REVIEW: White BOO-tterscotch M&M’s

White BOO-tterscotch M&M's

Does anyone under the age of 60 like butterscotch besides me?

I know I instantly think of the candy dish at my Grandmother’s house, where at any given time you could treat yourself to a hard butterscotch stuck to its orange wrapper, a root beer barrel, or a button from an old sweater. On a good day you might even find a Chocolate Riesen. If you asked most kids they’d probably consider the button over the butterscotch, but I wasn’t that kid.

If you’re like me, seek help.

But also, if you’re like me, you probably wondered “what exactly is butterscotch?” I’ve had it 1000 times, but I don’t actually know what it’s made of. I’m perpetually in a state of mild inebriation, so I can’t really tell. It can’t possibly have actual scotch in it, right?

No. It’s basically just brown sugar and butter. According to trusty Wikipedia, “Butterscotch is similar to toffee, but for butterscotch the sugar is boiled to the soft crack stage, and not hard crack as with toffee.”

I guess “butterscotch” was a better name than “soft crack toffee.”

Ya know what’s a better name than “butterscotch?” BOO-terscotch!

I worry about our elderly butterscotch aficionados. These new White BOO-tterscotch M&M’s might be a bit too scary for their old hearts to take.

White BOO-tterscotch M&M’s, or “BOOMM’s” as the kids call them, are the latest Halloween tie-in from the Mars company. Not sure if you guys have seen the new commercial, but the jingle is pretty catchy – White B, double O, double T, E-R, with a SCOTCH, double M and an S. YES!

I made that up, and I can’t apologize enough for it. On to the review –>

In terms of smell, these are the most distinct M&M’s I’ve ever opened. They stink like butterscotch. Stink. I honestly can’t decide if I like it or not. It’s probably too strong, but I appreciate the fact you know what you’re in for.

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As with most of their special releases, they are about the size of Peanut Butter M&M’s. Once you crunch through the familiar, but boring fall colored shells, the inside is white chocolate.

I’ve found that white chocolate style M&M’s tend to be creamier than the normal, but don’t fret folks, they still won’t melt in your hands. Since these are fashioned after a “sucking candy,” I ate them that way, and let each piece melt in my mouth like the famous slogan goes.

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For such a strong smelling candy, the butterscotch flavor is pleasantly light. The white chocolate has a really nice flavor, and there’s a perfect marriage between that and the butterscotch. It’s distinctly there, but not so much that you have Nam-style flashbacks of Grandma’s candy dish.

The flavor is obviously different, but these put me in mind of the Candy Corn M&M’s, which I was actually a big fan of. Those are another “old people” candy that M&M’s did right. Pairing these flavors with white chocolate was a wise decision, because they mesh so well together.

Remember earlier when I made up that jingle? Sorry again. At least I didn’t shoehorn in a Ron Burgundy quote.

So yeah, these are good. They don’t specify, but I assume they’ll strictly be a fall release. They kinda limited their window with the name “BOO-tterscotch,” but I guess if they’re popular enough they can change it.

These are probably gonna find their way to Grandmother’s house this Halloween. Maybe even beyond that. Ya better watch your back, Werther’s.

(Nutrition Facts – 1.5 ounces — 210 calories, 100 calories from fat, 11 grams of total fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 28 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.19
Size: 8 oz bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Butterscotch flavor isn’t too overpowering. Creamy white chocolate. Distinctive smell. Memories of Grandma’s house. The name “Boo-tterscotch.”
Cons: Boring color tone. Specific store exclusives. Memories of Grandma’s candy dish. Potentially too scary for the elderly. Halloween gets earlier every year. So sorry about that jingle.

REVIEW: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Stuffed with Reese’s Pieces

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Stuffed with Reese's Pieces

In a perfect world food would be an easy linear math problem.

Most the time this concept stands to reason. Just as we recite 2 + 2 = 4 ad nauseam during our earliest days of grade school, our first adventures in the world of taste confirm basic premises upon which all further knowledge of sweet and salty is built upon. Bacon + Burger = Excellent, Fish + Cheese = Why?, and, my personal favorite, Peanut Butter + Chocolate = All You Need In Life.

Yes, a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup is all you need in life.

This is not subject to relativism. Name for me one person who does not like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. What’s that, you can’t? I’m telling you such people do not exist. You don’t become the highest selling candy in the country because you have haters. Okay then, try one person who does not like a handful of Reese’s Pieces? Speak up! Are those crickets chirping in the background? Thought so.

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So if we’re talking math and we’re talking candy, it should follow that Awesome Chocolate and Peanut Butter Candy + Another Awesome Chocolate and Peanut Butter Candy = Exponentially Awesome Chocolate and Peanut Butter Candy. Unfortunately, the new Reese’s Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups stuffed with Reece’s Pieces taste remarkably like…Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

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I am not trying to say this is a bad thing (I did call them “awesome”). Far be it from me to audit the millions of dollars we fork over annually for that creamy peanut butter center and smooth milk chocolate shell. But when one expects the crunchy, intense burst of even more peanut butter and chocolate to give the cups the all-important textural variation that makes a simple candy like Crunch so popular, one only returns with slightly grainy shards of chocolate shell sticking from the peanut butter. The two peanut butter elements even meld into each other, creating a completely indistinguishable flavor that tastes both unequivocally yummy and devastatingly disappointing.

2 + 2 = 4? Psh. Now I get what Orwell meant when he wrote that 2 + 2 = 5. Except 5 is not any better than 4.

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I’m sure there are a fair number of people saying, “Well, what did you expect?” Fair question, but excuse me for holding the Reese’s R&D people to a high standard. The brand has only given us, what, about as many variations of peanut butter and chocolate as there are Duggar children? Yet where every Reese’s product seems to offer a bit of something extra when it comes to taste and texture, the new Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups with Reese’s Pieces provide just an additional military-sized acronym to memorize in all your favorite candy forums (RMCPBCswRP in the unabridged form).

And, for the record, a bolder choice would have been to wrap an entire dark chocolate Reese’s cup in a Reese’s Pieces milk chocolate shell, thus encasing the smooth and creamy peanut butter to two levels of chocolate and increasing the crunch a gazillion times. And while we’re at it, can we add a white chocolate drizzle?

But then again, what do I know. I’m just a guy who has only been eating Reese’s PB Cups and Reese’s Pieces since I learned that 2 + 2 = 4.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 package or 2 cups – 220 calories, 100 calories from fat, 12 grams of fat, 5.0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 2 gram of dietary fiber, 23 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.00
Size: 1.5 oz
Purchased at: Shoppers Food
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: It’s a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Of course you love that smooth and slightly salty peanut butter and sweet milk chocolate! The simple life of linear first grade math equations. Military-grade acronyms for candy.
Cons: Tastes exactly like a regular Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Pieces provide a barely distinguishable textural contrast. A whimper in a banging tradition of product innovation. Rereading 1984

REVIEW: Hershey’s Crème Filled Mini Éclairs

Hershey's Cre?me Filled Mini E?clairs

An éclair looks like a chocolate bar donut and sounds like some kind of frou frou French gizmo. I can practically hear my high school French teacher scolding: “Don’t you dare forget that accent aigu above the eh (how “e” is pronounced in French)!” But, if you’ve tried to make éclairs, you’ll quickly realize that this classic French pastry deserves to be embellished with that dang accent because of how complicated it is to make.

So what business does Hershey’s have with éclairs? Hershey’s Crème Filled Mini Éclairs of course! Yep, sounds odd to me too. But I taste-tested these with an open mind. After trying these babies, Hershey’s can make all the frozen ready-to-eat desserts they want!

Instead of instant gratification, I had to thaw the mini éclairs for two hours in the fridge or 30 minutes at room temperature. I jokingly complain, but I’ll take a 30-minute thaw time over four-hour éclairs-from-scratch time any day. Unfortunately, my first red flag was that there was freezer burn; little ice crystals were hugging each of the mini éclairs. But, there’s no way to tell if the freezer burn was user error. So, I’ll give Hershey’s the benefit of the doubt – maybe I didn’t get the box into the freezer quickly enough from Walmart. The packaging does warn not to refreeze!

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Either way, because of the freezer burn, the mini éclairs didn’t look great thawed. The ice crystals melted down and made the chocolate look like it was balmy with sweat. Yum, sweaty chocolate. Surprisingly, the overall structural integrity of the oblong choux pastry remained intact. I expected the pastry itself to collapse after the freezer burn thawed out.

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I got through each mini éclair in three swift bites. The crème inside was very luscious and did not have an oily mouthfeel. Paired with the Hershey’s chocolate glaze, it was like I was eating creamy, milk chocolate goodness. The combination was also not sickeningly sweet; I’m not a fan of desserts that are cloyingly sweet. The glaze reminded me of the outside of a Dairy Queen Dipped Cone. And, like a dipped cone, the chocolate wrapped each choux pastry perfectly and the ratio was perfect – just enough for the amount of pastry.

The chocolate glaze was the choux pastry’s saving grace because the pastry itself wasn’t great. Could I tell the éclair had been frozen? If I didn’t personally thaw them, I might not have been able to. But, there was something about the pastry texture that clearly wasn’t fresh. It’s like fresh bagels vs. the day-old bagel pile – it tastes about the same but it’s missing that fresh dough elasticity and spring.

I could totally see myself bringing Hershey’s Crème Filled Mini Éclairs for a potluck and shamelessly taking credit for making them. But, Hershey’s must think we’re all ants because these mini éclairs are teeny-tiny! This is ‘MURRICAA!! However, Hershey’s is staying true to the essence of an éclair with this mini innovation. After all, éclairs were named after lightning because people eat ‘em (especially me) lightning quick!

(Nutrition Facts – 5 éclairs – 270 calories, 160 calories from fat, 18 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 90 milligrams of cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.52
Size: 10.58 oz box/about 20 pieces
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: 30-minute thaw time over four-hour éclairs-from-scratch time. Luscious crème. Creamy, milk chocolate goodness like a Dairy Queen Dipped Cone.
Cons: Freezer burn. Sweaty chocolate. Choux pastry = day old bagel pile. Éclairs for ants.

REVIEW: Caramel & Chocolate Mentos Caramels

Caramel & Chocolate Mentos Caramels

Be careful, Mentos.

You’re walking on thin ice by bringing your Caramel & Chocolate Mentos Caramels into the Rolo Mafia’s territory. Sure, you may have sold your chewy chocolate and caramel bites in Europe for a while now, but things are different in America.

Rolo rules the chocolatey caramel morsel game here, and Don Rolo has been known to make some pretty unrefusable offers in order to discourage competition. Let’s just say that if you wake up tomorrow with the bleeding, severed head of a cherry gummy bear in your bed, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Apparently you’ve released a Caramel & Mint Dark Chocolate variety, too, but I couldn’t find those. Maybe the Junior Mint Yakuza already got to ’em.

I’m telling you, Mentos: thin ice. Speaking of which, you know why Ice Breakers haven’t broken into the chocolate caramel market? Because they don’t want to be sleeping with the Swedish Fishes, either.

But okay, maybe I’m not giving you enough credit. Maybe you can roll with the best of ’em. The Don says you have one shot, so time to put your honey-colored sugar goo where my mouth is.

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I see your trick now, Mentos. You inverted my expectations by putting the chocolate inside the caramel. This way you can claim originality, just like how my bootleg “Nookie” shoes have a haphazardly inverted -— and totally not copyright infringing -— checkmark.

Sorry if it sounds like I’m being hard on you. That’s just because you’re being hard on my teeth. Despite your sticky, pliable caramel shell, I had to apply so much violent dental force to break through it that several anti-fracking petitioners showed up outside my window.

And speaking of dark brown stuff that lurks beneath the surface, your equally gummy chocolate center sure isn’t as valuable as crude oil. In fact, I could barely taste it. There’s a faint fudginess and an aftertaste of ho-hum, sweetened cocoa, but it doesn’t have the creaminess of a Rolo, the butteriness of a Reese’s, or even the mock carnivorous delight of a cheap chocolate bunny.

All I did taste was caramel: simple, super processed, and not at all salted. There’s a bit of that classic “mouthwatering browned sugar” caramel flavor, but it’s mostly like the generic caramel swirl you’d find in a disappointing, birthday party-ruining store brand ice cream.

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Taken together, your Mentos Caramels really are just inside-out Rolos with inferior ingredients. If I may extend my analogy further, it’s like what would happen if Great Value tried to make an Uh-Oh! Oreo. The only people I could recommend these to are those who love Mary Janes, old saltwater taffy, and whatever other rock-hard, filling removing candies the old lady down the street hands out on Halloween.

Sure, Mentos Caramels might not taste that bad, and sure, I could just suck on them until they don’t suck my molars from their sockets, but there’s just no reason to pick them over a Rolo when I’m in the checkout aisle making an Impulsive Buy (See what I did there? Meta reference).

So for your crimes against candy and dental plans, Mentos, I’m sentencing you to “death by overused 2005 YouTube meme.” By which I mean Diet Coke.

Caramel & Chocolate Mentos Caramels 4

Uhh, crap. I guess you win this round. Apparently Mentos Caramels only make the drink angrily fume for five straight minutes instead of erupting. I promise I’ll find some way to punish you.

Right after I finish chugging this bottle of flat, fudgy caramel cola.

(Nutrition Facts – Not available.)

Purchased Price: 99 cents
Size: 36 g tube
Purchased at: Meijer
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Fleeting fudge phantoms. Acceptable for deserted island caramel fixes. The legitimately tasty idea of Chocolate Caramel Coke. Chocolate bunny filets.
Cons: Counterfeit Uh-Oh! Rolos. Budget caramel. So long, dental plan! Having to suck my Mentos instead of chewing them. Organized candy crime.

REVIEW: Project 7 Birthday Cake Gourmet Gummies

Project 7 Birthday Cake Gourmet Gummies


It is long-winded!

What with its Bunsen burners, vacuum filters, and radioactive delocalized atoms, science can leave even the most educated scratching their heads about what in the world C12H22O11 is. Indeed, the mere mention of the periodic table can transform the average-and-everyday into the daunting, ruthless, and unfamiliar.

But, as I learned the time I used physics to whack open a piñata while bouncing on a trampoline, just because science can be unfamiliar doesn’t mean it’s bad. Sometimes one must use science to venture into the unknown. Must harness it to go where no one has gone. Must employ it to take up fly-fishing, win at Ping-Pong, or do the moonwalk in polka-dotted boxer shorts. As humans, we must push, pull, challenge, wring, and wrestle so that we may grow. Science can help us do this.

And sometimes this integration of science involves transforming a fluffy, frosted loaf into blushing ursidae-shaped confectionary. Such is the case with these Project 7 gummies, which dare to take on birthday cake as the inspiration for their squishy bears. But will science follow through? And, if so, will it serve us better? Or will we be consumed by gelatinous radioactive sludge? Fire up the atomizer. We’re diving in.

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Well, pull out your shades and put on your blinders ‘cause these bears tumble out with a red-pink hue that’d rival Kirby eating strawberries in a Hello Kitty Store. The gummies smell quite unique, wavering between whiffs of vanilla Jell-O, pound cake, and, oddly enough, that first moment one walks into a Laser Tag room when the fog machine is at full blast. Special effect smells aside, the bears are soft, squishy, and with their massive googly eyes, likely to both inspire and scare the living daylights out of you.

You wanted your birthday cake chocolate? Strawberry? Coffee caramel with marshmallow fluff? This terrain is not for you. Soft and stretchy with a hint of Chuck E. Cheese Birthday Cake, these bears are straight up vanilla. Nothing more. Nothing less. The bears start with a sweet, saccharine sugar spike that mellows out into the mellow vanilla. It’s not too exciting, but definitely pleasant enough in a humble, uncomplicated way. There’s even a certain brightness at the end, probably from the 100 percent vitamin C they’ve crammed into ‘em. That’s right: you can prevent scurvy. Birthday Cake Gummies can help.

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Science came. Science saw. Science did a bunch of chemical interactions. Maybe something exploded (because what’s good science without explosions?).

What emerged from the mist are these wacky, vanilla-forward gummies tinted in a pink so deep they could stomp on Barbie’s trademark. While the flavor doesn’t blow my mind, the vanilla is pleasantly simple and the concept of specialty gummies is kind of (definitely) spectacular. Perhaps Project 7 will Jelly-Belly-ify their gummies, expanding into the realms of pancakes and pina coladas. My appreciation of this gummy’s vanilla flavor, coupled with a hope that Project 7 will create a buttered popcorn-flavored gummy, is enough to encourage me to pick these up on occasion. If you like your pink with a shot of vanilla and vitamin C, these are worth a shot.

(Nutrition Facts – 16 pieces – 130 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 20 milligrams of sodium, 0 mg of potassium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 18 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 2 oz package
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Squishy. Sweet. Mellow, non-chemically vanilla flavor. Prevents scurvy. Kirby at the Hello Kitty Store. Using physics to whack a piñata. Polka-dotted underwear. Science!
Cons: Has googly eyes that haunt you. Not inclusive of all Birthday Cake flavors (yet). Questionable smell of fog effects at Laser Tag. May bring back traumatic Chuck E. Cheese Birthday memories. Radioactive sludge.