Friday, November 2, 2007

Kenny’s Licorice Pastels & Root Beer Twists

Kenny's Licorice PastelsIn the Autumn a candy lover’s fancy turns to Licorice. (Well, if you like licorice.) The cooler air and shorter days seem to beg for the earthy flavors of a good molasses-based licorice. I get that not everyone likes licorice. It’s like mincemeat and cloves ... not everyone gets it.

There are lots of different versions of licorice, but one of my favorites are pastels, which are little nibbles covered in a candy shell. (Just like candy covered chocolate like M&Ms are a great way to eat chocolate!) I’ve had at least a dozen different varieties, from Good & Plenty to Koppers to Jelly Belly. They’re all good ... but after Good & Plenty, they get kind of expensive. (I’m not sure why.)

I was pretty happy to find Kenny’s Licorice Pastels at the All Candy Expo. They do great things with licorice, including using real licorice extract and making their products affordable (you’ve probably seen them repackage and sold under house brands or in bulk bins before).

Kenny's Licorice PastelsThese are not the licorice pastels you’re looking for. Move along.

They’re made from a very thin piece of licorice, think laces chopped into little segments. Nothing wrong with that. But the coatings are irregular. Some are chipped, which may have been me treating the package like a bean bag in my travels. Still, the coating wasn’t complete on some, with little bits of licorice sticking out or appearing just below the thin veneer of sugar shell.

The color choice is interesting. White, Green, Mustard Yellow, Black, Purple and Hot Pink.

They were soft and fresh. The sugar shell didn’t have a sharp and crisp crunch like the ones I get in the little bulk tubs at Cost Plus World Market. I like that kind of shell, but this was okay ... more like the Good & Plenty side of things. The licorice inside is nice and chewy and has a good note of roasted molasses and real licorice and anise extracts. (The anise is detectable in the shell.)

The thing that spoiled it for me (and this is just me) was that there was Red #40 in them. It was absolutely detectable in the pink and purple candies. (I even did several blind tests to see if I was just being dramatic.) It made them bitter. I had to separate them out from the rest of the bag ... and not eating a third of them doesn’t really make them cheaper. (4 out of 10)

Kenny's Root Beer TwistsRoot Beer is another one of those niche flavors. It’s earthy and a little like wintergreen. I find it refreshing, and yes, a smidge medicinal.

I love root beer barrel hard candies and the root beer Bottle Caps, which are pretty much the only candies that incorporate root beer well into their pantheon of flavors.

Kenny’s also makes a huge line of flavored Juicy Twists (I’m loathe to use the term “red licorice” which is like saying “unsweetened sugar”.) They come in watermelon, green apple, chocolate and of course, Root Beer.

The twists aren’t really that twisted (only a half twist per length), but have pleasant ridges. They’re shiny and rather firm (but not stale). They don’t have the firmly pinched ends that other brands like Red Vines have. But they are hollow (if you’re a straw person).

The root beer flavor is sweet and has a nice balsam quality, not as intense as some other more spicy candies, but still a good match for the flour-based twist. I’d love it if they were more intense, but this is often my problem with root beer in general. I want lots of flavor. But, as I mentioned before, I take my root beer enjoyment where I can. These are a fun change from hard candies. (7 out of 10)

Related Candies

  1. Good & Plenty (Fresh from the Factory)
  2. Twizzlers Rainbow Twists
  3. Pure Fun Candy Floss
  4. Haribo Licorice Wheels
  5. Licorice Bridge Mix
Name: Licorice Pastel & Root Beer Juicy Twists
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Kenny's Candy Company
Place Purchased: samples from All Candy Expo
Price: retail ~$1.50 each
Size: 5 ounces & 10 ounces
Calories per ounce: 98 & 82
Categories: Chew, Licorice, United States, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:04 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. Yum! smile

    Comment by Sera on 11/02/07 at 11:17 am #
  2. Wow I can’t tell if I’d love those root beer twists or hate ‘em…..Interesting.

    Comment by Hillary on 11/02/07 at 12:08 pm #
  3. I have licorice every so often, thinking that my taste buds have matured and I’ll like it.  And each time I spit it out.  I guess I’ll never be a licorice fan!

    Comment by Alicia on 11/02/07 at 3:28 pm #
  4. I just noticed my local Wawa selles Kenny’s (repackaged) Juicy Twists. No root beer though, only green apple and watermelon.

    Comment by Sera on 11/08/07 at 11:02 am #
  5. I really want to buy Kenny’s licorice, but cant find it anywhere around where I live…

    Comment by Tam on 11/24/07 at 1:44 pm #

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