REVIEW: White Chocolate Marshmallow M&M’s

White Chocolate Marshmallow M M s

What are White Chocolate Marshmallow M&M’s?

Because a bag of novelty-flavored M&M’s is easily stuffed into a bright plastic egg basket, Mars is dropping another installment of its special edition Easter flavors! This time, it’s white chocolate with marshmallow.

How are they?

You know how when you see cooking show contestants using the same batter/dough/base for multiple items, they are mostly likely not going to win? That’s what these M&M’s taste like. They’re essentially the same as the basic white chocolate M&M with the tiniest hint of another flavor zipping by at light speed.

White Chocolate Marshmallow M M s Plated

In this case, the flavor isn’t even the marshmallow advertised – it’s closer to fondant icing. You know how cooking show judges howl in disappointment when cakes or cookies get covered in fondant? It’s a polarizing flavor. Fondant is supposed to taste like marshmallow, but is more like what a replicator on the Enterprise that needs a tune-up would spit out.

The good news is there’s so little of it – and the white chocolate is dominant enough – that if you don’t know what fondant is, you might not even notice it here. I’ve been making cakes with it for 18 years, so I’d recognize that sugary dough anywhere.

White Chocolate Marshmallow M M s Pastels

While they taste perfectly pleasant (relying on the strength of their white chocolate base flavor), there’s a huge wasted opportunity here and I’m deducting points for that. Why didn’t they play around with texture? Swap out the crispy malted filling of the M&M’s Mini Eggs with a breakfast-cereal-style marshmallow center?

White Chocolate Marshmallow M M s Innards

Is there anything else you need to know?

The flesh-toned M&M’s are back in this mix, which is odd because they don’t seem to relate to the flavor here. As a color combination, I didn’t love it.

Conclusion:

If you love the white chocolate M&M’s, they’re not a bad purchase with lowered expectations. If you vehemently hate fondant and/or are a cooking show judge, proceed with caution.

Purchased Price: $3.19 (on sale)
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 oz./16 pieces) 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 15 grams of total sugars, 17 grams of added sugars, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Internationally Inspired Peanut M&M’s (Flavor Vote 2019)

M M s 2019 Internationally Inspired Flavors

The flavor vote is back!

Not the O.G. one for Lay’s Potato Chips but for M&M’s, and it’s the third go round. Peanut M&M’s were a part of the first one where Chili Nut reigned supreme and last year for the Crunchy rendition where Mint came out on top.

This year, the vote has an international theme with the flavors associated with specific countries around the world. They are Mexican Jalapeno, English Toffee, and Thai Coconut.

Mexican Jalapeno

Mexican Jalapeno Peanut M M s

Let’s first go south of the border for Mexican Jalapeno where Yellow is decked out in an ornate sombrero, and the colors correspond to, uh, the Flag of Ethiopia?

I guess they match the red and green of the actual peppers with yellow for the quintessential peanut M&M of course. The flavor of this is pretty much non-existent except for a burning sensation that hits the back of my throat after swallowing.

Oddly enough it’s very variable as well. I had a handful that tasted like regular peanut M&M’s, but then a singular one gave me an intense burn. I didn’t notice any spices that would add another layer above the heat, and I feel like these are just repurposed Chili Nut ones. Kinda disappointing.

Purchased Price: $1.50
Size: 3.27 oz. bag
Purchased at: Wegmans
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/3 of Share Size Bag) 160 calories, 8 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

English Toffee

English Toffee Peanut M M s

Now we jump over the pond to England for some toffee.

For these Yellow is wearing some sort of flag endorsed bowler hat but since it is Great Britain, let’s say it is a fancy fascinator so we can elevate this entire experience. These are a step above the jalapeno ones as I really get an intense kick of flavor upon the first bite.

It has a burnt caramel-y roasted sensation that reminds me of toffee. These are nice because the toffee hits, but then the milk chocolate and peanut shine through towards the end. However, the colors are probably the least exciting of the bunch – brown, yellow, and tan.

Again though I am tempted to cycle through past flavors, and I can’t help but think of Peanut Brrr..ittle. If you’re not sure what the difference is, don’t be alarmed as that is the first question that pops up when doing some internet sleuthing. There isn’t much as one seems to be just a harder crunch. So this might be another past flavor profile in shiny new packaging. Good, but nothing new here.

Purchased Price: $1.50
Size: 3.27 oz. bag
Purchased at: Wegmans
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/3 of Share Size Bag) 160 calories, 8 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

Thai Coconut

Thai Coconut Peanut M M s

Finally, let’s travel halfway around the world to Thailand for some coconutty goodness.

Yellow is drinking out of a coconut and sporting a lovely pink flower above where his ear would be if he had one. The best costume offsets the most confusing colors, though, as they are blue, lime green, and off-white that don’t match the country or the flavor. They do give off a tropical vibe and maybe are meant to mimic the leaves, water, and sand? That literally just came to me, and I have been staring at the packages for at least an hour now. Way too much brainpower on this one!

The coconut flavor comes through slowly on these and builds. But it doesn’t get too lost with the chocolate and peanut components. I’m not the biggest fan of coconut-flavored things especially when it’s artificial as I think it tastes like sunscreen. However, these were pleasant to me. It was not strong enough to reach Banana Boat status, thankfully.

The combination is the most unique out of the bunch. Just ignore the Thai part of it as it again doesn’t make a lick of sense. Thai coconuts seem to be sweeter than regular ones, but this is a candy whose first ingredient is sugar soooo… it’s a reach for sure. Anyway, there have been coconut M&M’s before, but I couldn’t find any mention of a peanut version. Score, something new for once!

Purchased Price: $1.50
Size: 3.27 oz. bag
Purchased at: Wegmans
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/3 of Share Size Bag) 160 calories, 8 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

Other Things

  • These are available in both the signature check-out lane smaller packs and also the resealable larger ones depending on if you have self-control or not with your sweets.
  • You can vote on which flavor is your favorite, and the winner will stick around in stores. Participating can potentially get you a trip around the world (code for the three countries showcased).
  • If this is the second time this promotion features Peanut M&M’s, when is almond gonna get some love?
  • Overall this flavor vote seems to be more of a clever marketing effort with repurposed flavors using a trendy international approach. I wish they would have really gone for it, though. I’m talking American Bacon, Belgian Waffle, and Chinese Red Bean.

REVIEW: Hershey’s Lava Cake Kisses

Hershey s Lava Cake Kisses

Money can’t buy love, but it can buy a bag of kisses.

Such thoughts echoed through my mind as I stood in the checkout line, suddenly realizing that purchasing Valentine’s candy for myself is only one level less sad than making dinner reservations for a party of one.

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Featuring a molten core surrounded by a shell of rich dark chocolate, Hershey’s Lava Cake Kisses are the newest holiday-themed addition to the famous family of tear-drop shaped candies. Cascading from the bag, veiled in adorable heart-stamped foil, these chocolates seem to be a reminder to all the all the single ladies (and gentlemen, I suppose) that Hershey’s is always able to provide comfort on long and lonely nights.

Out of the foil, each Kiss seems unassuming when compared to one of its milk chocolate cousins, with a slightly darker hue being the only hint pointing towards these being anything out of the ordinary. Unassuming looks aside, these are a fun riff on a classic treat.

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While not super-dark, the chocolate is noticeably more mature than Hershey’s usual offerings and works well for building the shell of each candy. Even so, the filling of each confection completes the experience.

Hershey s Lava Cake Kisses 3

As advertised, it’s gooey, chocolatey, and makes these otherwise unoriginal goodies into a unique and delicious treat that tastes similar to their decadent inspiration.

If eating a couple of Lava Cake Kisses leaves you craving the traditional dessert, Hershey’s has you covered, being thoughtful enough to print a recipe for homemade ones on the back of each bag.

Hershey s Lava Cake Kisses 5

Hershey s Lava Cake Kisses 6

As a novice home-baker, I decided to give the recipe a whirl, and the resulting cake/brownie hybrids were even better than the chocolates used to make them! All of them turned out dense, fudgy, and perfectly molten in the middle, thanks to impaling three Kisses into each ramekin of cake batter before baking. Considering how easy they were to make, I could ultimately see baking a batch of them as a fun at-home date idea, or something to do on a rainy day.

Even if I spend this Valentine’s Day watching TV by myself, I wouldn’t mind using these Kisses to drown out my single person’s sorrows. I hope Hershey’s decides to make this a regular seasonal flavor because it’ll be disappointing if I don’t come across it next year.

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 9 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (6 kisses) 120 calories, 7 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 14 grams of total sugars, 14 grams of added sugars, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: M&M’s Milk Chocolate Bars (2018)

M M s Milk Chocolate Bars 2018

Bringing stiff competition to Hershey’s new Milk Chocolate & Reese’s Pieces mashup, Mars has recently rolled out a full line of M&M’s inspired chocolate bars. Released as a set of five, all variations include miniature M&M’s embedded in a solid brick of milk chocolate and feature additional add-ins to pay homage to different varieties of the popular candy.

Milk Chocolate

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Case in point that simplicity isn’t necessarily a bad thing, this bar is the most basic of the bunch, and consists of a no-nonsense slab of milk chocolate studded with mini M&M’s.

Lacking the bells and whistles of its brothers and sister, this bar allows the quality of Mars’ cocoa to shine. Just like the filling of mainstream M&M’s, the chocolate used here is pleasantly sweet, and lusciously smooth enough to melt in your mouth.

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While they don’t have much flavor by themselves, the mini M&M’s are relatively plentiful here, and I found getting two or three of them in each bite gave the bar a pleasant bit of crunch.

Purchased Price: $1.68
Size: 4 oz.
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/4 bar) 150 calories, 9 grams of total fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 20 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 16 grams of total sugars, 14 grams of added sugars, 2 grams of protein

Peanut

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Set apart from the plainer one above by including a scattering of peanut halves, I feel this treat fell a bit short of its bite-sized counterpart.

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Despite being tasty, I wish there were more nuts. Getting one in each bite is what draws people towards Peanut M&M’s over the standard variety, but that wasn’t my experience here. Although the peanuts are large and aromatic, there aren’t enough of them to compete against the chocolate, making this bar’s flavor profile seem similar to the Milk Chocolate variety.

Purchased Price: $1.68
Size: 3.90 oz.
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/4 bar) 150 calories, 9 grams of total fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 20 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 15 grams of total sugars, 13 grams of added sugars, 2 grams of protein.

Almond

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Rather than using halved almonds, this variation incorporates smaller chunks of nuts. Each piece was roughly the size of one of the miniature M&M’s and evenly dispersed throughout the bar, which ensured I got several almond bits in each bite.

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Even though almonds tend to have a subtle flavor, Mars used them more successfully than the nuts in the Peanut bar. In particular, they seemed more present in it, which I largely owe to them being liberally scattered throughout the chocolate. Overall, I thought this treat was true to its inspiration, and I prefer it over Hershey’s Almond bars.

Purchased Price: $1.68
Size: 3.90 oz.
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/4 bar) 150 calories, 9 grams of total fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of sodium, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 16 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 15 grams of total sugars, 13 grams of added sugars, 2 grams of protein.

Crispy

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Venturing away from nut-related additions, the Crispy M&M’s Bar instead utilizes crisp rice pieces to set itself apart from the competition. So, basically, it’s a Crackle Bar lookalike that’s made by Mars and has M&M’s thrown in.

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It doesn’t taste much different than a Crackle Bar, either. Although the M&M’s were pretty low-key in this line’s other products, they were clearly an afterthought here. There’s not enough of them in comparison to the crisp rice pieces littering the candy’s surface, and I found myself forgetting their presence entirely while munching through this treat absentmindedly.

Even so, I can’t knock this too much for taste. I’m a sucker for anything that mixes chocolate and crisp rice, and I polished off my last square of this flavor before any of the others.

Purchased Price: $1.68
Size: 3.80 oz.
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/4 bar) 150 calories, 8 grams of total fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 20 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 15 grams of total sugars, 13 grams of added sugars, 2 grams of protein.

Crispy Mint

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Taking every aspect of the Crispy M&M’s bar and adding a festive splash of mint, this was the only flavor to switch up the taste of the chocolate itself.

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Despite being an ardent fan of York Peppermint Patties and all other cocoa and mint confections, this was my least favorite of the bunch. There wasn’t enough minty flavor to leave me feeling satisfied, and I thought it was a little too sweet overall. I wish Mars had used darker cacao, because I think bringing an element of bitterness would have helped complement the mint and make this feel like a more fulfilling indulgence.

Purchased Price: $1.68
Size: 3.80 oz.
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/4 bar) 150 calories, 8 grams of total fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 20 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 15 grams of total sugars, 13 grams of added sugars, 2 grams of protein.

Other Things

  • Each bar comes embossed with the Red M&M staring coolly at you as if to say, “What? You’re surprised I don’t have a candy shell?”
  • Speaking of those shells, there’s nothing to stop heat from melting these, and they get soft quickly. I found it was best to eat one small section at a time so that I wasn’t holding on to any single piece for too long.
  • Given their large size, low price, and fun packaging, I can easily see these as part of a whole M&M’s-themed gift basket!

REVIEW: Creamy Snickers Bars

Creamy Snickers Bars

After its three “intense flavors” last summer Snickers is back with three more enticing new candy bars to satisfy your sweet tooth. This time it’s jumping on the nut butter bandwagon and replacing its signature full-size crunchy nuts with smooth and creamy butters.

Creamy Snickers Bars 6

They are available in multiple sizes, but for this review, I went with the sharing pouches that contain 11 individually wrapped squares. The flavors are creamy peanut butter, creamy almond butter, and creamy maple almond butter.

Creamy Snickers Peanut Butter

Creamy Snickers Peanut Butter Bars

The peanut butter was the first one I tried, and I immediately thought I got a dud of a bar. Where are the nuts? This isn’t a Snickers! Then I realized that the point of these bars was that the usual very noticeable nuts are now in the form of creamy butters. This one contains a layer of freshly ground peanut butter on top of caramel and ground peanuts all enrobed in milk chocolate.

This one reminded me of something, obviously relating to the king of the peanut butter/chocolate throne – Reese’s. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it as I was indulging so I went to enlist Mr. Google’s help, and it soon dawned on me.

Folks, ladies, and gentlemen, please move along — nothing to see (or taste) here. This is a Nutrageous bar in square form and 24 years after the fact. It’s good as you can’t go wrong with the combo of peanut butter and chocolate, but it’s nothing new and certainly not reminiscent of a Snickers.

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 7.70 oz bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 bar) 110 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 11 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

Creamy Snickers Almond Butter

Creamy Snickers Almond Butter Bars

After the disappointment of the peanut butter one, I had my expectations in check as I dove into bag number 2, but this is where things finally got interesting.

This one contains a layer of freshly ground almond butter on top of caramel and ground almonds all enrobed in milk chocolate. I was amazed as you can smell the nuttiness of the almonds before even biting in. With peanut butter, it always has to knock other flavors out of the way. The almond flavor here is more muted, but it allows all components to work together.

Snickers Almond Butter seems like it should be an oxymoron, but it works pretty well. The butter is a little grittier, but this adds to the joy as it really stands out to me that I’m eating a Snickers with freakin’ almond butter in it!

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 7.70 oz bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 bar) 110 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

Creamy Snickers Maple Almond Butter

Creamy Snickers Maple Almond Butter Bars

Finally, the maple one that I saved for last. But as the old adage tells us (and it rings true this time), this was definitely the best of the bunch.

This one is identical to the almond butter one but contains maple-flavored caramel and boy is it intense! I love all things maple so it may be too much for those who aren’t a fan. However, out of all three, this one was the first one where I thought I was eating something delicious and different. The maple is a lot, but it is punctuated by the nutty almond butter, the chewy caramel, and of course the chocolate.

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 7.70 oz bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 bar) 110 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

Other Things:

  • For all three the milk chocolate is just your standard candy bar variety, nothing special. The ground nuts in the caramel in each one also add a little bit of crunchy texture but not much.
  • Creamy Snickers Bars 5

  • To go along with the trendy/elevated ingredients, the packaging seems to have gotten an upgrade too. I’m digging the silhouette peanut & almond graphics as they are minimalist but also eye-catching both at the same time. The material also has more of a matte finish and seems to be a bit thicker. It does elevate the experience. However, the Snickers people want to make sure that they don’t come across as too snooty. Look at the backs of each bag – these aren’t artisanal, they are artisanal-ish. Take that homemade chocolate!
  • With peanut butter and almond butter conquered, anybody excited for Snickers Cashew Butter, Snickers Sunflower Butter, or how about Snickers School Safe Peanut Free Soy Butter?

QUICK REVIEW: Kit Kat Chocolatory Special Strawberry Maple (Japan)

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What is Kit Kat Chocolatory Special Strawberry Maple?

While in Tokyo recently, I made a stop at the Kit Kat Chocolatory store & café and brought home some goodies. Kit Kat, the king of novelty-flavored candy bars, has rolled out a Strawberry Maple variety for their Chocolatory retail outlets in Japan.

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How is it?

These Kit Kats have a strong, pleasant, but artificial, strawberry aroma. Like a bowl of Frankenberry doused in Strawberry Quik. No trace of maple yet.

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Strawberry was definitely in charge of the flavors. The taste was in line with the scent profile – nostalgic fake berry. I love this flavor, but it’s present everywhere – including multiple Kit Kats – so it didn’t excite me here.

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I only picked up the maple after the strawberry taste faded away, and even then it was subtle. If I wasn’t expecting maple, I don’t think I would have noticed it at all. The more I ate, the less I tasted it. This was disappointing since I’m a huge maple fan.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Google translate amuses me to no end. The translation of the text inside the box lid reads: “You can enjoy exquisite harmony with maple smelled faintly. With fresh strawberries.”

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Conclusion:

These are pleasant, but like the Ruby Kit Kats, they’re too familiar to feel special. If you’re a strawberry fanatic, seek them out. Otherwise, give them a try if they meander into your world, but don’t make an effort. If you’re a maple fan, pass on these – it’s just not there.

Purchased Price: 400 yen (approx. $3.52 US)
Size: 46.4 g box (4 mini bars)
Purchased at: Kit Kat Chocolatory main store, Ginza, Tokyo
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 11.6g bar) 64 calories, 3.7 grams of fat, 4-24 milligrams of sodium, 7.3 grams of carbohydrates, and 0.48 grams of protein.