Thursday, March 26, 2009

Reese’s Enigma & Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Eggs

It’s not often that I’ll stop my fast forward through commercials to watch something. I definitely did when I saw the Reese’s: Perfectly Easter advertisement.

    

I’m not only a huge critic of candy (because I love it so), I’m also rather fond of breaking down advertising, but I’ll save that for another time.

The important takeaway I got on that advert was that Spring is in the Air and Reese’s Eggs are a chocolate covered peanut butter product.

Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs

Candy Blog reader, Peloria, has been wonderfully helpful in helping me track down these two versions by leaving comments on my original review of the perfect Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs (2006 version). I got a hold of eggs for 2009 from three stores with two different wrappers. For the most part single Reese’s Eggs are sold with the package that doesn’t say that they’re milk chocolate. But I also found the six pack that says Milk Chocolate above the Reese’s logo.

Possibly No Longer Milk Chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter EggsWhether they say Milk Chocolate or not, the ingredients are the same. So I did a little digging.

The classic Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg ingredients were (2005 source):
Milk Chocolate, Peanuts, Sugar, Dextrose, Salt, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Corn Syrup, Cornstarch, Glycerin & TBHQ.

The current 2009 ingredients:
Peanuts, Milk Chocolate, Sugar, Dextrose, Vegetable Oil, Chocolate, Nonfat milk, Salt, Whey, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Corn Syrup, Milk fat, Corn Starch, Soy Lecithin, Glycerin, TBHQ, Vanillin.

For reference, the standard Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup ingredients are (in 2009):
Milk Chocolate, Peanuts, Sugar, Dextrose, Salt & TBHQ.

There are a few changes there, but nothing that definitively says that these aren’t a real chocolate product any longer. But they’re different enough to change the nutritional profile. There’s more salt (they’ve gone from 140mg to 150mg), and 11 grams of fat now instead of 10.

Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs covered with confusionSo I tasted them (after all, at this point I had 9 of them). The chocolate coating looked a bit chalky, not glossy (and some looked a little swirly and uneven in color). They’re soft and the peanut butter overwhelms any chocolate flavor anyway. The peanut butter center is crumbly and nutty, not completely smooth but not crunchy, just a little more rustic than the stuff in a jar. Salty, sweet and satisfying. The chocolate coating feels cool on the tongue and seems to melt pretty well, but it also melts in my fingers pretty quickly too. It’s a good time these come along in the spring because they’d never make it in a Los Angeles summer.

I’m not sure why Hershey’s has removed the Milk Chocolate part from some wrappers, I fear it’s because they’re planning something for next year ... kind of easing us into crappy candy instead of a sharp shift that causes an uproar like the true & mockolate Kissables being on the shelves at the same time. I still consider them a winner. The prices appear to have gone up. I got the six pack for $2 on sale, but buying the individual ones, the best sale I could find was 75 cents each.

Reese's Peanut Butter Egg (giant)Hershey’s has a bunch of other candies for Easter in the Reese’s line, too. There are Fudge Covered Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs and Reester Bunnies, which are just a molded version of the RPBC in various sizes. They’re more chocolate than peanut butter. Then there are the Foil Eggs, the Reese’s Pieces Eggs (in beautiful pastels),

Then there’s this strange monstrosity which is also called Milk Chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg but unlike the 1.2 ounce version, this one is molded. It’s also 6 ounces (so five times as big but twice the price per ounce).

Reese's Peanut Butter Egg (regular vs giant)The box is ridiculously oversized for the product - it’s 6.5 inches long. The egg itself is 4.5 inches long, 1.5 inches high and 3 inches wide at the broadest part. That means one inch of space on all sides ... feels like more than just protection, feels like a bit of fakery. (Though it’s easy to see the entirety of the product through the cellophane window.)

The ingredients are pretty much the same as the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup - erring on the chocolate as the first ingredient, not peanuts.

Reese's Peanut Butter Egg (giant)

I get the sense that these are supposed to be like those deluxe slicing candy eggs that have always puzzled me. Candy, in my opinion, doesn’t need any serving implements. It’s meant to be eaten with the fingers and needs no preparation or tools. Either I bite into this one and eat it all by myself, of I slice it up. Which I did.

Looking at the slices there, I think you can tell that this is not the same center as the 1.2 ounce egg ... it looks and feels a bit oilier (which is not a bad thing, just a different thing).

Reese's Peanut Butter Egg (regular vs giant)The interesting experience with these slices is that the amount of chocolate shell varies so much depending on where the slice comes from. The ends, of course, are mostly chocolate. But even in a center slice, the chocolate shell is especially thick, much thicker than any cup I’ve ever had from Reese’s, as thick as a regular Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar.

The chocolate flavor was completely lost on this product, it tasted like peanut butter fudge, though it was pretty smooth and sweet with a slight milky flavor to it. The peanut butter center was stellar. It was relatively solid, had the crumbly texture and didn’t taste as sweet as the regular eggs. I liked the clear distinction between the chocolate shell here and the peanut butter filling, instead of the unclear margins in the smaller egg. But sometimes the chocolate had a coconut flavor to it that I can’t quite explain nor say that I cared much for.

However, the silly over-packaging and price tag would certainly keep me from buying these ever again. But if you’re looking for something for a peanut butter obsessed person’s Easter basket instead of a pile of the small eggs or the standby bunny, it might be fun. Portion control was a lot easier than I thought, I sliced up rather logically into five pieces, though I can’t be sure that they were actually the same weight. The package says that it serves four (which means each serving is more than a single regular egg).

I feel like downgrading the 1.2 ounce Reese’s Eggs to a 9 out of 10, but maybe that’s an emotional response, a response out of fear, not one based on my actual tasting (though there was some throat burning from the sweetness I don’t remember from the past). As for the giganto one, it’s not something I appreciate, though I guess it’s okay. I give it a 7 out of 10.

The Truly Mockolate Reese's EggUPDATE 3/30/2009: Thanks to Peloria’s continued documentation, I kept looking for these other non-milk chocolate labeled eggs. I finally found them at the 99 Cent Only Store near my house. The packages were 2 for a dollar.

Sure enough the ingredients indicated that they’re really not chocolate (I know, the photo looks like all the other photos, but trust me, this is what the reverse says):

Peanuts, sugar, dextrose, vegetable oil (cocoa butter, palm, shea, sunflower and/or safflower oil), chocolate, nonfat milk, contains 2% or less of milk fat, lactose, salt, whey, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, corn syrup, soy lecithin, cornstarch, glycerin, TGHQ & PGPR, vanillin.

They look a little flatter than the milk chocolate eggs (labeled or not). As for the taste, well, this one seemed really salty to me, but maybe that’s what happens when I have peanut butter eggs for breakfast. (Hey, eggs are a breakfast food!)

The mockolate coating wasn’t bad, it wasn’t any worse looking than the current eggs. It has a similar melt and cool feeling on the tongue, it’s sweet but I didn’t taste any milky component to it.

I still don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know why they’ve have both on the market at the same time, why they’d make two versions and ruin something that was perfectly good and perfect. As for the ruining part, well, they’re not that bad but I’m not fond of eating palm oil when I could be eating cocoa butter.

Related Candies

  1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Bar
  2. ReeseSticks (Revisit)
  3. Hershey’s Miniatures
  4. Short & Sweet: Post Easter Tidbits
  5. M&M and Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Eggs
  6. Dove Truffle and Snickers Eggs
  7. Hershey Eggs
Name: Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey's
Place Purchased: Rite Aid & CVS
Price: $2.00 for 6 and $3.99
Size: 1.2 ounces & 6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150 & 140
Categories: Chocolate, Peanuts, United States, Hershey's, Reese's, Kosher, Easter

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:08 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. I agree that new 6 oz reese’s is a little puzzling; what demographic are they trying to capture.  The Chocolate to Peanut Butter ratio is way off too.  Not that great of a product.

    The King Size eggs with double the peanut butter are the best.  They’re pretty hard to find.

    Comment by Justin on 3/26/09 at 12:15 pm #
  2. I definitely get that weird, occasionally coconut flavor in the regular Reese’s egg too.  I definitely agree with the downgrade to a 9.  They used to be better, and I too am afraid that they’re just easing us in to them getting worse.

    Comment by Lesley on 3/26/09 at 12:42 pm #
  3. That’s really interesting about the ingredients! It kind of makes me wary now though…

    Comment by justJENN on 3/26/09 at 2:22 pm #
  4. Sera's avatar

    Veeerrryyy iiinteresting.

    Comment by Sera on 3/26/09 at 3:36 pm #
  5. Have you tried the Fudge ones? IMO, those have more of the taste I remember with PB eggs.

    Comment by Lyn on 3/27/09 at 3:25 am #
  6. Good to know which candies to buy and which to avoid at Easter! But I’m surprised you gave the egg a nine after your description of the overpowering peanut butter, the chalky looking melty chocolate, and the additional ingredient additives.  Cybele, I sense you have a general history of weakness for Reese’s PBCs…  grin

    Gonna be on the lookout for those fudge ones, though - they sound yummy.

    Comment by Karyn on 3/27/09 at 5:21 am #
  7. Peloria's avatar

    Great to see this feature, Cybele!  smile

    I don’t have any eggs with me, but since I have an egg from last Easter and both the marked/nonmarked eggs from this year, I’ll compare and post the ingredients when I get home.  I could have sworn that the two from this year DID have different ingredients, but I could be wrong.

    Indeed, though - it could be that they are trying to set us up for a change in candy.  Did you also notice that in the commercials and online the eggs are marked simply “chocolate”, no “milk”?

    Comment by Peloria on 3/27/09 at 5:36 am #
  8. These eggs are still my favorite.  I buy both the regular size and the smaller ones in a bag.  I hope they don’t change, I look forward to them each Easter.  I know there are pumpkins and trees too (which I buy) but the eggs are my favorite - purely for nostalgia.

    Comment by Georgine Bosak on 3/27/09 at 5:54 am #
  9. These are my all-time favorite candies, maybe tied with Reese’s Pumpkins grin

    I hope they don’t mess with perfection!

    Comment by Liz on 3/27/09 at 7:14 am #
  10. I work in retail and just the other day someone bought one of the new reese’s cups and immediately he opened it and took a bite.  He looked at it funny and brought it over to me for a refund saying that it looked old because of the chalkiness.  I told him it was a brand new box just put out on the shelf the night before.  Now I know, they changed the make up.

    Comment by patti on 3/27/09 at 9:10 am #
  11. I am obsessed with the little Reese’s eggs in the bag - they are the perfect size and chocolate to pb ratio.  It would be such a shame if they changed absolutely anything about them. They are the perfect candy.

    Comment by Molly on 3/27/09 at 5:52 pm #
  12. Yeah i totally avoid easter eggs that have more packaging than chocolate.

    That oily peanut butter egg looks more like aussie peanut butter, i wouldn’t mind trying it.

    America seems to have a lot of peanut butter related candy, we only have products with crushed nuts, though i wish we did have some peanut butter products. Great read!

    Comment by Sweet Pursuit on 3/27/09 at 7:32 pm #
  13. Okay folks, here’s what I have:

    1.2 oz Reese’s Egg marked “Milk Chocolate” purchased Easter 2008:

    Peanuts; Milk Chocolate; Sugar; Dextrose; Vegetable Oil; Chocolate; Nonfat Milk; Salt; Whey; Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil; Corn Syrup; Milk Fat; Cornstarch; Soy Lecithin; Glycerin; TBHQ; PGPR; Vanillin

    (Fat Calories 90, Total Fat 10g, Sodium 140mg, Sugars 16g, Cholesterol <5mg)

    1.2 oz Egg NOT marked, purchased as a single this month:

    Peanuts; Sugar; Dextrose; Vegetable Oil; Chocolate; Nonfat Milk; Milk Fat; Lactose; Salt; Whey; Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil; Corn Syrup; Soy Lecithin; Cornstarch; Glycerin; TBHQ; PGPR; Vanillin.

    (Notice something missing? Hmmm…  Also Fat Calories change to 100, Total Fat changes to 11g, Sodium changes to 150mg, Sugars stay at 16g, Cholesterol changes to 0mg.)

    1.2 oz Egg marked “Milk Chocolate” purchased as six pack this month:

    Peanuts; Milk Chocolate; Sugar; Dextrose; Vegetable Oil; Chocolate; Nonfat Milk; Salt; Whey; Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil; Corn Syrup; Milk Fat, Cornstarch; Soy Lecithin; Glycerin; TBHQ; Vanillin.

    (Seems basically the same as the 08 version, but Total Fat is 11g; Fat Calories 90; Sodium 150mg; Cholesterol 0mg and Sugars down to 15g)

    So it looks like three slightly different formulations, perhaps?  I haven’t test tasted them against each other, but suspect the change is minimal between the two milk chocolate versions - the version NOT marked, who knows.

    Sorry for the long post - just wanted to put this info out there!  wink

    Comment by Peloria on 3/28/09 at 7:52 am #
  14. Has anyone seen the white eggs around?  I’ve only seen them at Target this year.  I like the super sweet counterbalance with the PB.  I hope they’re not going anywhere.

    Comment by Justin on 3/29/09 at 1:40 am #
  15. Hmmm. The packages at my local Stop & Shop say “milk chocolate” on them. The ones at my local Target do not. (Didn’t look at the indredient lists, though.)

    Comment by Jim/The Velvet Blog on 3/30/09 at 5:51 am #
  16. Cybele's avatar

    Peloria - thank you so much for continuing the documentation. I finally found the eggs you’ve also seen and added that to the post here. I can’t say that I notice that much difference, but my arteries probably know the difference between palm oil and cocoa butter.

    Comment by Cybele on 3/30/09 at 6:05 am #
  17. I take that back. Target’s eggs are indeed labeled “milk chocolate.”

    Comment by Jim/The Velvet Blog on 3/30/09 at 7:35 am #
  18. Someone I work with brought in a bag of 0.6 ounce eggs today.  They are marked as “Made with chocolate Peanut Butter Egg” and the ingredients are slightly different than the 1.2 oz. version:

    Peanuts; sugar; dextrose; vegetable oil (cocoa butter, palm, shea, sunflower, and/or safflower oil); chocolate; nonfat milk; lactose (milk); contains 2% or less of: milk fat; salt; soy lecithin; PGPR, emulsifier; TBHQ (preservative).

    Comment by Evette on 3/30/09 at 1:22 pm #

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