Archive | Candy RSS feed for this category

REVIEW: Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Bar

Written by | February 24, 2014

Topics: 8 Rating, Candy, Snickers

Snickers Rockin' Nut Road Bar

STOP! Put your hand down. Just…put it down. That’s right. I know you want the regular Snickers. It’s tempting. Chocolate shell, gooey caramel, chunky peanuts. I get it. It’s enough to turn the most depressed, calloused pick-ax-yielder into a skipping, self-expressive frolicker who makes dainty floral arrangements. The magic that is chocolate, caramel, and peanut-y goo knows no bounds.

At the same time, such magic can become slightly dulled, jaded by the soft familiarity of repetition and safety. No shame in going the safe route with a Snickers, but if you’re looking to add a little depth to your chocolate, a little vanilla to your nougat, a little metaphorical fabric softener to what may otherwise be a stiff Snickers routine, then may I present to you a source of salvation in the form of a 1.73-ounce bar.

Snickers Rockin' Nut Road Bar Gooey fluffy goo yum

Watch as it draws you in like a hungry piñata craving candy for its belly.

Immediately upon opening the wrapper, one can tell this is the stuff of alchemy, the product of some wizard and his highly skilled protégé. Just look at that semisweet chocolate. That gooey caramel. Heck, if you crunch at just the right angle, you can hear the magical wizard dust talking to you, which, now that I think on it, brings up an abundance of questions: When did wizard dust gain the evolutionary skills to perform linguistic communication? And how did said talking dust particles survive being compressed into a bar? Are they indestructible? Does this mean they will outlast the human species?? How can I leave behind a positive legacy before I rot and decay and get replaced by magical wizard dust??!

After getting all anxious about my mortality, I realize I never would’ve contemplated looking for more ways to act positively today had it not been for eating this bar, so thank you, Snickers, for sponsoring this brief philosophical tangent.

Snickers Rockin' Nut Road Bar Yum yum yum

The Snickers’ dashing good looks graciously transfer themselves over to the flavor. The crispy, semisweet chocolate shell holds a sweet, gritty melt with a hint of coffee, making for an experience that reminds me of Dove Dark Chocolate squares without the inspirational quotes. The original malt nougat has been replaced with a fluff of starch-white vanilla fluff. The taste is outright sweet with hints of vanilla extract popping through each bite, adding a surprising sparkle to the darker chocolate much like a firework. But without a fuse. Or fire hazards. Or charcoal-enhanced lighting patterns in the sky. Okay, so maybe nothing like a firework.

The caramel is the only element that seems to have directly transferred itself from the original, and it is a welcome element, indeed. Thankfully, it remains the sweet, stringy goo of the original, making for an excellent canal upon which to hold nubbins of nuts, and like a good pair of cufflinks, those nuts add the perfect finishing touch. In this case, the peanuts have been replaced by almonds, which are fresh and slightly toasted, add a hint of woodsy saltiness alongside the signature crunch called forth for any Snickers experience. The power of these disparate elements unite to form a mishmash that is Rocky Road Ice Cream in candy bar form, a combination so good that it’s… it’s…

(Wants to say something in French, but realizes she doesn’t speak French)…

C’est manifique?! Oui! Bonjour!

Snickers Rockin' Nut Road Bar Satisfies indeed

If candy bars were Las Vegas entertainers, Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road would be David Copperfield: blending the whacky pops and sparkles of a sugary sweet, slightly buttery caramel with crunchy almond nibbles and a semisweet chocolate to make something pretty spectacular. Add to that a fluffy, marshmallow-like nougat and you’ve got all of these sleight of hands and daft illusions that make for a unique, successful endgame. Look out, David Copperfield. You’ve got some competition.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – 230 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, less than 2 grams of dietary fiber, 26 grams of sugars, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Bar
Purchased Price: $1.29
Size: 1.73 ounces
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Crunchy outer shell. Chocolate similar to Dove dark chocolate. Marshmallow nougat. Pops of sweet vanilla. Crunchy, toasty almond halves. Rocky Road in candy bar form. Reasons to fill hungry piñatas. David Copperfield’s got competition.
Cons: Limited time only. Some may not like artificial vanilla. Slivered almonds not as chunky as peanuts. Sad, calloused pick-ax-wielders. Talking wizard dust that plan to take over the world.

Permalink | 5 Comments

REVIEW: Birthday Cake M&M’s

Written by | February 18, 2014

Topics: 8 Rating, Candy, M&M's

Birthday Cake M&M's

I would like to put forth an official motion to reach a consensus on what “birthday cake” flavor is supposed to be.

Because from my understanding, birthday cake is akin to cake batter which is akin to a sweet vanilla/butter flavor with lots of rainbow sprinkles. A quick Pinterest search will demonstrate what I mean. Birthdays are a cause for celebration, and the default mindset for that is as much sugar and as much color as possible.

The Birthday Cake M&Ms are not what you’d expect based on the prior cake-flavored evidence, but rather a play on the original Milk Chocolate variety. This is probably fair to the millions of people who prefer the chocolate cake with white frosting on their birthdays and have been forced to eat too many Funfetti-like products. In fact, I would never choose that for my own cake either. By throwing these into the mix, M&M’s may just be trying to prevent a burgeoning birthday market monopolization. So for those who have been scorned by the rainbow sprinkles in the past, these go out to you.

I finally found these at my CVS when I did my annual Valentine’s Day Sale spree. There was a singular box, wrongfully placed in the clearance section. Although these are also sold in an 8-ounce bag, the only size option was the individual pack, which is unfortunate, because I enjoy sharing my candy and/or eating mass quantities of M&M’s without being aware of how much I’m actually consuming. Usually the latter.

Birthday Cake M&M's Wrapper

These are closer in size to Milk Chocolate M&M’s than the recent new M&M’s have been and stick to a simple color palate of blue, red and yellow. I didn’t have any to compare, but I think they’re the same colors you’d find on other M&M’s, possibly a little bit richer. Also important to note they are made with actual Milk Chocolate. Not chocolate-y candy. Not chocolate-confection. Not Count Chocula Crème (this is not a real marketing tactic, but I think it will be soon.) You can rest assured in eating these that your processed food still has some realness to it.

My recent history with M&M’s has not been great. I was disappointed by Pumpkin Spice, puzzled by Gingerbread, and grossed out by Red Velvet. All of these varieties had such potential, but in the end they all ended up tasting like “chemical.” I was assuming this was what I would have to settle for with my bite sized chocolates.

But these are a beacon of hope. A delicacy. A rede-M&M-ption, if you will. I bit into these and immediately started singing “Happy Birthday” to me. Then the Beatles’ “Birthday.” Then Rihanna’s “Birthday Cake.” Then I stopped, because I forgot how incredibly uncomfortable that song makes me.

Birthday Cake M&M's Closeup

The flavor in these is subtle, but it accomplishes the intended goal perfectly. There’s a strong milk chocolate note that then evolves into a buttercream taste that’s not too sweet or overpowering. Perfect match to the cake pictured on the pack. Chemical taste level: zero.

I may not choose these over my beloved Carrot Cake or Peanut Butter M&M’s, but they would certainly be ranked above the original in my book. I will be creating a stockpile of these as well, even if they’re not limited edition. Not only are they delicious, but they also make a fantastic non-perishable last minute gift for birthdays you completely forgot about and were only reminded of when you logged onto Facebook.

Now, you can pretend every day is your birthday without having to lie to waiters at restaurants to get a free dessert. Although, you’re still free to do that do. It’s your fake birthday. You deserve to feel as special as you want.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 pack (1.4oz) – 190 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 30 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 25 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Birthday Cake M&M’s
Purchased Price: $1.19
Size: 1.4 oz. bag
Purchased at: CVS
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Not chemically, actually tasty. Appeals to the forgotten birthday cake demographic. Actually tastes like the cake on package. Pretending to remember birthdays. Real milk chocolate. Getting free dessert at restaurants.
Cons: Inconsistencies in the definition of birthday cake. Unsettling Rihanna euphemisms. That uncomfortable public domain birthday song you have to sit through in restaurants to get your free fake-birthday sundae.

Permalink | 5 Comments

REVIEW: Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups

Written by | January 13, 2014

Topics: 7 Rating, Candy, Nestle

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups

It was snowing. I didn’t have salt. I didn’t have a shovel. I didn’t have bread or milk or flashlights. I had no viable source of human sustenance.

Thumping down to the nearest grocery with skin drier than the Mona Lisa, I ignored the frantic grabs for batteries and Solo cups and reached for the pile of Reese’s when it appeared. There. In the distance: Butterfinger. In square form.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups The Duel of Geometric Candy

Two geometric patterns. Two philosophies. I knew what I had to do.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups Reese's v Butterfinger

Right out of the wrapper, the visual difference is immediate with the Reese’s holding its signature round, flat frame, while Butterfinger goes square and sans-fluted cup, its chocolate daring to look a darker brown. Despite geometric differences, both specimens glisten in fresh, chocolate-y glaze and clock in at a little more than 1.5 ounces, which is perfect for making scale models of UFO invasions should you have an upcoming project in World Domination.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups Innards

There are about 4,180 recorded species of frogs. On a good day, the flavor of a Butterfinger is just as diverse: peanut butter, chocolate, salt, toffee, molasses, and…is that cornflakes? Yes. Yes, it is. And it all comes together in those crispety, crunchety, peanut buttery chunks that get stuck in your teeth. You either like that stuff ripping away at your molars or you don’t.

I love the Butterfinger taste, but can’t handle the teeth-stickage. For those of you who are similarly hoping to fill the Butterfinger rumble in your stomach while also looking to save on Butterfinger-related dentistry work, these cups hold promise: the smooth-ish peanut-butter/Butterfinger filling is strong in Butterfinger flavor, but better avoids the plaque-building pitfalls of the bar. The peanut-butter-ish filling puts all the trademark toffee, molassas, corn flakey flavors in a smoother medium. Similar to the Reese’s filling, it’s a dense concoction with a crumbly and dry quality that contrasts the fudgy exterior.

That outer chocolate shell is slightly thicker than Reese’s, but holds a fudgy texture that matches up toe-to-toe with its competitor. This is a super sweet, milky chocolate and incredibly smooth. Unfortunately, while the sweetness and smooth-ivity is high, the actual chocolate flavor is a bit dim on its own.

Despite minor chocolate pitfalls, it looks like we’ve got a solid new confection in the ring. While it doesn’t surpass my Reese’s, it does offer up that molasses, corn syrup, peanut-buttery love in a tasty, affordable format. If you have the slightest a pocket of fondness for Bart Simpson’s favorite candy, I’d say pick one up. It may be sweet enough to distract you into spontaneously jaywalking across a side street, but just be sure to look both ways before you start eating and you should have a good candy/jaywalking experience.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 package/2 cups – 230 calories, 130 calories from fat, 14 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 22 grams of sugars, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups
Purchased Price: 50 cents (on sale)
Size: 2 cups
Purchased at: Kroger
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Crumbly Butterfinger filling. Contrasts in texture. Low teeth-stickage ratio. No fluted cups. Makes good eating during an ice storm. Pondering the diversity of frog species.
Cons: May be too sweet for some. Encourages Butterfinger-induced dentistry work. Jaywalking. World domination. Walking in a winter vortex.

Permalink | 8 Comments

REVIEW: Milk Chocolate Red Velvet M&M’s

Written by | January 10, 2014

Topics: 4 Rating, Candy, M&M's

Milk Chocolate Red Velvet M&M's

A little piece of me dies inside every time I hear someone say that their favorite flavor of cake is red velvet.

Instantly, I can’t help but think that this person has fallen victim to the trendy trap. There’s a very good chance that they’re also into Mason jars crafts, beers with at least four adjectives, and occasional juice cleanses. Mainstream chocolate and vanilla are for the plebeians. Other favorite flavors include maple-bacon, pumpkin spice, and Biscoff.

While red velvet can be a perfectly decent cake, it has done nothing to earn its hype. Flavor wise, it’s the homelier sister of a deep chocolate cake. Weaker, less fudgy and appealing, but trying to overcompensate with a crap ton of red food coloring. You think a red Chrysler convertible is actually better than a black Porsche? Take the dye out of a red velvet cupcake and offer it to someone who claims to be obsessed. I’m betting they start eyeing the flashy Funfetti instead.

That being said, I was pretty confused as to what to expect from seasonal Milk Chocolate Red Velvet M&M’s. I was hoping for possibly a cream cheese taste, since that’s the typical frosting pair, and the flavor that usually comes across the most. Plus, given beautiful love affair I had with last year’s White Chocolate Carrot Cake M&M’s, I was hoping to rekindle some kind of sweet creamy magic. But no, these are just straight chocolate.

Milk Chocolate Red Velvet M&M's Closeup

They come in a standard Valentine’s Day palate of red, white, and maroon. Your coworkers will probably think they’re a nice festive gift. Your needy girlfriend who casually leaves the Tiffany’s catalogue in the bathroom will probably not.

They’re a little bit larger than plain M&M’s and more in line with the denser, puffier model that’s been common in recent seasonal varieties.

At first bite, they’re almost indiscernible from regular Milk Chocolate M&M’s. However, it then develops into a weird, chemically aftertaste that doesn’t make me think red velvet at all. If anything, in a blind taste test, I would assume these were the plain stale M&M’s I left sitting in the bowl on my desk for three months and occasionally take a stress-induced handful of. While it’s a noticeable enough taste to make me wish I were eating the original, it’s not offensive enough to make me stop eating them. They may have their faults, but they’re probably not going to get thrown out.

Disappointingly, the inside of these are not red. Since that’s real redeeming quality of red velvet cake, I think M&M’s dropped the ball on this one. Nothing says “Happy Valentine’s Day!” like a blood red smile.

While these are a novelty to try once, some Cupid magic would be needed to make me buy these again. But since I do still have two bags lying around, you’ll probably find me face deep in them on Valentine’s Day, searching desperately for a man to give me a Tiffany’s box.

(Nutrition Facts – 1.5 oz. (about 1/4 cup) – 210 calories, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 30 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 27 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Milk Chocolate Red Velvet M&M’s
Purchased Price: $2.88
Size: 9.90 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Thicker than plain M&Ms. Festively colored. Easily satisfied coworkers. Comforting nighttime binge eating. Cheaper than jewelry.
Cons: Chemically aftertaste. Annoying, high maintenance cake eaters. Annoying, high maintenance girlfriends. Binge eating alone on Valentine’s Day. Not getting a Tiffany box. WILL ANYONE EVER LOVE ME? Not red inside.

Permalink | 12 Comments

REVIEW: J&D’s Foods Sriracha Candy Canes

Written by | December 16, 2013

Topics: 6 Rating, Candy

J&D's Foods Sriracha Candy Canes

Sriracha mania is sweeping the nation.

Though the famous hot sauce has been adored for ages, sriracha has recently enjoyed a surge in popularity. We’ve seen sriracha beef jerky, sriracha lollipops, and sriracha vodka. Even Subway and 7-Eleven have jumped on the rooster sauce bandwagon. What’s next? Sriracha candy canes?

J&D's Foods Sriracha Candy Canes Side Box

Oh.

Umm, apparently sriracha candy canes are a thing now.

It’s true. Sriracha Candy Canes are manufactured by J&D’s Foods, the company that brought you such classics as Bacon Salt, Baconnaise, and bacon-flavored sexual lubricant. Because there’s no scent more arousing while doing the nasty than the stench of cured meat.

I never noticed it before, but sriracha is pretty much the perfect Christmas hot sauce. It practically screams Santa Claus and ho-ho-hos. Just look at it: a vibrant red sauce inside a bottle topped with a green cap? Those are Christmas colors, dammit. So next time you bring me some figgy pudding, pour some sriracha on that shiiiiiit.

Grossly overpriced at $7.99, each box of candy canes includes twelve hot sauce-flavored Christmas treats. It’s no surprise that J&D’s Sriracha Candy Canes aren’t actually licensed by Huy Fong Foods, the California company responsible for those beloved red bottles decorated with a rooster. So is the flavor of these sriracha candy canes actually based upon the generic sriracha named after the Thai city of Si Racha?

J&D's Foods Sriracha Candy Canes Closeup 2

Just like every other box of candy canes I’ve ever purchased, several of the candy canes arrived broken. Clearly, these things need to be redesigned. There are so many superior, less fragile Christmas shapes: snowflakes, Christmas trees, ostracized caribou with luminescent noses.

The candy canes are white with red and green stripes, a possible allusion to the red color of sriracha and the trademark green cap of Huy Fong Foods’ bottles. The unenlightened candy-lover could easily be fooled into believing these are normal candy canes. The back of the box even recommends using the sriracha candy canes for “tricking your unsuspecting friends and children.”

The sriracha candy canes start off tasting very similar to normal candy canes, possessing the all-too-familiar sugar flavor of hard candy, yet lacking any trace of peppermint. Soon, the heat begins, slowly growing into a moderate burn and proceeding to increase as more of the candy cane is consumed. For me, the heat never reached the point of unbearably spicy, but did unpleasantly coat the back of my throat on occasion. Be sure to have a bottle of water nearby!

J&D's Foods Sriracha Candy Canes Closeup 1

To be honest, these sriracha candy canes were better than I expected. Though they’re little more than spicy candy canes, the hard candy flavor and added heat blend nicely. Nevertheless, they definitely do not taste like the hot sauce. All of the pepper and garlic notes for which sriracha is well-known for were completely absent.

J&D’s Sriracha Candy Canes could be the perfect novelty gift for your sriracha-obsessed family and friends this holiday season. However, their high price tag and lack of authentic sriracha flavor leaves them strictly in the realm of gag gifts. Yes, the heat combined well with the sugary flavor of the candy canes, but I’m confident I could purchase a generic spiced holiday candy for much cheaper.

Happy holidays, everyone! (Is Srirachanukah already over? Dang. What am I going to do with all this sriracha-flavored gelt?)

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cane (14 grams) – 60 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 9 grams of sugars, and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: J&D’s Foods Sriracha Candy Canes
Purchased Price: $7.99
Size: 12 candy canes
Purchased at: ThinkGeek
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Hard candy flavor. Burn grows slowly. Srirachanukah.
Cons: Overpriced. Doesn’t actually taste like Sriracha. Gag gift. Ostracized caribou.

Permalink | 1 Comment