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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Candyology 101 - Podcast Episode 28 - 2015 In Reviews


In our latest episode of Candyology 101, Maria and I reviewed the sweetest products of the year. And a few that weren’t so great. Listen now right here.

You can also download the MP3 and check out the show notes.


POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:12 pm     CandyChristmasHighlightRadio Interviews

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Dum-Dums Holiday Pops (Limited Edition)

DSC_0107Dum-Dums are pretty basic, kind of small lollipops. They’ve always come in a wide variety of flavors that have changed based on popularity. Only recently has Spangler, who makes Dum-Dums, come out with holiday themed product packages of the pops.

The Dum-Dums Limited Edition Holiday Pops is a bag of eight different flavors of individually wrapped lollipops. I believe they were available in 2014, but I just picked them up this year.


Green Apple Grinch - there’s nothing grinchy about this flavor, it’s straight up fake green apple. The pop is bright green, the flavor is rather thin but definitely sour apple flavor and not actual apple.

Apple Cider is one of the amber colored pops. The flavor is similar to the Green Apple, but less bright, more muted and it has a more apple sauce or honey note to it.

Sugar Cookie is an opaque cream color. It’s pleasant but bland, as are sugar cookies. The flavor is creamy without a heavy dose of butter flavor. It’s a little vanilla, a little marshmallow. Pretty much a good lollipop. If they added a little nutmeg, I’d call it Egg Nog (and I’d be pretty happy).

Sugar Plum is purple and very pretty, like a little gem. I don’t actually know what a real sugar plum is but I can tell you that this one is vaguely grape.

Hot Cocoa looks like the Gingerbread or Apple Cider pop, but it’s a little more milky or opaque. I was expecting this to be horrible, but it’s actually a passable chocolate marshmallow flavor. The cocoa smells a little musty and thin, but the flavor has a creamy vanilla note, like a marshmallow that holds it together.

Gingerbread is one of the beige ones. It’s sweet and has a light note of spice that features a little ginger, a little cinnamon. One of the things about gingerbread-the-baked-good that I like is the molasses, and there’s no note of that here.

Polar Punch is very blue. It’s a tropical punch flavor with a distinct raspberry note to it. There’s a long-lingering aftertaste of the berry flavor that isn’t necessarily unpleasant, but I also had a blue tongue for a while.

Merry Cherry is red. I haven’t had a cherry Dum-Dums for a while, so I can’t say if this is any different. It’s sweet and don’t really have a tangy fruit note to it. It wasn’t like a wild cherry Life Saver, it was more like a cough drop. I find cherry to be rather medicinal, and this was especially so. But I know some folks like the flavor.

I love this idea, and I’d like to see it with a few more specialty flavors, like an Egg Nog, maybe something Cranberry, Peppermint Stick, Rum Raisin. If they’re making things that are bacon flavor, they can absolutely go way out there with Speculoos and Bailey’s Irish Creme.

Each pop is about 25 calories, so they’re a petite treat that should fit into most regular diets. They last a little longer than a traditional hard candy because it’s on a stick and is a bit more interactive. Dum-Dums are made in the USA in a facility free from major allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat and gluten.

Related Candies

  1. Brach’s Christmas Nougats Mix
  2. See’s Holiday Pie Truffles
  3. Christmas Bars: Hershey’s, Niederegger, Ghirardelli & Hachez
  4. Krauterbonbons from Lubeck Christmas Market
  5. Trader Joe’s Classic Holiday Candy Mix
  6. Ghirardelli Holiday Squares
  7. Spangler Candy Canes

Name: Dum-Dums Holiday Pops
Brand: Spangler Candy
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $2.69
Size: 10.4 ounces
Calories per ounce: 109
Categories: Candy, Christmas, Spangler Candy, Hard Candy & Lollipops, Limited Edition, 6-Tempting, United States, Walgreen's

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:55 pm     CandyReviewChristmasSpangler CandyHard Candy & LollipopsLimited Edition6-TemptingUnited StatesWalgreen's

Friday, December 18, 2015

Dove Holiday Mint Cookie Promises

DSC_0093I have a soft spot for Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies. Mostly the soft spot is in my memory, because I don’t find the current day item meets my pickier standards. It shouldn’t be that hard to make a chocolate cookie with a minted chocolate coating.

So, if I can’t get my itch scratched with Thin Mints, perhaps I should turn it on its end and have something chocolate with cookies, instead of cookies with chocolate. Mars’ new Target-exclusive Promises for Christmas are just that: Dove Milk Chocolate Holiday Mint Cookie Promises.


The idea is simple, and certainly not original. They’re milk chocolate, lightly flavored with peppermint along with some crunched up chocolate cookie pieces.

The milk chocolate is fudgy and sweet, but definitely smoother than many other brands like Hershey’s and Nestle that are on the shelves at the moment. The little cookie bits are sandy and crunchy with a bitter note of charcoal and cocoa. Mostly they just sit in the crevices of my molars. The effect is a nice textural change from the smooth melt of the chocolate and a slight note of salt.

The ratio of chocolate to cookie is very good, definitely more chocolate, but they weren’t stingy with the cookie bits, they were in every bite. They were a little on the sweet side, which is really the profile of the Dove Milk Chocolate. Still, I’d love it if someone would do these in dark chocolate.

I hope Target brings these back next year and hopefully they’ll get wider distribution so everyone can enjoy them. But now I’d like someone to explain why I can’t have them all year, like the long gone Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Mint bar.

Related Candies

  1. Nestle Girl Scout Cookie Bars - Thin Mints
  2. Christmas Bars: Hershey’s, Niederegger, Ghirardelli & Hachez
  3. Wonka Exceptionals Peppermint Shortbread Chocolate Pieces
  4. Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites
  5. Mint Crisp M&Ms (Indiana Jones)
  6. Head to Head: Cookie Joys vs Cookies n Mint
  7. Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Mint

Name: Dove Milk Chocolate Holiday Mint Cookie Promises
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: Target (Eagle Rock)
Price: $3.99
Size: 7.94 ounces
Calories per ounce: 155
Categories: Candy, Review, Christmas, Mars, Chocolate, Cookie, Kosher, Mints, 9-Yummy, United States, Target

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:38 pm     CandyReviewChristmasMarsChocolateCookieKosherMints9-YummyUnited StatesTarget

Monday, December 14, 2015

Trader Joe’s Chocolate Marbles

DSC_0125rbTrader Joe’s often has the most wonderful seasonal confections. They’re often reasonably priced and unique items that are hard to find anywhere else. Many of the items at Trader Joe’s for 2015 are returning from previous years, including their cordials, passport chocolate stacks and Belgian chocolates. The newest item that caught my eye are the Trader Joe’s Chocolate Marbles.

There’s nothing particularly wintery or holiday about them. They’re just chocolate spheres filled with different pralines. There are six varieties, each sphere is then given a mottled color coating to distinguish it from the others. There are ten marbles in the package. It’s just shy of 5 ounces, so each piece is about 4/10 of an ounce. The flavors are: caramel, coconut, praline & almond, and chocolate mousse. The description on the Trader Joe’s website goes like this:

Trader Joe’s Chocolate Marbles begin as two half-circle shells of chocolate. Each half is filled with a chocolate ganache or hazelnut praline, and then the two halves are molded together to form a circle. From here, the coating process begins, first covering the filled chocolate balls with a layer of chocolate to make them super spherical, then adding very thin layers of sugar crust, and finally, a fine layer of color, which is handled delicately and deliberately to create the marbled effect your eyes will behold. The shiny finish you see is the final result of a coating process that takes more than three hours to complete.


Almond Praline (Green), Hazelnut Praline (Orange), Chocolate Mousse (Blue), Coconut (White), Caramel (Brown), Crispy Cookie (Yellow)

They’re about the same size as a Lindt Lindor Truffle, but really the similarities end there.


The tray is wonderful for protecting the candies, but makes it devilishly hard to get them out, they’re tucked in there and I couldn’t quite grab a single. All I would end up doing is spinning it around in its little cup. However, once out, the slightly bumpy outside means that they’re not as rolly as some spherical chocolates. (Sixlets probably max out the scale at a 10 and these are probably about a 4 - they can sit on a flat surface but anything raked and they will go with gravity.)

BlueThe lovely medium blue marble is filled with Chocolate Mousse. The shell is dark chocolate with a milk chocolate filling. The filling is soft and creamy and definitely sweet. It’s light but I wouldn’t call it a mousse. The dark shell was different enough from the filling, but if I wasn’t told what this flavor was, I’m not sure I’d guess it. However, it’s quite different from the Lindor, it’s much more dense in flavor with less of that thin oily feel on the tongue.

The white marble is filled with a chocolate cream with Coconut. This was rather mainstream tasting, very pleasing for my American palette. This was the only one I was able to pick out by scent. The chocolate was sweet and the little crispy coconut bits did make it all pop a lot more than the more delicate praline pieces.


DSC_0180rbThe brown marble is filled with two half domes of Caramel. It tastes like a lot more chocolate on this one, but the caramel holds its own. The caramel is a bit more of the saucy side than chew. The flavor is quite deep, with scorched and burnt sugar notes particularly strong. There were also a lot of milk flavors, more than the other pieces, so that may have been part of the caramel.

I think this was my favorite of the assortment, because it was so different from most American and British caramels. The only drawback I noticed after the third or fourth piece was that the colorful coating was a little waxy and though it seals in the flavors and keeps them from melting if you hold them in your hand for a few minutes ... it’s a shellac and rather tastes like it.

DSC_0175rbThe yellow marble is filled with a Crispy Cookie praline. I was expecting this to be like a Speculoos, but it’s not a spiced cookie.

It’s a milk shell with a milk chocolate paste in the center and little cereal or cookie bits. It was a little malty and a little corny… when I say corny, I actually mean it tasted like corn nuts or polenta or something. It was not as sweet as some of the other milk chocolate pieces and definitely different.

DSC_0172rbGreen - Almond Praline has a darker chocolate shell, though I’m not sure if it’s full dark chocolate. It balanced the almond praline pretty well. It’s not marzipan, it’s more of an almond butter mixed with a touch of cocoa and sugar. It’s sticky and satisfying, but doesn’t have a strong jolt of almond flavor.

The orange marble is filled with Hazelnut Praline. This is quite sweet but has a very good roasted hazelnut flavor. The filling is more paste with a definite crystallized sugar grain to it. It doesn’t have the smooth melt of the mousse, so it’s a bit sticky. I thought the milk chocolate shell made it all too sweet, but the lingering toasted nut flavors really kept it from being cloying afterwards.

I think these are a great hostess gift, excellent for using as an accent to a dessert plate of holiday cookies, or tossing in a little dish with some snacks. The price, for the quality and unique appearance, is quite good.

These are made in France, is suspect by the same confectioner that made the Magic Beans. The ingredients look good, all natural things, even natural colorings They contain milk, wheat, hazelnut, almond, soy, coconut. May also contain traces of chestnut, pistachio, walnut and/or eggs.

Related Candies

  1. Ritter Sport Nut Crescent Cookie
  2. Trader Joe’s Magic Beans
  3. Godiva Chef Inspirations Flavors of the World
  4. Divine Milk Chocolate Praline Mini Eggs
  5. Pralines Leonidas

Name: Chocolate Marbles
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (3rd & Fairfax)
Price: $4.99
Size: 4.95 ounces
Calories per ounce: 154
Categories: All Natural, Candy, Christmas, Trader Joe's, Caramel, Chocolate, Cookie, Nuts, 8-Tasty, France

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:00 pm     All NaturalCandyReviewChristmasTrader Joe'sCaramelChocolateCookieNuts8-TastyFrance

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Candyology 101 - Podcast Episode 27 - Christmas and Peppermint


There’s a lot of candy out there for Christmas, but the seasonal flavor pendulum has swung back from Pumpkin Spice and gingerbread to plain old Peppermint. Listen to this episode of Candyology 101 as Maria and I talk about this year’s crop of Christmas candy.


Download the MP3 and of course check out the extensive show notes with product links.


POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:08 pm     CandyChristmasHighlightRadio Interviews

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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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