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Friday, July 25, 2014

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Krackel

Hershey's KrackelFor many years I have chronicled the demise of once-great candies that were cultural touchstones for generations of Americans. The usual trajectory of a candy like this is that the company making it compromises too many times with cheaper ingredients and formulas until consumers lose interest in the product entirely and it is quietly discontinued. No one misses it much, because it broke their heart before it died.

It’s rare to see a reversal. I’m glad to be here to tell you about it. Hershey’s Krackel bar was one of the last candy bars that Milton Hershey personally developed before he passed away. It was introduced in 1938 (and had nuts in as well, for a time). When the Hershey’s Miniatures were developed, it was one of the bars chosen to represent the favorite of the Hershey bar assortment. The single-serving bar always stood out at the candy counter, in a bold red wrapper and large letter with a made-up word for the name.

Hershey's Krackel Miniatures (Faux)
(Hershey’s Krackel mockolate miniatures circa 2008)

In 2006 Hershey’s discontinued the single-serving, king-size and larger sizes of the Krackel bar. It was still included in the Hershey’s Miniatures ... but with a substantial change to the formula, it was now “made with chocolate” but also adulterated with other vegetable oil fillers. (What they were, I can’t say, because Hershey’s would not disclose the ingredients at the time, though later packaging did list each bar separately.) At the same time Mr. Goodbar continued to be produced in all sizes, though they did move to the mockolate recipe.

With some small fanfare Hershey’s announced the return of the Krackel bar, citing shareholders as part of the reason for the return. The change to real chocolate was made in miniatures early this year and the bars returned in May. The current ingredients are:

Milk Chocolate (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, nonfatmilk, milk fat, soy lecithin, PGPR, vanillin), Crisp Rice (rice flour, sugar, malt extract, salt, monoglycerides, tocopherols.

Hershey's Krackel

I can’t exactly recall the actual Krackel bar any longer. I know I liked it as a kid and I know that I preferred it in the miniature version, because the chocolate was thicker. But other than that, I’ll have to judge the Krackel on its current merits without any comparisons because I don’t have a time machine and if I did, I probably wouldn’t use it to taste old candy recipes.

Hershey's Krackel

The bar smells sweet and lightly milky. It’s not like the regular Hershey’s chocolate that has that yogurty tang. Instead it’s just sort of fudgy, like cheap frosting. The crunches are good, they’re spaced out a bit, so it’s not terribly airy, just crunchy. Crisped rice often has malt in it, as this does, which usually gives Krackel a sort of malted-milk-ball-in bar-form vibe. Sadly, there’s not much going on here, though the hint of salt keeps it from being too sweet.

It’s much better than the previous mockolate version, though a far cry from being a good chocolate bar. It’s simply a passable candy bar.

Crunch and Krackel

I did pick up a Nestle Crunch bar at the same time, which has gone through a few formula changes over the years as well. The ingredients are similar, they’re both 1.55 ounces, though the Nestle has 10 more calories.

The ingredients on the Nestle Crunch are actually a bit better, with no preservatives or PGPR. When I tried the bar last time, I found it much better than previous versions, but not something I was likely to seek out.

Crunch & Krackel

As you can see from the comparison of the bars, the Crunch is on the bottom and has a lot more crisped rice in it. I did prefer the airy texture and crispy rice, but the chocolate flavor was nearly impossible to discern. As a piece of candy, it was passable. As a chocolate bar with crisped rice, it was very disappointing.

The Hershey’s chocolate texture was a bit better, but that could be that there was just a slightly higher chocolate ratio, since there were fewer crisped rice bits.

Neither comes out a huge winner, really. I like both package designs. Both are made in the United States. Neither Nestle or Hershey’s are using ethically source chocolate yet. (Though Nestle does have a “Cocoa Plan”, its little seals are just to direct you to information about its plan, not as a notation that this bar is actually using traceable cacao.)


Hershey's Special Dark with Crisp Rice  American Hershey's Krackel  Mexican Hershey's Krackel  Hershey's Miniatures

You can see more examples of classic Krackel wrappers here.

I’m still going to say that the Trader Joe’s Crispy Rice Milk Chocolate is my favorite. Though the ingredients don’t differ that much, there are no preservatives and no PGPR and it has 18% cacao content (about 1.5x the amount of Hershey’s). Still ... even though it’s made with Belgian chocolate, I don’t know the sourcing of it, but would like to see Trader Joe’s give some assurances about the ethical sourcing in the future.



Name: Krackel
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Ralph's (Silver Lake)
Price: $.99
Size: 1.55 ounces
Calories per ounce: 134
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Chocolate, Cookie, 5-Pleasant, United States, Ralph's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:43 am     CandyReviewHershey'sChocolateCookieKosher5-PleasantUnited StatesRalph'sComments (2)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

DeMet’s Turtles Minis

DeMets Turtle MinisEven the candies regarded as premium are getting into the mini game. DeMets, which is known for their nut turtles, recently introduced DeMet’s Turtle Minis.

DeMet’s may have invented the name Pecan Turtle, but they haven’t done much to exemplify the greatness of the combination. They’re mediocre, but at the very least, easy to find at many major drug store chains.

The bags are on the expensive side, mine was $3.79 for only 5 ounces, which is over $12 a pound.

DeMet's Mini Turtles

My first bag, purchased at a Walgreen’s not far from my house was bloomed slightly, as you can tell. It didn’t seem to affect the texture, but after I saw heard from a neighbor that stopped by to pick up a prescription a week later that Walgreen’s was shut down by the health department for vermin infestation, I decided to source another bag. (I really wasn’t concerned, it was fully sealed, but figured the candy deserved a chance to shine - but I was pretty miffed about the condition of the chocolate from Walgreen’s, so I’m unlikely to buy chocolate from that location again.) I didn’t re-photograph, though, since it was oppressively hot in my home and just as likely to bloom the new bag.

Even the new bag with its well-tempered pieces was still scuffed, so they didn’t look that dissimilar.

DeMets Turtle Minis

They’re mini turtles, so it’s not a complicated concept. What I was hoping was that each turtle would be a single pecan.

They’re cute and bite sized, a great concept really when it comes to this type of candy, which can get flaky and messy when eating in several bites.

The chocolate is marginal, to the point where I had to re-read the ingredients several times to make sure it was real. It’s sweet and not overly smooth or with much of a chocolate intensity. That said, it’s a good companion to the caramel, which is nicely chewy without being too sticky. The caramel didn’t have much of a salty or toffee flavor pop to it, but held everything together. The biggest disappointment is the shortage of actual pecans in my turtles. It’s like the turtle had only two or three legs, not a full four plus a head and tail.

If given a choice, and no budget, I’d probably seek out See’s Pecan Buds. They’re about twice the price and slightly larger, but so obviously fresher with whole pecans and higher quality chocolate. But, if I were trying to find something a little more on the decadent side for watching a movie or perhaps traveling, these might fit the bill.

Turtles, of course, contain milk, tree nuts and soy ingredients. They’re also processed on equipment with wheat, other tree nuts and peanuts. There’s no information about the sourcing of the chocolate itself.

Related Candies

  1. Eat with your Eyes: Merry Mingle
  2. Demet’s Hazelnut Turtles
  3. DeMet’s Turtles: Pecan & Cashew
  4. Fannie May Pixie
  5. Robitaille’s Presidential Inaugural Mints & Turtles
  6. Dove Milk Chocolate Pecan Pie Caramel Promises
  7. Disneyland Candy Palace - Candy Case Chocolates


Name: Turtles Minis
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Demet’s Candy Company
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $3.79
Size: 5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 146
Categories: Candy, Morselization, Demet's Candy Company, Caramel, Chocolate, Kosher, Nuts, 6-Tempting, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:13 pm     CandyMorselizationReviewDemet's Candy CompanyCaramelChocolateKosherNuts6-TemptingUnited StatesWalgreen'sComments (0)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ghirardelli Minis - Sweet Dark Chocolate and Cookie Bits

Ghirardelli Minis - Sweet Dark Chocolate and Cookie BitsGhirardelli has a very large and varied line of chocolate bars and individually wrapped squares. This year they also introduced a new line of Ghirardelli minis in five varieties: Milk & Caramel, Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Almond, Milk Chocolate Toffee Crisp, Dark Chocolate minis and Sweet Dark Chocolate Cookie Bits minis.

The package explains that “minis are the sweet way to share your love of chocolate ... anytime, anywhere.” The bag is rather slight at only 4.1 ounces but is priced comparably (per ounce) to the bars. I chose the Sweet Dark Chocolate Cookie Bits because it was a flavor I’d never seen in the bars or the standard squares before. Unfortunately the package doesn’t detail the cacao percentage.

Ghirardelli Minis

The packaging is a beautiful matte, medium blue that I found very appealing. The wrappers are also easy to open, which I appreciate when spending a little more on my candy.

I have to say that I don’t understand the point of these. They squares are 7 grams each, while the regular Ghirardelli Squares are 10.75 - so they’re about 2/3 the size of the original version. They’re a little thicker, but not unwrapped like so many Bites and Minis are these days. (Not that I think they would fare well jumbled in a bag, they’d probably break and get scuffed up instead looking incredibly charming.

Ghirardelli Minis

The little squares are about one inch on each side. The smell is odd for a chocolate product, it reminds me of frosting in a can, overly sweet with more of a cocoa and vanilla extract scent than the complex smell of chocolate.

The bite is easy, and the thickness of the chocolate means that the little cookie bits have space to stack up and provide some texture. The cookie pieces are crunchy and less than sweet overall, which is a welcome change from the chocolate itself. The chocolate is smooth, but like the smell, tastes a bit on the fake side. I know it’s not, that it’s probably the cookies giving off that smell, but it just turned me off from the experience. I was hoping for some sort of deluxe version of the Limited Edition Hershey’s that come out from time to time, but here I found it no better.

I’m still keen to try some of the other flavors, this minis line seems to be a bit more on the comfort candy side of flavor combinations than the regular line, which I think is fun. This one just didn’t work for me.

Related Candies

  1. Walgreen’s Good and Delish Milk Chocolate Cornflake Clusters
  2. Ghirardelli Squares Milk & Hazelnut Crisp
  3. Ghirardelli Intense Dark Sea Salt Soiree
  4. Aldi Chocolate Swiss Assorted Chocolate Squares
  5. Lindt Excellence Dark with a touch of Sea Salt
  6. Lindt Excellence Toffee Crunch
  7. Ghirardelli Holiday Squares
  8. Scharffen Berger Tasting Squares
  9. Head to Head: Cookie Joys vs Cookies n Mint


Name: Sweet Dark Chocolate and Cookie Bits minis
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Ghiradelli
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $3.29
Size: 4.1 ounces
Calories per ounce: 148
Categories: Candy, Ghirardelli, Chocolate, Cookie, Kosher, 6-Tempting, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:52 pm     CandyReviewGhirardelliChocolateCookieKosher6-TemptingUnited StatesTargetComments (0)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Twizzlers Mixed Berry

Twizzlers Mixed BerryIn the category of licorice-free extruded starch gels, Twizzlers are at the top of the heap. Though they’re known mostly for the standard hollow Strawberry twist, Twizzlers come in a vast array of flavors, color and formats. One of the newer versions Twizzlers has been expanding is the Pull n Peel varieties. Pull n Peel is basically the old fashioned laces, but formatted in a way that makes them easier to portion and package.

I picked up this king size version of Twizzlers Mixed Berry at Walgreen‘s, mostly because it came in the king size instead of the big nearly-a-pound bag. There are six twists in the package, a mix of three flavors: Cherry, Black Raspberry and Strawberry.
Each serving is two twists, so the package contains three servings - which isn’t bad for a king size package. However, the pricing for king size versus the full sized bag is never in your favor. (In this case, a quick check of the shelf meant knowing I was paying twice as much per ounce over the large bag, even with this on sale.)

Twizzlers Mixed Berry

The twists look kind of like a swollen version of what you’d find if you stripped the insulation off a phone cable. There are nine different colored “wires” in each bundle. The effect is quite appealing, as they twist gently and stick together lightly in the package. It’s kind of like a wheat-based package of mozzarella cheese sticks.

The texture is much more smooth and pliable than the regular Twizzlers, which I find a bit on the stuff and crumbly side of the plastic realm. My twists stuck together quite a bit, so it was hard to just pull off a single lace to eat separately. Cherry was the most discernible of the flavors. It had a deep medicinal note. It was smooth, not too sweet but also had a hint of salt to it. Strawberry was very mild and more sweet than Cherry. It didn’t have any tangy note, which I didn’t expect, but was also missing that fresh floral hint that usually evokes cotton candy in many other strawberry candies. The Black Raspberry (the blue strand) didn’t do much for me, it wasn’t distinct as a raspberry flavor on its own, but it definitely wasn’t the same as the other two.

Twizzlers Mixed Berry

Eaten as a whole bite of multiple strands, it works well. None of them stand out, it’s just a generic fruity-berry flavor. There’s a bitter note towards the end though, which I’d guess are the artificial colors or flavors.

I could say that one twist is satisfying enough (about .7 ounces), since I didn’t want to eat another after that. But if you’re the kind of person who misses that period of life known as kindergarten when it was socially acceptable to eat PlayDoh, then the Twizzlers Pull n Peel are probably right up your alley. (I’m not making that up, either. The ingredients of Play Doh are also largely starch based, though it’s not sold as a food item and Hasbro dissuades people from eating it, it’s really the salt that might make that a bad idea and the fact that it contains wheat so it’s not gluten free.)

Related Candies

  1. Twizzlers Chocolate Twists
  2. Limited Edition Twizzlers Pull ‘n’ Peel Grape
  3. Crazy Candy Co Candy Laces
  4. Sour Punch Bits - Tangerine-Lemonade
  5. Twizzlers (Strawberry)
  6. Red Vines
  7. Cinnamon Fire Twizzlers


Name: Twizzlers Mixed Berry
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey’s
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $1.50
Size: 4.2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Candy, Hershey's, Chews, Kosher, 5-Pleasant, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:55 pm     CandyReviewHershey'sChewsKosher5-PleasantUnited StatesWalgreen'sComments (2)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Good and DeLISH Morning Rush Coffee Bites

Delish (Walgreen's) Morning Rush Coffee BitesI’ve often wondered why more confections weren’t made from roasting and conching. What would happen if you roasted and conched almonds or hazelnuts in the same way we make chocolate? What about coffee?

Since coffee doesn’t have its own natural oils like cocoa that are solid at room temperature, it only makes sense to add a dash of them to make a chocolate-like confection to create these Morning Rush Coffee Bites. These are from the Walgreen’s store-brand called deLISH, but I did see a review of a product called Coffee Thins on Candy Bar Review that sounds like it might be the maker.

They came in three varieties, I picked out the simplest version, the plain coffee bites (Elegant Hazelnut and Vanilla Delight were the others). There are 14 in the package, but the serving size is a little strange to decode. There’s 4.9 ounces in the package and it holds 3.5 servings. So a serving is 4 pieces. Though the package doesn’t say anything about caffeine, the Coffee Thins website does say that one piece equals a quarter of a cup of coffee. (I’m unclear if they mean an actual fourth of an 8 ounce cup and how much caffeine that cup had, as it does vary quite a bit but I’ll stick with the estimate that even eating the whole bag will probably not result it an overdose of caffeine. The front of the package is no help either, as it shows one piece equaling a cup of coffee ... though the cup is the same size as the chocolate piece.)

Delish (Walgreen's) Morning Rush Coffee Bites

They’re packaged just like a Ghirardelli Square. The pieces are about 1.6 inches square. The molding is nice, it’s a generic mold but a good thickness for biting and getting a nice aroma off of it while eating.

The ingredients are a little vague:

Sugar, Coffee Liquor (mixed fats & oils*, coffee) dairy solids, (whey powder, lactose), maltodextrins, soy lecithin, PGPR, natural vanilla flavoring, salt

The oils are a blend of cocoa butter, palm oil, illipe butter, shea butter, mango butter, sunflower oil and/or safflower oil. It’s also unclear if the coffee is the whole bean or brewed coffee. (I’m guessing whole bean.)

Delish (Walgreen's) Morning Rush Coffee Bites

The mouthfeel is pretty good. It’s not quite the silky melt of a good dark chocolate, but it’s passable. The coffee flavors are very strong and well rounded, more on the woodsy and cocoa end of the flavors than the nutty, toffee or berry notes that some beans have. The sugar is quite prominent, which is too bad, because I don’t mind a strong coffee. If it were less sweet, I’d be a lot happier, but when you remove sugar, it has to be replaced by something else. There’s a buttery, cream note to the whole thing too that I thought was a little strong for something that I didn’t think was in the milk drink zone. It’s a balancing act, if you take out sugar, do you put in more milk solids or more coffee? More coffee would make it much stronger, but that might not make it better because the bitterness or perhaps even the caffeine would be too high.

The end result is that I’m satisfied with these as a curiosity. I don’t see myself buying them again ... unless they were actually blended in with dark chocolate. However, if your a sweet coffee fan, these might be the ticket.

Related Candies

  1. Mast Brothers Stumptown Coffee
  2. Feodora Mocca’s Dark and Milk
  3. Meiji Corot & CoffeeBeat
  4. Jitterbeans vs GoGo Beans
  5. Javaz - Milk & Dark Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans
  6. Coffee Rio
  7. Caffe Acapella - Coffee Confections
  8. Pocket Coffee
  9. Bali’s Best Coffee & United Coffee Candy


Name: Morning Rush Coffee Bites
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Good and Delish
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $3.79
Size: 4.9 ounces
Calories per ounce: 150
Categories: Candy, Coffee, Kosher, 7-Worth It, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:01 pm     CandyReviewCaffeinatedCoffeeKosher7-Worth ItUnited StatesWalgreen'sComments (1)

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Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.

 

 

 

 

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