REVIEW: Jelly Belly Pancakes & Maple Syrup Jelly Beans

Jelly Belly Pancakes & Maple Syrup Jelly Beans

The year is 2055.

Hoverboard gangs roam the streets. Star Wars Episode XXI: The Force Earns Its Pension is a hit at the box office. The elderly President Gosling has just been elected to a historic 4th term with his smoldering campaign slogan, “Hey girl. I heard you like economic reform.”

Oh, and all food now comes in capsule form.

That’s right, as you head to your favorite breakfast joint, “House of Dancakes,” you notice how the hip, happenin’, and blissfully ignorant youth pop pills of scrambled eggs and bacon, with no memory of the days before society was encapsulated. Heaving a nostalgic sigh, you lock eyes with the owner. With a knowing look, he begins to spin you a tale: “Let me tell you how this whole journey began…”

It’s 2015 once more, and Jelly Belly Pancakes & Maple Syrup Jelly Beans are the brand’s latest attempt to squish the taste of all of your favorite foods into an artificially flavored, vaguely legume-shaped snack. Released on 4/22 to celebrate National Jelly Bean Day (only coincidentally close to 4/20, right Jelly Belly?), the beans contain all the ingredients that grandma used to use in her homemade flapjacks, like “Yellow 5 & 6, Confectioner’s Glaze, and Caranauba Wax.”

Mmmm, Caranauba Wax.

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The back of the homespun, gingham packaging reads like something out of a sexy lumberjack romance novel — I think I grew a beard just reading it. Tearing open the packaging, I’m immediately slapped in the nose with a strong and recognizable maple syrup scent. The shiny, mahogany beans beckon, so I dive in.

Popping one in my mouth, that iconic maple taste hits fast. It’s certainly more artificial than genuine—think Mrs. Buttersworth, not Grade A Vermont Dark Amber—but the accuracy of Jelly Belly’s flavor reenactment is charming just the same. However, unlike real maple syrup, the flavor doesn’t linger for more than a few seconds. After fading, I’m left chewing an entirely different-tasting bean. This “after-bean” really echoes the “Pancake” part of the product’s name: doughy, with just a hint of butter flavoring.

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I take a whole handful to experience that brief ecstasy of maple taste again, but as the cake flavor returns, I’m left regretting it. I hesitate to use the word “mouthfeel” (it sounds clichéd and a bit…uncomfortable), but eating these beans for long just feels weird. Like chewing a pancake that was way undercooked, the grit of the beans contrast unpleasantly with my mind’s expectation of a fluffy flapjack. I think Jelly Belly’s problem here is the fading maple flavor. If they could have made it last, the whole experience could have been more enjoyable. Wishing to test this, I went all out.

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Dousing my beans in the dark, sticky nectar of the maple gods, I ate a syrupy spoonful, and what I tasted made me instinctually bellow “Oh, Canadaaaa” across my empty kitchen. An extra kick of maple coupled wonderfully with those buttery undertones, and I was left with what the beans should’ve tasted like. But unless you want your life to become a sugar-fueled parody of Hollywood’s darkest addiction films (Grainspotting? Requiem for a Crème? Fine, I’ll stop), I really can’t recommend trying this. Okay, maybe just once. Then you can stop cold turkey. I promise.

For what they are, these jelly beans are little more than clever novelties. Like the “fireworks” of jelly bean flavors, they’re worth buying a small bag to enjoy the fleeting entertainment. Just make sure no one gets hurt in the process.

Though I must applaud Jelly Belly all the same for trying something progressive. Jolly good show, ol’ bean, and may I soon see the day when even “Braised Sirloin Tips with Steamed Broccoli” is available in cute little niblets.

(Nutrition Facts – 35 pieces – 140 calories, 0 grams of fat, 25 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 28 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Jelly Belly Pancakes & Maple Syrup Jelly Beans
Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: 3.1 oz bag
Purchased at: Jelly Belly Online Store
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Brief burst of maple goodness. A holistic pancake experience when coupled with more syrup. Ryan Gosling as president. Making puns with my name.
Cons: Fleeting maple bliss. Bizarre “undercooked pancake” mouthfeel. The word “mouthfeel.” Random acts of Canada (I’m American, I swear!).

REVIEW: Harry Potter Bertie Bott’s Beans

Bertie Bott's Beans

Who would’ve thought that being made to eat dirt and grass by bullies in grade school would come in handy someday?

Thanks to those bullies, who can still kick my ass, but still can’t write a better book report than me, I can determine the authenticity of some of the jelly bean flavors found in a box of Bertie Bott’s Beans, which regular Impulsive Buy reader, Lucy, suggested I try.

For those who aren’t familiar with Bertie Bott’s Beans, eating a box of them is like playing jelly bean Russian Roulette.

You can be happy eating one of the normal flavors: blueberry, cherry, cinnamon, grape jelly, green apple, lemon drop, toasted marshmallow, buttered popcorn, and tutti-fruitti.

Or you can die eating one of the abnormal flavors: black pepper, booger, earthworm, dirt, ear wax, grass, sardine, soap, spaghetti, spinach, and vomit.

Fortunately, there’s a flavor guide on the back of each box, but I didn’t bother looking at it because I’m a man who likes to live his life dangerously by doing crazy things, like reading a chapter of Dianetics and calling grade school bullies “pussies.”

As I went through the box of Bertie Bott’s Beans, I tried to figure out each flavor. I got almost all of the normal flavors correct, but I had a lot of problems with the abnormal flavors.

The easiest ones to figure out were black pepper, dirt, grass, sardine, soap, spaghetti, and spinach. However, booger, earthworm, ear wax, and vomit were hard to figure out, because I’ve never tried boogers, earthworms, and ear wax. As for the vomit jelly beans, I couldn’t recognize it because it didn’t have that distinct vodka flavor that my vomit usually has.

Individually, the abnormal jelly beans are tolerable, but I wondered how tolerable they would be if I mixed them all together.

So I grabbed a black pepper, booger, earthworm, dirt, ear wax, grass, sardine, soap, spaghetti, spinach, and vomit jelly bean, headed towards the bathroom, and kneeled over the toilet. For two minutes, I prepared myself for the concoction I was about to put into my mouth.

“How bad it could be?” I thought to myself. After all, I’ve recently stuck mint flavored condoms, habanero beef jerky, and potato chips made with Olestra into my mouth, so a few abnormal jelly beans shouldn’t be so bad. Then I took a deep breath and slammed the handful of jelly beans into my mouth.

About one second and one chew later, I violently spit out the jelly beans into the toilet. The spitting was closely followed by several dry heaves. The dry heaves were closely followed by tears in my eyes.

I began to wonder if I would finally find out what vodka-less vomit tastes like. Fortunately, I didn’t find out.

After making sure my dinner wasn’t going to make a reappearance, I ran to the bathroom sink, grabbed my toothbrush, squirted on my toothbrush way more toothpaste than the American Dental Association recommends, and brushed my teeth like I just French kissed a drunken Courtney Love and a pre-TrimSpa Anna Nicole Smith.

I could say that the taste of it was repulsive, but I think that would be an understatement. I think if death has a taste, it would probably taste much like what I experienced.


Item: Harry Potter Bertie Bott’s Beans
Purchase Price: $1.99 (1.6 ounce box)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Great gag gift to give. Realistic normal flavors. Blueberry rocks.
Cons: Horrible gag gift to receive. Realistic abnormal flavors. Mixing abnormal flavors. Dry heaving from mixing abnormal flavors.