Monday, November 5, 2007

Boston Baked Beans

Boston Baked BeansI love peanuts, though I rarely eat them plain. Peanuts are one of the most perfect nuts for candy. Moderate fat content, mild flavor that combines well with other flavors (especially chocolate) and spices. They’re also inexpensive, so can be found in a wide variety of candies from cheap to upscale.

Ferrara Pan Boston Baked Beans are one of those classic candies that capitalizes on simplicity. Candy covered peanuts. They’re sold in these little boxes, pretty cheap too, 25 cents for .95 ounces.

They’re named for a dish, a mix of beans in a brown sugar or molasses and spice sauce. These don’t taste anything like that, though they do have legumes at their center!

Boston Baked BeansSugar shells like the panned coating of Boston Baked Beans are great because they seal in freshness (in fact, when first developed as a process, panning was used to preserve herbs and seeds).

The sugar coating isn’t quite crisp, but has a slight grain. There’s really no flavor to it, just sugar. The peanut inside is a little soft, and tastes a little raw. No dark roasted flavors, just the fresh taste of peanuts. A little earthy, not at all salty and even a little on the sweet side. The nuts are well chosen. Even though all of them are not large, I didn’t run across any rancid or bitter ones.

When I was a kid Boston Baked Beans confused me. I don’t think I ate them until I was a teenager. I think I was afraid they actually were candied beans (and that’s not really that outlandish, as there’s an Indian confection which is candy coated garbanzos). The appeal of candied nuts just wasn’t apparent as a kid ... I don’t think I cared much for Jordan Almonds back then either.

But as an adult, I think these are fun and a nice snack. Not that easy to find though. These are suitable for vegetarians and vegans who eat beeswax, however the package states that the product is processed in a facility that also uses milk, egg and soy products (and wheat for those who are gluten-sensitive).

Just for giggles, I decided to list my favorite nuts for eating plain, in descending order of affection (though I have great affection for all):

1. Almonds
2. Cashews
3. Peanuts
4. Pecans
5. Hazelnuts

Here’s what my favorites lists looks like for my favorite nuts that are included in candy:

1. Pecans
2. Cashews
3. Hazelnuts
4. Peanuts
5. Almonds

So, what are you top nuts, and do you have a different preference when they’re included in candy?

Related Candies

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  3. P-Nuttles
  4. The Lemonhead & Fruit Heads
Name: Boston Baked Beans
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Ferrara Pan
Place Purchased: Ralph's (Glendale)
Price: $.25
Size: .95 ounces
Calories per ounce: 123
Categories: Peanuts, Canada, Ferrera Pan

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:52 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. Just to complicate things further, I think the list depends on what sort of candy you’re talking about. For example, I’d rather have a chocolate coated almond than a chocolate coated pecan, but I’d rather have pecans in caramel than almonds.

    I don’t know what my list(s) would be, but I’ll throw in a vote for the Brazil nut, which is missing from both your lists. It doesn’t show up much in candy, but I bet it would be good.

    Comment by jake on 11/05/07 at 9:33 am #
  2. I agree with Jake (not about Brazil nuts though. Ick) so here’s my list of favorite nuts with chocolate: hazelnuts, almonds, peanuts, macadamia & cashews.

    Trader Joe’s has dark chocolate covered edamame, which are quite yummy.

    Comment by Karen on 11/05/07 at 10:21 am #
  3. Hmmm. That’s a good question. I hardly eat nuts, even though I know I should.

    I do know as a kid, I’d always eat the Brazil nuts out of the nut mixes my family put out during the holidays. After that the macadamias, cashews, hazelnuts. Peanuts, Almonds and Walnuts all are good, but neutral in the picking order. I never carned much for pecans.

    Pistacios were always sought after, I enjoyed how salty they were.

    It’s hard to say what I prefer in candy, it’s really more about the texture than the taste for me.

    Comment by Sera on 11/05/07 at 11:35 am #
  4. Oh, this is tough.  I eat a lot of nuts, so I have to choose six for each category.

    Out of hand:  almonds, cashews, pistachios, peanuts, hazelnuts, and pecans.

    I do agree that with candy it depends on the type, but in general I’d say:  hazelnuts, pecans, cashews, peanuts, almonds, and macadamias.

    Also, I’m fond of Boston Baked Beans.  But yes, as a kid I was afraid they were actually beans.

    Comment by Alicia on 11/05/07 at 1:10 pm #
  5. As a kid I’d always eat the Brazil nuts out of the can too, probably because they were big and weird looking, but nowadays I just find them bland and oily, and I’ll leave them for someone else to take.  Hazelnuts are some of my favorites for both snacking and in (chocolate) candy, followed by almonds and pecans.  As Jake said already, some nuts are better than others in different types of candy—pecans and caramel are killer.  Cashews are decent for snacking, but they’re not that great in candy; they’re too bland to stand up to anything more than a little sugar coating, and if I’m going to be eating sugar roasted nuts, I’ll go for almonds or hazelnuts instead.

    Comment by Michael on 11/05/07 at 1:43 pm #
  6. I cannot stay away from Trader Joe’s Sweet and Spicy Pecans. I have so little self-control around a bag of them that I finally just had to limit myself to 2 bags a month. Oh man, they are so insanely amazing.

    In cookies I like roasted hazelnuts.

    In toffee I adore almonds. In fact, since arriving in California I’ve now had enough California Almond Toffee Squares to feel a bit ill when I think of them. Mmmmm, nearly burnt sugar taste, mmmm.

    Oh, and Marcona almonds (the kind you get at wine bars and in Italy), they equal nut love.

    Comment by Abi on 11/05/07 at 6:39 pm #
  7. Plain nuts: Cashews, Almonds, Walnuts (as long as they’re not bitter)

    Chocolate : Peanuts, Macadamia, maybe almonds but I much prefer them plain.

    Brazil nuts and Macadamia are both bland and oily on their own.

    Comment by leigh on 11/05/07 at 8:16 pm #
  8. I believe that Sam’s Club regularly offers large (several pound) bags of Boston Baked Beans, so those should be rather easy to find.  and if Sam’s stocks it, Wal-mart often carries it in some form as well.

    Comment by Jim Kosmicki on 11/06/07 at 6:50 am #
  9. I bought these recently, mostly due to the fact that I was charmed by the packaging, which has happily not changed one bit since the last time I ate them in, approximatley, 1982. Pretty tasty, and only 25?/box - a screamin’ deal!

    Now, as for nuts in chocolate, it’s pretty much almonds or pecans, and ALWAYS toasted.  Toasted nuts are 100 times better than non-toasted.  That said, I still really liked those Beans, but more in a low-brow, movie candy sort of way.

    I agree, the type of candy determines the nut..

    Eating plain, out of hand (in desc. order):
    dry roasted and salted peanuts

    In Chocolate:
    coconut (are we counting this as a nut?)
    not a fan of peanuts in chocolate, but peanut BUTTER is good. Go figure.

    In Caramel:
    maybe almonds
    nothing else -except maybe coconut

    In Nougat:

    The following I could take or leave, and usually do leave:
    hazelnuts (my state’s official nut -too bad)
    Brazil nut - taste like dirt
    pistachios - usually get chewy and don’t stay crispy in chocolate or ice cream.
    macadamia nuts

    Comment by Joanna on 11/07/07 at 1:47 pm #
  10. It is a complicated question. I’m going to go with Cashews for eating, Almonds for candy.

    Your post reminded me of a story. A few years ago I had a big box of Boston Baked Beans in my candy cupboard in my house. Every day the amount of candy in the box kept going down and down. One day I found the box sitting empty in my cupbord. I got very angry at my boyfriend. I told him that if he was going to eat my candy, he should at least tell me, and that he shouldn’t finish off things and leave the box laying there. He appologized, and told me that he didn’t remember finishing them.

    Next it was chocolate almonds that he ate a whole box of, leaving me with an empty box.

    It wasn’t until later when I opend a box of truffles, and saw little tiny bite marks out of the corners of all of them, much smaller than my boyfriends teeth, that I realized my boyfrind hadn’t been eating all my candy. It was a mouse. I little mouse with a sweet tooth.

    Comment by Rose on 11/09/07 at 6:51 am #
  11. I’ve been a raw vegan for over a year now, and I get a great many of my fats from nuts, blending with fresh coconut, dates, cacao, agave nectar, or straight from the bag.  With walnuts and almonds, though, I prefer to soak first, releiving them of their bitterness, and bringing a buttery flavor and pulpy texture to the walnuts in particular.


    Comment by Tennyson on 2/13/08 at 1:58 pm #
  12. Hi, I was wondering when boston baked beans went from a knubly or textured surface to a smooth outer surface.

    Comment by jeff on 3/30/08 at 5:33 pm #
  13. Jeff, BBB have always been smooth to my knowledge.  The rough textured ones are known as Burnt Peanuts. A very different animal. BBBs have a somewhat soft, shell, BPs have a very crisp, crunchy shell.

    Comment by Mike on 1/24/09 at 8:13 pm #
  14. I remember the Ferrara Pan Boston Baked Beans changing from bumpy to smooth!  I think it was around 1990 or so.  I can’t find any confirmation of this online and my girlfriend doesn’t believe me.  She insists they were always separate products.  I remember Alexander the Grape, and I think there was another slightly politically-incorrect fruit character.  What else have they covered up? wink

    Comment by Hutch on 1/13/10 at 12:02 pm #
  15. I couldn’t eat nuts as a kid because of concerns over nut allergies but little by little as I aged I started testing the waters. For better or worse I eats many kinds of nuts now with little-to-no reaction and I love them. My top 5?

    1) Cashew
    2) Macadamia
    3) Almond
    4) Pistachio
    5) Hazelnut

    I still cannot eat peanuts, walnuts, pecans or Brazil nuts—bummer!

    Comment by Tanya on 10/19/11 at 2:34 am #
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