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Just Born

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Peppermint Peep Stars

Peppermint Peep Stars PackagePeeps have become a large brand unto themselves. A huge line of products that includes the familiar marshmallow and has even branched out into lollipops.

Marshmallow purists probably don’t think much of flavored marshmallows, in fact I don’t usually care much for them beyond the kiss of honey or toasted sugar notes.

But Peeps Peppermint Marshmallow Stars have changed that. They’re light, peppermint flavored marshmallows, just in time for Christmas.

Peppermint Peep Stars

The stars are very puffy and fluffy. The outer sugar coating seems to be well adhered, I’m guessing the flat surfaces have a lot to do with this. The whole marshmallow is peppermint flavored, rather strongly and the pink peppermint sparkle-flakes are also strong peppermint.

If I had any complaints at all about these it’s that they didn’t get stale very easily. I opened a package last week and left it open, but the marshmallow is still rather soft and only slightly tacky. It gives it a nice chew, but I was hoping for something a little drier.

I actually ate a whole tray of these.

And then read the ingredients to see that they contain Sucralose and AceK. Sigh ... artificial sweeteners. (It said less than .5% of the candy was composed of these, but when sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar, they don’t need to put much in and it did shave 20 calories off the total for a serving compared to a regular Peep.) I felt really betrayed, though I can only blame myself for not reading the ingredients completely before eating them. (I did have a stomach ache for the rest of the morning, but that could have been caused by, well, eating a tray of marshmallows for breakfast or the ibuprofen I’ve been popping lately.) I thought they were really tasty and I would actually buy these and eat these again if they didn’t have those artificial sweeteners. I just have to ask ... why?

I can’t figure out how to rate them now. I was all set to give them an 8 out of 10. For now I’m going to give them a 6 out of 10.

Here’s X-Entertainment’s review and Candy Addict’s.

Related Candies

  1. Peeps Monster Mash Ups
  2. Peeps Spooky Friends
  3. Peeps Mash Ups
  4. Peeps Lollipop Rings
  5. Frankford Marshmallow Hearts
  6. Peeps
Name: Peeps Peppermint Marshmallow Stars
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Just Born
Place Purchased: samples from Just Born
Price: 99 cents
Size: 3.375 ounces
Calories per ounce: 97
Categories: Marshmallow, Mint, United States, Just Born, Peeps, Christmas

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:46 am     Comments (12)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Peeps Spooky Friends

Peeps Spooky FriendsJust Born has been adding lots of new products lately. Usually it’s just a different color or shape on the regular Peeps line, but the Spooky Friends add a new element to the Peeps marshmallow line.

What’s so different about them is that they’re individually wrapped. Oooh .... you know what that means? They’re not conjoined. There’s no little sticky spot where they’re separated from their row of quadruplicate siblings.

It also opens up the possibility for some diversity in a single package. This bag of 54 individually wrapped Peeps has three different shapes: Googly-Eyed Green Mummy, Purple-Eyed Jack ‘o Lantern & Shrugging Ghost. (There are other mixes that have skeletons, bats and spiders.)

image

While I love the idea of being able to give out fun little sugar puffs to kids for Halloween, I feel like they may think it’s a practical joke when they try to get the little packets open. Let’s hope their parents let them have scissors, because that’s what I resorted to.

I thought these would be the same as regular Peeps, and I happened to have some regular Easter Peeps around for comparison. Here’s what I found:

  • Spooky Friends taste like vanilla, regular Peeps taste like lightly toasted sugar.
  •  

  • Spooky Friends are not as fluffy and some are tacky & stiff. (Mostly the Ghost.)
  •  

  • Spooky Friends insides are colored, the Pumpkin is slightly peach and the Mummy is lightly green. (The Ghost is still white.)
  •  

  • Spooky Friends are smaller than regular Peeps. (This means that each has fewer calories though, at only 28 each instead of 32 for a conjoined Peep.)
  • The main thing that detracted from any recommendation for Spooky Friends is that they’re not as puffy and therefore do not work with Peeps Mash Ups as well. I rather liked the light vanilla flavor, but I missed the springly-lofty texture. They also didn’t seem to get stale as easily, but I’ve only had them for a week ... poking holes in each package in order to let them get dried out isn’t really that practical either. They have their selling points but they’re still not going to get a better rating than the original.

    At about 9 cents a marshmallow, they’re cheaper per item than the Frankford Marshmallow Pals, but they’re more expensive per ounce. Since they’re both made in China, I can’t see why you wouldn’t go for the more detailed Frankford Marshmallow Pals ... unless you don’t like coconut flavor.

    The package notes that Peeps are Gluten Free.

    UPDATE 10/31/2008: It does not appear that Just Born continued this product. I have not seen it for 2008.

    Related Candies

    1. GudFud Stuffed Marshmallows
    2. Peeps Mash Ups
    3. Peeps Lollipop Rings
    4. Peeps Spooky Cats & Cocoa Bunnies
    Name: Peeps Spooky Friends
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Just Born
    Place Purchased: KMart (Park LaBrea)
    Price: $4.99 (on sale)
    Size: 14.25 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 104
    Categories: Marshmallow, China, Just Born, Peeps, Halloween

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:27 am     Comments (5)

    Friday, June 29, 2007

    Hot Tamales Ice

    Sometimes I wonder why candy availability is so screwy. Take the Elvis Reese’s Cups, you can get them in some stores now even though they’re not supposed to be out until Monday

    Saturday, July 7 ... but why do some have them now and why not all of them?

    A few months ago Wisconsin Candy Dish reviewed the new Hot Tamales Ice, and even mentioned that they’d been around since January. Well, I’ve been lookin’, and lookin’. Finally at the strange RiteAid trip this week I found them (along with the Elvis Reese’s Cups and the Dark Chocolate Peanut M&Ms).

    image

    They were only available in the theater sized box and the ticket on the shelf said $1.29, but it rung up at 99 cents (another reason to think that this RiteAid is screwy).

    The candies are rather pretty. They’re kind of translucent, light blue with some white speckles. They’re shaped just like Hot Tamales or Mike and Ike, which is a little rod shape that for some reason is a little bigger on one end than the other.

    The little rods are like jelly beans, if you’ve never had Hot Tamales. These are spearmint flavored ... quite strong spearmint. They’re pleasant and refreshing, and rather unlike jelly beans. They remind me a lot of Spearmint Leaves, which are one of those odd candies that I’ve had cravings for all my life. There’s something about hitting a mint spot (a concentration of the mint flavor) that must release endorphins in my brain or something.

    Of course I also associate the smell of spearmint with toothpaste, so while they’re tasty to eat, the smell in the car after leaving them there in the sun is rather like a cleaning the bathroom sink of that crust of toothpaste dribbles and beard whiskers when I was in college and shared that one bathroom apartment with four guys for a summer. This might explain why I chose a cinnamon-flavored toothpaste when I bought a new tube.

    Have I digressed enough? Well, it’s a big box. I could talk about how silly the name is ... why not just call them Cool Tamales, or Ice Tamales or maybe even Mike and Ice? I like the packaging otherwise, the blue box is certainly easy to spot. I don’t know if they’re an ideal movie candy though, not like Hot Tamales. But certainly less messy than those sugar-sanded jelly Spearmint Leaves.

    One Hot Tamale Ice has 7 calories. There’s no statement on the box about gluten or nuts. Previous Hot Tamales review here.

    UPDATE 8/1/2007: No wonder I wanted to call them Cool Tamales! There was a product made by Just Born back in the day that was a spearmint jelly rod. They were called Cool Kids (but green instead of blue).

    Name: Hot Tamales Ice
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Just Born
    Place Purchased: RiteAid (Vermonica)
    Price: $.99 (on sale!)
    Size: 6 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 93
    Categories: Jelly, Mint, United States, Just Born

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:55 am     Comments (16)

    Thursday, April 5, 2007

    Peeps Mash Ups

    Folks are obsessed with Peeps around this time of the year. As I’ve stated before, I love the idea of Peeps, I just don’t really enjoy eating them. So I thought I’d try to improve my experience by creating some Peeps Mash-Ups. These aren’t full-blown recipes but more of a “dry fondue” with some items I had lying around:

    image

    Peeps Rocks - here I’ve mashed my Peep into some Strawberry Pop Rocks.

    First, when mashing a Peep, it helps to pull it apart. This way you have two sticky halves for picking up other candy goodness as well as alleviating the issue of “double dipping” if you’re mashing with a buddy.

    When I mashed the Pop Rocks into this fresh Peep, the rocks started snapping immediately. (You can’t see the noise in the photo, but it’s cracklin’ away, trust me.)

    The cotton-candy-like flavor of the strawberry goes really well with the flavorless Peep. Light and refreshing. The pops give it a little sizzle.

    imagePeeps Nerds - when you look at it, a Peep is really just a giant spongy Nerd with a pointy nose. Oh, and eyes. Nerds may have eyes in their little cartoon versions on the packaging, but not on the real candies like Peeps do.

    I wasn’t really fond of this flavor combination, or the colors. The red and green (cherry & watermelon) looked too Christmasy. The taste combo was pretty good though. The crunch of the Nerds gave the spongy marshmallow a good texture and the zap of tartness also balanced out the sweetness of the Peep.

    imagePeeps & Mini M&Ms - this is a natural combo and the colors couldn’t look better together if I tried. The little M&Ms adhere really well to the Peep’s exposed marshmallow. The sweet chocolate has a good crunch though it might be a little too sweet.

    You could probably try mini dark chocolate baking chips for a less sweet experience (though you’d lose the crunch). The little tube they come in is especially easy for mashing on the go, just press the stickiness to the opening and tip the M&Ms Minis into it.

    imagePeep Tarts - I have to admit that I was especially proud of the name for this one. Originally I wanted to use Pixy Stix for the powder, but I couldn’t find any (I try not to keep them in the house, for sanity’s sake). So I took the powder from an extra Topps Baby Bottle Pop. The Citrus Craze powder is already less sweet because it’s also intended to be “mashed up” with the lollipop top, so it adds flavor and tartness without more throat-burning sugar.

    I’m not really sold on the combo, but after eating everything pictured here within about 15 minutes I had a stomach ache. Gah, I’m getting another one just typing this up!

    So, what are your ideas for Peeps Mash-ups - either theoretical ones, or ones that you actually do?

    (See previous Marshmallow Mashing: Marshmallow Mash-ups & More Marshmallow Mash-Ups.)

    Related Candies

    1. Peeps Mash Ups - Savory
    2. Peeps Chocolate Mousse (Bears & Bunnies)
    3. Peeps inside a Milk Chocolate Egg
    4. Peppermint Peep Stars
    5. Peeps Spooky Friends
    6. Palmer Nest Eggs
    7. Peeps Spooky Cats & Cocoa Bunnies
    8. Kinder Egg

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:28 am     CandyMash UpPeepsRecipesReviewEasterJust BornMarsNestleToppsCarbonatedChocolateCompressed DextroseMarshmallowSour7-Worth ItUnited StatesFun StuffComments (19)

    Friday, March 9, 2007

    Peeps Lollipop Rings

    Peep Pops PackageI was thinking to myself as Easter approaches and candy season comes to a close ... it’s sad that there’s no way to get that “Peep Flavor Experience” without all that fluffy marshmallow. You know, because Peeps are all about flavor. So imagine my surprise when I was at the drug store and I saw Peeps Lollipop Rings.

    They come in two flavors, actually. The first, in the traditional yellow is simply Marshmallow flavor. The second, in the bismuth pink is the new-millennium-classic flavor, Strawberry Cream.

    Yellow Peep PopBeing an eternal optimist (no, really!), I thought maybe this gorgeous little smooth Peep pop on a ring was going to taste like toasted marshmallows. Like the Jelly Belly jelly bean. It smells sweet and maybe a little milky. Oh, but the taste ... it was immediately tart. I pulled it out of my mouth and looked at the package. Had I mixed it up with the strawberry one?

    The tart taste was not sour, more like yogurt. Just a tangy bite, kind of milky. It’s a smooth taste, the pop is good quality with no voids at all. It’s easy to crunch too, if you can manage to get your teeth around a good corner.

    The ingredients fully explain the taste here: sugar, corn syrup, water, lactic acid, citric acid, sodium citrate, artificial flavors, corn starch, acacia gum, titanium dioxide, artificial colors. (Made in China) If you took out the corn starch and put in some gelatin you’d have a Gummi Peep (mmm, Gummi Peeps).

    Pink Peep PopThe Strawberry Cream flavor didn’t join the Peeps line up until 2000. I’ve never actually tried them, as the idea of Strawberry Cream Peeps (or Hearts) has no appeal for me.

    The flavor is rather yogurt-like. A creamy flavor, not very intense and sweetly fragrant of fake berries. It reminded me of Frankenberry Cereal.

    The pops are super cute and very well made. They had a consistent appearance and the ring platforms were of good quality (not some sort of easy to shatter plastic that rips up your mouth). They even fit on my ring finger.

    Note: though these candies are branded with the official Peep (tm) logo, they are not made by Just Born, instead they are manufactured by Flix Candy under a licensing agreement. (Just like you don’t expect that Just Born sewed those little Peep plushies, right?) They also make a Peeps Pop Slider which is kind of like those lipstick candies. (Reviewed by Jeanna at Wisconsin Candy Dish.)

    Name: Peeps Lolliop Rings
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Flix Candy (licensed from Just Born)
    Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Hollywood)
    Price: $.69
    Size: .84 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 113
    Categories: Hard Candy, China, Just Born, Peeps, Easter

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:05 am     Comments (7)

    Friday, October 27, 2006

    Peeps Spooky Cats & Cocoa Bunnies

    In my pumpkin roundup the other day I didn’t include an Pumpkin Peeps. I actually went to the store and couldn’t find them. But I did get the next best thing, which would be the Peeps Spooky Cats.

    image

    When they were in their little tray they didn’t look very scary, except for that fear I have for conformity. In fact, they didn’t even look like black cats to me, but that could have been the lighting at the Walgreen’s. But no, I got them home and they are most definitely purple.

    I can’t really say much else about them. I think I covered my feelings for Peeps back at Easter.

    image

    The newish product I was looking forward to showing here were the Cocoa Cats, which are a cocoa dusted/infused Cat Peep. Unfortunately there were none to be had (what’s with Peeps this year?). Anyway, I still have the Cocoa Peeps left over from All Candy Expo.

    They don’t taste like much either, maybe a slight hint of cocoa to them, like a watered down cup of hot cocoa. What I found most curious about them is that they’re much less likely to go stale.

    I’ve had these since June. I opened the package, took some photos and then put them back into the package. I left them in my tasting drawer (yes, the Candy Blogger has a drawer full of things to taste and write about) and checked them about a month later and they were pretty much the same. I didn’t seal up the bag or anything. So I left them out. Really left them out. Still, after an overnight sitting with a paper towel covering them and they were still soft.  Eventually I got bored (or moved offices or something) and packed them back up and they went back into the drawer in their loose packaging.

    Today I took them out and they’re still not stale enough. I bite into them and they give. Okay, maybe they’re a little tacky ... certainly more texture than usual.

    Still, not my thing. As bunnies they’re kind of cute ... especially since I had bunnies this color when I was a kid. As a scary cat for Halloween ... well, purple is kind of sassy, a brown cat for Halloween is just lame.

    Name: Peeps Spooky Cats (& Cocoa Cats)
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Just Born
    Place Purchased: Walgreen's
    Price: $.50
    Size: 1.13 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 107
    Categories: Marshmallow, United States, Just Born, Peeps, Halloween

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:32 am     Comments (13)

    Wednesday, October 11, 2006

    Mike and Ike Jolly Joes

    Purple is the best color ever. It’s the best of both worlds - half blue and half red, like a melting pot of America. When I was a teenager and on the swim team I had two sets of sweats - both were purple. I loved purple and often wore it head to toe (with purple Robin Hood boots). My attraction to grape candies is based largely on this affinity for the color and possibly influenced my love of grapefruit even though it has no grape in it and isn’t purple.

    image

    I had a good experience with the Mike and Ike Tangy Twisters and was hoping with something at least equal to that, after all, Jolly Joes have been around a lot longer, so you’d think they’d have something going for them.

    image

    They’re very dark, such a dark purple I’d call it eggplant. They smell fake-grapey, with a slight odor of Bic pen ink. When you first place it on the tongue, there’s a slight tangy tingle, but that soon goes away and there’s very little flavor. They’re soft and chewy like a jelly bean, but with very little going on. At the end the flavor is more like cotton candy than grape. Not really very jolly at all.

    Special note: this package has both a manufactured date and expiration date ... all in plain English. Hooray for clarity! However, the back of the package was also printed in Hebrew (I think it’s Hebrew, it’s going right to left). I have no idea what market these were intended for, that’s what you get at the 99 Cent Only Store!

    Name: Mike and Ike Jolly Joes
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Just Born
    Place Purchased: 99 Cent Only Store
    Price: $.25
    Size: 2.12 ounces
    Calories per ounce: unknown
    Categories: Jelly, United States, Just Born, Kosher

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:13 am     Comments (7)

    Thursday, June 22, 2006

    Mike and Ike Tangy Twister

    imageSo, I’m walking around the All Candy Expo, minding my own sweet business, and I walk past the Just Born booth (which is pretty close to the entrance) and there are some free samples for eating right there on both sides of the aisle. One side has the new Hot Tamales Fire and the other has the Mike and Ike Tangy Twisters. The first couple of days I made sure that I grabbed a couple of Hotter Tamales when I walked by because I love them so. But at some point I found myself on the other side and I picked up a Tangy Twister ... not being terribly fond of Mike and Ike, but you know, it’s free and it’s my job and all.

    Well, zowie if that wasn’t good. Turns out it was a pineapple one and it was zazzy.

    So I picked up two packages to bring home for a full review.

    image

    All of the colors, except for the raspberry red ones look like highlighters.

    The Tangy Twister flavor set goes like this:

    Dark Red/Raspberry - nicely floral with a good sour kick before it turns sweet and bland.

    Yellow/Pineapple - shazaam, I want to buy a whole bag of these. The flavor is tart and sweet and very much like pineapple with some nice floral notes and a smidge of and herbal bitterness.

    Red/Cherry - what can I say, it’s cherry? It’s got a nice tart bite and a full rounded flavor of woodsy notes.

    Orange/Citrus Punch - I’m a big citrus fan, but this one just doesn’t float my boat. It’s too much punch and not enough orange or lemon or whatever it’s supposed to be. It reminds me of those “juice drinks” that I had at other kids’ houses when I was a child.

    Green/Apple - intense green apple flavor and very tart at first, a little on the chemical side.

    The Mike and Ikes live up to their name. They are tangy. Unfortunately the flavor set doesn’t wow me. I loved the pineapple and the raspberry runs a close second but the rest of them are just ones I’ll eat, not ones that I’d pick out of a mix to consume. I usually like to have over 40% of a mixed flavor set to be ones that I’m ga-ga for. However, if you’re the kind of person who loves green apple, punch flavors and of course cherry in addition to the fantastic pineapple, this might be a good fruity mix for you. They certainly get higher marks from me than a standard mix of Jelly Belly candies. With Jelly Belly I can’t just buy a mix, I have to do my own from the bulk bins because I find so many flavors unappealing a box of the mix is pretty much worthless to me.

    The back of the package exhorts “Bursting with Fruit Juice Flavor!” and sure enough on the ingredient label the fourth ingredient is Pear Juice from Concentrate. What is it with pears and tangy fruit candy?

    Name: Mike and Ike Tangy Twister
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Just Born
    Place Purchased: All Candy Expo samples
    Price: MSRP ~$.75 at convenience/drug stores
    Size: 2.12 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 104
    Categories: Jelly, United States, Just Born

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:24 am     Comments (10)

    Page 5 of 6 pages ‹ First  < 3 4 5 6 > 

    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

    6 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:

    • 10 Candies that Shouldn’t Be So Disappointing

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

    • Dove Dark Chocolate Cranberries

    • Russell Stover Big Bite Pecan Pie

    • Orgran Molasses Licorice

     

     

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