Wednesday, September 7, 2011
When I was a kid Whoppers were made by Leaf who also made Sixlets, Rain-Blo bubble gum and a lot of different novelty type gums (like Hot Dog Gum). Mostly I knew Whoppers as a candy for movies, but like Sixlets, Whoppers came in a little clear cellophane sleeve, there were five of them and they were called Fivesomes.
Leaf had a couple of versions of Malted Milk Balls, their small ones were called Malt-ettes and were barely larger than an M&M if they were spherical and their largest version were called Whoppers. I feel like Whoppers were bigger when I was a kid, but I could be confusing the mockolate coated year-round version with the Robins Egg Easter version.
The Whoppers we know today weren’t always so grand. When they were first introduced in 1939 by the Overland Candy Company and called Giants. Leaf took over the brand in 1949 and changed the name to Whoppers. Hershey’s now markets them and calls them the Original Malted Milk Balls.
While they may have the same name as the original, I highly doubt that this is the original recipe: Sugar; Whey (Milk); Partially Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil; Corn Syrup; Malted Milk (Barley Malt; Wheat Flour; Milk; Salt; Sodium Bicarbonate); Cocoa; Contains 2% Or Less Of: Soy Lecithin; Resinous Glaze; Sorbitan Tristearate; Natural And Artificial Flavor ; Calcium Carbonate; Tapioca Dextrin; Salt.
They’re nicely spherical, about the size of a Peanut M&M. The shell of mockolate is mercifully thin, more of a protective wax sealant for the crunchy malted center. The coating is always a little rancid tasting to me, not terribly sweet but grainy and only the lightest touch of cocoa to it. The center is what redeems Whoppers. They’re very consistent - a dense crunch with a sweet and milky flavor with a good dollop of malt in there. They’re salty, but not too much to make me thirsty.
I can’t say that Hershey’s ruined Whoppers, but they’re certainly never done anything to make them better.
Whoppers are sold in a lot of packaging different formats, little single serving packets, small boxes and the big theater box shown and a fun size usually available around Halloween. But really the only kind of Whopper I think is worth eating is the Easter or Christmas version, which has a hard candy shell ... and even that isn’t as good as some other brands that use real chocolate.
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