Saturday, November 10, 2007
I’ve been spending my spare time toiling away on my bad novel. I’m still shy of my fundraising goals for the Write-a-Thon next weekend for National Novel Writing Month. So if you’ve been thinking about donating to the cause (and possibly winning some limited edition candies for your trouble), please, please do it soon.
My donation to the cause will be a candy buffet for the other writers to enjoy. Don’t worry, I’ll have photos and hopefully lots more to say about candy buffets and candy favors for weddings and other parties.
I’ve also been prowling around in the post-Halloween bargain bins. I’ve been horribly disappointed. My best buys were Ghost Peeps for 9 cents a package and some Wonka Donutz that have some sort of red goo at the center for 13 cents each. (I’m not sure if they’re from this year or not.) The better news is that the Christmas candy is out and I’m seeing the Junior Mints Deluxe at RiteAid already.
Here’s the week in review:
Monday: Boston Baked Beans (5 out of 10)
Tuesday: Cowgirl Chocolates Buckin’ Hot Habanero Caramels (6 out of 10)
Wednesday: Melville Honey Spoons (6 out of 10)
Thursday: Sour Patch Extreme (5 out of 10)
Friday: Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Filled with Creamy Peanut Butter (5 out of 10)
Average rating 5.4 for the week with a 20% chocolate content.
Friday, November 9, 2007
I’ve seen the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Filled with Creamy Peanut Butter at the stores for over a year now, but only in the super-duper 4.5 ounce slab bars. I didn’t really want that much of a bar and I figured it’d come around to the smaller size at some point. Sure enough I finally found them in the King Size. (I’m guessing they couldn’t quite swing a regular sized bar because of the proportions involved in making a filled bar like this.)
The bar puzzles me. It’s a Hershey’s product, just as Reese’s are, but it’s not branded under the Reese’s name, which is where most peanut butter products go (except for the Peanut Butter Kisses). I just couldn’d figure out what would be better about this bar compared to all the other Reese’s products in their line.
I’m not sure why I was so surprised at how it looked when I took it out of the wrapper. It’s downright unattractive. The five rounded rectangular segments have a “default font” look to them. The bar is long and thick, a little narrower than the traditional Hershey bar and of course triple the thickness to hold the “creamy peanut butter” filling.
As proportions go, this is more about the chocolate than the peanut butter - there’s probably a 2 to 1 ratio of chocolate to peanut butter here. The chocolate on this bar doesn’t quite taste like Hershey’s. There’s no familiar yogurty tang to it, but it does have that sort of soft & fudgy texture. The peanut butter filling isn’t an ultra-smooth cream as I was expecting, but not the dry crumble of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup either. I wouldn’t call it creamy. It didn’t have much of a salty hit to it, though the package did say that it has 140 mg, about half of what you’d find in a Reese’s.
It’s a nice tasting bar, it seems designed for the market of people who don’t want too much peanut butter in their chocolate and seem perfectly happy with a recommended portion of 2.3 ounces and 370 calories (the recommended portion when eating the jumbo bar is more responsibly set at about 1.5 ounces). The other difference between this bar and a Reese’s is that this one contains partially hydrogenated oils ... I’m not saying that’s a selling point.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
I don’t think I’ve ever thought that Sour Patch Kids needed to be sourer. Perhaps some sour enthusiasts did, but there are lots of super-sour, tongue-burning candies out there.
What I think is interesting about the new Sour Patch Extreme candies is that they didn’t just make them more sour. They mixed the flavors up a bit.
Each candy is a mix of two flavors. The head is one flavor and the shock of hair is a second flavor. I don’t think they looked too much like faces, more like feet with different colored toes to me.
Watermelon Grape (purple hair and pink head) - I was surprised, these went together pretty well. The fake grape has a little concord snap to it and the watermelon, though pretty much a straight high pitched sour also has that slight note of the rind in there.
Orange Blue Raspberry (blue hair and orange head) - I would have preferred my citrus together - maybe a little lemon and orange, but this was okay. The orange seemed to overpower the raspberry in the sour department, but after chewing to the point where it gets sweet, that’s when the raspberry kicked in.
Sour Apple Strawberry (red hair and green head) - This combo was quite as abundant in the mix and that was fine by me. The flavors were so distinct they didn’t seem to go together.
I rather prefer my flavors separate. The good thing is that you can just bite off the half that you feel like eating, but of course you can’t throw the other half back into the bag for later (well, maybe you could, but I wouldn’t).
While they are more sour, they’re also a smidge less flavorful. I think I’ll stick with the regular ones.
I got these as a sample at All Candy Expo, but I spotted them at Target and 7-11.
Unlike gummis, Sour Patch products contain no gelatin (they’re technically a “jelly” product). For that reason they are suitable for vegetarians.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Ah, foggy fall days have returned to Los Angeles. The chill in the air leads me to tea. While I’m a huge fan of honey, I prefer to either eat it straight or with something like plain toast or dip saltines in it. I rarely put it in my tea, but here’s a product that’s both a sweetener for your drinks and a lollipop.
Melville specializes in making lollipops in the classic tradition of the molded barley sugar pops. But they also have a line of Honey Spoons, clever little lollies shaped like a spoonful of honey on a pretty wooden stick.
They make two different varieties of Honey Spoons: Clover and Tupelo. Clover is light and fresh tasting. The spoons themselves are smooth and look like a little piece of light amber glass. The texture is smooth and slick on the tongue, no voids here. The candy is ever so slightly soft and can be bent slowly when it’s warm and thin.
The flavor is light and sweet, a little dollop of honey in mostly a sweet sugar base.
The difference between the Tupelo (which is prized because it doesn’t crystallize like some other honeys) and Clover isn’t really that discernible. They’re both extremely pleasant.
Just as an experiment I put one in a fresh cup of Earl Grey Tea (hot), and after about thirty seconds the spoon had melted enough that it fused to the bottom of my cup. A little wiggling and then stirring with it and I probably reduced its mass by half. I tasted the tea, which at that point was plenty sweet for me (again, not a sweet tea fan) ... so one pop will do just fine for most people. The one drink I can see this being especially good in would be a spiced chai.
I was really looking forward to the Lavender Honey Spoon. Earlier this year I ordered some Spanish lavender honey from Artisan Sweets and I love the stuff. It’s murky and musky with a dark oily feel on the tongue that reminds me of Rosemary.
The Lavender Honey Spoons, on the other hand, aren’t quite as deep and complex. Yes, there’s a light floral note there, but no real lavender note. Still, they’re pretty.
They’re expensive for just lollipops ($1.50 each), but really good honey hard candies are hard to find. They don’t quite rival the Juntsuyu I love so much from Japan, but they’d make a lovely hostess gift over the holidays with some fine tea or stocking stuffers. Sometimes I just like pretty candy (okay, I always like pretty candy if it’s tasty). I might pick one up as an impulse item at a coffee house, but I doubt I’d buy a whole package.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
My neighbors went on vacation a while back and brought me something I can’t readily find around here (which is one of the best things for friends to give you when the return from their travels!). They brought back this half-pound tin of Cowgirl Chocolates’ Buckin’ Hot Habanero Caramels.
It’s a pretty tin packed with golden caramels wrapped in clear cellophane. They look rather ordinary. Those words of warning “SPICY SPICY” across the front of the tin don’t really look like they apply to these caramels.
There are no little flecks of peppers, just a buttery smelling caramel. They’re very soft and have a good pull to them. Easy to chew they have an immediate low burn of habanero chili. Then a warmer burn. Then a throat blistering sensation that dulls all other flavors. Are they Buckin’ hot? Buck yeah!
They qualify as SPICY SPICY. I took to eating them with other things, like pieces of dark chocolate and pretzels. But I don’t care much for candy that requires assembly, especially when the other products aren’t included.
Too spicy for me.
I’m sure I’d like some of their other more sedate treats like truffles or these Truffle Bars. So I’ll keep that in mind. (As a general rule though, I don’t care for products that have logos with guns aimed at me.)
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.