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Peanuts

Monday, December 30, 2013

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter CupsThis fall Nestle announced it was launching Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups in January 2014. Butterfinger is an iconic American candy bar, combining peanuts and sugar and chocolate. The bar has been adapted into a half a dozen other formats and confections. There’s were Butterfinger BBs, Butterfinger Crisp, Butterfinger Snackerz, Butterfinger Stixx, Butterfinger Bites, Butterfinger Chocolate Bars and even the caffeinated Butterfinger Buzz.

I suppose it was only a matter of time before Nestle decided to take on the cup format and the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Nestle plans to go big with their launch of the Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups, with a full ad campaign including a commercial during the 2014 Superbowl.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups

There’s a couple of curiosities about these cups. First, they have no paper cups. They are fluted, but there’s no paper liner on the tray in the package.

The second thing is that they’re not round. The circular base is far smaller than the top, which is a rounded square. There’s quite an angle towards the top which means that the ratio of chocolate to filling changes at the perimeter versus the center.

The cups are described simply as Smooth & Crunchy on the package.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups

The filling is quite salty. There’s a creamy component that is very sweet, then the chunky, crunchy bits of Butterfinger centers. There’s a very strong artificial butter flavor to the whole thing, much stronger than an actual Butterfinger bar.  The chocolate profile itself is overshadowed by the butter flavor of the center, so it’s hard for it to contribute anything other than texture. That said, it’s pretty smooth though sweet. It’s certainly better than the coating on a Butterfinger Bar.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups

The ingredients are interesting, notably that they’ve removed the artificial colorings from this candy. (Butterfinger Bars have artificial yellow and red food coloring in them.)

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups Ingredients: Milk chocolate (Sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, nonfat milk, milkfat, lactose, soy lecithin, vanillin), sugar, peanuts, peanut toffee pieces (sugar, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, peanut butter [peanuts, dextrose, hydrogenated rapeseed and cottonseed oil, salt], peanuts, butter, salt, soy lecithin, paprika extract color), fractionated palm kernel oil, partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil, less than 2% of milk, nonfat milk, salt, cocoa butter, hydrogenated palm oil, natural and artificial flavor, hydrogenated rapeseed and cottonseed oil, soy lecithin, soybean oil, TBHQ, annatto and paprika extract color.

Contains milk, soy and peanuts, may contain nuts. No mention of gluten.

The package has the Cocoa Plan logo on the front. This is Nestle’s new initiative to bring sustainable practices to their cocoa growers through education programs. The programs are to help growers use better practices to increase yields, reduce losses as well as creating schools for the children in their communities. It’s an internal program that Nestle operates that does not, as far as I know, have any external audits or benchmarks, though they do also buy from Fairtrade and UTZ certified sources in quantities to match certain products so that they can bear their logo.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups & Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

There are a lot of similarities between the Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups and the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. It’s probably not a coincidence. Each cup is .75 ounces, with the package holding two totaling 1.5 ounces.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups & Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

From the above you can see the long and complicated ingredient list for the Butterfinger Cups. The Reese’s cups are far simpler.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Ingredients: Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, nonfat milk, milkfat, lactose, soy lecithin, PGPR), peanuts, sugar, dextrose, salt, TBHQ.

Simpler does not necessarily mean better. Both cups have TBHQ in them, which is a preservative (keeps the peanut oil from getting rancid). But both are rather small in mass for a candy bar these days. A Snickers Bar or Butterfinger Bar is over 2 ounces. These cups are kind of puny.

But in the ingredients list, you’ll notice that the Reese’s have no added oils, no fractionated palm kernel oil or hydrogenated rapeseed oil. But I’ve got to admire the bang for the buck I get with the Butterfinger, it has 20 more calories from fat than the Reese’s. Here’s the comparison of the nutritional panels for both cups:

Butterfinger Reese Comparison

So, the Butterfinger is less salty and just slightly fattier - some of the protein grams of the Reese’s are fat grams in the Butterfinger. This is an odd observation, since the Reese’s Cups I know and love usually have a soft, greasy spot in the center of the chocolate on each cup where the peanut oils have migrated from the peanut butter into the chocolate. As far as I can tell, the Butterfinger Cups are far more stable and consistent.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups & Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

They’re different candies. They share some of their format and the basic flavors but the textural experience is different. I still prefer the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, but that’s probably because I’ve grown up with it. I don’t care for the fake, overly sweet butter flavor of the Butterfinger Bar or these Cups. But I do appreciate the variation in the textures. Overall, I usually go for the smaller ingredients list and I prefer my candy to have the innate oils from the flavor ingredients, not added ones. But it’s a good candy and I think they’ll probably last longer than Butterfinger Stixx.

Related Candies

  1. UNREAL #77 Peanut Butter Cups
  2. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
  3. RM Palmer Giant 1/4 Lb. Peanut Butter Cup
  4. Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups
  5. Nestle Butterfinger Pumpkin
  6. Nestle Butterfinger Snackerz
  7. Head to Head: Clark, Butterfinger & 5th Avenue
  8. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Line


Name: Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Torrance)
Price: $.79
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: Candy, Nestle, Chocolate, Kosher, Peanuts, 7-Worth It, United States, Dollar Tree

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:54 am     CandyReviewNestleChocolateKosherPeanuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesDollar TreeComments (10)

Friday, December 20, 2013

SweetWorks Foil Covered Chocolate

SweetWorks, which makes many flavors of the break apart chocolate orange and Sixlets, also makes a wide variety of foil wrapped chocolate pieces and figures for all occasions.

SweetWorks Hollow Chocolate Rocking Horse

Their holiday range is quite diverse, featuring chocolate balls, disks and semi-solid figures. The company sent me a huge box filled with confections to sample before Thanksgiving, and I’ve finally made it through all of the items before Christmas.

SweetWorks Milk Chocolate Ornaments

SweetWorks Milk Chocolate Ornaments are one of the classics. They’re just a little solid chocolate sphere wrapped in foil.

Foil Colors: Solid Hunter Green, Solid Red, Diamon Silver, Diamond Blue, Diamond Red.

Taste: The milky chocolate is very smooth and has a lot of dairy notes to it. It’s on the sweet side but also has a lot of vanilla notes to it.

Verdict: Very nice, easily munchable. This sort of piece will appeal to kids and adults.

Rating: 8 out of 10

SweetWorks Milk Chocolate Crisp Balls

SweetWorks Milk Chocolate Crisp Balls

Foil Colors: Hunter Green, Silver & Red

Taste: The milky chocolate has a nice ratio of crisped rice. It’s creamy, a little softer than the solid chocolate bars but not quite as sweet.

Verdict: This is what I want from my candy in my stocking. It’s comforting and filling but still attractive.

Rating: 8 out of 10

SweetWorks Dark Chocolate Balls

SweetWorks Dark Chocolate Balls

Foil Colors: Hunter Green, Gold & Red

Taste: These are extremely dark looking, almost black. I checked and noticed the ingredients list: sugar, chocolate, chocolate processed with alkali, cocoa butter, butterfat (milk), soy lecithin, and vanilla. So this chocolate contains alkalized cocoa, which makes it darker. It also has butterfat in it, so it’s not vegan, which is too bad, because it’s hard to find vegan holiday treats. The flavor profile is a little odd. It’s definitely not overly sweet, but the particle size of the chocolate gives it a slight grain and a dry finish.

Verdict: I liked them well enough to pick them out as something to eat in combination with other things, like nuts, but I didn’t like the dry afterbite.

Rating: 7 out of 10

SweetWorks Milk Chocolate Bells

SweetWorks Solid Milk Chocolate Bells

Foil Colors: Hunter Green, Silver & Red

Taste: These are a bigger bite than the balls, about 2/3 bigger, so it’s a lot more chocolate at once. I noticed the smoothness of the melt much more in this shape.

Verdict: These are easier to peel and eat, though one piece is a little bigger than I prefer a bit of chocolate to be. But they don’t roll around, so that’s a plus.

Rating: 7 out of 10

SweetWorks Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Bells

SweetWorks Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Bells

Foil Colors: Green with Silver Trees & Red with Silver Trees

Taste: These didn’t smell like much in the package, but once unwrapped there was a nice fresh peanut scent. The milky chocolate is really smooth and the peanut center was part meltaway, part peanut butter.

Verdict: They’re not the same texture or peanut flavor profile as Reese’s, so as long as you’re okay with that, these are very satisfying.

Rating: 8 out of 10

SweetWorks Milk Chocolate Medallions

SweetWorks Milk Chocolate Medallions

Foil Colors: White Snowman, Blue Santa, Green Teddy Bear & Red Reindeer

Taste: Milky, sweet and creamy.

Verdict: This was the most disappointing design as far as I was concerned. They seemed dated and missed an opportunity for something a little more splashy. A simple patterned foil or perhaps better artwork for the illustrations would have put these over the top. I like the format of the disks, as they’re easier to bite than bells and something that can be used in S’mores very easily.

Rating: 6 out of 10

SweetWorks Milk Chocolate Santas

SweetWorks Milk Chocolate Santas

Foil Colors: Dominantly Red with Green & Yellow Accents - 4 designs

Taste: Thin and long, it’s an easy two bite piece. They were exceptionally shiny.

Verdict: Like the medallions, the design of the Santa foil is a little dated. But in the case I found it utterly charming, especially since I could walk them around on my desk and set them up in little tableaus as if they were interacting. The bonus here is that the Santa is molded with quite a bit of detail, so even unwrapped they’re beguiling.

Rating: 7 out of 10

SweetWorks Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Santas

SweetWorks Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Santas

Foil Colors: Dominantly Red with Blue & Bronze Accents - 4 designs

Taste: This has a similar light peanutty flavor to the Bells. It’s not a deep roasted flavor, it seemed a bit saltier and a little thick/stickier in the melt.

Verdict: I didn’t like the ratios as much as the Bells, but I have to appreciate the cute little Santa expressions.

Rating: 7 out of 10

DSC_4324rb

SweetWorks Milk Chocolate Hollow Foil comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. They have Turkeys in full feather, Santas, Nutcrackers and a Rocking Horse. (I think they also do a Teddy Bear.) These are very sturdy, the foil is thick and well designed. Instead of a bit piece that wraps around to the back, these are crimped. This means that there’s a full front and back design with a large seam where the two sides are pinched together.

SweetWorks Milk Chocolate Hollow FoilThe sizes vary, as you can tell from the photos. As an example, the SweetWorks Milk Chocolate Santa is a little shy of 6 inches and weighs 70 grams (2.5 ounces). The base of the Santa is thick, which makes it very stable when standing. They’re all very attractive designs and would be good as either stocking stuffers or as decorations on a cookie plate or as place settings at a table.

The SweetWorks Hollow Chocolate Rocking Horse is 3.5 ounces, so the same as a standard tablet bar, only in a fancier format. SweetWorks uses all natural milk chocolate for their hollow molded figures. The ingredients list only: sugar, cocoa butter, milk, chocolate, soy lecithin and vanilla. They’re also kosher and gluten-free though processed in a facility with tree nuts and peanuts. The SweetWorks Hollow Chocolate Nutcracker is the largest of the pieces they make for Christmas, at 4.5 ounces and is nearly 7 inches tall.

DSC_4338rb SweetWorks Milk Chocolate Turkey SweetWorks Milk Chocolate Turkey

The SweetWorks Milk Chocolate Turkey is only 1 ounce, but seems like a far larger portion. The base, like the others, is mostly solid which keeps the figure upright whether it’s wrapped or not. The chocolate tastes milkier and smoother than the foil covered balls. (My guess is that the formulation is just a little different for the molded chocolate because of the production demands of filling the intricate molds.)

Rating: 8 out of 10

Like the others, the molding details are great, it really is a nicely sculpted turkey and completely recognizable when it’s unwrapped. I liked these much better than the Hershey’s or Dove versions found at Easter, but they’re not quite as rich as the Lindt foil figures. I really liked the Rocking Horse though, I thought its design set it apart from the other offerings on the store shelves. I saw the Turkeys at Dylan’s Candy Bar, and I think they were $2.99 but online they’re a bit less. I just wish they were easier to find. For Easter they make a 3.5 ounce Yellow Chick and 3 ounce sitting Rabbit. It makes me wonder if there are figures that could be more “year round” or generic for parties and decorations since the Teddy Bear seems like a natural item for a baby shower.

SweetWorks can be found in the bulk bins at Dylan’s Candy Bar (and probably other places). Their foil balls actually come in a dozen colors and are also available as hearts year round in a wide color and texture palette. You’re more likely to find these online (you can buy direct from SweetWorks.net) and usually for a pretty decent price for all natural chocolate that isn’t Hershey’s Kisses.

Related Candies

  1. Madelaine’s Foiled Milk Chocolate
  2. Riegelein Confiserie Hollow Chocolate
  3. Upscale Hollow Chocolate: Michel Cluizel & Hotel Chocolat
  4. Russell Stover Hollow Milk Chocolate Bunny
  5. Lindt Chocolate Bunnies (Dark & Milk)
  6. Caffarel Figs & Chestnuts (Fico & Castagna)
  7. Palmer Milk Chocolate Balls
  8. Thompson All Natural Milk Chocolate Crisp
  9. Short & Sweet: Butterfinger Jingles and Mint Miniatures

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:45 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewChristmasSweetWorks, IncChocolateCookieKosherPeanuts6-Tempting7-Worth It8-TastyUnited StatesComments (2)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Peanut M&Ms Intense 65% Cacao

M&Ms Intense 65% CacaoMy European candy blogging friends latched onto a new product last year, the Peanut M&Ms Intense 65% Cacao which are made in France but sold in quite a few European countries. When I had the opportunity to do a candy swap with Kristian at CandyBrain.de, this was on my wishlist of items.

I have to admit that the United States has the most diverse selection of M&MS, and we’ve even had Dark Chocolate Peanut M&Ms in stores before. So, I was mightily surprised to see that France got 65% cacao M&Ms before we did.

The bag is pretty big, with 9 ounces in a stand up gusset package. Instead of the zip top that many snack sized packages are getting the US, this on has a little sticker on the back you can peel off to use to hold it closed after you roll the top down.

Peanut M&Ms Intense 65% Cacao

The color variety for these is interesting. I looked at the ingredient panel to check if these were all natural, and it appears that it’s nearly so. I looked up all the colorings and found the following listed:

e100 is Turmeric, a yellow-orange dye (derived from plants)
e120 is Carmine, a red dye (derived from insects)
e132 is Indigo Carmine, a blue dye (derived from plants)
e133 is Brilliant Blue, a blue dye (synthetic)
e160e is Apocarotenal, a red-orange dye (derived from plants)
e162 is Beetroot Red, a purple dye (derived from plants)
e171 is Titanium dioxide, a white pigment (derived from minerals)

Here’s the weird thing about the coloring used on the shells. I could tell what some of the colors were without looking by the taste. The red one had a banana note and the orange one had a hint of curry.

Peanut M&Ms Intense 65% Cacao

The shell is quite the same as in the US version. It’s crunchy and not too thick but doesn’t crack easily. They smell nicely of cocoa and a hint of roasted peanuts. The chocolate inside is quite dark, with an immediate bitter note and a little bit of a dry undertone. It’s creamy and a little chalky but not in a grainy way. The peanuts however, were weird. I found most of mine were over-roasted, too dark, bitter and just plain ... well, not right. Maybe they’re not American peanuts, which I admit I’m quite acclimated to.

I wanted to like these more than I did, though I had no trouble eating them all. Of course the fact that they’re not available in the United States solves any issues I’d have if I did love them a little too much. Now ... maybe if they started putting Marcona almonds or Hazelnuts in there along with the dark chocolate ... then we might have something that would drive me to order from eBay regularly. I would be even better if the M&Ms World Stores would stock these international versions.

Some other reviews in the local territories:
CandyBrain (German)
Frau Shopping (German)
Grocery Gems (UK)
Foodstuff Finds (UK)

Related Candies

  1. Sugarfina: The Chocolates
  2. UNREAL #41 & #54 Candy Coated Chocolates
  3. Crispy M&Ms
  4. William diCarlo Perle di dolcezza
  5. M&Ms Premiums: Dark Chocolate
  6. Boston Baked Beans
  7. Dark Chocolate Peanut M&Ms


Name: Peanut M&Ms Intense 65% Cacao
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: candy swap with CandyBrain.de!
Price: unknown
Size: 9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 147
Categories: Candy, Mars, Chocolate, M&Ms, Peanuts, 7-Worth It, France

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:33 pm     CandyReviewMarsChocolateM&MsPeanuts7-Worth ItFranceComments (3)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Russell Stover Big Bite Caramel Apple

Russell Stover Big Bite Caramel AppleRussell Stover started releasing some of their favorite items in a new, larger format called Big Bites about two years ago. Most are sold year round and represent a cross over sort of candy. They look like giant box candy chocolates but are portioned more like a traditional single serving candy bar.

The new Russell Stover Big Bite Caramel Apple come in two versions. The first is a traditional caramel pattie, flavored with apple and covered in milk chocolate. The second goes further and gives it a coating of crushed peanuts.

The candy emulates a caramel coated apple, but in this case it should be easier to eat and probably has a better shelf life.

Russell Stover Big Bite Caramel Apple

The package says naturally flavored, which was a bit of a surprise after eating some other, well, not-so-natural green apple candies lately. The piece is very attractive, it’s a caramel center covered in milk chocolate and then drizzled with dark chocolate. Even out of the rather flimsy package, it looked nearly pristine.

Russell Stover Big Bite Caramel Apple

There’s a light apple sauce note to the sweet chocolatey scent. The bite is soft, though the chocolate is pretty thick. I was surprised at the smoothness of the caramel center. It has a pleasant apple peel note to it but not much in the salty or caramelized sugar family. The chocolate was passable, sweet and though note exceptionally smooth, it was creamy. The overall sweetness got to me about halfway through. Basically, a two ounce caramel pattie is just too much for me. A couple of small ones and I’m pretty happy, I don’t need quite this much at once, even if the shape is done well.

Russell Stover Big Bite Caramel Apple with Peanuts

The crushed peanuts on the Russell Stover Big Bite Caramel Apple with Peanuts adhered pretty well. The package had a little pile in the bottom, though, about a third more peanuts. Though the no nuts version is 2 ounces, the peanutty one is 2.25 ounces, I’m guessing that’s the nuts and no dark chocolate stripes. Overall, the peanut notes overshadowed the apple flavors, but the whole thing seemed even sweeter, giving me a sore throat in about half the time as the straight one.

I like the Russell Stover caramel, and think they do a good job, especially for the price with these items. This is, by far, one of the best caramel apple candies I’ve had, but it’s still not my thing. I’d just like to see some flavors I’m interested in, like Coffee Caramel (maybe call it a Caramel Macchiato and shape it like a coffee cup) or perhaps Bananas Foster.

Related Candies

  1. Russell Stover Big Bite Dark Chocolate S’Mores
  2. Limited Edition Milky Way Caramel Apple Minis
  3. Russell Stover Big Bite Pecan Delight Egg
  4. Russell Stover “Day of the Dead” Skeletons
  5. Russell Stover Assorted Wrapped Chocolates
  6. Tootsie Caramel Apple Pops
  7. Russell Stover Giant S’mores Bar & Mint Dream
  8. Milk Maid Caramel Apple Candy Corn
  9. Sixlets & Limited Edition Dark Chocolate Flavored Sixlets


Name: Russell Stover Big Bite Caramel Apple
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Russell Stover
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00 (on sale)
Size: 2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 140
Categories: Candy, Halloween, Russell Stover, Caramel, Chocolate, 7-Worth It, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:34 pm     CandyReviewHalloweenRussell StoverCaramelChocolatePeanuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesWalgreen'sComments (2)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Jer’s Peanut Butter Bars

In the pantheon of candy bars, the simple combination of chocolate and peanuts dominates the most popular candies in the United States. Snickers and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are usually jockeying for the top positions with M&Ms. I’m always eager to see what other candy companies are doing with this duo, especially with premium ingredients. Jer’s Chocolates, here in Southern California, makes a line of peanut butter bars from all natural ingredients.

Jer's Peanut Butter Bars - Pretzo Change-0 and Original IncrediBar

Jer’s Peanut Butter Bars Original IncrediBar is all natural peanut butter mixed with crunch rice crisps covered in milk chocolate while Jer’s Peanut Butter Bars Pretzo Change-O is all natural, peanut butter with salty pretzel bits covered in milk chocolate.

Jer's Peanut Butter Bar - Original IncrediBar

The Original IncrediBar is rather irregular looking, but for the most part about 4.5 inches long and 1.25 inches wide.

The milk chocolate coating is sweet and milky but with a good cocoa note to it. The filling is soft and crumbly, though not quite fudgy. It’s peanutty, like a peanut butter dough, almost. There are bits of crisped rice in it, which gives it a mild crunch and hint of malt, while there are also bits of crushed peanuts that give a heartier crunch. The salt is a nice touch to keep the whole thing from getting too sweet.

The bar is hearty, at only 1.5 ounces, I found it very substantial, as the 5 grams of protein would indicate. It’s not shy on calories either, at 230. The bars are very soft, and in warm temperatures, they turn to goo, as many peanut butter chocolates tend to. I made sure to keep mine stored properly and was pleased with the fresh taste of the peanut center.

Jer's Peanut Butter Bar - Pretzo Change-O

The Pretzo Change-O sounds right up my alley, instead of the crispy rice bits of the IncrediBar, this one has pretzel pieces. This was also a milk chocolate bar (Jer’s makes two varieties with dark chocolate, I’ll review those soon) with the same flavorful and smooth coating. I didn’t really notice much of a difference between the two bars, the crunchy bits were a little larger and perhaps the overall effect was less sweet. Both are fine bars. I preferred them over the the Cadbury Wunderbar or Snickers Peanut Butter Squared (which has caramel) which were the closest thing I could think of to these.

One of the thing that vexes me about these is the packaging. The boxes are great at protecting the bars within, but I have a devil of a time opening them. They’re securely glued at both ends, but snug enough that I worry about smashing or poking the bars if I use scissors to open it.

Jer's Squares Jer’s Chocolates also makes a mini version called Jer’s Squares of their popular bars. I like these quite a bit, partly because there’s a greater ratio of chocolate and partly because I like smaller pieces of things so I can moderate better. The big issue I have with them is that their list price is twice that of the bars but you don’t get twice the product. The pair of bars is about $4 (3 ounces, so it’s $21.33 a pound) and the gable box of about 10 pieces retails for $8 (4 ounces, so it’s $32 a pound).

Though all the ingredients are natural, there is no statement on the Jer’s Chocolate website about the ethical or sustainability sourcing for the ingredients.

Related Candies

  1. UNREAL #77 Peanut Butter Cups
  2. Justin’s Peanut and Almond Candy Bars
  3. Cadbury Wunderbar
  4. Snyder’s Peanut Butter Pretzel Sandwich Dips
  5. Trader Joe’s Soft Peanut Brittle
  6. Green & Black’s Peanut Milk Chocolate
  7. Koeze Cream-Nut Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cluster


Name: Original IncrediBar
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Jer’s Chocolate
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (Farmers Market)
Price: $3.49
Size: 3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Cookie, Kosher, Peanuts, 8-Tasty, United States, Cost Plus


Name: Pretzo Change-o Bar
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Jer’s Chocolate
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (Farmers Market)
Price: $3.49
Size: 3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Chocolate, Cookie, Kosher, Peanuts, 8-Tasty, United States, Cost Plus

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:08 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewChocolateCookieKosherPeanuts8-TastyUnited StatesCost PlusComments (2)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Eli’s Earth Bars - Treasure Bar

Eli's Earth Bars - Treasure BarThe final of the three vegan and organic Eli’s Earth Bars made by Sjaak’s Chocolates I have for review is called the Treasure Bar.

A solid layer of crunchy peanut butter topped with caramel and coated in creamy ‘milk’ chocolate. Vegan

It’s made with dairy-free rice “milk” chocolate which can’t actually be called chocolate according to the FDA, which has strict standards about such things. However, there are no other fillers in it, just cacao, cocoa butter and some evaporated cane juice. It’s an actual vegan candy bar that’s also fair trade and organic. That’s a rare thing. Of course, feeling good before you eat the candy is nice, but not really very productive if it doesn’t actually taste good. Now that I’ve tried all three of Eli’s Earth Bars multiple times, I’m ready to say that they’re actually good, but a little funky.

Eli's Earth Bars - Treasure Bar

There’s really no comparison for this bar to a commercial bar on shelves today. The center is like a crushed Butterfinger bar (or if you prefer, the vegan version would be an Atkinson’s Chick-o-Stick) mixed in with some peanut butter and then a layer of caramel then covered in chocolate.

It smells peanutty and sweet and a little like Cap’n Crunch. The rice milk chocolate coating is a little greasy and thin tasting, it’s more like a chocolate milk taste than an actual chocolate taste. The soft center is sweet peanut butter with a bunch of crunchy, peanut crisp lumps. Then there’s a stripe of caramel on the top that gives the whole thing a chew.

It’s odd, not quite successful but still compelling enough that I always eat the whole bar. (I’ve tried this bar three times now.) If you don’t or can’t eat dairy, this is a very tasty approximation of a dairy bar (but it’s made on equipment that does use dairy, so not for those with true allergies). But I’d prefer to just eat Chick-o-Sticks if I need a vegan peanut candy fix.

Related Candies

  1. Eli’s Earth Bars - Dream Big Bar
  2. Eli’s Earth Bars - Celebrate Bar
  3. Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups
  4. Q.Bel Double Dark Chocolate Wafer Bar
  5. Goldie’s Premium Carob Bar
  6. Sjaak’s Vegan Chocolate Assortment
  7. Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews
  8. Chick-o-Stick


Name: Treasure Bar
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Sjaak’s
Place Purchased: Whole Foods (Pasadena)
Price: $2.49
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 160
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Sjaak's, Caramel, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Organic, Peanuts, 7-Worth It, United States, Whole Foods

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:41 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewSjaak'sChocolateEthically SourcedMockolatePeanuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesWhole FoodsComments (0)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Eli’s Earth Bars - Dream Big Bar

Eli's Earth Bars - Dream Big BarIf I were to dream big and come up with attributes of an ideal candy bar, I’d probably start with real ingredients. Each ingredient should contribute flavor or texture. It should have real chocolate. It should be organic and fair trade, as ethical as possible. (And if this is a dream, it would be one dollar and sold everywhere.)

Sjaak’s Organic Chocolate has been doing just that, with their new line called Eli’s Earth Bars. They’re organic, fair trade and some are vegan as well as being made right here in California. The bar is a nice size, the portion is 1.5 ounces, which is what I prefer for a snack. I picked up all of their bars when they first came out, diligently took their photos, ate them and then tried to find more for the review. It took me 2 years to find them in a store again.

I finally found my Eli’s Earth Bars Dream Big Bar at Erewhon, walking distance from my office. The packaging design is good, it’s attractive but not too weird looking. It looks like there’s a candy bar in there, not some mush of seed hulls and dates.

Caramel and peanut butter topped with whole peanuts and coated in creamy ‘milk’ chocolate. Vegan

Eli's Earth Bars - Dream Big Bar

The bar looks great. The milk chocolate coating is actually made with rice milk, so it’s not technically milk chocolate since there’s no dairy in it. But the chocolate is still made with real cocoa butter (none of those palm oil fillers). I was thinking the bar was going to be kind of like a Snickers, but it’s actually a bit more like a Baby Ruth.

It’s about 3.5 inches long and 1.25 inches wide. The appearance of the outside looks like chocolate, but it tastes a little, well, odd.It’s smooth, but has a bit of a milky note without thinning out the flavor. Mostly I get a rice, or cereal flavor from it.  The caramel center is stiff and a little tough to bite at first, which tears the bar apart. The peanut butter is the right balance of smooth and salty, the peanuts are fresh and crunchy. Aside from the tougher than normal chew of the caramel, the textures go well together. There’s the right amount of sweet, salt and fat going on.

The bar most certainly doesn’t taste like disappointment or shame. It tastes like a candy bar. It’s not healthier, it’s still a candy bar, but it doesn’t compromise on the core beliefs - it’s vegan and organic and ethically sourced.

Gluten free but made on shared equipment with dairy.

Related Candies

  1. Theo Salted Almond Dark Chocolate
  2. Eli’s Earth Bars - Celebrate Bar
  3. Sweet Earth Bittersweet Chocolate Drops & Coffee Caramels
  4. Dark Angell Organic Candy Bar
  5. Equal Exchange Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt
  6. Go Max Go Jokerz Candy Bar
  7. Rally Bar


Name: Dream Big Bar
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Sjaak’s
Place Purchased: Whole Foods (Pasadena)
Price: $2.49
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 160
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Sjaak's, Caramel, Chocolate, Ethically Sourced, Organic, Peanuts, 7-Worth It, United States, Whole Foods

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:06 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewSjaak'sCaramelChocolateMockolateOrganicPeanuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesWhole FoodsComments (1)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Dewar’s Chews

On my short vacation last month, I made on candy related detour on what was otherwise a cookie-fueled holiday. The Man and I swung through Bakersfield, CA to stop at Dewar’s Family Candy and Ice Cream Parlor.

Dewar's Chews

I’ve tried Dewar’s Chews before, while on vacation I’ve picked them up at a candy shop in Cayucos. I was excited to go to their land or origin and try more of them. At the shop the outside temps were about 100, so I was eager to get our candy and stash it in the cooler in the back seat immediately. At the counter in the shop, which is mostly an ice cream parlor at their main location on Eye Street, the gal let me taste any variety I wanted. That was great, because I’d tried the five or six main flavors, but there were some interesting ones like Roasted Pecan and Chocolate Hazelnut that were of particular interest.

The taffy was $14.50 for a pound, which is a bit steep, but considering the fact that they use fresh local nuts and real dairy for the caramels, I thought it was worth it.

I chose: Pistachio Caramel, Peanut Butter, Almond, Pistachio, Roasted Pecan and Chocolate Hazelnut. I also got a 12 ounce box of the classic flavors to take to the office that included Peppermint.

DSC_2949rb

All of the chews that I liked featured nuts. The plain caramel is good, don’t get me wrong, it’s smooth and soft and chewy. It’s not quite as decadent as some of the artisanal versions that are popping up, but they’re rich and dependable.

The Roasted Pecan was one of the few that featured lots of nuts mixed in. It’s a strongly vanilla taffy with pecans in it, that’s it. It’s great, a little salty, less sweet and satisfying with a maple and wood smoke finish.

The Chocolate Hazelnut was a bit sweeter, not terribly chocolatey but with a nice hint of hazelnut. It was one of my least favorite of the bunch, but I still ate all of them.

The Pistachio Caramel was just the caramel with some pieces of pistachio in it. Great.

The Peppermint is soft, it has a bit of a corn starch chalkiness on the outside, but the taffy is soft and chewy with a great, light mint flavor. Very clean, no graininess.

Dewar's Nuts

The exclusive or unique item though are their nut filled vanilla chews. They’re a plain vanilla taffy filled with ground nuts. The first one I tried was Peanut Butter, which is quite nice. I’m accustomed to a molasses chew with peanut butter, but this was much lighter, much more appropriate to summer. The vanilla taffy is soft and chewy, the peanut butter center is a bit grainy and quite salty without being sticky. The combination is really fantastic.

The Almond version is also very good, with a deep roasted flavor without the artificial almond extract that some might want to impose on it. The Pistachio was also very fresh tasting with only a hint of the green tea and floral notes of the pistachio nuts.

The most notable set though are the nut filled vanilla chews. There’s something about them that’s extremely enticing. They’re devilishly unsatisfying though, I would eat one, hoping that there’d be more nut filling and then eat another one, thinking that one would be the perfect ratio.

Dewar’s does a far better job of making a special taffy that’s worth taking home from vacation than any other candy shop I’ve seen. It’s good enough that I’ll likely make web orders in the future.

As a side note, the cookie part of my California Central Coast vacation was also great. The two great cookies of the Cayucos area are from the Brown Butter Cookie Company (I like their chocolate cookies, which are like buttery sand, they just fall apart in your mouth) and the Pecan Chews from Linn’s in Cambria which were like the toasty top of a pecan pie.

Related Candies

  1. Mehlenbacher’s Taffy
  2. Mary Jane & Mary Jane Wicked Mix
  3. Bonomo’s Turkish Taffy - Chocolate, Vanilla & Strawberry
  4. Nory Rahat Locum
  5. Molasses Pops
  6. Tootsie Rolls & Fruit Rolls
  7. Doscher’s French Chew Taffy


Name: Assorted Chews
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Dewar’s Candy
Place Purchased: Dewar's Family Candy & Ice Cream Parlor (Bakersfield, CA)
Price: $14.50
Size: 16 ounces
Calories per ounce: 120
Categories: Candy, Caramel, Chews, Nuts, 8-Tasty, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:25 pm     CandyReviewCaramelChewsNutsPeanuts8-TastyUnited StatesComments (4)

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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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