating candy but also reading about it may remember that the bar is one of Steve Almond’s obsessions mentioned in Candy Freak.

KitKat Dark

The package isn’t terribly exciting, it’s the same as the milk chocolate variety but instead of a beige swirl that says Crisp Wafers in Milk Chocolate it’s a bolder dark brown that says Dark and then followed by Crisp Wafers in Dark Chocolate. It may be hard to spot on store shelves if you didn’t know it was there.

It smells like sweet cocoa and cereal. The wafers are crisp and rather bland but provide and airiness to the candy. The cream center has a little bit of a greasy grain to it that I like so much that I often pry the planks apart with my teeth and lick it separately. The dark chocolate is quite sweet but has a woodsy and berry note to it that gives the candy a different flavor profile, it’s less about milk and more about cocoa. It wouldn’t call the quality great, but this is candy, not fine chocolate.

The ingredients don’t break out the difference between the chocolate coating and the wafers with cream, so it’s hard to tell what kind of chocolate is in there.

Sugar, chocolate, wheat flour, cocoa butter, palm kernel oil, cocoa processed with alkali, milk fat, contains 2% or less of lactose, soy lecithin, PGPR, yeast, salt, vanillin, sodium bicarbonate, milk.

Hershey’s brings these out as miniatures from time to time, I’ve picked them up around Halloween before (2007 & 2008) but the mini size has different chocolate ratios. For the most part when I want a dark KitKat I was buying this 100 Calorie KitKat Singles Dark version from Canada.

It’s hard to top the Japanese KitKat Bitter I had about three years ago which used actually good chocolate. But this is a nice change of pace if I couldn’t get the Q.bel Double Dark Wafer Bar.

Candy for Dinner has some good photos of all the various domestic KitKat versions including two introductions of the limited edition darks. For reviews of the UK version made by Nestle check out Jim’s Chocolate Mission and Chocablog.

Related Candies

  1. Q.Bel Double Dark Chocolate Wafer Bar
  2. Hershey’s Special Dark Pieces
  3. Fling: Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut
  4. Ghirardelli Intense Dark
  5. Dark Chocolate Peanut M&Ms
  6. Ritter Darks
  7. Twix Dark Chocolate


Name: KitKat Dark
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: sample from Sweets & Snacks Expo
Price: $.89 retail
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 140
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Chocolate, Cookie, KitKat, Kosher, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:36 pm     CandyHershey'sChocolateCookieKitKatKosher7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (3)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Head to Head: Clark, Butterfinger & 5th Avenue

Yesterday I reviewed the new Necco Clark Bar with real milk chocolate and the Necco Clark Dark Bar with real dark chocolate. At the time I also purchased and compared the two other nationally available chocolatey peanut butter crunch bars: Nestle Butterfinger and Hershey’s 5th Avenue.

The Peanut Crunch Bars: 5th Avenue, Butterfinger & Clark

The bars are all roughly the same size and barring any sales, the same price. All are nationally available, and though Clark used to be hard to find, all of the bars here were purchased at RiteAid, a national drug store chain. Honestly, there are probably two main reasons to chose one over the other: flavor preference and ingredients.

The Peanut Crunch Bars: 5th Avenue, Butterfinger & Clark (Milk & Dark)
cross sections from left to right: Butterfinger, Clark, Clark Dark, 5th Avenue

The ingredients and concepts are very similar. A crunchy layered peanut butter crunch log is enrobed with chocolate or mockolate.

Necco Clark Bar (introduced by D.L. Clark in 1916-1917)
Real Milk Chocolate |  Real Peanut Butter Crunch

The Clark Bar - All Natural (Milk Chocolate)

Sugar, corn syrup, ground roasted peanuts, milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, whole milk powder, soy lecithin, vanilla extract), molasses, corn flour, invert sugar, coconut oil, salt, natural flavors. Kosher 2.1 ounces

Noticeable molasses flavor, fresh roasted nuts but not overly salty. The texture varies from bar to bar, some are more hard-candy-like and others have a more crumbly layering with stronger peanut butter notes.

Nestle Butterfinger (introduced by Curtiss in 1923)
Crispety, crunchety, peanut-buttery

Nestle Butterfinger

Corn syrup, sugar, ground roasted peanuts, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, cocoa, molasses and less than 1% of whey, confectioner’s corn flakes, nonfat milk, lactic acid esters, soy lecithin, soybean oil, cornstarch, artificial flavors, TBHQ and citric acid, yellow #5, red #40. Kosher 2.1 ounces

The center, when compared to the others, is obviously artificially colored. The scent of the bar is overtly “buttery” but without any real source. The coating is chalky looking and matte, without any ripples or variations. The crunch of the center is dense, though there are layers it’s a tightly wrapped bar. This gives it a density and satisfying weight. The mockolate coating is dreadful and the worst part of the bar. Salty and butter-flavored center has a good peanut butter flavor that at least covers the watery cocoa flavors of the outside.

Hershey’s 5th Avenue (introduced by Luden’s in 1936)
Crunchy Peanut Butter in Rich Chocolatey Coating

Hershey's 5th Avenue

Sugar, peanuts, corn syrup, vegetable oil (cocoa butter, palm kernel oil, palm, shea, sunflower and/or safflower oil), molasses, chocolate, contains2% or less of nonfat milk, cocoa, whey, lactose, milk fat, salt, soy lecithin, milk, PGPR, artificial flavor, TBHQ. Kosher 2.0 ounces

In earlier versions of the bar it was real milk chocolate and there were several almonds on top of the peanut butter center under the chocolate coating. The change over to a high-quality mockolate was about 4 years ago. The center of the 5th Avenue is by far the one I prefer. It’s like a bundle of spiky peanut butter crunch needles. They melt in your mouth with a burst of molasses, peanut butter and salty flavors. The mockolate is actually pretty good, though often very soft and pasty. The chocolate flavor of it is well rounded and the texture, though fudgy, is smooth.

If it were still in its original formulation, the 5th Avenue might still be the #1 bar for me. But given Clark’s new all natural and real ingredients, I have to go with the Clark Bar Dark and then the Clark Bar. Butterfinger comes in a distant #3 (or #4 if we’re using both Clark bars).

Related Candies

  1. Butterfinger Buzz (Caffeinated)
  2. Reese’s Crispy Crunchy Bar
  3. Zagnut
  4. Short & Sweet: Butterfinger Jingles and Mint Miniatures
  5. Clark Bar
  6. Chick-o-Stick
  7. Head-to-Head: Butterfinger vs. 5th Avenue


Name: Clark Bar
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Necco
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Echo Park)
Price: $.50 (on sale)
Size: 2.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: 129
Categories: All Natural, Necco, Chocolate, Kosher, Peanuts, 8-Tasty, United States, Rite Aid


Name: Butterfinger
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: RiteAid (Echo Park)
Price: $.89
Size: 2.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: 129
Categories: Nestle, Kosher, Mockolate, Peanuts, 5-Pleasant, United States, Rite Aid


Name: 5th Avenue
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Echo Park)
Price: $.50 (on sale)
Size: 2.0 ounces
Calories per ounce: 130
Categories: Hershey's, Kosher, Mockolate, Peanuts, 7-Worth It, United States, Rite Aid

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:55 am     All NaturalCandyReviewHershey'sNeccoNestleChocolateKosherMockolatePeanuts5-Pleasant7-Worth It8-TastyUnited StatesHead to HeadRite AidComments (12)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The All American Chocolate Bunny Battle

Cadbury - Dove - Bliss BunniesThe cornerstone of an Easter Basket is the chocolate bunny. There are many to choose from and most often it’s about how it looks. I picked up three foil wrapped milk chocolate rabbits of similar size for a little comparison.

All were about the same price, between $3.99 and $4.49 (though prices vary from store to store, I picked all mine up at Target before the good sales started). All are American made, all are milk chocolate and all are Kosher. In the running are: Cadbury Dairy Milk Solid Milk Chocolate Bunny, Hershey’s Bliss Hollow Smooth & Creamy Milk Chocolate Bunny and Dove Fairy Bunny Silky Smooth Hollow Milk Chocolate Bunny.

Dove - Cadbury - Bliss Bunnies

Each is similar in size, thought the Cadbury bunny is solid so weighs a little more. Though they come in boxes, I’m not sure they’d go into the Easter basket that way. So here they are out of their boxes. I found all of them to be overpackaged, especially considering how many chocolate rabbits (Lindt is most notable) that are sold simply wrapped in foil without a box or plastic form shield.

Cadbury - Dove - Bliss Bunnies

Side by side it’s easy to see how the different milk chocolates are vastly different colors. Cadbury is the lightest and has an orange hue. Hershey’s Bliss is the darkest and from my reading of the ingredients and nutrition label it has the least fat (more milk solids and sugar).

Cadbury - Dove - Bliss Bunnies

They’re all three dimensional bunnies with nice molds. They were all pretty much flawless out of their wrappers as well.

Cadbury Solid BunnyThe Cadbury Dairy Milk Solid Milk Chocolate Bunny is made in the United States by Hershey’s from imported “chocolate crumb” from Cadbury’s facilities in the UK (at least that’s what I learned via the NYTimes in 2007).

The ingredients are different than the UK Cadbury Dairy Milk. There is no additional vegetable fat in there, but it does contain PGPR, an additional emulsifier often used in less expensive chocolate. (If you’re curious about the differences between the UK and US Dairy Milk, check out this head to head comparison.)

Sugar, milk chocolate, cocoa butter, lactose, soy lecithin, PGPR, natural and artificial flavor

They all came with a crazy amount of packaging, the Cadbury bunny’s box was more than two inches taller than the rabbit inside. But it’s a generous size, a full six ounces which at the selling price of $4.49 it was the best value of the bunch.

Cadbury Solid Bunny

The rabbit is a rather realistic representation, no anthropomorphism by the designers. It’s a classic sitting rabbit with high ears. The foil is great, the only one of the bunch that has a design on both sides. (The wrapping style is kind of like a chocolate coin, the two sides are a heavy printed foil and have a seam all the way around.) The fact that he could be seated facing either way was a great feature, especially if you’re designing an Easter basket for a particular tableau.

Cadbury Solid Bunny

My Cadbury bunny was soft, even though my house was a cool 68 degrees. Biting off the ears was pretty easy, but after that I had to take a knife to him and give him a few quick jabs to break him up.

The chocolate has strong caramelized sugar and yogurty dairy notes. The texture is sticky as it melts though not as sweet as I expected at first. The cocoa is mild and woodsy ... it’s the classic dairy milk chocolate I think most people are familiar with. It’s a little grainy and gritty.

I was a little irritated at how hard it was to eat, requiring a knife or the unsanitary gnawing. But he was lovely. Here are some more shots I took if you want to see some other views:

Cadbury Solid Bunny Cadbury Solid Bunny Cadbury Solid Bunny Cadbury Solid Bunny Cadbury Solid Bunny

Hershey's Bliss Hollow BunnyThe Hershey’s Bliss Hollow Smooth & Creamy Milk Chocolate Bunny was a little confusing. There were two products on the shelves at Target from Hershey’s (here’s where I picked all of these up). There was this Bliss bunny, which I thought was a good comparison to the Dove one, and then an identically molded one that was just “Hershey’s” but with a blue bow instead of a lavender one (I photographed the back of the package for later comparison).

The Hershey’s Bliss one has no PGPR like the Cadbury or classic Hershey’s recipe, but of course a price tag to match (in this case a dollar more).

The Bliss bunny wins for the least amount of packaging, if you can call this winning. Inside the box was a formed plastic piece that went over the front-facing side of the bunny but like the others, there was a lot of empty space in that box.

Hershey's Bliss Hollow BunnyBliss is a relatively new chocolate line from Hershey’s, it was introduced barely two years ago with a parallel line of products and pricing structure to the Dove line. The packaging and foil wrapping doesn’t quite rise to the level of elegance or chic sophistication that Lindt, Godiva and Dove have been perfecting for so long. But it’s what’s inside that matters ... well, in the case of hollow chocolate bunnies, it’s what’s inside the foil that matters, the really inside is nothingness.

Bliss was the lightest bunny in the bunch at only 4 ounces.

The shape is of a bunny on its hind legs, front legs kind of up in a begging position. She’s not carrying a basket or anything. The molding is nice, the details are pretty good, especially on the ears. I don’t care much for the design of it but the shape is good. It feels substantial, which is important to kids. It’s not easy to put a thumb through the side or anything.

The Bliss bunny had an excellent sheen. It broke nicely and wasn’t too soft. The bunny itself had thick sides, but not too thick that breaking it was difficult. (I actually like hollow bunnies more as I get older - I like the illusion or size but the ease of portioning.)

Hershey's Bliss Hollow Bunny

The chocolate was smooth and creamy, with a rich milky flavor with a little Hershey’s twang, but not too much. It’s sweet but not throat-searing and not at all gritty or grainy. I liked it much better than the Hershey’s rabbit I had last year and better than the Bliss foil wrapped pieces.

Here are more photos to give you a sense of the scale, wrapping and molding:

Hershey's Bliss Hollow Bunny Hershey's Bliss Hollow Bunny Hershey's Bliss Hollow Bunny  Hershey's Bliss Hollow Bunny

Dove Fairy Hollow BunnyThe final rabbit is the Dove Fairy Bunny Silky Smooth Hollow Milk Chocolate Bunny. This one diverges from the classic rabbit shape and goes a little into the weird territory. This bunny has fat, fat butterfly wings (I don’t know how some conservative folks feel about mixing fairies with Easter).

The box has the most packaging, a clamshell formed clear plastic piece that protects the bunny and holds it in place. It did its job well, as my bunny looked great in and out of the foil. The back of the box has a poem about the Fairy Bunny, a poem that tells the story of this magical Easter bunny who has a product placement deal with Dove.

This ingredients looked okay, there’s PGPR in there but it comes after the flavorings. (I’ve been told that PGPR is great for manufacturers because it makes molding easier.)

Dove Hollow Fairy Bunny

The Dove bunny is by far the best looking one in and out of the foil, but definitely on the feminine side with its lavender wing accents and luscious eyelashes. (Even the whiskers look feline-sexy.)

It’s a squat bunny, so it doesn’t feel quite as decadent as the Bliss one, even though it weighs a half an ounce more at 4.5 ounces.

Dove Hollow Fairy Bunny

The walls of the chocolate were inconsistent. Some spots were thick and beefy, others, like the sides and bottom away from the edges were quite thin.

The bunny has a soft milky and woodsy scent, not too sweet. The texture of the chocolate is creamy and smooth. As I had my bunny open for tasting for a couple of weeks, I noticed that the flavor profile changed. I’ve noticed this with molded items that have a lot of surface area, and especially with chocolate that has PGPR. The flavor gets a little rancid ... not full on “my goodness, this is spoiled” but a subtle “this was better last week”. So I found myself gravitating, much to my surprise, to the Bliss bunny.

This bunny still wins for its looks, here are some more glamor shots:

Dove Fairy Hollow Bunny Dove Fairy Hollow Bunny Dove Hollow Fairy Bunny Dove Hollow Fairy Bunny

On the whole, all three are good quality. They’re expensive by the ounce when you compare it to other chocolate like little foil wrapped pieces or big bars. But they’re also a special item for an Easter basket, gifting or just using as a decorative item. I suggest going for the chocolate you like ... but sometimes aesthetics trumps taste. Don’t forget to check out your local chocolate shop though - there’s something special about buying local from a company that molds their bunnies on site.

Related Candies

  1. Lake Champlain & See’s Bunny Battle
  2. Upscale Hollow Chocolate: Michel Cluizel & Hotel Chocolat
  3. Palmer Hollow Chocolate Flavored Bunny
  4. Russell Stover Hollow Milk Chocolate Bunny
  5. Lindt Chocolate Bunnies (Dark & Milk)
Name: Cadbury, Bliss & Dove Milk Chocolate Bunnies
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Cadbury (Hershey's), Bliss (Hershey's) & Dove (Mars)
Place Purchased: Target
Price: $4.49, $4.49 & $3.99
Size: 6 ounces, 4 ounces & 4.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 148, 142 & 152
Categories: Chocolate, United States, Mars, Hershey's, Cadbury, Kosher, Easter

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:33 pm     Comments (4)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hershey-ets

Hersheyette's CaneLong before Hershey’s came out with Kissables, they had a product called Hershey-ets. They were introduced in 1954 and were pretty much direct competitors to M&Ms. They never quite took off so by 1978 the machinery for Hershey-ets was turned over to the Reese’s Pieces project and Hershey-ets were only made seasonally.

My personal memories of these candy covered chocolate lentils are pretty vague. I know that I could get them at Hershey Park in little vending machines for a dime or quarter for a handful. (Not to be confused with the machines that dispensed duck food.) The only reliable time, for many years, to find Hershey-ets was around the holidays when they were sold in Christmas colors and found in bags in the baking aisle or in these cute little clear plastic canes.

Then the disappeared in 2006 with the introduction of Kissables (2005)... then Kissables were reformulated from their original candy-coated milk chocolate drops formula into candy-coating mockolate in 2008... then they were quietly discontinued in 2009. Earlier this year Hershey’s announced a new product line called Pieces, which would add to the existing Reese’s Pieces line three new products: York Peppermint Pattie Pieces, Almond Joy Pieces and Hershey’s Special Dark Pieces. One item missing from that list was a classic milk chocolate version ... the Hershey-ets.

Hersheyettes

So I can’t say I was surprised when I stumbled on a display of Hershey’s Canes at Target a few weeks ago. They featured the Hershey’s Canes I remembered from my childhood - a clear plastic tube filled with Hershey-ets (green & red) or Reese’s Pieces (in white, green & red). They were only 99 cents so I picked up a few.

There’s not much to say about the construction of them, as most Earthlings are familiar with this candy construction. Milk chocolate ovoid covered with a brightly colored sugar shell.

Are they just smashed Kissables or are they mini Hershey’s Easter Milk Chocolate Eggs?

Kissables Original (2006) Ingredients:  Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, nonfat milk, milk fat, lactose, soy lecithin, PGPR & artificial flavors), sugar, red #40, yellow #5, yellow #6, blue #1 & carnauba wax.

Hershey-ets (2009) Ingredients: Sugar, milk, cocoa butter, chocolate, contains 2% or less of artificial colors (yellow #5, red #40, blue #1), corn syrup, corn starch, modified food starch, resinous glaze, soy lecithin, carnauba wax, vanillin. (Manufactured on shared equipment with peanuts).

I don’t have a wrapper for the classic Hershey’s Eggs, but just by tasting these I’m going with a mini version of the Hershey’s Eggs. What’s weird is that there’s no PGPR in there.

M&Ms & Hersheyettes

Finally, since they look and act like M&Ms, I also did a little one-to-one comparison. Hershey-ets are little bulkier, a little less tapered at the edges. The shell is also thicker, so there’s more crunch.

M&Ms milk chocolate is sweet and tastes a bit like cocoa with a light peanut touch and milk. Not intense and the shell is like a light crust. They’re very easy to eat, and keep eating though they never quite fill me up.

Hershey-ets milk chocolate is classic Hershey’s tang. Honestly, sticking my nose in the little tube, it smelled like chevre, or at the very least, chocolate cheesecake. The tangy yogurt note cuts through the sweetness a bit, and the extra crunchy shell provides more than just melting protection. Still, they’re every sweet and after a handful they gave me a sore throat. I enjoy the fact that they’re so different from M&Ms, but they’re not quite the jumbo pop of the Easter version that I prefer which has more shell and more of an uninterrupted fudgy chocolate flavor and texture. I easily ate both tubes I had over two days.

Lately I’ve found that Hershey’s chocolate has tasted a little rancid, a little more like burps than is considered polite for candy. I’ve been blaming it on PGPR, which I think either adds some sort of off flavor or allows the flavors to oxidize quicker. These don’t seem to have that problem. The flavor, though tangy with that slightly caramelized milk note is still there, but either sealing them in the little airtight candy shell or the lack of PGPR gives me back my classic Hershey’s chocolate.

Though I don’t remember them, they were once available in single serve packages just like M&Ms, Candy Wrapper Archive has an image of them from the 60s. Retro Commercials remembers when Hershey-ets were sold by the bucket.

Related Candies

  1. Mentos - Pine Fresh (Pineapple)
  2. Head to Head: M&Ms vs Koppers Milkies
  3. UK Smarties (no artificial colors)
  4. Disney Branded Chocolate Candies
  5. M&Ms Line
  6. Head-to-Head: Smarties vs. M&Ms
  7. Jelly Belly JBz
Name: Hershey-ets
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey's
Place Purchased: Target (Harbor City)
Price: $.99
Size: 1.7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 141
Categories: Chocolate, United States, Hershey's, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:38 am     Comments (46)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Herhey’s Kisses filled with Irish Creme

Hershey's Kisses filled with Irish CremeI love it when the Candy Blog community points me to something new. We have a little conversation going on in the Candy Blog Forums about the 2009 holiday candy offerings. One that ruffy mentioned was Hershey’s Kisses Filled with Irish Creme. I found them at Target as well and I suspect since no one else has seen them anywhere else that they may be a Target exclusive this year.

Irish Cream is a combination of flavors and textures; it’s usually heavy cream, whiskey and coffee. Kisses filled with Irish Creme are less of that. There’s no actual whiskey in there, for starters. It’s a molded chocolate shell filled with a sugar and oil paste with some milk products (nonfat milk and whey) and artificial flavoring. So maybe a more accurate name would be Kisses filled with Sweet Flavored Whey Paste.

Hershey's Kisses filled with Irish Creme

While my confidence level in them was low, I was also plenty curious. The dark green bag and gold wrappers with green fireworks on them were certainly appealing.

The smell, when I pushed my face into the bag, is actually mildly alcoholic. I don’t know how they did that, but it definitely has a bit of a whiskey note.

Out of the foil it’s even more noticeable - more than just bourbon vanilla, this smells like strong stuff. The chocolate flavors of the molded shell aren’t much. It’s smooth enough, with a slight fudgy grain that’s definitely candy-like. The center is a bit of a paste, thicker than the cordial creme in some of the Kisses. It’s not quite grainy and rather like a fondant. The center is a little bit salty so it has an immediate difference from the chocolate shell. The whiskey flavors of woodsy alcohol are there along with a slightly warm and cozy background note.

The liquor flavor though has an odd medicinal quality, especially later on. It’s like the after effects of Cepacol or some other throat anesthetic. Eating another one kind of gets rid of the benzocaine & menthol aftertaste by introducing the primary tastes of sugar, milk and whiskey flavored cheesecake.

I’m not blown away, but they are different than the last few flavors. But a true coffee flavored Kiss might be a nice change one of these days or an Egg Nog for the holidays.

Related Candies

  1. Hershey’s Kisses: Chocolate Meltaway
  2. Candy Tease: All Candy Expo 2009 - Hershey
  3. Nestle Treasures 50% Cacao Dark Chocolate Truffle
  4. Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses
  5. Candy Corn Kisses
  6. Honey Roasted Peanut Roca
  7. The Mint Kisses: Chocolate Mint & Candy Cane
  8. Choxies in Boxies
Name: Irish Creme Kisses
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey's
Place Purchased: Target (Harbor City)
Price: $2.99
Size: 10 ounces
Calories per ounce: 145
Categories: Chocolate, United States, Hershey's, Kosher, Christmas

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:52 pm     Comments (6)

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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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These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• 10 Candies that Shouldn’t Be So Disappointing

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

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• Russell Stover Big Bite Pecan Pie

• Orgran Molasses Licorice

 

 

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