REVIEW: Pumpkin Pie Kit Kat

Pumpkin Pie Kit Kat

Now I know why the eyes on the black cat on the packaging of these Pumpkin Pie Kit Kat are so wide open. At first, I imagined it was high from snorting off of that pumpkin pie a line of crushed eye of newt it stole from its witch.

But after trying the candy, I realized it’s not because of dried amphibian bodies that have gone through a pestle and mortar and then through a feline nasal cavity. It’s because the black cat tried the candy and had its kitty mind blown by how good it is.

Pumpkin Pie Kit Kat 2

The Kit Kat fingers look as if they’re caramel or dulce de leche-flavored, but they smell straight up pumpkin pie or like I’ve walked into the fall section at my local Target.

According to the thousands of recipes Google spits back at me after plugging in “pumpkin pie” in its search box, the common spices in one are cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Those aren’t listed in the ingredients for this candy. Instead, there’s “natural flavor and artificial flavor.” I’m not sure what’s natural or artificial, but, geez, the first bar I ate had a spice kick I was not expecting. Although, my taste buds have gotten used to it because every bar I’ve had since hasn’t been as intense.

Pumpkin Pie Kit Kat 3a

Having tried so many pumpkin spice/pumpkin pie-flavored products that I’m surprised I don’t smell spicy, I thought it would have a strong cinnamon flavor, followed by the other spices. That would’ve been great. But, nope, the cinnamon flavor takes a back seat to the ginger and nutmeg, which is also great. Because of the elevated ginger flavor, there are moments when the candy bar reminds me of a ginger snap cookie. But for the most part, it smells and tastes like pumpkin pie.

But, the weird thing is, while I enjoy it very much and it’s the best tasting limited edition U.S. Kit Kat flavor I’ve had, I don’t feel compelled to eat the printed serving size, which is three two-piece bars. I’ll devour two fingers, let out a couple of food pleasure moans, lick off whatever creme melted onto my fingers, rub my tummy, and then I’m good.

But overall, you’re right black cat on the packaging, Pumpkin Pie Kit Kat is eye-popping wonderful.

(Nutrition Facts – 3 two-piece bars – 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, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: Purchased on eBay so I paid more than I should
Size: 9.8 oz. bag
Purchased at: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Smells and tastes like pumpkin pie. Also, at times, taste like a ginger snap cookie. It’s the best limited edition U.S. Kit Kat I’ve ever had.
Cons: Don’t feel compelled to eat the printed serving size. Snorting crushed eye of newt.

REVIEW: FYE Food Fight Funky Fry & Killer Ketchup Milk Chocolate Bar

FYE Food Fight Funky Fry  Killer Ketchup Milk Chocolate Bar

Y = French Fry + Ketchup + Chocolate.

Take a moment to let the foodgebra (food+algebra) sink in. I could not believe my eyes either, but this franken-food was brought to life by retailer FYE and Astor Chocolate with an equally as complicated product name — Food Fight Funky Fry & Killer Ketchup Milk Chocolate Bar.

The FYE-exclusive Food Fight Chocolate Bar line includes other franken-flavors, like Crispy Caramel Popcorn, Crunchy Tortilla Muchacho Taco, and Together Forever Peanut Butter & Jelly.

FYE Food Fight Funky Fry  Killer Ketchup Milk Chocolate Bar 2

I was very intrigued by the Killer Ketchup wild card because the chocolate and deep-fried potato combo has been done. A little part of me was dubious that they’d actually put all of it into a chocolate bar, but the ingredients were listed on the back very plainly: milk chocolate, potato chips, sea salt, freeze dried white onion powder, dried tomato powder, roasted garlic powder, and chipotle chili pepper powder.

I assumed the chili is where the “killer” part comes in. After reading the ingredients, I was a little terrified but the Aqua Teen Hunger Force-esque characters on the packaging dared me to take the plunge.

FYE Food Fight Funky Fry  Killer Ketchup Milk Chocolate Bar 3

When I opened it, I was surprised to find the chocolate bar looked like a regular chocolate bar – even the cross-section reminded me of a plain ol’ Nestle Crunch Bar. It also didn’t smell any different – whew. The chocolate did seem softer as it started melting where my fingers were holding it. Said softness translated into a pleasant melt in your mouth texture (think Hershey’s Kisses) and I thought the chocolate itself actually tasted better than Hershey’s.

FYE Food Fight Funky Fry  Killer Ketchup Milk Chocolate Bar 4

Despite the rich milk chocolate-y sweetness, there was no mistaking the savory elements. After the initial chocolate taste, the garlic and onion flavors were the most prominent followed by a mild heat. It was like eating slightly spicy sour cream and onion chips topped with chocolate, which tasted as weird as it sounds.

Net net, it was nothing like eating ketchup and fries. I simultaneously felt relief and disappointment. It would’ve been pretty epic if this was the ultimate food mind-trip, but it would also ruin chocolate and/or ketchup and fries for me forever.

So, let’s solve the equation at the beginning of this review and let Y = WHY?!

I know it’s trendy to create crazy limited time only flavors, but I think this is way too far on the deep end. It was definitely a unique-once-in-a-lifetime-because-you-only-need-to-try-it-once experience, but don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

(Nutrition Facts – 260 calories, 15 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 10 mg of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fiber, 25 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 1.75 oz. bar
Purchased at: FYE
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Most unique chocolate experience I’ve had. Better chocolate than Hershey’s. Good heat from the chili.
Cons: Doesn’t taste like fries and ketchup. Honestly, not something I want to eat again.

REVIEW: Cookies & Screeem M&M’s

Cookies  Screeem M M s

These Cookies & Screeem M&M’s exemplify a trend I have been noticing in the last few years. In a world inundated with pumpkin, peppermint, and red velvet flavors for holidays, some companies make whatever flavor they feel like and somehow say it’s a holiday version. (I was disappointed last November when I asked for a pumpkin shake at Jack in the Box and their only “seasonal” offering was a Golden Oreo salted caramel shake. What does that have to do with Thanksgiving or Christmas!?) Like last year’s Boo-tterscotch M&Ms, these Cookies & Screeem ones don’t really have anything to do with Halloween.

They’re kind of Halloweeny because they’re black (or dark purple). I guess that’s how they justify it. But it’s still not as Halloweeny as the regular orange and black M&Ms of my childhood. (If my memory serves me right, they added purple and green to the orange and black in 2008, which I thought made them look more Eastery, and they switched to fall colors in 2010.)

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These M&M’s consist of a speckled shell, a layer of dark chocolate, and a white chocolate center. That’s all that makes up the “cookies and cream” side of it; if they added other flavors, I can’t detect it, and the ingredients list is too vague. I do think it’s a cool concept to have two kinds of chocolate in one candy.

One of the first things I notice when I eat one is a chemical quality, probably from all the food coloring they used to make them black.

Cookies  Screeem M M s 3

I like dark chocolate M&M’s. I like white chocolate M&M’s. But sometimes two rights make a wrong. These chocolates aren’t terrible, but I feel like the bitterness of the dark clashes with the sweetness of the white. I like the two flavors better when they’re on their own.

The sizes are inconsistent, and I actually like the small ones better. The ratio of dark to white is more enjoyable in the small ones.

I wasn’t able to brush my teeth immediately after trying these, and a few minutes after I had tasted them, I got an aftertaste that tasted like Oreo. That was the closest I got to the cookies and cream experience, and even that was fleeting. I would have liked these a lot more if they followed a traditional cookies and cream approach: white chocolate with crunchy cookie bits.

Will you go through the whole bag? Probably. But this is one of the brand’s weaker offerings.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz./about 16 pieces – 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 10 milligrams of sodium, twenty grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 18 grams of sugar (including 17 grams of added sugars), and less than 1 gram of sugar.)

Purchased Price: $3.19
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Cool concept of two chocolates in one candy. Not terrible. At least they’re trying to branch out.
Cons: Chemical flavor. White chocolate and dark chocolate taste better on their own. Doesn’t screeem “Halloween.” Doesn’t screeem “cookies and cream.” Doesn’t screeem “a product that will come back next year.”

REVIEW: Limited Edition Haribo Gold-Bears Mystery Flavors

Limited Edition Haribo Gold Bears Mystery Flavors

Wait.

Gummi bears have flavors?

Despite eating Olympic swimming pools of them over the decades, that’s news to me. I thought they were all one – “fruitish.” Perhaps because I shove them in my mouth by the handful, they meld into the same taste?

Hence I walked into Haribo’s Mystery Flavor Gold-Bears thinking, “Oh, they have specific flavors now – that’s new!”

My first impression of this product was: Where’s the beef?

This is a large bag but the bears only come up to the top of the clear window. Two-thirds of the bag is empty – not even filled with air, fercryinoutloud! It’s like the CD longbox of candy!

Limited Edition Haribo Gold Bears Mystery Flavors 2

Second impression: Have the gummi bear species reverse-evolved into smaller versions of themselves? I love miniatures, but I like to look a bear in the eye before I bite his head off, thank you very much.

Inside the bag, that familiar plasticy sweet smell and the greasy film that leaves bear trails on every surface.

Limited Edition Haribo Gold Bears Mystery Flavors 3

Spoiler alert: if you want to solve the mystery flavors mystery yourself, stop reading here and come back later!

Let’s start with the ones I’m sure about.

Blue = Blueberry. This was a no-brainer.

Limited Edition Haribo Gold Bears Mystery Flavors 4

The orange-yellow was definitely peach. No doubt about it.

These were also my two favorite flavors. They tasted like bright, punchy candy renditions of their namesake fruits.

Limited Edition Haribo Gold Bears Mystery Flavors 5

The remaining three I’m a bit tentative on.

The maroon I’m 70 percent sure is raspberry. 30 percent chance it’s pomegranate. While they had a pleasant berry-ish taste, I wasn’t excited about them. Perhaps the ease of identification boosted the enjoyment in the others?

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I originally thought the pink and bright yellow were strawberry and pineapple, but then discovered these are flavors are in the usual Haribo gummi bear mix, so they wouldn’t put them in this, would they?

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I scanned the package for hints. That fruit-filled question mark probably holds the answers to this profound conundrum.

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After consulting the cartoon bear oracle, and a second round of tasting, I’m leaning toward pink = watermelon and yellow = banana. These are pure guesses, however. I’m curious to hear what you all think since I couldn’t check my work on their website. The URL advertised on the package is currently password protected. Annoying.

The yellow bears were the most confounding flavor-wise and my least favorite of the group. If they really were banana, it’s a loose interpretation. Assuming my guess on the pink bear is correct, I prefer a heavier-handed take on watermelon. These were far weaker than my watermelon touchstone – Jolly Ranchers.

Limited Edition Haribo Gold Bears Mystery Flavors 9

Overall, the gummi bears retained their historic chewy fruity appeal and the mystery flavors added a new twist (especially for those of us who never knew there were intentional tastes involved in the first place). If you’re a gummi bear fan, these are worth a try!

Limited Edition Haribo Gold Bears Mystery Flavors 10

(Nutrition Facts – 13 bears – 100 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.89
Size: 4 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: I love a good mystery! Who killed the blue bear in the library with a rope?
Cons: 4 ounces of micro-bears in a 9 ounce bag. Least banana-y banana – if that is banana. Non-working website.

REVIEW: Brach’s Cookie Candy Corn

Brach s Cookie Candy Corn

I really enjoy candy corn, despite it being a major sugar bomb. (Seriously – have you checked out those nutrition facts below? Basically, ONLY sugar. I think in this case ignorance is bliss… Don’t even get me started on calorie counts on certain restaurant menus. IHOP is NOT the place I want to know how many calories I’m ingesting. Let me eat my stack of pancakes in peace.) But I do love me some candy corn when fall/Halloween comes around.

I had two thoughts when I saw the Brach’s Cookie Candy Corn in the store.

  1. What could this possibly taste like?
  2. Why are the Fall items out when schools haven’t even started yet? I’m a firm believer in Fall/Halloween AFTER back-to-school, Christmas music the day AFTER Thanksgiving and Easter goods AFTER Valentine’s Day.

The flavors intrigued me: The bag contained four different flavors of the candy corn, all beloved cookies. You’ll find Chocolate Chip (top left in the photo below), Oatmeal (top right), Butter Cookie (bottom right), and Cookies n’ Cream (bottom left).

Brach s Cookie Candy Corn 3

I was excited to try, but I couldn’t help but wonder: Would someone pick these over Aunt Alice’s cookie tray at Thanksgiving? Read on, my friends…

I started out by determining which flavor was which – surprisingly easy based on the color combinations – and compiled notes on each. Let’s start with Chocolate Chip. Definitely one of the more basic flavors. It had a strong chocolate taste up front with a subtle finish. Tasted more like a chocolate cookie with chocolate chips than just a chocolate chip cookie.

Next up was Oatmeal, which was by far my favorite of the group. It’s a warm-up for the taste of fall and the candy corn to come. There was a hint of cinnamon aftertaste, and it was the one that tasted the least like candy corn.

Brach s Cookie Candy Corn 4

For Cookies n’ Cream, vanilla is definitely the dominant flavor. It was good, leaving a sweet aftertaste. Alas, I’d still rather have an Oreo. And finally, Butter Cookie. Although the most even-flavored, it was the sweetest by far and the flavor that tasted the most artificial. There was no aftertaste with this one.

My expert analysis is this: The Brach’s Candy Corn is good, not great. Take my advice – if you want candy corn, eat candy corn. If you want a cookie, eat an actual cookie. The mixing of the two isn’t quite up to par. But if they do decide to bag up just the Oatmeal flavor, I may be OK with that.

(Nutrition Facts – 15 pieces – 110 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 22 grams of sugar; includes 22 grams added sugars, and 0 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.00
Size: 9 oz. bag
Purchased at: Giant Eagle
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Fun flavors, unique spin on candy corn. Good, not great.
Cons: Just not as good as a cookie. Stick to Aunt Alice’s Thanksgiving cookie tray.