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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.

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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.

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REVIEW: Milk Chocolate Gingerbread M&M’s

Written by | December 2, 2013

Topics: 6 Rating, Candy, M&M's

Milk Chocolate Gingerbread M&M's

Hansel and Gretel is your favorite book. You have plans to visit, construct, and/or consume the entire gingerbread village in Bergen, Norway. You are still upset that Conrad Vernon did not win an Oscar for his work as Gingy in Shrek.

If any of the above describes you, you may be a connoisseur of zingiber officinale, or, in lazier, un-Latin terms, a Gingerbread Fiend. As a fanatic of this spicy rhizome, you’ve likely fallen prey to gingerbread’s warm spice, it’s slight zing, it’s common appearance as a tasty anthropomorphized cookie. Fortunately for Fiends, winter is primetime for gingerbread fury, and as a tribute to all gingery goods, M&M’s seem to have gotten their holiday jingle on and smooshed up some gingerbread into a bulbous, lentil-y speckle.

Milk Chocolate Gingerbread M&M's Spilling out into the wild

Right off the bat, these little chocolate bites exude character. Mars traditionally forms their beady, M-stamped confections in one of three sizes: the smaller milk chocolate M, the medium “Filled with something” M, or the increasingly popular “We have a holiday and/or special occasion, so we’ll make them HUGE” M. All forms have their benefits and downfalls, so it was much to my delight/surprise/befuddlement to uncover that this bag seemed to house in all three sizes.

Milk Chocolate Gingerbread M&M's Gingerbread Death Star

Some M’s are small and thin, some medium, some completely overstuffed, the size of a miniature Death Star. All of this variation in spherical shape promises great texture, but there is still one question left unanswered: are they filled? Are cookies involved?! Could they perhaps hold the crunchity limb of a former gingerbread man inside?!?!

Milk Chocolate Gingerbread M&M's Where are the gingerbread cookies?!

No.

It came without cookies. It came without cakey innards. It came without crispity fillings or baked goodies in any form.

Somewhere, the Pillsbury doughboy weeps.

But all is not lost for gingerbread lovers of the world. While the whole “bread” portion is notably absent, the shadow of ginger spice remains. The chocolate starts off with the familiar sweet, sugary grit that accompanies the common M&M experience, then leans into a slight zing of ginger, and ends with a cinnamon/nutmeg warmth that could sooth an angry South Appalachian Grizzly.

But where these M’s really shine is when paired with other goods. Spicy, crunchy, chocolatey bits get even better when coupled with crispity and/or creamy bits. Put ‘em on ice cream, sprinkle them on your cereal, leave a trail of them outside your door and watch as small children gather. If you encounter an unnecessarily angry suburban shopper during a Black Friday Sale, dump these in with some Muddy Buddies and give them to him/her. Your recipient will be happy. Sugar-crazed and happy.

Milk Chocolate Gingerbread M&M's At the end of the Gingerbread journey

At the end of the journey, I am of two minds on these little nibbles of confection. They are munchable, sweet, and spiced just enough to add some dimension to the regular M&M experience. They come in all sorts of sizes and make a mean trail mix that could knock the wig off my grandmother faster than an Arizona dust storm. However, they have no gingerbread cake, biscuit, or cookie of any sort inside, and, really, what’s gingerbread without the “bread”?

Some may call it, “Gingerbread spice.” Others may call it, “Gingerbread Identity Crisis.” I call it lying, and I certainly wouldn’t risk lying this time of the year, Mars. Santa’s watching…

(Nutrition Facts – 1.5 oz or 1/4 cup – 210 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 30 milligrams of sodium, 0 milligrams of potassium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 27 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Milk Chocolate Gingerbread M&M’s
Purchased Price: $2.88
Size: 9.9 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Variations in size. Some M’s are the size of miniature Death Stars. Sugary zing. Spices add some depth. Reasons to consume limbs of anthropomorphized cookies. Could sooth an angry South Appalachian Grizzly.
Cons: Cookies not included. Absence of filling of any sort. Gingerbread identity crisis. Unnecessarily angry suburban mothers. Conrad Vernon did not win an Oscar for his work as Gingy.

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REVIEW: Pumpkin Spice M&M’s

Written by | September 3, 2013

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

M&M's Pumpkin Spice

I originally planned to take a picture of the new Pumpkin Spice M&M’s in a seasonal and traditional setting laced with a backdrop of Indian corn, scarecrows, and autumnal delicacies. Heck, I would have even settled for an NFL tailgate. But since these new chocolate candies started hitting stores before kids went back to school and because my garden is filled with nothing but basil, feel free to use your imagination when looking at the photos throughout this review.

Not that I’m complaining about the arrival of anything pumpkin related. I was the guy who hoarded Pumpkin Pie Spice Pringles last year. But pumpkin means fall is here (or around the corner) which means exchanging humid summer days for watching football during breezy fall afternoons.

I’m sure the usual pumpkin spice-flavored suspects will be out in force again this year — Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts, McDonald’s Pumpkin Pie, and my personal favorite, Edy’s Pumpkin Ice Cream – but joining the pumpkin patch for the first time are these lovable M&M’s. Lovable because seriously, how can you not love a talking chocolate candy guy with a pumpkin on his head?

M&M's Pumpkin Spice Comparison

Pumpkin Spice M&M’s are bigger than your standard M&M’s (shown here in white) but not quite as oblong or imposing as Peanut of Almond M&M’s. I’m guessing the shell color choices of orange, green, and brown were meant to correspond to a pumpkin’s color. Beyond each colored shell is a sweet milk chocolate.

M&M's Pumpkin Spice Super Closeup

Now I know what you’re thinking. “Whoa there, why not white chocolate? That buttery, frosting-like taste was such a winning flavor with the Carrot Cake M&M’s, and would go pa-pa-perfectly with the pumpkin spice!” Well all I can say is hey, I feel you. While I don’t think anyone but the Nazis have opposed classic Milk Chocolate M&M’s, the simple truth is that they’re kind of plain on their own.

And Pumpkin Spice M&M’s aren’t much different. As I crunched down on a single candy, all I initially tasted was chocolate. True, it’s better than tasting raw pumpkin, but I was expected something a little more scrumptious. Then, almost as an aftertaste, a hint of cinnamon emerged. Here’s the thing though; it’s not that traditional vanilla and cinnamon warmth that one usually associates with pumpkin. Instead, it’s kind of a wimpy version of Cinnamon Red Hots. Cool and vaguely spicy, it’s more of a sensation than a flavor, and it’s not something that goes with the milk chocolate flavor. To use a gardening analogy, it’s like a pumpkin in a field of basil.

M&M's Pumpkin Spice Closeup

I may lack the discernible taste receptors to differentiate on the minute differences between cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice, and whatever else might go into the ubiquitous “pumpkin spice,” but having tasted the flavor in a variety of products, I’m pretty sure at least a few of those spices were left out of the party. While the taste of cinnamon resonates weakly in the aftertaste, the truth is you’ve got to eat these one at a time and slowly to really take advantage.

Yeah, like anyone actually does that with M&M’s.

If you’ve been one of the few people who’ve secretly got their candy fix by chugging both Milk Chocolate M&M’s and Cinnamon Red Hots, well, these Pumpkin Spice M&M’s are going to make you happy. Otherwise, you’ll just want to stick with your standard favorite M&M’s variety.

(Nutrition Facts – 1.5 oz. – 210 calories, 80 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, 0 milligrams of potassium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of dietary fiber, 27 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Pumpkin Spice M&M’s
Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 9.9 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Forcing autumn. Bigger than standard M&M’s. Tastes took much like regular M&Ms. Doesn’t melt in your hands. Using candy to help defeat the Nazis.
Cons: Weird cinnamon aftertaste doesn’t go with chocolate. Not really pumpkin spicy. No actual pumpkin involved, despite oddly noted gram of fiber. Bigger than standard M&M’s, which could mean eating about 75 grams of sugar without realizing it.

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REVIEW: Milk Chocolate M&M’s Chocolate Bar

Written by | May 13, 2013

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

Milk Chocolate M&M's Chocolate Bar

The color blind life can be challenging. I can remember struggling with colors since a young age, receiving criticism from my teachers for coloring the grass orange and pumpkins green in my coloring book – even though that’s what I actually saw. My inability to properly identify many of the colors soon brought forth a dislike for multicolored objects. Even sitting through an episode of Reading Rainbow was excruciating because of all the different colors in the logo – and I love LeVar Burton!

With so much color-related difficulty in my life, you might think that I would hate such a colorful candy as M&M’s, but no. For some reason, I love the little rainbow candy-coated pieces of chocolate. Sure, I might not be able to correctly tell you which colors I’m eating, but they still taste amazing. Plus, their tiny size makes them so easy to eat! My record is 154 M&M’s in three minutes. (I’m like Takeru Kobayashi, but instead of shoving wieners in my mouth, I eat candy.)

I was pretty excited when I heard about Mars’ new M&M’s Chocolate Bar. So excited, in fact, that my inner Tommy Wise broke free, and I thought, “Oh hi, Mars. M&M’s inside my candy bar? You think about everything, ha ha ha.”

But wait – haven’t I seen this M&M’s Chocolate Bar somewhere before? Oh, that’s right. Back in 2004, Mars introduced the M-Azing chocolate bar, which was only available in peanut butter and crunchy flavors. I can vaguely recall tasting an M-Azing bar and disliking it. Let’s hope this M&M Chocolate Bar does better.

I found the M&M Chocolate Bar at my local Target in the candy bar section next to the check-out line. At a mere seventy-nine cents per bar, it seemed like a true bargain.

Milk Chocolate M&M's Chocolate Bar Closeup

After removing the chocolate bar’s wrapper, I instantly noticed the imprinted design of an anthropomorphic M&M man. I don’t usually find anthropomorphic creatures on my candy bars, so this was a pleasant surprise. The chocolate bar is divided into eight sections for easy distribution among eight friends. Or if you’re like me and don’t have any friends, you’ll have to distribute the eight pieces to the various homeless men who follow you home from work everyday.

The brightly colored mini M&M’s can be seen peeking through the chocolate, giving the bar a subtle rainbow appearance. When compared to more commonly purchased chocolate such as the Hershey Bar, the M&M’s Chocolate Bar’s smell is a bit more rich and powerful, but the scent is pleasant nonetheless.

After taking my first bite of the M&M Chocolate Bar, I was surprised that the M&M’s contributed significantly less crunch than I expected. Since the M&M’s are the mini variety, they don’t add much texture to the bar. In fact, I found it pretty difficult to distinguish the M&M’s from the normal chocolate part of the bar while chewing. Everything blends together into one chocolatey mass.

Milk Chocolate M&M's Chocolate Bar Innards

Unfortunately, the chocolate used in the bar isn’t the best. It’s super sweet, almost too rich, and the M&M’s give it a somewhat chalky texture. Furthermore, it left a funny aftertaste and a strange feeling in my throat after eating all eight pieces.

Perhaps if Mars had used a higher quality chocolate in their new M&M’s Chocolate Bar, I might be a bit more of a fan. Although it’s super inexpensive, there are other chocolate bars on the market I would prefer to purchase. The M&M’s found inside of the bar fail to enhance the already unsatisfying chocolate base. Maybe if the M&M’s Chocolate Bar magically cured colorblindness, I’d consider purchasing it again, but next time, I’ll be passing this one by in the supermarket.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – 220 calories, 110 calories from fat, 12 grams of total fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 30 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 grams of dietary fiber, 26 grams of sugars, and 3 grams of protein.)

Other Milk Chocolate M&M’s Chocolate Bar reviews:
Candy Blog

Item: Milk Chocolate M&M’s Chocolate Bar
Purchased Price: 79 cents
Size: 1.5 oz.
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Super cheap. Pleasant chocolatey scent. Awesome anthropomorphic M&M man imprint. References to Tommy Wiseau.
Cons: Low quality chocolate. M&M’s blend in with the rest of the bar. Funny aftertaste. Doesn’t cure color blindness.

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