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Kosher

Monday, June 23, 2008

Look! and Big Hunk

Look!I mention summer candy every now and then and this past weekend with sweltering June heat I figured it was time to start concentrating more on it.

Annabelle Candy makes a few good summer candy bars, ones that are exceptionally tolerant of the heat. The Abba Zaba is probably one of the best known, perhaps because of the name and whackable bar.

The Look! bar isn’t summer friendly, but the Big Hunk is. For a long time I though that the Look! bar as just a chocolate covered Big Hunk.

The Look! is a narrow and flat bar of rich chocolate covered nougat with peanuts and if that sounds like a Snickers without the caramel, it’s a bit more simple than that. Basically, as the package announces, it’s Chewy Good!.

It’s about 6 inches long but only a quarter of an inch high.

Look! I took a bite!

I’ve never had one of these. Though the appealing wrapper tells me to Look! and I do, I never buy.

And what a fool I’ve been! It’s everything I love about Bit-o-Honey plus real chocolate and even a hint of molasses.

The golden nougat center isn’t easy to bite, so I’ve found peeling back the wrapper and nibbling off a little bite is best (not as big a picture, please, spare yourself that drama of “will it pull out my teeth!”).

The dark, creamy and smokey chocolate melts quickly into a buttery chocolate mess just as the peanut molasses chew starts to warm and soften. As the chocolate taste drifts away the lightly salty, woodsy and nutty chew comes forward. It’s smooth and pliable, reminding me a bit of Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews (except for, you know, that real chocolate part).

The only thing I wish was that it was easier to eat. I need to find the snack size version.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Big HunkBig Hunk is exactly that. It’s 2 full ounces of chewy nougat studded with peanuts. This bar is about 7 inches long and about a third of an inch thick.

Unlike the Look! bar, Big Hunk contains no molasses.

Like the Look!, the Big Hunk were first made by another San Francisco-based-confectioner called Golden Nugget Candy Company. Annabelle Candy took them over in 1972 and helped to expand these regional bars to larger national prominence via placement at drug stores and discount retailers. I’ve found, though, that they’re easiest to find on the West Coast.

Big Hunk

I like to whack the bar to break it into pieces, though this isn’t always easy.

It’s studded with peanut & peanut pieces, the nougat itself is a bit lighter in color than the Look!, a bit on the yellow side, I’m guessing from the peanuts. It’s easy to bend, or if you bend it very quickly it also breaks. The wrapper also suggests microwaving for 5 to 10 seconds to make it super soft, but I don’t believe that candy should ever require preparation ... that’s veering into recipe territory. However, leaving on the dashboard of the car in the summertime can have the same result. It can actually become rather stringy this way, depending on how long you leave it in there and how hot it is.

It softens up quickly in the mouth, even at room temperature. It’s smooth and has a light honey flavor but mostly it tastes like dark roasted peanuts. It has far more flavor than the Abba Zaba and is a winner in my book. Besides chewing, you can suck on it to disslove it. It reminds me of Cap’n Crunch cereal milk - sweet, a little hint of malt perhaps and of course a creamy background.

I’m not as fond of it as the Look!, but it’s still very appealing and as mentioned earlier, this is an ideal summer treat. No melting but still a satisfying creamy experience along with the little boost of protein from the peanuts (3 grams). It’s also promoted as a low fat bar, and the fat that’s in there comes from the peanuts ... but that also means that it’s full of carbs ... which, you know, makes it pretty darn appealing in my book.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

Related Candies

  1. Tootsie Rolls & Fruit Rolls
  2. Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kisses
  3. Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews
  4. Annabelle’s U-No
  5. Rocky Road
Name: Look! & Big Hunk
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Annabelle Candy Company
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Glendale)
Price: $.75
Size: 1.5 ounces & 2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153 & 115
Categories: Chocolate, Chew, Peanut, United States, Annabelle Candy, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:30 am     Comments (15)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Twizzlers Chocolate Twists

Chocolate TwizzlersNow that I’ve covered the classic Twizzlers, the newish Rainbow Twizzlers and the fantastically hot Pull & Peel Cinnamon Fire Twizzlers, I thought I’d go off the beaten track and try the Twizzlers Chocolate Twists.

The package is actually pretty, a maroon colored background with a big window to peek in at the shiny brown ropes. A little logo splash advertises that they’re made with REAL Hershey’s Chocolate. Turning over the package, the ingredients do list both chocolate and two different kinds of cocoa.

I admit going into this that I have my doubts about how good these could possibly be.

Chocolate Twizzlers

They’re attractive. They’re also soft (and don’t get as stale as the regular Twizzlers when you leave the bag open next to a fan for several days as I did in the Candy Blog Labs over the weekend).

Instead of having pinched ends like Twizzlers, these are open ... perhaps with the addition of chocolate they’re not as pinchable?

They’re a much softer chew, less like a plastic dough than Twizzlers. More like a brownie batter.

But the chocolate flavor is watery, lacks any creamy component to buoy the fakeness of it.

The only thing these are good for ... actually they’re fantastic for ... is as straws. Chocolate milk, plain milk ... even soy milk! They don’t have the crimps in the end, so they’re ready to use, right out of the bag. They do get a little soggy if you leave them in the drink, but a little nibble off the end and you’re ready to go. (I tried them with coffee, actually, not as good.)

Think of the environment benefits! No more plastic drinking straws ... instead these are edible and probably biodegradable. (Though a lot more expensive, there were 14 straws in this package for $1.25 and $1.25 would probably get you a bag of 50-100 straws.)

So there you go, good for decorating (try clipping them with scissors to make little “cogs” to decorate cupcakes or maybe a really chocolatey cupcake basket.)

Related Candies

  1. Twizzlers Chocolate Twists
  2. Black Licorice Twists & Snaps
  3. Whoppers Milkshake Strawberry
  4. Kenny’s Licorice Pastels & Root Beer Twists
  5. Tootsie Rolls & Fruit Rolls
  6. Twerpz
Name: Twizzlers Chocolate Twists
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Y&S Licorice (Hershey's)
Place Purchased: KMart (Park LaBrea)
Price: $1.25
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 97
Categories: Chew, United States, Hershey, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:18 am     Comments (59)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Twizzlers (Strawberry)

Twizzler StrawberryIn the great lists of invented candy names, Twizzler has to be right up there at the top. Just look at them, they look like they’re twizzle.

It also fits because they really aren’t any other sort of candy. They’re not a chew like a taffy. They’re not chocolate. They’re not compressed dextrose. They’re not toffee, not caramel ... not marshmallow nor nougat. In fact, the only thing that adequately describes them is “Red Licorice” and even that’s confusing (especially when you get into flavors that aren’t red). While I’ve debated what to categorize these as before, I can only call them a wheat based chew. (Which sounds less than appealing.) Both Twizzler & Red Vines identify themselves as twists.

    image

Twizzler Strawberry Twists are attractive little ropes. They’re insanely glossy and firm, but these were definitely fresh.

The bite is short, and when I say that it means that when you chew it up, it comes apart quite easily. So instead of becoming one chewy mass in the mouth, these become some sort of amalgam of smaller crumbles. (This is similar to how some caramels are dry, almost like a fudge and others are stringy and chewy like a taffy.)

The taste is sweet and mild, with more of the scent of strawberry jam than the taste of it. There’s no tang to it, it’s all mellow and sweet, kind of like a strawberry flavored pound cake.

I find them appealing, but not enough to eat them if they weren’t in front of me. I’ve had them in the candy cupboard since late March when I picked them up on sale at KMart. I think part of it is that red wheat based chews are simply not my thing. They’re a good thing, just not a good fit for me.

They’re a great candy option especially for mindless eating during the summer at the movies. Because they’re wheat based they’re rather low in calories. They do have a pinch of fat in there (1 gram per serving), which I’m guessing is to keep them supple. There are about 38 calories per twizzle.

Red Vines vs TwizzlerThere are a lot of folks who compare Twizzler and Red Vines. What I found a little surprising when I first started investigating the difference between the two earlier this year was that Red Vines are a raspberry flavor. Twizzler are strawberry. So they’re not really a one to one comparison. However, Red Vines does make a Pink Strawberry version, so I thought that would be an ideal place to start for a head-to-head.

Twizzler were introduced (I believe in the licorice variety) in 1929 though Y&S (Young & Smylie Licorice) was founded way back in 1845 in Lancaster, PA. The Hershey Company bought Y&S in 1977. Red Vines originated in 1920 (though the Strawberry variety came along much later), they’re made by the American Licorice Company then based in Chicago, IL (now in California & Oregon). So they have a concurrent regional evolution but are now on opposite sides of the continent.

The first difference is the color, obviously. The Twizzler are a deep and opaque red. The Red Vines are a strange pink that’s vaguely translucent.

Pink Strawberry Red VinesRed Vines Pink Strawberry smell like cotton candy, sweet and fresh, a little floral. Twizzler smell like strawberry jam, still sweet but more like preserves and perhaps boiled fruit.

And once you bite a Red Vine the difference becomes quite clear. Red Vines Pink Strawberry are tart. Not tingly tangy, just lightly sour (citric acid is listed on the ingredients, which does not appear on Twizzler).

The texture of Red Vines is more chewy than a Twizzler, a little more like dense dough and it holds together. It also sticks to the teeth.

So when it gets right down to it, they are different. Actually different enough that there’s no need to compare them (the old apples and oranges). Just try them both, eat whichever you have a preference for, though it’s entirely possible to like both.

Twizzler are Kosher and if you find the Canadian version, they’re nut free. The American package doesn’t have an allergen notice about tree nuts, peanuts or milk but does contain soy and wheat. They may also be suitable for vegans.

Related Candies

  1. Black Licorice Twists & Snaps
  2. Whoppers Milkshake Strawberry
  3. Kenny’s Licorice Pastels & Root Beer Twists
  4. Twizzlers Rainbow Twists
  5. Twerpz
Name: Strawberry Twizzlers
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Y&S Candies (Hershey's)
Place Purchased: KMart (Park LaBrea)
Price: $1.25
Size: 16 ounces
Calories per ounce: 94
Categories: Chew, United States, Hershey, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:49 am     Comments (15)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dove Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate Bars

imageDove has been adding quite a few new items to their line. Not only do they have the Dove Bites and Caramels plus the little chocolate covered almonds, they’ve expanded their line of bars to include Single Origins, Organics and new flavor inclusions for their standard dark and milk chocolate. None of this new stuff, oddly enough, is included on their website.

I have a huge cache of 9 different bars that I’ve been making my way through for the past two weeks. Today I’ll cover their 3.52 ounce packages of Milk Chocolate products: Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate, Extra Creamy Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate, Blueberry Almond Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate and Peanut Toffee Crunch Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate.

While many of the flavor inclusions items are new, the biggest change is the packaging redesign. The large bars used to come in a simple foil wrap with paper sleeve design. The new version is a radical and welcome change.

image

The bars come in a paperboard box that opens like an envelope. Inside are tucked three individually foil wrapped bars, each a little over 1 ounce (the total weight for the package is 3.53 ounces).

My consistent complaint with the large 3 plus ounce tablet bars is that they’re not made for “eat some now, save some for later”. I usually end up putting my partially eaten bars into a ziploc bag because the foil wrapper is usually not enough, and of course the paper sleeves are often glued to the foil and are trashed when opening.

All of that is solved here. The box closes and opens easily, the bars are simple enough to pull out and unwrap ... and even if you don’t finish one, it’s easy to tuck it back into the package. It also helps with portion control. The 33 gram servings come to about 180 calories (a regular candy bar is usually around 50 grams and clocks in at 220-280 calories) so you feel like you’re getting a lot, especially since it’s presented so nicely.

imageI’ve had the Dove Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate before, but I thought I’d give it another try.

The format of the bar is really pleasant. The pieces are thick enough to give a good snap, but not so thick as to make you feel like you’re gnawing on the bar to bite off a piece. The squares break easily, each little bar has six.

The bite is far softer than a dark chocolate, but true to its name it is silky smooth. It doesn’t give up a lot of flavor at first, it’s mostly the texture and sweetness that I noticed.

A little later, on the second piece the more subtle notes of mild cocoa and caramel toasted milk came out. It’s still extremely sweet - so much that I really can’t eat it straight. Some coffee or plain almonds do a nice job of cutting it.

Still, it’s not for me. It’s not chocolatey enough, not roasted enough and reminds me of the difference between skim milk and whole milk when it comes to density.

Rating: 7 out of 10

imageThe first thing I noticed about the Dove Extra Creamy Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate was how light in color it is. The second thing I noticed was the smell. It’s very sweet and smells more like a toasty hot coffee cake than a chocolate bar. It’s milky and sugary with only a faint whiff of cocoa.

The bite is also soft, like original Silky Milk Chocolate. But this one has a much stickier melt. It’s smooth, don’t get me wrong, they haven’t led anyone astray, but it’s also thick and slightly fudgy.

Oddly enough, because of the lightness in color I was expecting this to be sweeter than the original, but it wasn’t, it was actually less sweet tasting.

The milk flavors were much stronger here, but mostly it was just an experience in sweet and silky texture.

So I turned over both boxes and tried to figure out what the difference was. Before tasting them I just assumed it was sugar. What I found is that it’s actually milk. The Extra Creamy, doesn’t have more “cream” as the name implies, it’s actually more skim milk.

The ingredients list goes like this:

Silky Smooth .................. Extra Creamy Silky Smooth
Sugar…............................................Sugar
Cocoa Butter…..............................Cocoa Butter
Chocolate…....................................Skim Milk
Skim Milk…....................................Chocolate
Milkfat…........................................Milkfat
Lactose…........................................Lactose
Chocolate Processed w/Alkali….............Soy Lecithin
Soy Lecithin….........................Artificial Flavor
Natural & Artificial Flavors

Even though they both have the same 11 grams of fat per mini bar and it’s really only the skim milk that’s more plentiful in the Extra Creamy, the Extra Creamy has twice the cholesterol (10 mg versus 5 mg for the regular Milk). Extra Creamy also has 50% more calcium ... 6% of your daily RDA.

Rating: 6 out of 10

imageBeyond the choices in levels of milk chocolate, Dove has added some more decadent “candy bars” to the line now. The Peanut Toffee Crunch Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate pretty much had me loving it before I even opened the box.

The Peanut Toffee Crunch is simply crushed Munch bars (a great candy bar!) mixed into the milk chocolate. If you’ve never had a Munch bar, it’s just a thick slab of peanut brittle. The peanut toffee crunch is very simple, adds a wonderful texture, a hint of salt and the toasty flavors of both burnt sugar and roasted peanuts.

image

This is a great tasting bar. It’s creamy, it has the right proportion of crunchy bits and has pretty much real ingredients (some artificial flavors).

Rating: 9 out of 10

imageThe final bar is the Blueberry Almond Silk Smooth Milk Chocolate. The package says: pairs the sweetness of blueberries and perfectly roasted almonds with Dove Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate.

The almonds are crushed into little bits, but quite abundant. The blueberries, on the other hand, are not as plentiful and not spaced as evenly. The big thing I got out of this bar was a sore throat. I don’t know how it ended up tasting so much sweeter than the other bars but it did. There is an addition of sugar on the label after the blueberries (perhaps sweetened dried blueberries?). It’s totally unnecessary and really I wish there were more berries, with some sort of tart chewy component (but I have their Cranberry Almond in Silky Dark Chocolate to compare it to). Even weirder, a close reading of the nutrition facts says that this has less fat and less sugars but the same level of carbs (must be the almonds) than the three other bars.

It’s also the only one in the group that uses a preservative in it, TBHQ (I’m guessing for the blueberries).

Oh well, it doesn’t matter. Given the choice of this and the Peanut Toffee Crunch, I know what I’m grabbing every time.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Patti at CandyYumYum has a review of some of the other bars that I haven’t seen yet (Hazelnut) and mentions some Dessert Bars (she has the Bananas Foster which sounds right up my alley). I need to recover from this seriously sweet chocolate binge and then I’ll do a roundup of the Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate offerings plus the nutritionally enhanced Beautiful & Vitalize bars.

Related Candies

  1. Dove Desserts Bananas Foster
  2. Hershey’s Bliss
  3. 3400 Phinney: Fig, Fennel & Almond and Hazelnut Crunch
  4. Dove Promises (Caramel & Almonds)
  5. Dove Caramels & Chocolate Covered Almonds
  6. Dove Jewels
  7. Dove Chocolate
Name: Dove Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate Bars
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Dove (Mars)
Place Purchased: samples from Dove
Price: $2.50 retail
Size: 3.53 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: Chocolate, Nuts, Peanut, Toffee, United States, Mars, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:32 am     Comments (8)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Reese’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Bats (Dark Knight)

Reese's Dark Knight Bats

One of the items teased at the September 2007 All Candy Expo was the series of The Dark Knight (Batman) tie in products. As the Indiana Jones Mars products (Mint Crisp M&Ms & Snickers Adventure Bar) found their way onto the shelves about 6-8 weeks in advance of the movie release, I was keeping a close watch for the new Reese’s & KitKat products in the past weeks.

The Limited Edition line features:

  • Reese’s Pieces - black and dark blue Reese’s Pieces (peanut butter with a crunchy candy shell) - comes in both large bags and single serve size.
  • KitKat Special Edition - a regular Milk Chocolate KitKat with a bat symbol molded onto the fingers. (I’m really sorry they didn’t bring back the dark chocolate KitKat for this tie-in.) Photo here.
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Bats

  • Reese’s Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bats - mini oval medallions of dark chocolate filled with Reese’s peanut butter sold in 10.5 ounce bags.
  • Reese’s Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bats - mini oval medallions of milk chocolate filled with Reese’s peanut butter sold in 10.5 ounce bags.
  • Reese’s Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bat - a single serve (1.2 ounces) dark chocolate with peanut butter version of the Reese’s Peanut Butter egg in the shape of a bat.
  • Reese’s Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bat - a single serve (1.2 ounces) dark chocolate with peanut butter version of the Reese’s Peanut Butter egg in the shape of a bat.
  • Reese's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter BatI found the bags of the medallions at Target yesterday. They also had the Reese’s Pieces, but frankly, different colored RP just weren’t distinctive enough to get me to buy them. A new proportion of chocolate and peanut butter and the further enticement of dark chocolate is enough to get me to buy them, though.

    The Reese’s Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bats bag is a rich chocolate brown, setting it apart from the regular Reese’s orange offerings (though it has that signature orange on the wrapper as an accent).

    There’s also some sort of a sweepstakes thing going on where you can Find the bat-signal and win instantly but there was no game piece in either bag so I’m left to wonder how this thing works. (If it’s not a regular game piece that you open to find out if you’ve won, then what prevents someone from going through all the bags at the store and peeking through the little “window” in the package to see if there is a winning game piece?)

    Reese's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bat

    The dark ones are just shy of 1.75 inches in length and a little over 1 inch across and a half an inch tall. They weigh about 10 grams each (a regular Reese’s Miniature Peanut Butter Cup is about 9 grams).

    I assume that these are absolutely fresh, and have an expiry date of April 2009. However, the sheen of the chocolate was slightly greasy, as Reese’s products usually are. (The exception is pretty much the Fresh from the Factory cups.) The bag smells like dark roasted peanuts.

    The chocolate is very soft, so the whole thing has a mellow fudgy bite to it. It melts quickly, rather slick on the tongue but pretty smooth. The peanut butter filling, on the other hand, is exactly the sort of Reese’s peanut butter center you’d expect. A little sandy in texture, a bit salty and sweet.

    The dark chocolate is actually bitter, so there’s a whole mix of flavors here - sweet, salt and bitter plus the textures of the chocolate and light crunch of the rough peanut butter.

    It’s a great combination and really refreshing. The proportions here are weighted heavily towards the dark chocolate (which isn’t really “dark” as it has milk fat in it), much more than the previous regular-sized Limited Edition Reese’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.

    The foil wrapper is also very appealing; it’s a bronzy brown around the sides and the top has the Reese’s logo and bat logo.

    There’s a strange molding anomaly on them, just about all that I unwrapped had little bubbles on either end of the top. (I opened quite a few, looking for a pristine one for the photo, then finding this to be the norm, photographed it.)

    Rating: 9 out of 10

    Reese's Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter BatThe little oval medallion has the stylized bat-signal symbol molded into the top of each piece. Yes, the logo on these is a little different. As with most continuations of classic franchises, the bat-signal has evolved. The original was not an actual bat, but Batman & his cape ... at some point them omitted his head. Back in the old TV show days and the first few movies it looked like this which was pretty consistent with the TV series emblem.

    But just as superheroes change their costumes, the logo became more angular and lost some of its bat-ness and wing fringes. (To me it looks more like a car logo now.)

    Reese's Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Bat

    The Reese’s Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bats are simply tasty. They’re everything you’d expect in a flattened Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Miniature. The chocolate is sweet and pretty mellow but has a slight cool feeling on the tongue. The peanut butter center is immediately salty, squishy and has the dark roasted flavors of peanuts & a sandy texture.

    There’s less peanut butter, so fans of the peanut part and not the chocolate part should probably stick with the original or seek out the single serve size Bats (I haven’t found those yet).

    Rating: 8 out of 10

    Overall, this is a good tie in. I like the use of dark chocolate on a tried-and-true favorite. I also like that they tried a new shape instead of just tossing some different foil on the regular minis. (Of course then it just makes us sadder when they go away.) The proportions on the milk chocolate just didn’t have the same appeal as the regular minis or the larger eggs - but I’m sure some other folks will find them to be their ideal version.

    Anyone found the large sized bats yet?

    Related Candies

    1. Colt’s Bolts
    2. Elvis Reese’s Peanut Butter and Banana Cup
    3. KitKat Mint Dark Chocolate Minis
    4. Darth M&Ms
    5. Bleached Reese’s
    Name: Reese's Dark Knight Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bats
      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 (Eagle Rock)
    Price: $3.49
    Size: 10.5 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 142
    Categories: Chocolate, Peanut, United States, Reese's, Hershey's, Kosher, Limited Edition

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:15 am     Comments (20)

    Wednesday, June 4, 2008

    The Oh Henry!s

    Oh Henry!The Oh Henry! bar is one of oldest extant candy bars in North America. There are two stories of the origin of the bar. The first is that the bar was invented by Tom Henry in 1919, who ran the Peerless Candy Company (known for their hard candies) where the bar was known as the Tom Henry Bar. He sold the recipe for the bar to Williamson Candy Store in Chicago.

    Oh Henry (American & Canadian)The other story is that it was actually invented by the Williamson Candy Store and named for a helpful customer whom the female clerks would often ask favors of, by saying “Oh, Henry, could you move that heavy box.”

    It was often billed as “the ten cent piece of dollar candy” and became popular in Chicago eventually expanding as a national candy bar through the tenacious efforts of John Glossinger (whom Glosettes are named after). Williamson Candy, at some point, sold out to Ward-Johnson which was swallowed up by Nabisco in 1981 (which was also holding the Curtiss bars - Baby Ruth & Butterfinger included- at that time). Finally in 1990 Nestle bought the Curtiss bars, SnoCaps, Goobers & Raisinets from Nabisco. (Some of this is a bit murky and I traced it mostly through trademark registrations, and probably matters very little in the end.)

    Oh Henry (American & Canadian)The bar is simple enough, a vanilla fudge center with caramel & peanuts then covered in chocolate. It’s gone through some changes over the years besides ownership. This is where things get interesting from an evolutionary standpoint. In 1987 Hershey Canada got the rights to produce the bar (through Nabisco which owned Canadian confectioner Lowney). The Hershey’s Oh Henry! is more than a little different from the American bar, as we’ll see.

    Though the American bar used to be a single, it has now morphed into a double bar (a la Mounds) while the Canadian version remains pretty much the same as it was 30 years ago.

    The package on the Nestle version says: 2 peanutty * caramel * fudge bars in milk chocolate. It weighs 1.8 ounces (51 grams). It comes sealed in a simple yellow plasticized wrapper.

    The package on the Hershey version says: crunchy peanuts, chewy fudge, creamy caramel, covered in a chocolaty coating. It weighs 2.2 ounces (62.5 grams). It comes in a mylar wrapper with a small folded paperboard tray.

    Oh Henry (American & Canadian)

    The innards of the two Oh Henrys! tell more about them. The American Oh Henry! is rather organized and stratified.

    The Nestle one has a caramel base then a fudge mixed with peanuts. It’s all covered in what they call real milk chocolate. It has a nice roasted peanut flavor, but the difference between the caramel and the fudge is minimal. The fudge is a bit saltier, but caramel is short and grainy instead of being chewy and creamy. At first I thought it was just a not-so-fresh bar, so I bought another. And another. This is the third I’ve bought and second I’ve photographed for this review.

    The two pieces are nicely sized and the flavor balance overall is good. I would prefer some really good creamy chocolate to pull it together, but that’s just not Nestle’s style.

    The Hershey one reminds me a bit of a narrow Payday Chocolatey Avalanche. The fudge is at the center here and much lighter in color (reminding me quite a bit of a nougat except there are no eggs in it). On top of the fudge is a thin layer of caramel which holds the peanuts. The whole thing is covered in a chocolatey coating (which actually contains real chocolate with cocoa butter, but it also has modified palm oil in it, which takes it out of the real chocolate column).

    The nuts play a much bigger role here, probably because they mingle with both the (mock)chocolate and the caramel. For fake chocolate, it does a much better job of being creamy and tasty than Nestle’s real stuff. The caramel has a kind of fake butter flavor to it, but this is only noticeable if you take the bar apart and try to eat the elements separately (now why would you wanna do that?).

    Canadian Oh Henry! (Hershey)

    While Nestle just lets the Oh Henry! bar do its thing here in the States, up in the Great White North it’s another story entirely. Hershey goes to down with the bar. First, it’s one of the largest single-serve bars in Canada, so it’s known as a good value. Hershey also does limited editions and other versions of the bar. I got a hold of a few.

    Oh Henry DarkOh Henry! Dark is exactly what you’d think: the same Oh Henry! bar but with real dark chocolate.

    It’s not quite as sweet as the regular Oh Henry! and really quite a nice bar. The dark chocolate gives it a bigger chocolate pop instead of all that dairy-tasting milk chocolate. I could use a dash of salt, but, that’s just me, eh.

    All of the variation bars are slightly smaller, at only 60 grams (2.12 ounces).

    Oh Henry Reese'sThe Peanut Butter Oh Henry! (with Reese (r) Peanut Butter) swaps out the fudge with a peanut butter mass in the center.

    It’s a bit flatter than the other bars. It’s also a bit greasy. This one also has a mockolate coating which isn’t as creamy and just a bit bloomed.

    It’s really peanutty. It’s also pleasantly salty ... or unpleasantly so if you think that 115 mg is a little much for a candy bar (the standard Hershey Oh Henry! has 50 mg).

    The peanut center also made the caramel more noticeable, probably because it isn’t as dense and chewy as the fudge. (This one is not a limited edition but appears to be a permanent variation.)

    Oh Henry Oh CanadaThe final limited edition item is the Oh Henry! Oh Canada. It first appeared last year for Canada Day (July 1st) so mine is a bit past its prime (the expiration says January 2008).

    The bar is described on the wrapper: Crunchy peanuts, red chewy fudge, white creamy caramel, covered in a chocolatey coating. This combo results in red and white in every bite!.

    Yes, that fudge center there is actually red. And maple flavored.

    Even if it is expired, it was still pretty tasty. I liked the intense maple flavor that permeated the bar. It was like toasted, caramelized pecans.

    Overally, I much prefer the Canadian Oh Henry! from Hershey, even if it does have mockolate on it. The Dark Oh Henry! is superior to all the others, but since it was a Limited Edition, the original (which by the way, better reflects the American original anyway) will do in a pinch. But given a choice, I’d probably opt for the whole thing sans (mock)chocolate and get a Payday.

    Related Candies

    1. Caramilk Maple
    2. Payday Fresh from the Factory
    3. Eat-More
    4. Payday Avalanches
    5. Pearson’s Nut Roll
    Name: Oh Henry! (American & Canadian)
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Nestle & Hershey
    Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park) & WalMart (Canada) - thanks Amber!
    Price: $.85 each (approx)
    Size: 1.8 ounces & 2.2 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 127 & 136
    Categories: Chocolate, Mockolate, Caramel, Peanuts, United States, Canada, Hershey, Nestle, Kosher

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:15 am     Comments (43)

    Tuesday, May 27, 2008

    Fairhaven Candy Crumblz!

    Crumblz - Chocolate PeanutHere’s one of those items that I never figured I’d see: Fairhaven Candy has created not only an all-natural flaked peanut butter, but it’s also Kosher, Gluten Free and Vegan. I tried it back in March at ExpoWest and have been waiting to get my hands on a full bag for the detailed review.

    They’ve appropriately named them Crumblzsoft, flaky peanut butter treat. It’s pretty much the center of a Butterfinger bar, minus the hydrogenated fats, minus the whey & nonfat milk, and of course minus the preservative TBHQ.

    So while they took out all those crazy additional ingredients, all that’s left in this little candy is this: peanut butter (peanuts & salt), organic sugar, non-GMO corn syrup, peanuts, water, vanilla, baking soda. This particular version also has squiggles of dark chocolate on it.

    If that looks like it’s really a lot of dense peanut butter, it’s much lighter than I expected.

    Crumblz!

    The pieces come in little scored quads. Each piece, when broken off is a nice two bite chunk (or a big mouthful). Inside are layers of the nutty flakes plus whole peanuts.

    While they don’t look particularly appealing by themselves, I can tell you that they smell mouthwateringly good. Roasted nuts, some toasty sugar notes and a little dash of salt ... like fresh baked peanut butter cookies. It remindes me of Halvah.

    They don’t quite have the flaky chew that something like the center of a Fifth Avenue, but then again, they don’t stick to your teeth the way that a Butterfinger can. And no mockolate! (You can even get them without any chocolate at all, if you’re all about the peanut butter.)

    Nutritionally, yeah, this stuff is loaded with calories because it has all that peanut fat in there, but the difference between this and plain peanut butter is negligible. It’s also really satisfying, because of, well, all that peanut fat and protein.

    The only other bad news about these is probably the price and the ability to find them. You can order online but they’re about $4 a package. I’m sure they’re in shops like Whole Foods & natural product stores. If you’ve spotted them, how are the prices? I’d love it, honestly, if they just made a single serving bar. It gets a little messy pulling the pieces out of the bag.

    Related Candies

    1. All Candy Expo in a Box
    2. Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kisses
    3. Clark Bar
    4. Chick-o-Stick
    5. Head-to-Head: Butterfinger vs. 5th Avenue
    Name: Crumblz! Chocolate Peanut
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Fairhaven Candy
    Place Purchased: samples from All Candy Expo
    Price: $4.00 retail
    Size: 7 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 143
    Categories: Chocolate, Peanuts, United States, Kosher, All Natural

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:08 am     Comments (7)

    Thursday, May 22, 2008

    Roca Buttercrunch Thins

    Roca Buttercrunch ThinsI knew the Roca Buttercrunch Thins were coming out, but I still haven’t seen them in stores. There are four varieties, milk chocolate, 60% dark, dark truffle & caramel truffle. Luckily I got this sample box of the 60% Cacao Roca Buttercrunch Thins from All Candy Expo (the one that I was most interested in!). 

    While I love the toffee center of Almond Roca (and the Mocha Roca), I’m not fond of the greasy mockolate coating and messy crushed almonds. (Yes, I sometimes scrape them off and just eat the center.) Isn’t it nice that Brown & Haley finally recognized that they can use better ingredients.

    The 2.8 ounce box holds 8 pieces, each in their own little slot in a divided tray. It’s about the size of a VHS box (maybe a little thinner), but it seems like a lot of packaging and protection for what are probably pretty durable little candies.

    The initial description of them as Thins was intriguing, I was picturing little toffee tiles like Valerie Confections sells. Instead I saw a post on Chocolate Traveler that showed that these are little sticks, which is fine with me.

    Roca Buttercrunch Thins

    The smell like toasted nuts, burnt sugar and dark chocolate. The dark chocolate coating, in my case, was slightly bloomed (and I blame myself for that, as it started to get absurdly hot in Los Angeles and didn’t follow my own precautions). The texture was just fine though. (And the last two got really bloomed, so I know what bloomed chocolate is in this case.)

    I love the Roca toffee, it’s crispy and buttery at the same time. It has wonderfully complex burnt sugar flavors and the added nutty bits of almonds. The dark chocolate was also a smooth and creamy, adding a little more dimension with its own dark palate of flavors.

    While I consider this a very successful confection, I find the packaging a little overdone. Does it really need to have both the fold over flap (hand purse style) box, plus the tray? The whole thing is then overwrapped in cellophane.

    The price point, as far as I can tell from the Brown & Haley website is $3.95 a box, which puts it at over $22 per pound. For that price I’d either go up a notch and have some Carey’s of Oregon, Poco Dolce or Valerie Confections, or go down a notch and have a Heath Bar (why oh, why won’t they make them in dark chocolate?).

    Related Candies

    1. Sconza 70% Dark Chocolate Toffee Almonds
    2. Shaymee’s Toffee
    3. Valerie Toffees & Nougats
    4. Enstrom’s Toffee
    5. The Rocas
    Name: Roca Buttercrunch Thins: 60% Cacao
      RATING:
    • 10 SUPERB
    • 9 YUMMY
    • 8 TASTY
    • 7 WORTH IT
    • 6 TEMPTING
    • 5 PLEASANT
    • 4 BENIGN
    • 3 UNAPPEALING
    • 2 APPALLING
    • 1 INEDIBLE
    Brand: Brown & Haley
    Place Purchased: sample from All Candy Expo
    Price: $3.95 retail
    Size: 2.8 ounces
    Calories per ounce: 150
    Categories: Chocolate, Toffee, Nuts, United States, Brown & Haley, Kosher

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:57 am     Comments (12)

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    • Candy Rant: If your Licorice isn’t black, it isn’t Licorice

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