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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Seattle Chocolates Truffles

Seattle Chocolates TrufflesSeattle Chocolates makes a wide array of little “truffles” wrapped in mylar in a rainbow of colors.

The company sent me a sample of 14 flavors of their current flavors to try. They came in a simple clear bag with the truffles actually stacked in color order. (But I chose to show you a photo of their Christmas mint assortment, because I don’t actually like photographing clear plastic packaging.)

Earlier I called them “truffles” because they’re really meltaways. The chocolates are little rectangular blocks of chocolate coated meltaway centers. The centers are a combination of chocolate, flavoring and coconut oil mixed with palm oil. This means that they melt at a different temperature than the chocolate itself. The centers are solid, unlike Lindt Lindor Truffles, which have similar ingredients, but more tropical oils.

If this sounds like a Frango, that’s because Seattle Chocolates also makes Frangos for Macy’s, but also sells them under their own name but with more colorful packaging.

Seattle Chocolates

The box I got at the top of the review contained three mint flavors: Mint, San Juan Sea Salt and the seasonal Candy Cane. Pictured above I have Dark Chocolate, Mint, San Juan Sea Salt, Cool Mint.

Mint Seattle Chocolates

I think the first one I should address is the Mint. It comes in a medium green mylar wrapper and is a milk chocolate confection. It smells deliciously pepperminty and takes me back to my childhood and the seasonal boxes of Mint Frangos I consumed (often surreptitiously). The milk chocolate has a strong dairy note and the minty center has a satisfying cool melt along with the peppermint. There are also teensy little pops of salt every once in a while. Often candies like this can be ridiculously sweet, but I didn’t find it that way at all.

Dark Chocolate Seattle Chocolates

The next to profile is a standard, a basic truffle on which so many other flavors are based, the Dark Chocolate. This one is in a medium blue wrapper.

The bite has a satisfying snap, and though the center doesn’t look creamy, it melts well. The dark chocolate has a mild flavor, like the common chocolate chips you’d use for cookies. It’s a toasty flavor, a little the bitter side but with a smoother melt than baking chips.

San Juan Sea Salt is a newer piece, and features a seafoam green wrapper. It’s a milk chocolate piece with little toffee bits and a little extra sea salt mixed into the chocolate center. The salt is a wonderful combination with the very milky chocolate and the little toffee bits are a great textural crunch. I did get some of these in the mint set, and they were actually infused with the mint flavors from the other truffles. Either way, it’s good.

Cool Mint Seattle Chocolates

Cool Mint was the last one in this set, a bit of a change from the previous since it features a light blue wrappers and a white center in dark chocolate. It’s quite minty and could use a little bit of that salt that the others seem to have. I enjoyed it, but prefer the other mint varieties.

Seattle Chocolates

Ah, things are getting a little nuttier in the next batch which features Salted Almond, Milk, Peanut Butter, Espresso.

Espresso Seattle Chocolates

I’ll start with Espresso because, we’ll, I’m in charge. The wrapper is brown, the chocolate is dark. The interior is smooth and has good roasted flavor note. The meltaway itself has little crispy bits ... coffee grounds. The flavor profile is good, I liked the coffee and the grounds or whatever they are aren’t too gritty. Out of the mix, this was the first flavor that disappeared. Not too sweet.

Milk looks just like the mint, so must give that a glance again except imagine the wrapper is gold. Since there are no other flavor elements in this one, it’s a little easier to pick out the profile of the milk chocolate itself. It has a strong dairy flavor, almost like the flavor of cream cheese. It’s sweet gets a little oily towards the end. I skipped these after getting the profile.

Peanut Butter Seattle Chocolates

Peanut Butter sounded fantastic. The bronzy wrapper holds a milk chocolate piece with a peanut butter meltaway center. The interesting aspect is that there are also crushed peanuts in there too. Again, this one is oily like the milk chocolate, though it didn’t bother me as much.

Salted Almond is a bit more trendy and comes in a goldenrod wrapper with a dark chocolate coat. The center is dark chocolate and features a bit of salt and a few almond chips here and there. The toasty flavors of the almonds and dark chocolate were excellent. I’d buy this as a bar, as well.

Seattle Chocolates

The last set is a little fruity and contains some different concepts in the meltaway concept: Peanut Brittle, Strawberry Creme, Raspberry Creme, Blackberry Creme.

Peanut Brittle is similar to the Salted Almond, a little crunchy peanut, maybe with some crispy caramelized sugar in there. Since this is a dark piece, it’s far and away different from the Peanut Butter, though far less peanutty.

Seattle Chocolates Strawberry

The Strawberry is a white center with what I think is bits of freeze dried strawberries in there. It has some authentic strawberry flavors but suffers from the same oily feeling towards the end.

The Raspberry and Blackberry Creme were similar, with some nice berry flavors with a tangy pop here and there.

Not Pictured:

Coconut Macaroon is in a lighter blue mylar and features a dark chocolate coating and center. This is a pure tropical piece, the coconut oils in the meltaway work their magic here along with a few little bites of toasted coconut. There’s a definite coconut smell to it, so much it overpowers the chocolate flavors.

Extreme Chocolate comes in a magenta wrapper (I mistook it for one of the berries when I was photographing). This is excellent. It tastes darker than its reputed 65% cacao, with good bitter notes but still enough sweetness. The meltway qualities are still there, but none of the oily textures I didn’t like. Also as a bonus, there are crunchy cacao nibs in there. All of the nibs I came across were crisp, not fibery like some origins.

Seattle Chocolates also makes a wide variety of Truffle Bars, many in the same flavor profile as the Truffles ... though the ratios differ quite a bit, with more solid chocolate and less meltaway filling in most cases.

Seattle Chocolates Truffles are made with non GMO ingredients and are gluten free. They do contain soy and dairy ingredients and obviously the ones that don’t have peanuts or tree nuts in them were still processed on shared equipment. They sell most of the flavors singly as well as different flavor assortments, like the Mint, just dark and coffee flavors.

As a product line, I give it all a 7 out of 10. For the pieces I liked, such as Salted Almond, Extreme Chocolate and San Juan Sea Salt, I go to 8 out of 10.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-12-21/news/ct-met-schmich-1221-20121221_1_frangos-candy-kitchen-macy

Related Candies

  1. Seattle Chocolates Devil’s Delight Bar
  2. Trader Joe’s Minty Melts
  3. Seattle Chocolates Perfect Peanut Butter
  4. Fannie May Mint Meltaway
  5. Malley’s Chocolates
  6. Hershey’s Bliss Creme de Menthe Meltaway Center
  7. Frangos Dark (62%)
  8. Espresso Truffle Bar


Name: Truffles Assortment
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Seattle Chocolates
Place Purchased: samples from Seattle Chocolates
Price: $21.95
Size: 16 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: Candy, Seattle Chocolates, Brittle, Chocolate, Coffee, Kosher, Nibs, Nuts, Peanuts, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:14 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewSeattle ChocolatesChocolateCoconutCoffeeKosherMintsNibsNutsPeanuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (1)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Brach’s Bridge Mix

Brach's Bridge MixYou might wonder why my Halloween review is of Bridge Mix. It’s because it’s actually the scariest candy on the market today. Every maker has a different set of what they include in their mix, and because everything is coated in chocolate, it’s a game of Russian Roulette if you’re a picky eater. 

If I were to rank candies according to age demographics, most results would land where I expected. Super sour candies are targeted to tweens, dark chocolate to adult women and sweet and savory candies to men who love sports. And the sales data pretty much bears that out. Then there’s Bridge Mix. First of all, Bridge Mix doesn’t seem to have any sort of marketing campaign associated with it. But if you were to find out how old the average buyer is, I’m going to guess somewhere around 73.

I picked up the Brach’s Bridge Mix because the package made it look appealing and compared to some of the other chocolate bag offerings lately, it seemed like a good value. The package is vague, but it mentions that it’s a mix of all natural milk and dark chocolate. However, there was no listing on the back of the package as to what the actual items inside would be. The front just showed the coated pieces ... the ingredients were so long, all I could say for sure is that I could expect raisins, peanuts, sugar and Brazil nuts inside the chocolate.

Brach's Bridge Mix

My first impression upon opening the bag was good. It’s a resealable bag that holds a 8.7 ounces which makes for a full cereal bowl of candy. The pieces look good, they’re shiny and for the most part distinctive. I thought I could tell which were peanuts and raisins, though the larger spheres were a mystery.

The ingredients listed Brazil nuts and the picture on the front shows a piece that really looks like a chocolate covered Brazil nut. No such item appears in the bag. Maybe my mix was missing the Brazil nuts ... it was certainly not sufficiently randomized for my tastes.

Ingredients: Milk Chocolate (Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Whole Milk, Chocolate Liquor, Lactose, Soy Lecithin, Butter Oil, Salt, Vanillin, Ethyl Vanillin), Sugar, Corn Syrup, Peanuts with TBHQ and Citric Acid (preservative), Sweet Chocolate (Sugar, Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla Extract), Raisins, Sweetened Condensed Skim Milk (Sugar, Nonfat Milk, Buttermilk, Whey Solids), Corn Syrup Solids, Brazil Nuts, Malted Milk (Milk, Barley Malt, Wheat Flour, Salt, Sodium and Potassium Carbonate), Modified Food Starch (Corn), Malt Extract (Barley Malt, Wheat Flour), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Oil (Soybean, Cottonseed, Palm Kernel), Salt, Pectin, Baking Soda, Citric Acid, contains 2% or less of the following ingredients: Tapioca Flour, Soy Lecithin, Red 40, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Mono and Diglycerides, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Gelatin, Confectioner’s Glaze, Acacia (Gum Arabic), Coconut Oil, Calcium Carbonate. [Contains: Milk, Brazil Nuts, Peanuts, Wheat and Soy]

Though it’s all natural chocolate, there are a lot of not-so-natural items in there, too. There’s also gelatin, which was hard to find on the list if you’re vegetarian.

Brach's Bridge Mix

Cherry Jelly Ball covered in Dark Chocolate were one of two that I could reliably pick out of the mix. It’s a big, very strongly cherry flavored jelly ball covered in dark chocolate. I was hoping there would be other flavors, but this was it. The jelly center is nice, dense and very floral. However, there’s a grainy sugar layer in there that messed with the texture and sweetness level. I don’t like cherry candies, but I thought this was a refreshing item to have in a mix ... and it was easy for me to avoid.

White Sugar Cream covered in Dark Chocolate - if you’ve ever wanted a York Peppermint Pattie without the mint flavor, this might be your candy. But the fondant in the center is hard and grainy ... so it’s not really a good texture combination at all. The dark chocolate outside is in a much larger ratio than most other mint candies, which is fine because that’s the only flavor you’re going to get out of this thing. I felt like about 1/4 of my bag was filled with these. I would bite them in half to see if it was a large peanut or something else and then toss the other half when I found it was the fondant ball.

Milk Chocolate Malted Milk Ball - I’d like to have a long and wonderful commentary here, but that photo of the one bitten in half is the only one I got in this bag. I’ve been searching for Brach’s Milk Chocolate Milk Balls for a couple of years, and found that this Bridge Mix is the only place I can find them ... and I got one lousy one. I didn’t savor it enough to be able to review it.

Dark Chocolate Covered Peanut - excellent. The peanuts have skins on them, which I enjoy. It highlighted the bitterness of the chocolate. The peanut had a light touch of salt, and though not large, they were crunchy and deeply roasted.

Milk Chocolate Covered Peanut - not as good as the dark one, the milk chocolate hides the peanut notes somehow, but after stumbling across so many of those fondant balls, I was happy to have these.

Milk Chocolate Brown Sugar Ball - I have no idea what this is. The center was not grainy, not smooth, not flavorful, not appealing. It tasted sweet, but also dusty. I just have no idea what the point was, except to fool me into thinking that I was going to get a Malted Milk Ball.

Milk Chocolate Covered Raisins - pretty good. The raisins were soft and chewy, not tough or tacky. The raisins dominated, the chocolate was sweeter than the actual dried fruit but didn’t contribute more than texture to the experience.

Brach's Bridge

The one item that was easy to pick out were the little flattened bullets that came in both milk and dark chocolate.

Milk Chocolate Covered Nut Brittle - the chocolate coating isn’t as thick as the other candies, but that didn’t matter. The center of this little morsel is a nicely made, crispy nut brittle. There may be Brazil nuts in there, but definitely peanuts. It’s salty, it’s barely sweet and I’d like to just buy a bag of these.

Dark Chocolate Covered Nut Brittle - the dark chocolate version was even better, as it enhanced the roasted nut flavors.

I’ve come away with an appreciation for people who simply throw caution to the wind and pop a handful of candy pieces in their mouth. I’m not a Bridge Mix person. In fact, this bag of candy made me angry. There were good things in it, but too many horrible things. There’s no listing anywhere that I can find that says what kind of candy is even in the bag ... it’s as if Brach’s is evasive and doesn’t want to commit to what they might put in there on any given day. I ended up with a pile of half bitten candies on my desk after I determined what I did and didn’t like ... I spit out the other halves in the trash. It was, in the end, a bad value for me, since I ate so little of it, though, technically, I finished the bag.

I really just wanted some Malted Milk Balls.

Related Candies

  1. Cacao Prieto 72% Dark Chocolate Pecan & Sour Cherry
  2. Brach’s Dark Chocolate Blueberry Acai
  3. Christopher’s Big Cherry - Dark
  4. RJ’s Licorice Allsorts
  5. Trader Joe’s Allsorts -a- Licorice
  6. Jelly Belly Chocolate Dips
  7. Licorice Bridge Mix


Name: Bridge Mix
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Brach’s
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $3.49
Size: 8.7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 133
Categories: Candy, Brach's, Ferrara Pan, Brittle, Chocolate, Fondant, Jelly Candy, Malt, Nuts, Peanuts, Toffee, 5-Pleasant, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:55 pm     CandyMorselizationReviewBrach'sFerrara PanBrittleChocolateFondantJelly CandyMaltNutsPeanutsToffee5-PleasantUnited StatesTargetComments (11)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Theo Peanut Butter Cups (Milk and Dark Chocolate)

Theo Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter CupsWhat the world needs is more versions of the peanut butter cup.

What Theo Chocolate is offering in their new line of peanut butter cup are the following qualities: organic ingredients, ethically sourced chocolate, kosher, no palm oil or soy ingredients and free from genetically modified organisms. The new cups come in two varieties, milk and dark chocolate, and the dark chocolate is vegan. Though they’re Theo Chocolate branded, they’re actually made in Canada.

The Theo Chocolate Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups were $2.25 a package, I picked them up at the factory store in Seattle (I’ll have a write up about the factory tour after Halloween) but they should be available at stores that carry Theo Chocolate soon as well. The packages are 1.3 ounces, so they’re only .2 ounces smaller than the usual Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup packages. Theo uses peanut butter from CB’s Nuts, a small batch nut roaster and butterer.

Theo Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

They’re not your ordinary round cups, nope, these are little heart shapes. They’re .65 ounces each, a nice size with a more even proportion of chocolate to peanut butter than some cups with thinner chocolate shells. There’s no oily puddle on the top, but my cups were probably extremely fresh since I bought them at the factory store.

They smell very toasty, the chocolate is crisp and has a good snap to it. The peanut butter is not fatty or oily, but also not quite crumbly. The overall roasted notes of both the chocolate and peanut butter are very strong. For a milk chocolate product, this is only very barely sweet. If you’re a fan of the more savory elements of peanut butter and chocolate, this is probably a good match for you.

The texture of the peanut butter is similar in particle size to Reese’s ... it’s not whipped smooth, there are little crunchy bits and a dryness to it that keeps it from feeling to slick on the tongue. The chocolate is lightly bitter as well but has a milky note and smooth melt.

Theo Milk and Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

There’s no notation as to the percentage of cacao, but this photos shows that the milk chocolate cups are very dark looking compared to the dark ones.

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups Ingredients: Cocoa Beans, Sugar, Peanut Butter (roasted peanuts), Cocoa Butter, Powdered Sugar (sugar and non-gmo corn starch), Peanut Flour (roasted peanuts), Salt, Rosemary Extract, Ground Vanilla Bean [67% fair trade ingredients | peanut butter sourced in the U.S.]

Theo Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter CupsThe Theo Chocolate Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups are packaged so similarly to the milk chocolate variety, the sales staff at the factory store would let each customer know as they rang up their order that they’d chosen a particular variety ... so I sense that there may be a change in the future to help distinguish them.

Theo Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

The cups are beautiful, again, a little smaller than the Reese’s Peanut Butter version, but lacking the little fluted paper cups. Instead they just sit on a little paperboard tray. The mold detail includes the Theo logo on the bottom of the cups, if you’re so inclined to actually look at them before you gobble them up.

Theo Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

These have the same deep roasted scent as the milk chocolate, but without the light dairy note to it. The dark chocolate is immediately bitter and creamy, with a very silky melt but a strong coffee flavor. The peanut butter balanced the intensity of the chocolate with a lightness, a little hint of salt and a comforting peanut flavor.

Just one cup was exceptionally satisfying.

These are much pricier than the traditionally produced peanut butter cups on store shelves, but have none of the additional ingredients that give many folks pause. However, they’re still made in a facility that processes wheat, tree nuts, egg and soy so they’re not for those sensitive folks.

Though Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups were first to market with ethically sourced ingredients, I think I prefer these for the texture and intensity.  (But I’ll probably still hand out Justin’s for Halloween since they’re available in singles.)

Related Candies

  1. Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups
  2. Theo Salted Almond Dark Chocolate
  3. Nectar Nugget Peanut Butter and Almond Butter Cups
  4. UNREAL #77 Peanut Butter Cups
  5. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
  6. Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups
  7. Dark Chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  8. Factory Fresh Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  9. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Line


Name: Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Theo Chocolate
Place Purchased: Theo Chocolate Factory (Seattle, WA)
Price: $2.25
Size: 1.3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 154
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Theo, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Kosher, Organic, Peanuts, 9-Yummy, Canada


Name: Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Theo Chocolate
Place Purchased: Theo Chocolate Factory (Seattle, WA)
Price: $2.25
Size: 1.3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 146
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Theo, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Kosher, Organic, Peanuts, 9-Yummy, Canada

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:05 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewTheoChocolateEthically SourcedKosherOrganicPeanuts9-YummyCanadaComments (0)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Seattle Chocolates Devil’s Delight Bar

DSC_6584rbIt’s fun to see all the kids candy for Halloween, but sometimes adults want something a little special too. Enter Seattle Chocolates Devil’s Delight Dark Chocolate Truffle Bar with Peanut Butter & Pretzels. It’s described as Salted pretzel pieces and creamy peanut butter in dark chocolate that uses Rainforest Alliance Certified™ cocoa. A devilishly delicious combination!. That definitely sounds right up my alley.

It’s nice to see a seasonal bar using ethically sourced cacao, and in this case, it’s no more expensive than other similar bar on store shelves.

Don’t be disappointed if it’s not your cup of tea, there are two others: Bloody Orange Truffle Bar and Dead Sea Salt Truffle Bar.

DSC_6687rb

The bar is compact and uses the same mold as all the other Seattle Chocolates bars I’ve tried. At 2.5 ounces, it’s a bit too much to eat in one sitting and not quite enough for two portions. Basically, it’s perfect for the stingy sharer ... give one section to another person, eat the rest yourself.

The pieces are thick sections that hold the truffle filling.

DSC_6692rb

The bar smells pleasantly nutty with a woodsy chocolate component. The dark chocolate is bittersweet and has a nice, silky melt. The filling is a little odd. It’s very peanutty, which I enjoyed and had some good salty pops. But the pretzel pieces seemed stale, as can happen when mixing with inclusions. I liked the peanut butter part, very smooth and nutty and offset well by the dark chocolate. I think they mix the peanut butter in with white chocolate, which is genius. Overall, I liked it, though I didn’t finish it in one sitting. One of the things I’ve seen that solves the stale pretzel problem is to give them a quick dip in chocolate before mixing them in.

This bar was sent to me as a sample from Seattle Chocolates, but I did see them for sale at Cost Plus World Market.

Related Candies

  1. Revisit Reviews: Pretzel M&Ms, Rally Bar and Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road
  2. Jer’s Peanut Butter Bars
  3. Russell Stover Kris P. Pretzel Bunny
  4. M&Ms Sweet & Salty Snack Mix
  5. Snyder’s Peanut Butter Pretzel Sandwich Dips
  6. Seattle Chocolates Perfect Peanut Butter


Name: Devil’s Delight Dark Chocolate Truffle Bar
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Seattle Chocolates
Place Purchased: Samples from Seattle Chocolates
Price: $3.49
Size: 2.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 152
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Halloween, Seattle Chocolates, Chocolate, Cookie, Ethically Sourced, Peanuts, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:29 am     All NaturalCandyReviewHalloweenSeattle ChocolatesChocolateCookieEthically SourcedKosherPeanuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (0)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Equal Exchange Peanut Butter

Milk Chocolate Peanut ButterEqual Exchange, the cooperative that sells cocoa, coffee, tea and chocolate made with fair trade ingredients sent me some of their new candy bars. They really fit right into the candy bar sector, not the high end chocolate bars. They currently make three bars, I thought I’d tackle a review of the Equal Exchange Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Bar first, since it’s the one with the widest appeal.

The bar is 1.5 ounces, which is a perfect single serving size. The wrapper is orange, lots and lots of orange, which is the universal color to represent peanuts, just like blue is supposed to represent milk chocolate. The bars are made in Peru with cacao from Peruvian cocoa co-ops.

Equal Exchange Peanut Butter

The format of the bar is simple, it’s long and narrow with 7 segments. Inside the milk chocolate shell is a peanut butter filling. The ingredients are very simple: sugar, cocoa butter, milk powder, peanuts, chocolate solids, sea salt and soy lecithin. (Organic where possible.) There are not additional oils in there, which is a nice change. Many peanut butter candies use some vegetable oils to stabilize the peanut butter.

Equal Exchange Peanut Butter

The bar smells sweet and a little nutty, but not terribly notable or enticing. The chocolate is smooth, rather sweet but overall has no real defining kick. The peanut butter center is firm, but melts well in the mouth. There’s no chalky grain like many American peanut butter candies. There’s a little hint of salt ... but it’s missing a roasted peanut oomph. I recognize this may be because the peanuts used for the peanut butter are not American (though the label doesn’t say their source). It’s a little grassy, but not much else. It’s kind of like Reese’s Pieces. The ratios are a lot more balanced, you can see there’s a lot of chocolate for the amount of peanut butter.

Overall, this is not a bar I would purchase. There are some good options out there in the peanut butter cup format for those looking for better ingredients and sourcing. For those in Canada, you can also find these bars under the Camino label. As far as Equal Exchange goes, I will still continue to eat the Milk Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt, it’s an excellent hybrid of high end chocolate and candy satisfaction.

Related Candies

  1. Equal Exchange Dark Bars: Raspberry, Lemon Ginger, and Coconut
  2. Equal Exchange Milk and Dark Chocolate Foil Eggs
  3. Nectar Nugget Peanut Butter and Almond Butter Cups
  4. Equal Exchange Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt
  5. Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups
  6. Sun Cups


Name: Organic and Fairly Traded Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Equal Exchange
Place Purchased: samples from Equal Exchange
Price: $1.99 retail
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 173
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Equal Exchange, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Kosher, Organic, Peanuts, 6-Tempting, Peru

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:23 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewEqual ExchangeChocolateEthically SourcedKosherOrganicPeanuts6-TemptingPeruComments (0)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mega Peanut M&Ms

DSC_5287rbLast week I showed off the new Milk Chocolate Mega M&Ms, this week I have the Mega Peanut M&Ms. I picked both bags up at CVS on sale at two bags for $5.00. Since the bag is 11.4 ounces, that’s a pretty good deal.

The bag makes use of the familiar yellow of the Peanut M&Ms franchise and a blue Mega logo similar to the one on the Milk Chocolate M&Ms bag (which has a brown background).

The Milk Chocolate Mega M&Ms boasted 3 times more chocolate, but the Peanut Mega M&Ms only say that there’s more chocolate and bigger peanuts.

Mega Peanut M&Ms & Regular

While the Mega Milk Chocolate M&Ms were obviously bigger, I didn’t see much of a difference when I dumped a handful of these out. So, that meant that I had to go back out and pick up some regular Peanut M&Ms for comparison. The Mega are on the left and the regular are on the right. Some are identically sized, but many of the Mega are obviously bigger than the standard.

Mega Peanut M&Ms & Regular

Oddly enough I didn’t find the Megas were different for me, they tasted and behaved like the Peanut M&Ms I might want to eat. That said, I feel like Peanut M&Ms have gotten smaller over the years and these may just be what I used to find ordinary. The chocolate ratio is good, there’s plenty of chocolate there’s a good crunch from the shell and a good crunch from the peanuts. I just don’t see that big of a difference to warrant another slot on the store shelves for this when they could make room for Coffee M&Ms or Crispy M&Ms.

Related Candies

  1. Milk Chocolate Mega M&Ms
  2. Peanut M&Ms Intense 65% Cacao
  3. Brach’s Maple Nut Goodies
  4. Snickers Nougabot Bar & Transformer M&Ms
  5. Boston Baked Beans
  6. Dark Chocolate Peanut M&Ms
  7. M&Ms Line
  8. Mega Smarties


Name: Peanut Mega M&Ms
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: CVS (Park LaBrea)
Price: $2.50
Size: 11.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 147
Categories: Candy, Mars, Chocolate, M&Ms, Peanuts, 7-Worth It, United States, Sav-On/CVS

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:58 pm     CandyReviewMarsChocolateKosherM&MsPeanuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesSav-On/CVSComments (2)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Revisit Reviews: Pretzel M&Ms, Rally Bar and Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road

Every once in a while candies get a revamp, so I like to revisit them. Here are a few that caught my eye.

Pretzel M&Ms - Now with More Pretzel Taste

Pretzel M&Ms were introduced in 2010 (original review) and have done well enough for Mars that they have continued as part of their regular repertoire, even getting seasonal color varieties for the holidays. I noticed a new version on shelves that advertised “now more pretzel taste.” Since I was able to find the previous version, I thought I’d taste them side-by-side. They have similar “best before” dates.

Original Pretzel M&Ms (Left) Pretzel M&Ms - Now with More Pretzel Taste (Right)

They look identical. The originals are on the left and the new version are on the right. Same colors, same shape, same size.

Original Pretzel M&Ms (Left) Pretzel M&Ms - Now with More Pretzel Taste (Right)

It is striking how much better the new ones are. The new ones are crunchier, taste lighter and airier yet have more of that malty, pretzel toasted coating. There was no difference I could see in the ingredients or in the new nutrition panel. They’re still a pretty low calorie candy treat, at only 150 calories per package, they’re pretty satisfying without being too fatty. (Of course the portion is only 1.14 ounces, but there’s a lot going on with the textures.)

The original rating stands at 7 out of 10. They’re not perfect and I still don’t think I’ve bought them since the first introduction (though I eat them when given a sample package, which happens once or twice a year). I still go for the Almond M&Ms when given the chance.

Hershey's Rally Bar

Hershey’s Rally Bar is a strange sort of candy bar in that it appears and disappears on store shelves with little notice. It’s a Hershey’s candy bar, first test marketed in the late 1960s, it was in wide distribution by 1970 across the country. The advertising theme was: Reach Me a Rally Bar, the Milk Chocolate Covered Nut Roll for the Man-Sized Appetite as well as the more gender-neutral The Crowded Candy Bar. This was one of the Hershey Corporation’s earliest attempts at advertising, before this they stood with the founder’s position that a quality product would sell itself. More about the Rally Bar on Collecting Candy.

Rally BarThe candy bar has no real package identity to adhere to in this reissue. This is what it looked like back in 2008 and this is what it looked like in 2004. The new one doesn’t even mention the name Hershey on the front. I picked it up at Walgreen’s as an exclusive item.

Though it was probably a chocolate candy bar when it was introduced, by the 2004 wrapper it was evident that this was a mockolate item. (Here’s my original review.)

This is smaller than the 2.2 ounce bar I tried back in 2008. This is 1.66 ounces (which is actually a good size for me). It smells like peanuts. The fudgy center is like a nougat, it’s soft and chewy with little flavor of its own. The peanuts are Payday-like, they’re crunchy, though not quite as salty. The chocolatey coating actually has a hint of salt, keeping it from being sickly sweet. Overall, it’s an okay bar but I don’t see it as that different from a Baby Ruth.

I stand by my previous rating of 6 out of 10.

Snickers Rockin' Nut RoadThere was a time when there were oodles of limited edition candies - not a month went by in the late Aughts that the major candy companies didn’t present a flavor twist on one of their tried and true candies. Snickers alone went through many iterations including: Shrek (green nougat), Indiana Jones (spiced nougat), Charged (caffeinated), 3X (chocolate nougat, chocolate caramel), Fudge (chocolate fudge instead of nougat), Xtreme (no nougat) and Nut n Butter Crunch (peanut buttery nougat).

The Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road changed up a few items in the standard Snickers Bar. First, they replaced the milk chocolate coating with dark chocolate. I approve. Second, they replaced the peanuts with almonds. I find this to be a good substitution. Third, they changed the lightly peanut butter nougat with a smoother marshmallow nougat. Definitively goes with the other two items. The structure is the same - nutty nougat on the bottom, caramel on the top and covered in chocolate. 

Snickers Rockin' Nut Road

I gave these an 8 out of 10 rating last time (full review) and I fully endorse them again this time. The nougat is smoother than the 3 Musketeers style and the crunch of the almonds is great. It’s more of a variation on the classic Mars Bar, but I won’t quibble with Mars if they want to bring this back. (In fact, I prefer it to the standard Snickers Almond, which replaced the Mars bar).

Related Candies

  1. Liddabit Sweets - Candy Bars
  2. Pretzel M&Ms
  3. Short & Sweet: Bites & Bites
  4. Rally Bar
  5. ReeseSticks (Revisit)
  6. Revisit: Take 5, Sunkist Fruit Gems & Snickers Almond
  7. Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Bar

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:03 pm     CandyReviewHershey'sMarsCaramelChocolateCookieKosherM&MsNougatNutsPeanuts6-Tempting7-Worth It8-TastyUnited StatesSav-On/CVSWalgreen'sComments (2)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Justin’s White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Justin's White Chocolate Peanut Butter CupsJustin’s White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups are a limited edition version of their dark and milk chocolate peanut butter cups. They’re available only at Whole Foods this winter.

What sets these apart from other white peanut butter cups is the fact that Justin’s not only uses real white chocolate, it’s also fair trade cacao butter.

All of the ingredients are organic except the sea salt,which is an inorganic item anyway. The palm oil is sustainably sourced and the cacao comes from Rainforest Alliance certified growers. Justin’s is gluten free as well.

Still, with all those qualifiers, they’re still a white chocolate candy, which has a pretty narrow band of fans.

Justin's White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

The cups are beautiful, a creamy yellow white with a little dollop in the center. The white chocolate has a lot of milk in it (the third ingredient) and has a lot of dairy flavors to it. The peanut butter center is salty, with a grainy crunch but also a smooth roasted flavor to it. From my early taste tests of Justin’s peanut butter cups, they’ve really come a long way in balancing out the texture of the center without being too oily or too dry. The white chocolate bring a lot of creaminess and vanilla flavors, the overall effect is like eating peanut butter cookie dough.

I’m a fan of good white chocolate (and will eat bad white confections against my better judgement) and this is some very well made stuff. Since Reese’s switched to a white confection, as far as I know, these are the only nationally distributed white chocolate peanut butter cups available.

I did notice one odd thing on the package. The cups are 1.4 ounces total and it says that it’s 180 calories. But the rest of the nutrition panel does not support that. There are 16 grams of fat (9 calories per gram) and 19 grams of carbs (4 calories per gram) then 4 grams of protein (4 calories per gram) all tallies up to 236 calories, not 180. (Reese’s Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter cups are 210 calories for 1.5 ounces.) So if these calculations are correct, that’s 169 calories per ounce. Mmm, high fat density.

I like these and I’d probably pick them up again. But Justin, where are those dark chocolate hazelnut butter cups I’ve been longing for?

Related Candies

  1. UNREAL #77 Peanut Butter Cups
  2. Justin’s Peanut and Almond Candy Bars
  3. Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups
  4. Short & Sweet: Summer Bites
  5. Russell Stover White Chocolate Peanut Butter Rabbit
  6. Koeze Cream-Nut Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cluster
  7. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Line


Name: White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Justin’s Nut Butter
Place Purchased: Whole Foods (Park LaBrea)
Price: $1.99
Size: 1.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 169
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Justin's Nut Butter, Ethically Sourced, Limited Edition, Organic, Peanuts, White Chocolate, 8-Tasty, United States, Whole Foods

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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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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Russell Stover Cake Truffles

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

• Dandelion Chocolate

• Trader Joe’s Holiday Roundup 2014

 

 

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