REVIEW: M&M’s White Cheesecake

M&M's White Cheesecake

I’m not in the business of wasting anyone’s time. Therefore, I’m literally going to tell you right away my favorite thing about the new White Cheesecake flavor of M&M’s: The size.

These puppies are not your average M&M. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the bag and found they were about two times the size of the regular chocolate candy. Much more substantial, and in my opinion, a better way to portion control. (If you can keep your hand out of the M&M bowl without mindless munching, please call me because you’re going to need to teach me your ways.) It’s like you’re getting more bang for your buck.

Moving on to flavor: When I took my first bite, there was no evidence of cheesecake at all. What I got was a nice flavor of white chocolate. Now here’s the thing…I LOVE white chocolate. It’s underrated. So I enjoyed the taste and thus gave a 7 rating. But if you came for the cheesecake, I can see why you’d be disappointed. I kept eating them and eating them and eating them to see if the cheesecake came through after a while, but to no avail.

M&M's White Cheesecake 4

What you get is a nice white chocolate that’s just the perfect amount of sweetness. I probably could have polished off most of the bag in one sitting without feeling sickeningly sweet. (Side note: I’m thinking an interesting experiment would be to freeze these babies since cheesecake is typically refrigerated, I wonder if the coolness would bring out the taste? If anyone tries this, let me know.)

M&M's White Cheesecake 3

Back on track: These are definitely Valentine’s Day M&M’s, as evidenced by the hearts on the bag and the color of the candy. You’ll find light pink, white, and something I can only describe as skin tone. Or it’s probably supposed to be cheesecake-colored. Your preference! The other thing to note that I consider a positive was that the M&M coating was nice and thick.

All in all, these were a win in my book because I liked the “white chocolate” spin on M&M’s. If you’re cool with eating a flesh-colored candy, enjoy my friends.

(Nutrition Facts – 1.5 oz, or about 1/4 cup – 210 calories, 100 calories from fat, 11 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 88 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Amazingly large M&M sizing. A nice change of pace from your typical chocolate candy. All the white chocolate.
Cons: Flesh-colored M&M’s. Lack of actual cheesecake flavor.

REVIEW: Hershey’s Cupcake Kisses

Hershey's Cupcake Kisses

In my mind, and in my heart, cake and Kisses fall in essentially the same category. Short, sweet, and simple reminders that life is worth living, and ideally consumed/received on a daily basis. It is under this umbrella of logic that I read the news of Hershey’s Cupcake Kisses and proceeded to die with anticipation.

For this Target-exclusive Valentine’s Day candy Hershey’s put a spin on their popular Cookies ‘n’ Creme flavor (also available as Kisses) and made a “white cookie cupcake” kiss with colored cookies and cupcake flavor. Opening the playful pink bag is like dunking your face into a Funfetti frosting wonderland, It is exactly what I wanted these Kisses to smell like.

Hershey's Cupcake Kisses 2

The initial bite is very sweet and smacks you in the face with vanilla frosting splendor. At first these Kisses taste exactly like hardened bits of Funfetti vanilla frosting with the cookie pieces in place of the festive sprinkles, and the white chocolate is the jarred faux-buttercream. Unfortunately there is a strange astringent aftertaste that dominates and leaves my mouth tasting unpleasant and artificial, almost like a cake made with too much baking soda.

Hershey's Cupcake Kisses 3

I thought it might be coming from the colored cookie pieces, which unlike in the cookies and cream version have no chocolate or specific flavor to them. I was able to isolate some of the cookies in my mouth and they tasted fine, like a slightly tame shortbread. After repeatedly trying more Kisses to shake the bitter essence, it kept coming and put a damper on the overall experience, but for some reason I kept wanting to eat them.

Hershey's Cupcake Kisses 4

There is a lore that pink or red frosting has a bitter strong flavor when compared to other dyes, likely due to the use of iodine, Red #3, or Red #40. Although not specifically listed in the ingredients, there could be an element of frosting-emulation at play here that is causing the strange aftertaste.

Whether that translates to a true cupcake experience or a failed element of execution is up to you, but it’s certainly there, and for me, ultimately distracting. Strange frosting flavors have never kept me from crushing cake in the past, and while these Kisses miss the mark of being perfect, I will still eat at least three servings of them (27 Kisses).

(Nutrition Facts – 9 pieces – 200 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 50 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 18 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 10 oz. package
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Funfetti frosting wonderland. Still oddly delicious. Foil covered in hearts. So many shades of pink.
Cons: Weird bitter aftertaste. Cake doesn’t have a crunch.

REVIEW: Red Velvet Kit Kat Miniatures

Red Velvet Kit Kat Miniatures

There are two things that strike me as odd about these new Red Velvet Kit Kat bars.

The first is that they are white, without a hint of red, even though red is literally in their name. I guess red velvet has moved beyond being associated with Valentine’s Day for its color, and now it’s the flavor that’s iconic. I’m fine with that, especially since in this case it means there’s no artificial coloring.

Red Velvet Kit Kat Miniatures 2

Red Velvet Kit Kat Miniatures 3

The second thing is that red velvet is even a flavor for this and other candies. I’ve had many red velvet cakes and cupcakes, but I still don’t know what its flavor is. I mean, I know it’s a cake made with buttermilk and a small amount of cocoa, but what does that even taste like? And how can it come across in an item that doesn’t list buttermilk in its ingredients?

But when I open up the fragrant bag, and look at the pale coating, I get it:

Red velvet cakes are always topped with cream cheese frosting. And these are not really Red Velvet Kit Kats, but rather Cream Cheese Frosting Kit Kats. I think it’s pretty self-explanatory why they didn’t call them that.

Red Velvet Kit Kat Miniatures 4

The bag smells strongly of cream cheese. The inside of the bars is just the same as Milk Chocolate Kit Kats, but the outside coating is definitely reminiscent of cream cheese, even though there’s no cheese in the ingredients. I actually expected it to taste a lot more fake than it does. But it’s also kind of off-putting at first. A cheesy tang is not what I anticipate when I eat Kit Kats.

You know what? I wasn’t really a fan of these at first. But as I’ve eaten more, I’ve come to enjoy them. Initially I liked them less than regular Kit Kats, but now I don’t think they’re worse than the regular ones. They’re just different. These are more flavorful than plain ol’ Milk Chocolate Kit Kats, for better or for worse. I love cream cheese frosting, but if that’s not your thing, you probably won’t like Red Velvet Kit Kats.

I was going to rate these six, but I’m giving them a seven. They’ve grown on me.

(Nutrition Facts – 5 pieces – 220 calories, 100 calories from fat, 12 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.59
Size: 10 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Flavor grew on me. Tastes like cream cheese frosting. No artificial coloring.
Cons: Cheesy tang is not what you expect from Kit Kats. No buttermilk, unlike a real red velvet cake.

REVIEW: Hershey’s Cookie Layer Crunch Bars (Vanilla Crème and Mint)

Hershey’s Cookie Layer Crunch Bars (Vanilla Cre?me and Mint)

Hershey’s is pretty much synonymous with chocolate bars, but outside of their fan favorite Cookies ‘n’ Crème variation, they really haven’t fiddled around in the cookie game that much.

With their new Cookie Layer Crunch bars, the candy bar juggernaut looks to break some fertile ground with not just one, but THREE special-edition cookie/chocolate bar hybrids. While we’ve already covered the caramel version, today, we’ll be taking a nice, long look at the other two Cookie Layer Crunch products – the vanilla crème and mint variations.

Hershey’s Cookie Layer Crunch Bars (Vanilla Cre?me and Mint) 2

The hook here is very straightforward. The miniature candies are about twice as thick of your normal Hershey’s bar, with each version containing a chunky cookie crust and a hearty helping of crème inside the mantle. While both products contain chocolate chunks, the exterior chocolate shell differs – the vanilla crème iteration is milk chocolate while the mint version is dark chocolate.

Hershey’s Cookie Layer Crunch Bars (Vanilla Cre?me and Mint) 4

The chocolate taste is very strong in both variations, with even the vanilla crème one tasting slightly more robust than your standard Hershey’s bar. And for those of you fearing wafer-thin contents, the cookie layer is actually quite thick and crunchy, with a surprising (albeit subtle and pleasant) salty aftertaste.

Hershey’s Cookie Layer Crunch Bars (Vanilla Cre?me and Mint) 3

Both varieties are good, but I’d give my nod to the mint version, which has a far more potent crème flavor than the vanilla offering, which – while tasty – doesn’t have quite the kick of its shelfmate.

The products are clearly designed as stuffing stocking material. At $4 a bag, they’re a bit pricier than your average grab bag of fun-size candy bars, and weirdly enough, you only get nine pieces per unit. However, there are 3.5-ounce XL Bars of all three flavors with five pieces, so don’t say you don’t have a wide array of consumer options on the table.

The Cookie Layer Crunch bars do very much feel like “event candies,” so to speak – they’re definitely rich, flavorful and filling, plus they are rather versatile snacks. These things go with a late night cup of cranberry cola just as well as they do your morning espresso, and talk about excellent adornments for your homemade cookies and brownies!

Which sort of begs the question: how come Hershey’s isn’t selling these things in a mix-and-match format? Eh, maybe that’s something to look forward to come Christmas 2017, I suppose.

(Nutrition Facts – Vanilla Crème – 2 pieces – 210 calories, 13 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein. Mint – 2 pieces – 200 calories, 14 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.99 each
Size: 6.3 oz. box/9 pieces
Purchased at: Ingles Markets
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Vanilla Crème)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Mint)
Pros: Very rich chocolaty flavors. Non-mushy interior cookie goodness. For the mint iteration, a very nice aftertaste.
Cons: The overall vanilla crème flavor is a bit underwhelming. No variety pack option. Anticipating a tenth candy bar in the bag and walking away with nothing but odd-numbered disappointment.

REVIEW: Lindt Lindor Limited Edition Peppermint Cookie Milk Chocolate Truffles

Lindt Lindor Limited Edition Peppermint Cookie Milk Chocolate Truffles

Mint and chocolate go so well together that they should have a celebrity couple-like name similar to Brangelina.

Chocomint? Mintolate? Chont? Mincho?

Whatever we decided to call the duo, if you love them, these Lindor Lindt Limited Edition Peppermint Cookie Milk Chocolate Truffles will have you melting as quickly as their milk chocolate exterior does when you pop one into the 98.6 degree chamber known as your mouth because they are delightful.

The filling gets its flavor from peppermint oil. But if you’re someone who wants the mint to be strong enough to clear your sinuses, these tasty balls are not curiously strong enough for you. A part of me wishes it was mintier, but another part thinks the Thin Mint cookie-like mintiness was just right.

Lindt Lindor Limited Edition Peppermint Cookie Milk Chocolate Truffles 2

Speaking of cookies, there are tiny, crunchy choco-cookie bits in the chocolate that give the truffles a texture other than internal body heat-melted chocolate. There’s a decent amount of cookie bits, but they offer an unsatisfying crunch.

It’s as if Lindt gave factory workers a box of Thin Mints and plates during their break, had them eat the cookies over the plates, collected whatever crumbs fell, and then dumped them into the vat with the creamy milk chocolate.

I really wanted a cookie crunch and not a cookie crumb crunch, so I wish Lindt included larger cookie bits or somehow, underneath the milk chocolate, created a layer of cookie that holds the smooth minty truffle filling. The latter doesn’t sound complex, does it? Sure, Lindt would have to spend millions of dollars to build a completely new manufacturing process, but it would be totally worth it to make my sugar-fueled dream come true.

Even though I complained about the mintiness and crunchiness of these Lindt Limited Edition Peppermint Cookie Truffles, they are minor complaints that melt away every time I let one of these delicious morsels melt in my mouth.

(Nutrition Facts – 3 balls – 220 calories, 150 calories from fat, 17 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 14 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: 6 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Milk chocolate and minty filling is velvety when it melts in your mouth. Thin Mint-like mintiness. A decent amount of cookie bits. Complaints melting away as the truffle melts in my mouth.
Cons: Might not have enough mint for you. Might not have enough cookie crunch for you. Might not have enough truffles in the bag for you.