REVIEW: Easter Sundae M&M’s

Easter Sundae M&M's

Easter Sundays hold a special place in my heart. So many memories of floofy dresses bought just for that day. Sleeping with my hair in rollers to get those special curls the next morning. Socks with little bows on them, and saddle shoes or Mary Janes.

That was a shoe before it was a term for weed, guys. Just a heads up.

The point being, I loved–oh, wait, no, I hated Easter Sunday. I hated wearing dresses. The curlers pinched my scalp. Bows are for girls who don’t play in the mud and try to catch lizards. Church was boring and too early.

Okay, it wasn’t all bad. After church we got to go to The Original Pancake House, where they put bacon in pancakes before putting bacon in everything was cool. We had an Easter egg hunt at home, and got to open our baskets full of sweet, delicious candy. It was a fantastic reward for my sore head and sleepy morning.

What we didn’t have was Easter Sundaes. That’s probably because they didn’t exist until M&M’s decided to use some easy wordplay for their latest in a line of many flavors. Look at Red up there, acting like bunny ears and sundaes go together like Halloween and candy corn.

I’d also like to address the flavor itself, which is described on the bag as “White center surrounded by Milk Chocolate.” I know it’s a controversial stance, but White Center has been and always will be my favorite flavor. Good ol’ White Center.

Easter Sundae M&M's 2

M&M’s idea of Easter Sundae colors is apparently bright blue, bright pink and what some guy in the paint department of Home Depot would describe as ecru. These feel more like “baby shower gifts when the parents are keeping the gender a secret” more than either Easter or sundaes. Also, for some reason my bag had approximately four times as many blues as pinks, so…I guess it’s a boy?

Easter Sundae M&M's 3

Of course, White Center is actually white chocolate, the proof of which is that white chocolate is the first ingredient listed on the back of the bag. It’s the predominant chocolate inside the larger-than-usual M&M, surrounded by a thinner later of milk chocolate.

The taste of Easter Sundae M&M’s is both pleasant and almost oppressively boring. That’s a weird sentence, but it’s 100% true. The white chocolate center dominates as a flavor, while the surrounding milk chocolate plays a nice backup role.

But that’s it; that’s all there is to it. White chocolate and milk chocolate, together at last, or for the 100th time. One of those two. If they really were going for the taste of a sundae, they failed to hit the marks of ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream, cherries, and…well yeah, that’s entirely what comprises a sundae.

If you like to eat white chocolate and milk chocolate together, then you’ll enjoy Easter Sundae M&M’s. But don’t be fooled by the name; there’s no new flavors, no unique experience. Just chocolate.

(Nutrition Facts – 1.5 ounces — 210 calories, 90 calories from fat, 9 grams of total fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 27 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.88
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Enjoyable mixture of white and milk chocolate. Easter egg hunts. The candy shells are cheerily colored.
Cons: A boring combination of flavors. Trying to force Easter and sundaes together. Candies taste absolutely nothing like sundaes. Floofy dresses.

REVIEW: Airheads Birthday Cake

Airheads Birthday Cake

Airheads is celebrating its 30th birthday in 2016.

M&M’s is celebrating its 75th birthday in 2016.

Look, I know that M&M’s flavored like Airheads and Airheads stuffed with M&M’s Minis is probably too much to ask for, but at least give me an HD video of that cute Brown M&M sensually eating a Watermelon Airhead while singing “Happy Birthday, Mr. Candy President.”

Now before you finish typing “how to file a restraining order” into your search bar, hear me out. It took M&M’s — a chocolate candy — all the way until its 73rd birthday to jump the artificially flavored shark and try a birthday cake flavor.

Typically fruity Airheads made this bizarre leap in less than half the time, making me think someone at Airheads HQ Googled “what flavors does Buzzfeed write about please help us we’re out of ideas.”

Airheads Birthday Cake 2

So here I sit with a Birthday Cake Airhead. It looks like someone cut the tongue right out of Yoshi from Super Mario Bros.’ mouth and dunked it in a bowl of Funfetti batter. The slimy gloss on the taffy further supports my grim hypothesis.

I always knew the Pillsbury Doughboy wasn’t right in the head.

Even though feeling the gritty, sticky texture of this Airhead is like sharing Play-Doh with the dopey, drooling kid from pre-school, I bit off a hunk anyway. I chewed, I chewed, the fish in my aquarium evolved a pair of legs, and I continued chewing.

It really does take a long time to chew through this Airhead. I timed it at about 40 seconds for each sizable bite. By the time I finished, my fish were Cro-Magnon men. My journey through time covered several distinct taste eras, so allow me to break this down, National Geographic style.

0-10 seconds: The Buttercream Era

During this period of early development, indigenous Airhead eaters were stunned by just how much it tasted like cake frosting. A palatable butteriness and a lip-smacking whipped cream sweetness allowed them to survive in an otherwise challenging time plagued by a gross mouthfeel.

11-20 seconds: The Vanilla Era.

Our humble, chewing natives experienced a brief period of splendor, as a storm of intense vanilla flavor graced them with its pleasant taste. Faint notes of eggy yellow cake began to grow from the half-chewed Airhead soil, and all were pleased by this harvest.

21-30 seconds: The Powdered Sugar Era

This good fortune could not last. As the mealy mush of chewed Airhead began degrading into a sopping pile of grit within the chewers’ mouths, volcanoes of confectioner’s sugar erupted cloying, glazed lava. Tasters everywhere were sickened by its tooth-rotting sweetness.

31-40 seconds: The “I Don’t Even Know Anymore, Dude” Era

Ruin befell the Airhead eaters. All that remained after their earlier tragedy were puddles of sugar granules and saliva, as well as an off-putting waxy aftertaste that radiated from the backs of their throats. They say, “those who don’t learn from history are bound to repeat it,” and these chewers were idiots. So they took another bite.

Airheads Birthday Cake 3

That’s the Cliffs Notes version. For a while, this taffy actually did taste uncannily like a heavily frosted birthday cake. The problem is that cake flavor and taffy texture together is about as appealing as nuts and gum. It’s an odd experience that might be worth the novelty, but Airheads would have been better off choosing a safer flavor. Pineapple upside-down cake? Banana crème pie? Anyone? Bueller?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to study the next chapter on 7-10pm: The “Stuffs his Face with Crispy M&M’s and Cries” Period.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – 60 calories, 5 calories from fat, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of sodium, 142 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $1.89
Size: 6 bar variety pack
Purchased at: Kroger
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Brief buttercream blasts. Fleeting vanilla resplendence. Chewing for long enough to kill time at the DMV. The Brown M&M.
Cons: Sarcastically exclaiming, “cake and taffy: together at last!” Slimy, saliva-soaked sugar paste. Birthday candle aftertaste. The Pillsbury Dahmer-boy.

REVIEW: Hershey’s Carrot Cake Kisses

Hershey's Carrot Cake Kisses

Carrot Cake is always a cause for celebration.

History proves it: when the Red Coats turn and ran from the Lower East Side in 1783, George Washington celebrated with a big old slice of carrot tea cake. Why? Because nothing says BOOM, ‘MURICA like sneaking vegetables into dessert. It is just our way. You can call it the best of both worlds, or having your cake and eating it too, or just a pretext to improve your night vision while not giving up the sensual pleasure of cake.

But whatever you call it, call it what it is: America’s most beloved combination of vegetables and cream cheese this side of pumpkin spice season.

Carrot Cake is also the newest seasonal Hershey’s Kisses. Non-chocolate Kisses (which are not to be confused with French kisses, which are equally as delightful as Hershey’s Kisses) are a rarity in the candy world, and in my experience, a mixed bag. Sometimes good, sometimes meh, you never know what to make of the seasonally-themed flavors until you try them. This of course is possible thanks to the miracle of capitalism, and the tireless efforts of the overnight employees stocking the Walmart candy shelves the day after the last holiday ended.

Hershey's Carrot Cake Kisses 2

I have a theory about carrot cake: aside from being an “Easter” flavor, its appeal derives from the fact that it has a little something of everyone’s other favorite cakes and flavors.

But if your idea of carrot cake is the kind of cake you eat when you really just want fruitcake, then these Kisses are not from you. There are no raisins, pineapple, or nuts of any kind in the filling, and as far as I know, they don’t have any booze in them.

Hershey's Carrot Cake Kisses 4

Likewise, if carrot cake is the kind is cake you turn to for the moist, super-carroty experience, then these Kisses don’t quite do the job, because the carrot flavor isn’t very distinct. And, finally, if carrot cake is what you’re looking for when you really just want an excuse to lick cream cheese frosting, the white center of each Kiss — which tastes like a combination of fondant and buttercream and a little bit of sour cream — leaves much to be desired.

Who are these Kisses for? They’re for people who like super sweet carrot cake with a little, but not a lot of, tang; those who enjoy the saccharine smell of fondant; people who are looking for a less assertive flavor still reminiscent of pumpkin spice during the spring; and, finally, folks who enjoy sucking on candy whose shape recalls infant memories of breastfeeding.

In all honesty the Kisses aren’t bad. While they are hyper-sweet, there’s a milky appeal to the orange layer, with an artificial spice flavor that lingers. It’s not a bad flavor though. A slightly tangy finish with the fondant and buttercream-like center leaves the tongue with the impression that you’ve eaten more than just sugar and vegetable oil.

Hershey's Carrot Cake Kisses 3

It’s not a moist and decadent carrot cake, but it’s a respectable, albeit too sweet and artificial, celebration of familiar spices and buttercream flavors in the convenient nipple-looking package of a Hershey’s Kiss. And at just under 25 calories a Kiss, it’s a bit easier on the waistline than a carrot cake. The Kisses might not be kicking the British out of Manhattan in the Revolutionary War, but my celebration standards are not quite so lofty, so I’ll go ahead and have another.

(Nutrition Facts – 9 Kisses – 220 calories, 110 calories from fat, 12 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 23 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 9 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Enjoyable melt-in-your mouth Kisses quality. Sweet warming spices. Pretty good combination of buttercream, white-chocolate, and fondant frosting. The American way.
Cons: Lacks really deep carrot cake flavor. Cream cheese tang and richness is missing. Cloying. Doesn’t contain any of the usual carrot cake mix-ins. Awesome source of saturated fat and Yellow Lake #5.

REVIEW: Cadbury Oreo Creme Egg (Canada)

Cadbury Oreo Creme Egg

How did the Oreo Creme Egg not already exist? It just feels right, doesn’t it?

It feels like the last few years of Creme Egg varieties has been leading up to this moment. Now all we need is a Creme Egg-flavoured Oreo so that the whole world can fold in on itself, like two Ron Silvers touching each other in Timecop, but on a cosmic scale.

Before I go any further, I need to talk about how amazing the new Creme Egg packaging is. I think I can say without an ounce of hyperbole that it’s the greatest thing to happen to humanity since the invention of the printing press. Gone are the days of struggling to remove the foil wrapper in one clean piece, and having to contend with fiddly little half-stuck pieces of foil that make you want to hurl yourself head-first through a plate-glass window.

Instead, you just pull apart the seam on the two pieces of egg-shaped plastic and it pops open, effortlessly revealing the Creme Egg bounty within. The whole process takes less than one second, and it is glorious. Whoever invented that packaging deserves a vigorous round of high-fives, back-pats, and hearty handshakes.

But this isn’t a packaging blog (if it were, trust me, that packaging would score 10 out of 10. No… 100 out of 10. DON’T FIGHT IT, JUST LET IT HAPPEN), so I guess I should talk about the chocolate egg nestled within that magnificent package.

I had feared that they might take the lazy way out and take a regular Creme Egg, remove the orange food colouring, throw in some Oreo bits and call it a day. But the extent to which they have successfully Oreoified the Creme Egg is kind of breathtaking.

Cadbury Oreo Creme Egg 2

The egg itself, however, is unchanged, right down to the classic star-surrounded-by-circles exterior design. This is the egg’s biggest stumbling block. Not that it’s bad quality chocolate; it has a nice creamy melt and that distinctive Cadbury milk chocolate flavour. But it’s very sweet, and when combined with the even sweeter filling, it’s sugar overload. A dark chocolate version would be perfect, but since that doesn’t even exist for the standard Creme Egg, I think it’s wishful thinking.

Cadbury Oreo Creme Egg 3

The filling is pretty amazing, though. It’s completely different from the O.G. Creme Egg, with a frosting-like, less sticky consistency that’s impressively Oreo-y without being overbearing (it’s slightly lighter and creamier than actual Oreo filling). The crunchy bits of Oreo cookies interspersed throughout the filling add more flavour and texture than you’d imagine. They give the egg a cocoa-tinged flavour and satisfying amount of crunch while further cementing its Oreo pedigree.

Cadbury Oreo Creme Egg 4

The whole thing is still two or three notches more cloying than I’d like it to be, but it definitely has a mellower, less throat-burningly sweet flavour than the classic Creme Egg. I could easily see myself eating more of these, and I usually top out at one Creme Egg per year, thanks to its in-your-face sweetness.

(Nutrition Facts – Not available.)

Item: Cadbury Oreo Creme Egg
Purchased Price: $0.97 CAN
Size: 34 grams
Purchased at: Longo’s
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Nails the Oreo flavour. Crunchy cookie bits. Not as overbearingly sweet as a standard Creme Egg. The greatest packaging in the history of packaging. Timecop.
Cons: Still sweeter than it should be. Lack of a dark chocolate variety. PTSD-esque flashbacks of opening the old foil packaging.

REVIEW: White Strawberry Shortcake M&M’s

White Strawberry Shortcake M&M’s

Eat your fruit. It’s good for you, they say. It gives you antioxidants, they say. It turns you into an Animorph and lets you shoot laser beams out of your eyeballs, they say. (They actually only say two of these. I’ll let you choose which.)

But sometimes, you don’t want fruit. Not fresh, dried, packaged or plain. Sometimes you want dye-colored, artificially-enhanced pretend fruit in all its sucrose-filled glory. BUT just because it’s pretend doesn’t mean we lower our standards. We want funky grapes, sweet-tart lemons, and a strawberry so balanced and sweet, it makes umami disappear. Who shall take up the reins and harken to our plea for a strawberry-inspired white chocolate? Who shall deliver it in morsel form??

Well, M&M’s gave it a shot.

White Strawberry Shortcake M&M’s 2

The multi-colored morsels tumble out of the bag, bumbling about in their charming, misshapen way. Indeed, M&M’s could start a Home Depot paint line with as many colors as they shroud their candies in these days. This time around, Mars stuck with a white, light pink, and beige color palette, or, as the paint-namers say, “Minced Onion, Palace Rose, and Vanilla Clay.”

White Strawberry Shortcake M&M’s 3

The bits smell distinctly of the brightness that comes from opening a bag of Skittles, and, indeed, the first bite reminds me of a Strawberry Skittle, with its sweet, floral strawberry flavor and crunchy outer shell. The shell immediately crumbles, leaving the white chocolate center to melt into goo, coating your mouth with a light, Starburst-like strawberry sweetness.

The chocolate’s not nuanced or particularly high quality, but, if my eyes don’t deceive, the ingredients list includes cocoa-butter-filled white chocolate rather than, “White Confection,” which might be better described as, “Nefarious, sweetened Vasoline born to create destruction.”

And using that white chocolate pays off. With a hint of vanilla and sugar-filled creaminess, the elements come together just enough to remind me of the strawberry and whipped topping (think: Cool Whip from the tub) often found in strawberry shortcake. Okay, so it’s missing the whole “Shortbread Biscuit” thing, but I enjoy my strawberry-shortcake-inspired bits nonetheless, reveling in the fact that I didn’t even have to open an oven to achieve such joy. Laziness, for the win.

White Strawberry Shortcake M&M’s 4

Life is fraught with dangers, both real and imagined. Strawberry-shortcake-flavored candy should not be one of them. M&M’s knows this. They made a sweet, strawberry morsel that harkens back to a Strawberry Skittle (my favorite flavor) enmeshed with their fudgy white chocolate.

Sure, it’s a bit sweet, not the best quality chocolate, doesn’t include a shortcake biscuit, and won’t replace your everyday fruits (remember: you need that fruit so you can shoot laser beams out of your eyeballs), but, for 2016, I hear many folks hope to do more of what they love. Hypothesizing that M&M’s likes cranking out a whole bunch of seasonally flavored morsels, it looks like M&M’s plans to do that, too. If this is how doing more of what you love tastes, I have hope.

(Nutrition Facts – 1.5 oz – 210 calories, 100 calories from fat, 10 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 dietary fiber, 28 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Item: White Strawberry Shortcake M&M’s
Purchased Price: $3.19
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Strawberry Skittles. Crunchy shell. Creamy center. Actual white chocolate. Cool Whip from the tub. Laziness, for the win. Fruit that turns you into an Animorph.
Cons: Where’s the shortcake? Will not appeal to those who are Strawberry Starbursts/Skittles haters. Not the best quality white chocolate. Life is fraught with dangers. Being faced with too many paint colors.

REVIEW: Snickers Crisper

Snickers Crisper

Chocolate. Caramel. Peanuts. Nougat. Perfection.

You can’t improve on perfection, but adding crisp rice pieces to a Snickers bar certainly can’t be a bad thing.

Enter Snickers Crisper – crisp rice, milk chocolate, caramel, peanuts and…

Hold on. Let me just flip the bag over and see if it says “nougat” somewhere. Surely they couldn’t have removed the nougat.

I don’t see it. Ha. This must be a typo. I can’t believe they would send out a bag like this with such a mistake, but I’ll let it slide. They were probably rushing them to the shelves for the holidays.

Let me just take a quick bite and confirm that there is indeed the delicious nougat I’ve become accustomed to in a Snickers bar.

Mmmm. Oh yeah. Good crunch, familiar Snickers taste, and…

It’s not there.

It’s not there?!

Remain calm. It’s gotta be in there somewhere. I will find the nougat! Let me just take one more bite.

There’s no nougat. What a tragedy. I assumed this was just a nice Snickers bar with some crispy rice thrown in for additional crunch… but no noug…

Sorry about that, I passed out from shock.

Snickers Crisper 2

Snickers Crisper 3

However, nougat omission aside, it’s delicious. There were about 15 fun-sized pieces in the bag, and I put down ten easy.

Why wouldn’t it be delicious? If the word “Snickers” is in the title, you can pretty much guarantee it’s gonna be good. It’s the same Mars chocolate you grew up with. It’s the same silky caramel you know and love, and it’s the same peanuts. I don’t really have anything fond to say about them because they’re just peanuts.

I was clearly worried that the lack of nougat would screw with the texture of the bar, but there’s still enough chocolate and caramel to keep it from being a “wafery” crisp. The ingredients still mesh well enough that you won’t even miss the nougat all that much.

Snickers Crisper 4

To me it tastes like a Kudos Bar. I actually got hit with a nostalgia wave when I bit in. I used to eat Kudos religiously as a kid, but haven’t had one in years. This is a Kudos Snickers bar covered in chocolate.

Keeping that in mind, Snickers Crisper Bars are a different chew than normal. The crisp isn’t a bad element by any means, but these just taste and feel more like a chewy granola bar than your standard Snickers candy bar. Although these are fun size pieces, I’d recommend biting into a square and not putting the whole thing in your mouth, unless you’d like a jaw workout.

So while this new candy bar isn’t as perfect as regular Snickers, it’s really close.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 square – 100 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein..)

Item: Snickers Crisper
Purchased Price: $3.48
Size: 10.61 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: It’s still basically a Snickers. Addictive. Delicious caramel. Rice crisps add a nice texture. Kudos nostalgia.
Cons: Has a texture and taste that’s more like a granola bar than candy bar. Passing out. Jaw workouts.