Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Short & Sweet: Dollar Store

I buy candy a lot of places, but probably the ones that fit best with the original intentions of Candy Blog are the dollar stores. Dollar stores and discounters like Dollar Tree, Family Dollar Store and 99 Cent Only Stores have a mix of closeout products, mainstream candies and then a bunch of weird stuff that you’ve never seen before and may never see again. One of the purposes of Candy Blog was to seek out those fringe candies and demystify them. Here’s a bunch of stuff I’ve picked up:

Old Dominion Butter Toffee PeanutsOld Dominion is a brand I never saw in stores until about a year ago when I found their cheap but tasty Peanut Brittle at the drug store. Now I see them everywhere.

There’s no reason a couple of handfuls of fresh peanuts and some sugar can’t be dirt cheap and delicious. The good news is that I think Old Dominion has done an excellent job filling that niche. Old Dominion Butter Toffee Peanuts don’t come in the most attractive package ever, but the package has five ounces and boasts only four ingredients: peanuts, sugar, butter and salt. They’re Kosher and American made.

Old Dominion Toffee Peanuts

They’re a simple panned nut. A buttery toffee coating on whole peanuts.

They’re buttery, a little salty, crunchy and fresh. Not much more to say except that I wish they sold these in the vending machines in the basement of my office building. (My old office had PNuttles from time to time, which is similar, but a little more “toasty” where these are “buttery”.)

Zachary Thick Mints

I bought the Zachary Thick Mints at the 99 Cent Only Store because they’re called Thick Mints. I mean, how could I resist. They’re mints and they’re thick.

Zachary Thick Mints

They’re real chocolate, so they have that going for them. I don’t know much about Zachary as a brand for chocolate, I’ve had their sugar candies around Halloween and found them passable, but I’m pretty forgiving when it comes to sugar ... not so much when it comes to chocolate. The tray is flimsy and insubstantial as a serving piece (it bends and spills out the contents) but it did its job along with the box of protecting the product.

Zachary Thick Mints

They are as advertised, they’re big and thick. They’re about the same diameter as the mini foil-wrapped York Peppermint Patties (about 1.33 inches across) but they’re at least a half an inch high. The inside is more like a Junior Mint (a flowing mint fondant) than a York Peppermint Pattie (a crumbly and dry fondant). The mint fondant is smooth, with a tiny grain to it but a smooth pull and strong almost alcoholic peppermint flavor. The chocolate is a letdown, not terribly cream and lacking a solid cocoa punch. It still does a good job of containing the minty center.

Chocolate & Mockolate CaramelsI come up with a lot of ideas for the blog and very few are actually implemented.

A couple of months ago I got the notion that I should review the chocolate covered caramel bites that come in Movie Theater boxes. (Yeah, a very specific genre of candy, but there are at least three of them.) This one got as far as the acquisition of the candy, photography and consumption. I just couldn’t think of much of a hook for it. But hey, I can’t let it go to waste.

I found Hershey’s Milk Duds, Tootsie Junior Caramels and Zachary Chocolate Caramels at the Dollar Tree. So they’re all the same price and basically the same thing. But very different.

Zachary Chocolate Caramels

Zachary Chocolate Caramels are the newest one on the market. The box is rather generic but at least well made. The photo of the baubles of milk chocolate are appetizing and the product within does actually look like that. The box holds 4.8 ounces, not the biggest value of the bunch, but still a lot of candy, especially if it’s real chocolate.

Zachary Chocolate Caramels

Of the three this was the only one that had a protective bag inside. They’re really big and have a decent milky smell. The milk chocolate is thick but not very flavorful. There are some dairy notes but the melt isn’t smooth. The caramel center is soft and easy to chew. It doesn’t have a strong butter or caramelized sugar flavor, it’s more like a cereal note. Just slightly toasty and sweet, it reminds me of Kraft Caramels.

Junior Caramels

The Junior Caramels box says that it has 10% more free, which is good because it doesn’t even manage to cram 4 ounces in there. The package says that they’re soft milk caramels in pure chocolate. (Here’s my original review when they were first introduced in 2005.)

Junior Caramels

The chocolate isn’t as thick as the Zachary ones and they’re not as glossy. They don’t smell like much and don’t taste like caramel or milk chocolate either.

The chew of the center is soft but not grainy. Again it’s lacking in butter, toasted sugar and that stringy pull that I love about caramel.

Milk Duds

Milk Duds have been around since the 20s. They’ve gone through many changes in corporate ownership, packaging and formulation. Recently Hershey’s stopped using real milk chocolate to coat these choice little caramel bits which is too bad.

Milk Duds

They really live up to their name when it comes to appearance, the caramel centers are rarely spherical, they’re flattened lumps. The caramel centers of Milk Duds are quite firm. The chew though is completely smooth and slick. The flavor is authentically toffee-like with a luxurious milky note. It’s so sad that the cardboard mockolate on the outside trashes the flavor with off notes and waxy cocoa.  (I can’t say that the chocolate was great when it was real chocolate, but at least the flavor wasn’t off even if the texture was.)

Chocolate & Mockolate Caramels

It’s hard to declare a winner with this motley bunch. I love the center of Milk Duds, but the Zachary really do look the most appealing. I can’t say I want to eat any of them again and will probably dump out the rest of them before I flatten the boxes to be saved in my collection.

Related Candies

  1. Milky Way Simply Caramel
  2. Old Dominion Brittle
  3. Nips: Caramel & Dulce de Leche
  4. Junior Fruit Cremes
  5. Junior Mints Deluxe
  6. P-Nuttles
  7. Chocolate Covered Sugar Babies


Name: Butter Toffee Peanuts
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Old Dominion
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: Peanuts, Toffee, 6-Tempting, United States, Dollar Tree


Name: Mini Mints
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Zachary Confections
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 3.85 ounces
Calories per ounce: 128
Categories: Candy, Zachary, Chocolate, Mints, 7-Worth It, United States, Dollar Tree


Name: Zachary Chocolate Caramels
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Zachary Confections
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 4.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 131
Categories: Candy, Zachary, Caramel, Chocolate, 5-Pleasant, United States, Dollar Tree


Name: Milk Duds
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 124
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Caramel, Kosher, Mockolate, 5-Pleasant, United States, Dollar Tree


Name: Junior Caramels
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Tootsie
Place Purchased: Dollar Tree (Echo Park)
Price: $1.00
Size: 3.96 ounces
Calories per ounce: 128
Categories: Candy, Caramel, Chocolate, Kosher, 5-Pleasant, United States, Dollar Tree

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:03 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry     CandyReviewHershey'sTootsieZacharyCaramelChocolateMockolatePeanutsToffee5-Pleasant6-TemptingUnited States99 Cent Only StoreDollar Tree

Comments
  1. There’s not a single candy reviewed here that looks appealing to me. I live in Ireland, so the vast majority of what you review isn’t available to me, and I’m usually enticed by your reviews, but that isn’t the case here.

    I’ve wanted to try Milk Duds for a long time (you know, you hear the name, you want to experience the product), but seeing them up close like this has put me right off.

    Comment by Brian on 5/04/10 at 2:51 pm #
  2. Oh how I love Milk Duds. Not exactly high brow or quality, but nobody really expects them to be.  Sometimes you just need a good, trashy candy to satisfy a craving and pull out a filling or two.  I always get these at the theater.  smile Alwayyyys.

    The most interesting thing I took away from this post, though, is that you save the boxes of the candies you review…

    Comment by Elise on 5/04/10 at 6:16 pm #
  3. wow! I am tempted to try one of those! I don’t usually buy American candies, they are too sweet for my taste.

    Comment by tasteofbeirut on 5/04/10 at 6:49 pm #
  4. If I’m not mistaken, Old Dominion is based in Virginia.  I get the impression that they are a regional company, so depending on where you live, it may be something of a hit-or-miss whether or not you see their products.  I live in Kentucky, so I see their products somewhat regularly.

    Comment by Johnny Carruthers on 5/05/10 at 3:03 pm #
  5. Do you find that the candy you buy in the dollar stores is fresh?  I’ve been afraid to try them, thinking that they might be old.

    Comment by Pam on 5/06/10 at 7:45 am #

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