REVIEW: M&M’s White Chocolate Pretzel Snowballs

White Chocolate Pretzel Snowballs M M s Bag

What are M&M’s White Chocolate Pretzel Snowballs?

M&M’s extends its decades-long promise, this time creating snowballs that won’t melt in your hand. These seasonal M&M’s feature white chocolate surrounding a crunchy pretzel center.

How are they?

White Chocolate Pretzel Snowballs M M s Colors

The flavor combination of white chocolate and pretzels isn’t bad, but it’s not M&M’s most memorable offering. The main problem is the inconsistency from candy to candy. Some pieces have a very thin white chocolate shell and/or little to no salt on the pretzel ball. For every one sweet and salty snowball, five bland ones follow.

White Chocolate Pretzel Snowballs M M s Innards

The pretzel centers are satisfyingly crunchy. That texture plus the white and blue candy shells, which evoke the colors of Hanukkah or icy landscapes, would make the M&M’s a nice addition to a holiday snack mix. You could call it a “wintry mix” to the delight/chagrin of your party guests.

Although the crunch is the highlight of the M&M, it is an interesting choice for candy designed to mimic snowballs, which are obviously made of softer stuff. A crunchy snowball makes me think of that one sadistic kid in every neighborhood who packs snowballs full of gravel and ice. That kid deserves no wintry mix.

Anything else you need to know?

If you live in the Snow Belt like I do, you know you are at the mercy of nature’s whims. Luckily, you can always choose whether you want a light shower or heavy storm of M&Ms. In addition to the 7.44 oz bag I found, M&Ms White Chocolate Pretzel Snowballs are available in Single and Share Sizes.


White Chocolate Pretzel Snowballs M M s Festive

Despite a great crunch, M&M’s White Chocolate Pretzel Snowballs lack the sweet and salty punch needed to make an exceptional seasonal flavor. On a scale from 1-10, with 1 being a snowball to the face and 10 being a surprise snow day, I’d give these a 6: a pleasant-enough sled ride despite the cold.

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 7.44 oz (210.9 g) bag
Purchased at: CVS
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 1 ounce/about 12 pieces) 130 calories, 5 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Gingerbread Cookie Kit Kat

Gingerbread Cookie Kit Kat Bag

Have you ever designed an overly-ambitious gingerbread house, complete with stained glass sugar windows and a peppermint cobblestone walkway? Or maybe you’ve sipped a hot gingerbread latte during a break from a long day of errands? At least once you must have exclaimed “Not the gumdrop buttons!” as you plucked the candy accents from a gingerbread man!

If any of the above statements ring true to you, Kit Kat’s limited edition holiday flavor may reinforce gingerbread’s status as the season’s most beloved and nostalgic flavor. Available in miniature size to suit your candy dish, Gingerbread Cookie Kit Kats feature a gingerbread-flavored crème coating its classic crispy wafer.

Gingerbread Cookie Kit Kat Wrapper

To achieve their characteristic taste, gingerbread cookies usually require molasses and a mixture of ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves—among other spices, depending on the recipe. That might sound like pumpkin spice warmed over, but it’s all about the different ratios. I trust my measuring spoons and my memory of elementary school math to distinguish my pie and chai spices from my gingerbread spice, but I was curious if Kit Kat could achieve a successful flavor balance in such a small confection.

Gingerbread Cookie Kit Kat Creme

Opening the bag, I caught a soft whiff of maple. The Kit Kat itself, covered in a caramel-colored crème coating, smelled like brown sugar. At this point, my spicy sense was not tingling.

The flavor, however, is fully gingerbread. The coating has white crème sweetness at its base, which reminded me of a gingerbread house’s royal icing spackle or the wee details on a gingerbread man. The crème combines a mellow mixture of warm spices with notes of brown sugar in the background. At the very end of the bite, I tasted a slight kick of ginger that lingered for a few moments in the aftertaste.

Gingerbread Cookie Kit Kat Wafers

Checking the ingredients list, I saw no hint of specific spices, just “natural and artificial flavors.” The candy’s realistic flavor — ginger hint especially — can mean only one thing: Kit Kat’s food scientists are becoming too powerful.

Kit Kat nails its limited edition flavors more often than not, but Gingerbread Cookie Kit Kats are especially hard to find fault with. The spice flavor is realistic without being overwhelming. The sweetness is multidimensional, and the crispy wafer completes the simple, delightful bite. It may be my favorite seasonal Kit Kat flavor yet.

In fact, I enjoyed this so much that its flavor actually evoked a Proustian moment, an involuntary memory triggered by a sensory experience. After my second or third, a particular iced gingerbread cookie that was once a staple of my childhood resurfaced in my memory. Even though I haven’t thought of that cookie in years, the memory inspires me to break out the recipe for the holidays this year. In case my measuring spoons or math skills fail, I’ll keep a stash of Gingerbread Cookie Kit Kats nearby.

DISCLAIMER: I received a free sample from Hershey’s, which did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 8.4 oz (238 g) bag
Purchase at: Provided by Hershey’s
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 4 pieces) 170 calories, 9 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 30 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Reese’s Peanut Brittle Peanut Butter Cups

Reese s Peanut Brittle Peanut Butter Cups Bag

Maybe it’s my short attention span or the fact that I can barely watch Hocus Pocus without having nightmares, but I enjoy seeing autumn wind down as anticipation for winter holidays grows. Swapping snowmen for skeletons and poinsettias for pumpkins has become a familiar, comforting routine in transitioning from one holiday to the next.

As the shelves of my local stores trade fall staples for time-honored winter favorites like peppermint and hot cocoa, Reese’s caught my attention with something unique. The brand’s newest offering features a peanut brittle-flavored crème cup stuffed with a mixture of peanuts and peanut butter filling.

While peanut brittle wouldn’t have been my number-one answer in a holiday food-themed episode of Family Feud, it makes sense. You find that delicious hard candy nestled in gift tins, offered at holiday potlucks, and as the object of longing gazes from your elderly relatives who just might risk their dentures for a taste.

Reese’s Peanut Brittle Peanut Butter Cups will be available in miniatures, King Sized, and Big Cup varieties across retailers, and I snagged a bag of miniatures. Honestly, I was half-expecting the “peanut brittle-flavored crème” to be the same peanut butter-flavored crème you find in Ultimate Peanut Butter Lovers Cups, with the “brittle” label tacked on as a bit of holiday razzle dazzle to get you humming “White Christmas” in October.

But upon opening the bag, the candy’s aroma indicated I was in for something a little different. It smells a lot like kettle corn–like caramelized sugar with butter and peanuts–and has me begging for a Reese’s/Yankee Candle collaboration.

Reese s Peanut Brittle Peanut Butter Cups Unwrapped

The cups not only live up to their intoxicating scent, but also really deliver on the peanut brittle flavor. The creamy shell tastes like a combination of white chocolate, peanut butter, and caramelized sugar. It reminds me of the short-lived Hershey’s Gold bar, which had a caramelized crème base that tasted nutty. The peanut brittle crème here tastes very similar, but a touch sweeter, creamier, and with fewer toasty notes.

Reese s Peanut Brittle Peanut Butter Cups Split

The filling pairs creamy peanut butter with crunchy peanut pieces. The filling is pretty salty, which balances the crème cup’s sweetness. My cups only had a few peanut pieces resting near the bottom of the cup. Candied peanuts may have added an additional brittle-like crunch–as well as potentially dangerous sugar shards. (Considering that the process of making peanut brittle involves boiling sugar goo to dangerously hot temperatures, fans of the stuff live on the edge already.) When eaten in one bite, however, the cup’s flavors compensate for the generally soft texture. The flavor combination reminds me of finding a salted peanut studded in a piece of sweet brittle.

Reese s Peanut Brittle Peanut Butter Cups Lonely

Reese’s products have always been one of my favorites, whether they adorn a holiday cookie or fill my trick-or-treat bag. Although some of their recent products have underwhelmed (see: Reese’s Mallow Cups, Reese’s Snack Cakes), Reese’s Peanut Brittle Peanut Butter Cups nail the peanut brittle flavor and serve as an unexpected homage to a traditional treat. Whether you are bored by brittle or have your grandmother’s recipe committed to memory, any Reese’s fan will be pleased with this sweet-and-salty holiday treat.

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: 7.4 oz (209 g) bag
Purchased at: CVS
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 3 cups) 140 calories, 8 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Twix Shakers Seasoning Blend

Twix Shakers Bottle

Twix Shakers Seasoning Blend attempts to bring together the flavors of the popular candy bar – chocolate, caramel, and cookies – but does it in a powder form that was, unfortunately, not made using a proprietary Twix Shredder that granulates Left and Right Twix bars left and right.

Twix Shakers Macro

After taking a sniff, but not a deep one for fear of sneezing and blowing the seasoning all over my kitchen, I could smell the caramel and chocolate, but not the cookie. If you’re able to notice it, you have a better nose than mine or you’re a dog. And if you’re a dog and can read this, that’s a good doggie. Who’s a good doggie who can read? You are. Do you want belly welly rub rubs? Yes, you do.

Twix Shakers on Twix

Since brown sugar is the second item in the ingredients list, it’s not surprising that Twix Shakers looks like brown sugar’s cousin. Much like its aroma, its flavor lacks a cookie presence, but the chocolate and caramel are there. However, they don’t taste like Twix’s chocolate and caramel. To test this further, I ate a mini Twix with enough of the sweet seasoning to partially bury it, and the candy bar ended up not tasting like a Twix.

Twix Shakers on Popcorn

While its Twix-ness is questionable and it tastes a bit odd on its own, the sweet powder does a tasty job enhancing other foods. Well, not an actual Twix, but I did find that it pairs well with a number of foods, many of which are recommended on the bottle. Here’s a short list of things it worked well with — iced coffee, hot oatmeal, overnight oats, ice cream, Cheerios, popcorn, and a banana smoothie. However, in order to get the seasoning’s flavor in most of those, I had to triple the serving size (1 teaspoon).

Twix Shakers Water

Because there’s almost a pound of this stuff in the bottle, I decided to go off the beaten path with my what I put this on. I tried it on foods like French fries, green grapes, eggs, and in plain water. All were bad choices.

Like most refrigerated coffee creamers from International Delight and Coffee mate, Twix Shakers doesn’t taste very good when it’s consumed on its own. Its chocolate and caramel flavor is definitely a downgrade from the actual candy bar. But when it’s added to the right foods, it does make them taste better. It’s worth giving it a fair shake.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free product sample from B&G Foods. Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 13.5 oz bottle
Purchased at: Received from B&G Foods (currently a Sam’s Club exclusive)
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 tsp) 15 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of sugar (including 3 grams of added sugar), and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Starburst Airs Gummies

Starburst Airs Gummies Bag

What are Starburst Airs Gummies?

Here it is, folks, the collaboration between Starburst and Nike that we’ve all been waiting for!

Nah, it’s actually just a new weird spin on Starburst flavored gummies.

How are they?

I guess I should just jump right into it – I think I hated these.

“Hate” is a strong word I try to avoid using, but these things stink.

The entire “air” concept sold me on the spot. I anticipated a unique texture that landed somewhere between those gourmet confectionary marshmallows and gummy bears. I got that, but they were few and far between.

They LOOK pillowy soft, but most of them had the bite of an expired peach ring. Not sure if this makes sense, but the texture was begging for a crystallized sugar coating. That’s the only way that texture succeeds for me.

Starburst Airs Gummies Squishy

For every piece I thought delivered on the name, there were five that were a chore to chew. Some were like Gummy Savers, and some had a dryness to them like the chewy Sea Turtles from Trader Joe’s, which aren’t great, but at least correctly have sugar. It’s like they couldn’t decide which texture to go with, so they just ran the gummy gamut.

The “best” pieces were similar to Haribo Watermelons, which are infinitely better.

Anything else you need to know?

It wasn’t just the texture that threw me off.

The gummies smell exactly like Starburst, but something about the over-chewing reduced the flavor by about 30-40 percent. These just don’t have the Starburst pop I’ve grown to love.

Starburst Airs Gummies Flavors

I know it’s blasphemous to most, but I think Cherry is the worst main Starburst flavor by far, and it was awful here. Strawberry never fails, and I happen to really like the two citrus flavors. Lemon was probably the best, and it seemed to be the softest overall. No idea why, but finally, some justice for Lemon.

Even the pieces I kinda liked that leaned closer to marshmallow were still weak in flavor and left a film on my teeth.


Starburst Airs Gummies Poured out

I can’t remember the last time I couldn’t put a snack down simply because I wanted to like it. I was trying to will it, but they just never got there.

Starburst has tried many different texture varieties (these, regular gummies, jelly beans, those straw things, etc.) and has never matched the originals. With that said, I think Airs are easily the worst Starburst candy product to date. Don’t even bother.

Purchased Price: $2.18
Size: 4.3 oz
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 3 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (6 pieces) 100 calories, 0 grams of fat, 55 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of total carbohydrates, 20 grams of total sugars, and 1 gram of protein.