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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sugarfina: The Chocolates

Sugarfina Assortment

Last week I profiled the exceptional and hard to find gummis from Sugarfina. They also sent a second Bento box to me with chocolate items. They’re all panned candies but a far more diverse selection from the gummis. Most are made in the US, and like the gummis, Sugarfina doesn’t specify who makes them.

Sugarfina - Vanilla Bean Malt Balls

Vanilla Bean Malt Balls: The white chocolate coating is flecked with vanilla bean bits. The pieces smell strongly of vanilla with a hint of toffee and coffee in there. The coating is sweet and milky, but completely overwhelmed by the bourbon-y vanilla. There’s also a fair bit of salt in there, so it wasn’t as sickly sticky feeling as it could have been. There’s a layer below that, perhaps a dark chocolate but mostly it’s there to break up the sweetness. Below that is the crunchy center, which has a mild cereal flavor but not much in the way of malt.

The whole effect is satisfying, but in the sense that I didn’t need to eat more than two in one serving. So even though the package was small and had very few pieces in it, I never felt the need to gobble the whole thing up.

Sugarfina - Single Malt Scotch Cordials

Single Malt Scotch Cordials: are a classic from Koppers. While I love the panned cordials, these raised my expectations a little too high. I’m good with a comforting rum flavored cordial without complaint. But these were labeled as single malt scotch. Though they have a little stronger note of leather or tobacco, they’re not terribly different from the ordinary flavored cordials. I’ll probably stick to the rum or cognac version in the future.

If you’ve never had them, there’s a liquid center, which is a little flavored syrup, then a sugar crusted shell then a layer of dark chocolate. The sugar shell makes it all very sweet.

Sugarfina Espresso Caramels

The Espresso Caramels were very similar to the Trader Joe’s Butterscotch Caramels (which I suspect are made by Marich). They’re wonderfully proportioned with a fair amount of mild semi-sweet chocolate and a nugget of soft, chewy caramel at the center. The coffee notes were not particularly strong, but still created a satisfying candy.

Marshmallow S'Mores

The Marshmallow S’Mores are an extraordinary little construction. At the center is a little marshmallow, then a milk chocolate coating. What sets this apart is the dusting of graham cracker on the outside. The marshmallow is mild and also kind of tiny, so all it does is make the whole thing lighter and easier to chew without giving it the doughy puff of sugar that I usually associate with Smores. The milk chocolate is sweet and very milky which offsets the graham crackers slightly salty and cereal flavors. I didn’t really care for the graham notes, mostly because they seemed a bit on the stale side, for crumbs.

DSC_2438rb

Pastel Malted Milk Eggs are a classic. It’s hard to not like them, even when they’re bad. There were only four of them in the little box, because they were each so big. The malt was good, crunchy and dense. The chocolate was okay, it didn’t add much to it, as is usually the case with pastel eggs because of the crunchy shell. I’d eat a lot of these if I had them.

Peanut Butter Caramels

DSC_2455rbPeanut Butter Caramels are not new to me. I tried them a few years back after hearing the concept and being intrigued. It’s a caramel center with a peanut butter coating then it’s rolled in powdered sugar. The whole effect is sweet, not peanutty enough and not chewy either. But I still find myself eating them all. I don’t know if they need chocolate or not, but I like the idea of a peanut butter confection that doesn’t have chocolate.

Rainbow Raisins

Rainbow Raisins

Rainbow Raisins were completely new to me. It makes sense, if a Peanut M&M is just a candy coated Goober, why can’t there be a candy coated Raisinet?

The colors are satisfying and lovely. The shells are crunchy and perhaps even a little floral tasting. The raisins were especially moist and chewy though sometimes I wasn’t sure there was any chocolate in there at all. They’re quite sweet, but the tangy bite of the raisins cuts that a little bit.

On the whole, the chocolates are quite fun and it’s easy to see how the hard to find combinations would make a special gift. They’re also expensive and though the bento boxes are a silly amount of packaging, the regular boxes are actually pretty efficient as they’re stuffed to the brim. The result of the packaging is that the candies don’t roll around a lot and get scuffed up.

I’m giving the whole roundup an 8 out of 10 rating.

Related Candies

  1. Sugarfina: The Gummis
  2. Trader Joe’s Chocolate Covered Sea Salt Butterscotch Caramels
  3. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Tahitian Vanilla Caramels
  4. Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate Malted Milk Eggs (Plus a Bonus)
  5. Bit-O-Honey
  6. Jelly Belly Deluxe Easter Mix
  7. K Chocolatier

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:10 pm     CandyReviewCaramelChocolateCoffeeMaltPeanutsWhite Chocolate8-TastyUnited StatesComments (3)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bar None Revived by Iconic Candy

Bar None (Revived by Iconic Candy)The Bar None, originally made by Hershey’s, was a well-loved candy bar. It was launched nationally in 1987 (I believe I lived in the test market area in California in 1986 and became addicted to them early on). The bar was also introduced in Canada under the name of Temptation.

The candy bar boasted chocolate wafers with chocolate cream and then a layer of crushed peanuts all covered in real milk chocolate. It sounds like a giant KitKat, but the reality was a bit different. The wafers were more aerated, the cream layers were more chocolatey and the crushed nuts were, of course, never found on a KitKat. Later in 1992, in an attempt to overcome some manufacturing issues, the bar was changed from a single piece to twin sticks with the addition of caramel. The wrapper was also redesigned to predominantly yellow and sales fell until the bar was discontinued in the United States in 1997. (More about the bar here.)

Bar None Ad

The Iconic Candy Company of Carle Place, NY specializes in reviving extinct candies; they picked up the rights to the candy bar and are in the final stages of their planned reintroduction of Bar None. They previewed the Bar None at the Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago last month.

Indulge me for a moment for a little more history, or don’t and skip ahead to the review down there where the candy bar photos start. In addition to one of the early ad campaigns for the bar (which included commercials and the tagline “Tame the Chocolate Beasty”)  I also found an intact wrapper online which revealed the original (circa 1990) ingredients for the 1.5 ounce bar (240 calories):

Milk chocolate (milk chocolate contains sugar, cocoa butter, milk, chocolate, soya lecithin and vanillin) Peanuts, refined palm kernel oil, sugar, wheat flour, nonfat milk, cocoa processed with alkali, dextrose, cornstarch, soy lecithin, baking soda, salt, TBHQ and citric acid

The new bar is 1.6 ounces and 240 calories:

Milk chocolate, dry roasted peanuts, chocolate cream wafer. Milk chocolate: sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk, chocolate liquor, soy lecithin, vanilla. Chocolate Creme Wafer: Sugar, enriched flour, dextrose, palm oil, canola oil, cocoa processed with alkali, soy lecithin, artificial flavor, salt, sodium bicarbonate, yellow #5, yellow #6, red #3, red #40, blue #1. May contain cornstarch. Contains milk, wheat, soy and peanuts.

The original bars were made by Hershey’s at their facility in Stuart’s Draft, Virginia (home of Reese’s Pieces). Iconic Candy is also making their bars in the United States.

Bar None (Revived by Iconic Candy)

The bar looks good, though I have to say that it doesn’t look as angular as I remember it. I thought it was a little flatter back in the olden days, but I could be wrong. I rarely took the bar out of the wrapper, instead when I ate it, I opened the end and just pushed out enough of it to take a bite because it was a very messy bar - both the fact that it would melt on the fingers and the fact that biting into it would sometimes scatter bits of the thin chocolate coating. I remember the chocolate coating as a soft chocolate, prone to melting even though I lived in the never-actually-warm Northern California area at the time. The original bar was also fatty, as the calorie count was about 160 calories per ounce, which is very high for a wafer bar.

It smells good, like chocolate with just a hint of roasted peanuts. Again, I don’t remember the peanut element from the original, which was really all about the taste of the milk chocolate and the cream filling between the wafers. The peanuts were for crunch, not flavor.

Bar None (Revived by Iconic Candy)

The bar has a gentle crunch to it. The chocolate gives way well without becoming a flaky mess. The wafers are crispy and light, quite aerated and different from the KitKat wafers, which are more dense. These are like an ice cream cone. Though I would want the wafers chocolate flavored, I think they’re rather flavorless, coming across a bit like malty foam.

The chocolate is sweet and creamy with a good milky flavor. The peanuts taste fresh and have a good crunch and consistent size. There’s a little note of salt, just on the crushed nuts. The wafer stack is good, though not as chocolatey as I would like.

There’s an alternate universe (if you subscribe to the multiverse theory) where Hershey’s didn’t pervert and destroy the original bar with the twin sticks with caramel. But in that universe, in which Hershey’s behaved otherwise identically, the bar would have fallen to the same pressures to use “safe and suitable vegetable fats” instead of cocoa butter like they did with the classic Mr. Goodbar which is no longer a good chocolate bar, or a chocolate bar at all. So even if there were a Bar None today, I doubt I would still like it. Hershey’s simply doesn’t make their products better over time, they just make the more efficiently. We’re lucky if that doesn’t effect the taste and nutritional profile of the product, but it usually does. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Good & Plenty are really their only remaining products that I still enjoy regularly.

So, in a way, I think it was a blessing that Bar None disappeared before it got bad. Because then people wanted it to come back. The new Iconic Candy version of it isn’t quite the same, but then again, the original had its issues. It often slid apart, because the creme between the layers wasn’t held together well enough by the chocolate coating. The sharper corners would get crushed. The chocolate would flake off. I don’t see those as issues with the revived bar. But it’s still lacking that fatty, slick chocolate texture that I remember. So, it may be an uphill battle with the die hard fans of the original. There’s also a case to be made that original fans may have had other qualities about the bar that they liked that are still served by this version.

Bar None (Revived by Iconic Candy)Tasting this bar today, without the reference point of the original, it’s a very well done effort. It’s airy and light but still very satisfying. The peanuts are a nice crunchy touch that don’t veer off into peanut butter territory as a flavor. But my tastes have changed now, being exposed to fine and dark chocolate from around the world have made me demand more from my candy. Now I think I’d want this in a dark chocolate version over a milk one.

The cross section though did give me pause. It’s purple. Why are the wafers purple? Well, glance back up there at the list of ingredients and you’ll see five artificial colors. I’m not sure why it needed them, but they’re there.

I’ve emailed with Iconic Candy, and the bars aren’t in stores quite yet. I’ll have some more information on that, and of course they’ll have information at their website as they start shipping to wholesalers and stores. If you have a favorite spot for buying candy, you may want to mention to them that you’d like to try the bar so they’ll order it.

Here’s a newsletter from Hershey’s called Chocolate Town USA from back in 1990 that details the launch of the original chocolate bar.

Related Candies

  1. Candy Tease: Bar None, Reed’s and Regal Crown Sours
  2. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Wafer Cookies
  3. Crispy M&Ms
  4. Tunnock’s Caramel Milk Chocolate Wafer
  5. Ritter Sport Neapolitan Wafers
  6. Q.Bel Crispy Wafer Bars
  7. Candy Poll: Back from the Dead
  8. I Miss: Bar None


Name: Bar None
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Iconic Candy
Place Purchased: samples from Iconic Candy
Price: $1.50 retail (guess)
Size: 1.6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: Candy, Chocolate, Cookie, Peanuts, 7-Worth It, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:57 am     CandyReviewEasterChocolateCookiePeanuts7-Worth ItUnited StatesNewsComments (22)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Snickers Unwrapped Bites

Snickers Unwrapped BitesThe new trend is reducing packaging. Well, maybe that’s what the food companies want you to believe. The new line of Unwrapped Bites from Mars means you get lots of little miniature minis without all the wrappers that become evidence of how much you’ve eaten.

Hershey’s launched something similar a couple of years ago, so it’s no wonder that Mars is in on it as well.

The package, with a zipper closure, holds a half pound of teensy Snickers cubes. Easy to dump into a bowl, or just eat out of the bag. They’ll also be available in smaller single serving bags.

Snickers Unwrapped Bites

Mars is utilizing this new icon system on the front of the package for serving size and calorie counts. The serving here is 8 bites or 41 grams, which comes to 190 calories. (3 grams of protein from the peanuts.) Stacked up, the little cubes are cute and hold their shape pretty well. They do get scuffed up in the bag, so they’re not that glossy, swirled perfection found in the individual wrappers.

I can see these being very useful for recipes ... though kind of expensive at 2.99 for 8 ounces, but no worse than premium chocolate chips.

Snickers Unwrapped Bites

What they got right here is the ratios. Even though they’re not perfect large Snickers ratios, these strike an extremely pleasing balance of nougat, nuts and chocolate. By far the nuts take center stage. Instead of omitting the nuts or putting teensy crushed ones in there, they’re still big peanut pieces. (Though I did get on that had no nuts.) There’s a hint of salt in the nougat which balances the sweet chocolate and caramel. The caramel really doesn’t do much here, maybe it adds a little chew.

What I really enjoy though is the portioning. I like that I can eat only three or four at a time, then maybe three or four later. A full portion is eight pieces, which is less than a regular Snickers, but feels like a lot. Of course the bag is 8 ounces ... nothing keeping you from eating the whole thing in one sitting. These are pretty much the antithesis of the Snickers Slice n’ Share 1 Pound bar ... and actually a better value since a full pound of the Bites retails for $6 instead of $10.

Snickers are made with peanuts, dairy, soy and eggs. They’re also processed in a facility with almonds and I cannot find anything that says that they’re gluten free. Mars has not rolled over to sustainable, ethical sourcing for their ingredients, though they’re on track for 2020.

Related Candies

  1. Rolo Minis
  2. Snickers Peanut Butter Squared
  3. Hershey’s Drops: Milk Chocolate & Cookies n Creme
  4. Snickers Charged
  5. Snickers Dark


Name: Snickers Unwrapped Bites
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: samples from Mars
Price: $2.99
Size: 8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 145
Categories: Candy, Snickers, Mars, Caramel, Chocolate, Kosher, Nougat, Peanuts, 9-Yummy, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:24 pm     CandyMorselizationReviewSnickersMarsCaramelChocolateKosherNougatPeanuts9-YummyUnited StatesComments (3)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

10 Underrated Candies

I often try to champion exceptional candies, ones that don’t have million dollar advertising budgets or huge fandoms on social networks. But there are other candies out there that have been plugging away for decades just being dependable. They’re not the best they could be, but they certainly don’t get the attention they deserve.

So here they are, not the only 10 candies that are underrated, but just 10 that I happen to love and find myself eating more often, now that I’ve circled around and tried a few thousand other candies in the past eight years.

Atkinson Chick-o-Stick

Chick-O-Sticks (Atkinson’s)

Description: Orange crunchy layers of peanut butter crisp rolled in coconut.

What’s to like about it?

Crispy peanut butter layers. You get right to it, no busting your way through some crazy overly-sweet mockolate. It’s just about the peanuts, it’s completely crispy, a little salty and totally nutty. The best format are the individually wrapped minis shown, they make far less mess than the long bar format.

They’re vegan and gluten free.

Hesitations?

Well, there’s coconut on the outside. I’m not sure why, but it’s there and it’s always been there. There’s not a lot and it really doesn’t contribute much to the flavor but does give a little chew to the texture. What would make me even happier is if they got rid of the artificial colors in it, which I could swear give them a slight bitter aftertaste that I don’t get from the equally lovely Atkinson’s Peanut Bars.

What makes it underrated?

The packaging is lackluster and they can be hard to find, especially in the Northeast.

Goldenberg's Peanut Chews

Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews (Just Born)

Description: a molasses chew studded with peanuts covered in dark mockolate.

What’s to like about it?

Molasses and peanuts. That’s it. It’s dark and mysterious, only slightly sweet, sometimes a little bitter. It’s chewy and crunchy and with a lot of nuts, it’s very satisfying and filling. They come in cute little bars, so you can just eat one or two and save the rest for later or share. They’re vegan!

Hesitations?

The mockolate coating is disappointing. It’s usually a bit toasty flavored but waxy so it lacks a creamy smooth quality that might really tip this over into being an incredible candy.

What makes it underrated?

The name and packaging marks it as an old-time, regional candy bar. Just Born, who bought out Goldenberg’s, renamed the candy, then brought back the classic name & design, further confusing people. The molasses component is a hard sell in artificial times.

Ferrara Pan Root Beer Barrels

Root Beer Barrels (Various Brands)

What’s to like about it?

It tastes like root beer! I tastes more like root beer than most of the cheap and weak sodas on store shelves and it’s more portable. It’s a hard to find flavor that really shines in hard candy form.

Hesitations?

Some brands are better than others. Voids in the candy can be sharp and make small cuts or abrasions on the tongue or palate.

What makes it underrated?

It’s hard candy and hard candy is for old ladies.

Honees

Honees Honey Drops (DiNatura)

Description: little honey flavored hard candies filled with honey.

What’s to like about it?

They’re dead simple and satisfying, the honey center coats the throat and does actually soothe without medication.

Hesitations?

They can be expensive and can be messy, as many packages get sticky because of the delicate filling in the pieces.

What makes it underrated?

They’re stuck in the cough drop aisle, not with the rest of the candy. Sure, they’re soothing, but they’re also comforting, and who doesn’t want to be comforted regularly?

Compartes Candied Orange Peel Dipped in Chcoolate

Chocolate Covered Orange Zest (your local chocolate shop)

Description: candied orange peel is dipped in dark chocolate

What’s to like about it?

It’s extremely simple with a good combination of textures and flavors. There’s the bitterness of the orange oils and dark chocolate, the chewy texture of the peel and the creamy melt of the chocolate.

Hesitations?

They’re a small treat, and the satisfaction is usually due to good quality peels done well (not to soft and sticky, not leathery tough) and appropriate amounts of chocolate. They’re often expensive, which is odd because it’s basically chocolate covered garbage, but they do require a bit of manual labor to make.

What makes it underrated?

Probably the fact that some places sell bad versions or put awful chocolate on them. They’re also not for everyone, citrus is just not everyone’s thing.

Hot Tamales

Hot Tamales (Just Born)

Description: rod shaped hot cinnamon jelly beans.

What’s to like about it?

They’re cinammony, soft and chewy. They’re not too hot, so you can eat a lot of them, unlike some other super sizzling cinnamon candies.

Hesitations?

The red food coloring is a bit overwhelming and sometimes I get a package that tastes like cherry.

What makes it underrated?

They’re just jelly beans. There’s only one flavor in the box.

Butter Mints

Buttermints (Richardson)

Description: buttery mint puffs

What’s to like about it?

They’re like sweet, minty air. They’re soft and melt in your mouth. They’re lightly flavored like peppermint, the opposite of the blast of flavor from an Altoid.

Hesitations?

They’re hard to find and can get stale quickly or take on flavors from other foods around them. If they’re sitting out in a bowl, they’re going to be disappointing.

What makes it underrated?

They’re marketed as an after dinner mint, not a treat in their own right.

Old Dominion Butter Toffee Peanuts

Toffee Peanuts (Various brands - shown is Old Dominion also Adams-Brooks Candies)

Description: crunchy caramelized sugar covering peanuts

What’s to like about it?

They’re often found at truck stops and in vending machines. They’re a great combination of satisfying peanut protein and sweet, buttery toffee. Though they’re similar to French Burnt Peanuts, they’re not as tough to crunch and often have a more authentic peanut and browned butter flavor to them.

Hesitations?

They can be sticky and sometimes if the bag has been shaken up too much, all the toffee comes off the nuts. (But then it’s just perfect as a topping for ice cream.)

What makes it underrated?

As you may have already noticed a theme here, underrated candies are usually in small pieces, not bar form. It’s easy to dismiss a toffee coated peanut because there are other, more trendy candies out there. But they’ve been making these for hundreds of years for a reason.

Spearmint Leaves

Spearmint Leaves (Generic)

Description: spearmint flavored jellies shaped like a mint leaf.

What’s to like about it?

There are so few spearmint candies in the United States these days, and these endure for a reason. They’re sweet but with a really powerful spearmint note to them that balances it out. The sugar crust balances the sticky jelly of the center. They’re usually vegan as there’s no gelatin used in gumdrops.

Hesitations?

They can get stale quickly, or worse, get sticky and damp. They’re not easy to combine with other candies in a trail mix. I feel like an old lady when I pick them out in the store.

Sugar Babies

Sugar Babies (Tootsie)

Description: caramel bits covered in a grainy sugar shell.

What’s to like about it?

If you’ve ever thought, “why don’t they make caramel jelly beans”, this is the answer. Why make a flavored item when you can give the same treatment to the real thing.

Hesitations?

When the get stale, they’re pretty hard. They don’t do well in trail mix with things like dried fruit because the moisture will make them even grainier or sticky.

What makes it underrated?

I think folks stop eating them when they grow up, and never go back.

So that’s my list. What do you think is undervalued or poorly marketed?

Related Candies

  1. Candy Tease: Bar None, Reed’s and Regal Crown Sours
  2. Flix Candy Flix Mix
  3. Candy Tease: Sweets & Snacks Expo 2011 Part 1
  4. Candy Tease: Nostalgia in 2011
  5. The 110 Essential Candies for Candivores

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:20 pm     CandyBrittleCaramelChewsChocolateCinnamonJelly CandyMintsMockolatePeanutsToffeeHighlightFun StuffComments (14)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Nestle Skinny Cow Divine Filled Chocolates with Peanut Butter Creme

Skinny Cow Divine Filled Chocolates with Peanut Butter CremeNestle is continuing their expansion of the confectionery line for Skinny Cow. The dairy dessert brand is now a candy brand as well. They started with wafer bars, which were passable, but contain a poor listing of ingredients.

These single serve packages of Divine Filled Chocolates have only 130 calories, but that’s to be expected because it’s only 1 ounce of candy. The wrapper describes the Peanut Butter Creme variety as velvety milk chocolate and delicious peanut butter creme.

Skinny Cow Peanut Butter Creme

As a treat, they’re lovely. The pieces are well sized and really attractive. If you lined them up on a plate, you’ll really feel like you’re getting a treat. So kudos to Skinny Cow for recognizing that part of candy is the beauty of it.

The ingredients list is long and the filling isn’t really peanut butter, it’s more like a peanut syrup, as it’s a combination of peanuts, corn syrup, sugar, dried milk and palm oil.

Skinny Cow Peanut Butter Creme

They smell sweet and nutty, not that unlike a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. The chocolate is soft and has an easy bite. The center of the chocolate has the thinnest possible strip of peanut butter creme in it. The chocolate is very sweet and milky, without much of a distinctive chocolate taste. The peanut butter creme is salty, that’s what I got at first, an intense amount of salt. There’s 80 mg in the package, which is a lot for only one ounce of candy, but really stood out because it was only in the filling. The peanut butter is gooey and melts right away because it’s mostly sugar, not peanuts.

I actually prefer the wafer bars, even though they’re not covered in real chocolate, because they have a lot of texture to them and feel more like a snack. This feels like a tease, it’s pretty but it doesn’t live up to the expectations that it’s going to be decadent or filling. There’s so little peanut butter in there and it’s only one ounce, the package has only 1 gram of protein. For the same calories, you could have three Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures (44 calories each, almost 1 gram of protein each).

I really don’t understand paying so much money for so little candy when it’s of poor quality. I’d say get something like the Q.Bel Wafer Bars or just have some Reese’s Miniatures (if you can stand to have the whole bag in the house).

Related Candies

  1. Hershey’s Simple Pleasures
  2. Nestle Skinny Cow Dreamy Clusters
  3. Nestle Skinny Cow Heavenly Crisp
  4. Bissinger’s 100 Calorie Bar
  5. Q.Bel Crispy Wafer Bars
  6. Trader Joe’s 100 Calorie Chocolate
  7. 100 Calorie Packs - How Lazy Are We?


Name: Divine Filled Chocolates with Peanut Butter Creme
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $.89
Size: 1 ounces
Calories per ounce: 130
Categories: Candy, Nestle, Chocolate, Kosher, Peanuts, 6-Tempting, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:32 am     CandyReviewNestleChocolateKosherPeanuts6-TemptingUnited StatesTargetComments (3)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Pearson’s Sea Salt Caramel Nut Goodies

Pearson's Sea Salt Caramel Nut GoodiesThe Nut Goodie is made by Pearson’s and debuted in 1912, one of the oldest combination candy bars still in production. Though they’re still mostly a local candy in the St. Paul, Minnesota area, they are found at specialty stores around the country. One of the notable things about the Nut Goodies (a maple cream covered with peanuts & chocolate) is that they’re made with real chocolate. There are a lot of regional candy bars that somewhere along the way (or maybe they started out that way) ended up with cheaper “chocolate compound” (basically, mockolate).

Pearson’s is busy celebrating their 100th anniversary with some special events, including the first new spin-off of the Nut Goodie, the Pearson’s Sea Salt Caramel Nut Goodies. (I’m not sure why this version of the candy gets a plural on the package.)

The new Sea Salt Caramel Nut Goodie – made with real milk chocolate, Virginia peanuts, sea salt and caramel – marks the first permanent line extension in the Nut Goodie’s 100-year history.

Pearson's Sea Salt Caramel Nut Goodies

It’s a very simple candy, which makes me wonder why there aren’t more of these on the market. A caramel pattie covered in peanuts and milk chocolate. Dead simple, but not easy to find.

The caramel portion is soft and chewy, almost the point of flowing. When they said sea salt, they weren’t kidding though. This 1.75 ounce candy has 220 mg, which is about twice as much as necessary. The nuts, as promised, are fresh and crunch and actually have that distinctive “Virginia” flavor which is a little more earthy and less green than other varieties. The chocolate is sweet but much richer with a stronger cocoa flavor than I expected. It was a welcome component to the piece. Really, my only issue with this is the too-salty caramel. I recognize that my low-salt lifestyle has made me much more sensitive to this, but I still think that the level, for a non-savory item, is just too high.

I liked the package, I liked the concept. I hope that Pearson’s considers a regular caramel instead or at least in addition to this.

Related Candies

  1. Gardini Bitter Chocolate and Gianduia with Sea Salt
  2. Dove Sea Salt Caramel Dark Chocolate Promises
  3. Trader Joe’s 70% Dark with Caramel and Black Sea Salt
  4. Marich Chocolate Sea Salt Cashews
  5. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels
  6. Pearson’s Nut Goodie
  7. Pearson’s Buns


Name: Sea Salt Caramel Nut Goodies
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Pearson’s Candy Company
Place Purchased: Cost Plus World Market (Farmers Market)
Price: $1.49
Size: 1.75 ounces
Calories per ounce: 143
Categories: Candy, Pearson's, Caramel, Chocolate, Peanuts, 6-Tempting, United States, Cost Plus

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:16 pm     CandyReviewPearson'sCaramelChocolatePeanuts6-TemptingUnited StatesCost PlusComments (2)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Zitners: Butter Krak, Peanut Butter, Double Cocoanut & Butter Cream Eggs

Zitners Easter EggsZitner’s Butter Krak Eggs are a local favorite in Philadelphia. Their Easter egg selections have been made since 1922. Like many candy companies, it started with a family recipe, sold to friends and neighbors at the holidays and expanded from there.

I don’t remember eating them when I lived in Pennsylvania, and I’ve never seen them in stores anywhere else. One of my fellow candy bloggers did send me a couple about five years ago (but it was after Easter, so I didn’t post a review) so I have had them recently.

I was looking forward to trying them again, so I put in an order from a webstore called PA General Store that sells Philadelphia favorites. I ordered a mixed box of 24, which included a selection of their four single serving sized eggs: Butter Krak, Peanut Butter, Double Cocoanut & Butter Cream Eggs.

Zitners Butter Krak EggZitners Butter Krak Egg is one of those names that sticks with you. The odd thing is that the actual description of the egg was a mystery to me.

They’re a coconut butter cream covered in dark chocolate, but the chocolate also has toasted coconut in it. (Well, they call it cocoanut. More on that later.)

All of the eggs are about the same size, about 2.5 inches long, about 1 inch in diameter and weigh 1 and 1/8 of an ounce. So they’re nice portions, about double the size of a boxed chocolate.

Zitners Butter Krak Egg

The dark chocolate has a lot of the crispy toasted coconut in it, it gives it a nice texture and is actually toasted and crispy (which is hard to balance without them becoming too hard and difficult to chew). The center is soft and creamy, like a buttercream frosting. It’s sugary but has an overall smooth texture. There’s a lot of coconut in there, though it’s shorter minced bits, so not too chewy.

The dark chocolate isn’t bitter but still balances the sweetness of the center well. This is one of those candies that I would like once or twice a year and I can see why it’s a local favorite. I’m not sure if I’ve had another version quite like it.

Zitners Double Cocoanut Egg
Zitners Double Cocoanut Egg is interesting for two reasons. First, the spelling of cocoanut. It’s the less used spelling of coconut, but it always makes me think of the Cocoanut Grove, the nightclub once located here in Los Angeles at the Ambassador Hotel.

Now, if no one told me the names of these eggs, I would have thought the Butter Krak was double the coconut, because it has coconut in the center and the chocolate. But the reality is that the cream center of the Double Cocoanut Egg actually has twice the coconut than, well, I guess the Butter Krak center.

It is dense. It’s not as buttery, sweet or moist as the Butter Krak. But it is coconutty. The center barely holds together. I liked how it was so much less sweet than all the other eggs I’d tried, it was far more satisfying. Still, it was just a chocolate covered coconut egg, though it was fresh and I generally like them, this one didn’t blow me away.

Zitners Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Egg

Zitners Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Egg was my favorite. It’s not really that hard to make a good peanut butter egg and they’ve done a great job. The peanut butter center isn’t too dry and not too sticky smooth either. The texture is very similar to a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup with a noticeable grain and fair amount of peanut butter oils. The tops of my eggs were a little soft, a hazard when coating peanut butter with chocolate. But they held together well. The peanut butter has just the right hint of salt and has a peanut butter cookie dough texture.

They don’t quite top the Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs but if you want to go for something locally made (if you are on the Eastern Seaboard) this is a nice option. (Though I don’t know where their milk chocolate comes from.)

DSC_1803rb

Zitners Butter Cream Egg was my least favorite of the bunch. It’s extremely sweet. The center is pure mushy sweetness. I was hoping it was going to have a defined butter flavor, or perhaps a brown sugar note. Instead it’s like a log of frosting covered in dark chocolate. The dark chocolate, though thin, does moderate the overt sweetness (as does a little bit of salt) but it’s still too insanely sweet with no other flavors or textures to provide a respite.

On the other hand, Easter is always the most insanely sweet season, the time of year when I yearn for white chocolate, so I know there must be plenty of people out there who must have these.

If I lived in an area where I had a choice between these and Russell Stover, I’d probably go for these in Peanut Butter or the Butter Krak over any of the Russell Stover varieties. (Except for the Pecan Delight.) But I live in a See’s area, and though they don’t offer them at the drug store in individually wrapped pieces, I would make the trip to get their Scotchmallow Eggs or mix of Egg Quartet (though they cost about 25% more).

Related Candies

  1. See’s Orange Cream Lollypops, Mayfair Egg & Pecan Butterscotch Bar
  2. Russell Stover Eggs (2009 edition)
  3. Russell Stover Eggs
  4. Russell Stover Eggs (2007 edition)
  5. See’s Egg Quartet
  6. See’s Scotchmallow Eggs
  7. Reese’s Eggs


Name: Butter Krak
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Zitners Candy
Place Purchased: PA General Store (Online)
Price: $22.99 for 24
Size: 1.125
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: Candy, Easter, Zitners Candy, Chocolate, Coconut, Fondant, 7-Worth It, United States


Name: Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Egg
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Zitners Candy
Place Purchased: PA General Store (Online)
Price: $22.99 for 24
Size: 1.125 ounces
Calories per ounce: 157
Categories: Candy, Easter, Zitners Candy, Chocolate, Peanuts, 7-Worth It, United States


Name: Double Cocoanut Eggs
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Zitners Candy
Place Purchased: PA General Store (Online)
Price: $22.99 for 24
Size: 1.125
Calories per ounce: 151
Categories: Candy, Easter, Zitners Candy, Chocolate, Coconut, Fondant, 6-Tempting, United States


Name: Butter Cream Eggs
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Zitners Candy
Place Purchased: PA General Store (Online)
Price: $22.99 for 24
Size: 1.125 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: Candy, Easter, Zitners Candy, Chocolate, Fondant, 6-Tempting, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:16 pm     CandyReviewEasterZitners CandyChocolateCoconutFondantPeanuts6-Tempting7-Worth ItUnited StatesComments (2)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Trader Joe’s PB&J Milk Chocolate Bar

Trader Joe's PB&J Milk Chocolate BarTrader Joe’s rarely takes a breather in their new product introductions. If I don’t go in for a few weeks, I might miss its appearance on the New at Trader Joe’s shelves only to stumble on it in the regular rotation. This was the case with the new Trader Joe’s PB&J Milk Chocolate Bar . The bar is found at the check out stands, in my case, mixed in with the Speculoos Bars.

The bar is simply a milk chocolate bar with creamy peanut butter and tart raspberry jelly.

The bar is about 5 inches long and 1.25 inches wide. It’s a nicely sized portion, at 1.75 ounces though the calorie count is a bit high since it’s so fatty - 230 calories for the bar or if you’d like to compare it to others I’ve reviewed, it’s 160 calories per ounce.

DSC_1496rb

There’s no statement about the origin or sourcing of the chocolate, but some of the ingredients are organic like the palm oil in the peanut butter filling and some of the sugar.

Trader Joe's PB&J Milk Chocolate Bar

The bar looks very simple. There are six segments, each filled with a base of peanut butter and topped with a syrupy raspberry jelly.

The milk chocolate is quite dark and has a smoky flavor to it. It’s smooth and has an excellent silky melt and strong flavor of its own, however, the overriding scent of the bar is peanut butter. Once I bit into a segment, though, the raspberry flavors were far more evident. The whole thing really was like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

The peanut butter is smooth, it has a dark roasted flavor with a hint of bitterness to it. There’s also a fair bit of salt, 60 mg for the whole bar, considering how much actual peanut butter is in there, I feel like it’s a lot but not over-salted.The jelly itself is a little runny. The best effect for the bar is to bite the segments, to get the smell of the berries, but that just makes the goo run. The raspberry is smooth, not at all grainy, it’s sweet but has a tartness to it. There are no seeds, but the flavor of the seeds, that woodsy green note is there.

For a buck, it’s a great bar. It’s different from anything else you can get in this price range and the ingredients are top of the line. The profile is less sweet than most other candy bars, which is refreshing.

There are no preservatives or artificial colors/flavors. It contains milk, soy and peanuts and may contain traces of wheat, eggs and/or tree nuts. It’s Kosher and made in Canada.

Related Candies

  1. Annabelle’s Abba-Zaba Strawberry Peanut Butter
  2. Baron Milk Chocolate PB&Js
  3. Trader Joe’s Les Chocolats Belgique (Belgian Bars): Caramel, Chocolate Buttercream & Speculoos
  4. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
  5. Madelaine Duets
  6. Trader Joe’s Classic Chocolate Bars
  7. Trader Joe’s PB & J Bar


Name: PB&J Milk Chocolate Bar
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Silver Lake0
Price: $.99
Size: 1.75 ounces
Calories per ounce: 160
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Trader Joe's, Chocolate, Jelly Candy, Kosher, Peanuts, 8-Tasty, Canada

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:41 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewTrader Joe'sChocolateJelly CandyKosherPeanuts8-TastyCanadaComments (6)

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Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.

 

 

 

 

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COUNTDOWN.

Halloween Candy Season Ends

-55 days

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Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Lindt Chocolate Cookie

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

• Dandelion Chocolate

• Trader Joe’s Holiday Roundup 2014

 

 

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