REVIEW: Hershey’s Candy Corn Creme Bars

Hershey's Candy Corn Bar

If we’re going to continue to be friends, I feel there are a few things you should know about me. One is that I have learned most of my morals from a VHS copy of The Muppet Show and my bearded Uncle Bumsford who told me stories while flinging an ax into a stump in the backyard. Another is that I don’t mind, even downright enjoy, preservative-laden stuff. So long as the preservatives are working in the product’s favor, I see no flim or flaw. Bring me thy Jell-o pudding, thy toaster pastries, thy individually wrapped Little Debbies!

And that’s where these come in.

With enough Vegetable Oil Compounds to create an artistic rendering of the Icelandic glaciers, this new Hershey’s Candy Corn Bar is not one to illicit positive reviews from the authors of the USDA food pyramid, but neither does candy corn. Candy corn celebrates the odd, the waxy, the culinarily questionable ingredients, and if there’s anyone who’s familiar with handling questionable confectionary ingredients, it’s Hershey’s. Sure, sometimes things go awry in the Hershey lab, but I continue to put my Halloween faith in their corporate clutches. Am I foolish? Open-minded? Just outright idiotic? Let’s find out.

Hershey's Candy Corn Bar Candy Corn as a sugary little block

There is a distinct sweetness of candy corn that, when mulled with preservatives, creates a hyper-sweet sensation that is appealing to the sugar-inclined individual. It tastes of wax and corn syrup solids, maybe a hint of plastic and, guess what? That’s what these bars are made of: waxy stuff and corn syrup. Sugary and quick to melt, the bars are pleasant in that dairy milk confection way, making them easy to nibble as they get goopy all over your hands in 82-degree weather. It’s terrifying and awesome.

However, unlike candy corn, Hershey’s seems to have skipped the whole “honey” ingredient, which, in some respects, is a good thing. For example, you won’t have to worry about being attacked by a hungry honey bear or a swarm of vengeful bees. On the not-as-positive end, the bars don’t have the strong distinguishing taste that honey provides. In fact, they don’t have any particular taste. No vanilla. No rum. Just sugar.

If I close my eyes and use my imagination, there’s something slightly fruity at the end as if someone spliced Cadbury Egg Crème with dehydrated strawberry nubs, but it’s more about the abundance of sugar and texture: melty, melty, melty. While not a stunner on its own, I imagine all that Melting Sugar Goo would making an excellent fall s’more smashed between two Pumpkin Pop-Tarts and a chocolate marshmallow. As Uncle Bumsford always said: a s’more always solves your “What the hell do I do with all this mediocre candy?” problems.

Hershey's Candy Corn Bar interior

These little bars are pretty good. Are they made of lavender honey harvested from a flowery meadow by the Andrena hattorfiana bumblebees? No, but neither is candy corn. To expect otherwise would be unfair. By the abundance of sugar alone, these did a modest job at reimagining the experience of chomping on fistfuls of candy corn. While the dull, vegetable-oiled flavor leaves room for growth, at $3.69, I really can’t grumble too much.

If you’re a fan of corn syrup or drinking Cadbury Crème straight from the shell, you shall enjoy this. It will give you a good dose of sugar and Carnauba Wax, and sometimes that’s all you need to get to the next house for All Hallow’s Eve.

(Nutrition Facts – 3 bars – 200 calories, 100 calories from fat, 11 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Hershey’s Candy Corn Creme Bars
Purchased Price: $3.69
Size: 9.45 oz bag
Purchased at: Kmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Melty. Perfect for Cadbury Crème lovers. Supports the cause of Trick-or-Treaters. Uncle Bumsford. VHS series of The Muppet Show.
Cons: No defining flavor aside from sugar. Carbauna wax. Grumpy USDA Food Pyramid authors. Vengeful bumblebees.

REVIEW: Gingerbread Twix Cookie Bars

Gingerbread Twix

I have mixed feelings when it comes to holiday food items. On one hand, I detest peppermint with the kind of passion Buffalo Bills fans usually reserve for anything New York Jets related. By the same token, I can’t get behind this trend of covering everything in chocolate and somehow proclaiming it to have something to do with Plymouth Rock, Santa Claus, the Baby Jesus, a dreidel, or even some damn Festivus pole. Yes, Santa is fat, and eating everything covered in chocolate will probably make you fat, but if that’s the only connection you’re making, then you’ve lost me.

On the other hand, the months of November and December mean gingerbread. Warm and slightly spicy, with a distinctive honey-molasses flavor and usually a smiling face that gets bitten off first, gingerbread people make peppermint and fruitcake and all that other trite holiday crap I usually feed to my uncle’s dog completely worth it.

But what happens when simple, traditional, and thank-God-it-never-changes gingerbread is suddenly subjected to one of my biggest pet peeves of holiday food merchandising and covered in milk chocolate? That was the question at stake when I beheld the Limited Edition Gingerbread Twix on the shelves of Walmart.

At first, I was offended. How could I not be? It struck me as a bastardization of a candy I had only fond memories of as a child. Vague and clouded as those memories are from what surely was a sugar-induced Halloween experience, Twix always made it into my “keeper” pile. Dare I say, I think an 11-year-old Adam, dressed up in a horribly oversized Admiral Ackbar mask, may have actually proclaimed Twix to be the most underrated candy of all time.

However, recent samplings of leftover Halloween candy from the office candy bowl do not corroborate these memories. Don’t get me wrong, Twix is far from offensive, but as one of the 74.3%* of candy bars that combine caramel, chocolate, and something crunchy, it hardly stands out. So you might say I passed from offended to intrigued, and having no self-discipline whatsoever, bought a bag of Gingerbread Twix.

*Completely unscientific number based on RFG (Random Fucking Guess) sampling. Should you actually try to confirm this number, I believe you’d come remarkably close.

Gingerbread Twix 2

An initial crunch of the fun size wafer reveals everything good about the classic Twix and more. With a sturdy cookie base and some really excellent Stretch Armstrong action from the above caramel, it’s crunchy in a way that doesn’t fragment into a zillion tiny candy pieces. The initial flavor is milk chocolate—-and not, mind you, Hershey’s cheap kind of milk chocolate—-with sweet caramel, and a hint of buttery sugar cookie.

After the initial taste of chocolate and caramel, there emerges a certain je ne sais quoi flavor element. Like a symphony, it increases gradually in its volume and intensity. A slightly spicy-sweet note that tastes just like a gingerbread cookie serves as this candy’s crescendo. There’s also a s’mores element, and, as odd as it sounds, it makes sense given the notes of cinnamon and honey that both graham crackers and gingerbread share (at least, any of the graham crackers worth eating if you ask me.)

After carefully extracting the chocolate, cookie, and caramel elements and sampling them independently, it tastes as if the gingerbread flavor rests within the chocolate coating, and not, as the package indicates, in the caramel. Not overpowering, the gingerbread flavor nevertheless is the defining taste of the singular bite, and for some strange reason it just works wonderfully with the chocolate.

Gingerbread Twix 3

What I like about the use of gingerbread in Twix as opposed to other candy bars is that there’s a default contrast in textures offered from the crunchy and moist interplay of the cookie and caramel elements, respectively. Seeing as though gingerbread is sometimes served as a moist cake or cookie and other times served as a harder biscuit-like cookie, this appeal to both kinds of textures is optimal. As for why gingerbread suddenly seems to work with the combination of chocolate and caramel, you’ve got me. Perhaps it’s that Christmas magic that powers Santa’s sleigh and allows reindeer to fly, or maybe it’s just that Twix was always very good and just needed a little extra oomph, but this candy bar is what I like to call sneaky awesome.

Frankly, it’s good enough to make me admit I might need to rethink this chocolate-covered everything holiday boycott I’ve had going on. Just don’t make me try anything peppermint flavored, because that’s one holiday food aversion I’m never going to give up.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cookie – 80 calories, 35 calories from fat, 4 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of sodium, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 11 grams of carbohydrates, 0 gram of dietary fiber, 8 grams of sugars, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Gingerbread Twix Cookie Bars
Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 10 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Actually tastes like a gingerbread cookie. Covered in real milk chocolate. And it works! Textural contrast. Gives the usual Twix flavor the kind of oomph that also makes reindeer fly and Santa fit down chimneys. No remorse or guilt for decapitating gingerbread people with one swift bite. Portion control.
Cons: Rethinking holiday food aversions. Buying Christmas candy before Halloween. No royal icing. Not getting to decapitate a gingerbread person in some misguided Godzilla-type fantasy.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Milky Way Caramel Apple Minis

Limited Edition Milky Way Caramel Apple Minis

I don’t give out candy to children on Halloween.

Call me a Halloween Scrooge, a recluse, or someone who doesn’t watch enough Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network to know what kids are dressing up as today, but I don’t do it because I’m a hermit, cheap, or getting tired of kids pretending they’re Harry Potter.

I don’t pass out candy on Halloween because I eat it all before I have a chance to give it away.

I can’t help it. I buy the good stuff, like M&M’s, Twix, Nestle Crunch, Milky Way, Snickers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Nerds, and I intend to pass them out to ensure local dentists will have work, but by the time Halloween rolls around I’m out of candy and I no longer fit into my sexy pirate outfit.

To prevent me from eating the candy, I could pass out frown-inducing sweets, like candy corn (blech!), chocolate coins (more worthless than pennies), Smarties (there’s nothing smart about them), Good & Plenty (not good and, unfortunately, there are plenty of people passing them out), Now and Later (there’s never a good time for this candy), cheap gum (gum from 1980s baseball card packs have better flavor), or Sixlets (more like Sixlet’s Not). However, I don’t want to be known as the Asian guy dressed up as a sexy pirate who gives away junk candy that’ll end up on my lawn the next morning. Instead, I want to be the Asian guy dressed up as a sexy pirate who passes out candy so awesome that children will think the stomachache they woke up with was sooo totally worth it.

However, it looks like I might be giving away some candy this year because I’m having a slightly hard time getting through a bag of these new Caramel Apple Milky Way Minis.

Limited Edition Milky Way Caramel Apple Minis Closeup

The new seasonal candy combines caramel and flavored nougat coated with milk chocolate. Each piece smells like the fruity and sweet aroma that wafts out of a Whitman’s Sampler after opening it. If you’re one of those douchebags who tries to appear cool by throwing food in the air and catching it with your mouth, these mini Milky Way are mouth-catchable and I hope a bird poops in your mouth when you open it to try and catch a piece.

If you’re expecting this candy to taste like a caramel apple, let me crush your hopes and dreams by telling you they don’t. Even if you used your front teeth to completely scrape off the thin layer of milk chocolate, the small morsel of nougat and caramel you’re left with also doesn’t taste like a caramel apple.

The nougat contains the apple flavor (along with a bit of nutmeginess), although at first it’s hard to determine it has an apple flavor. The apple is a bit more noticeable in the aftertaste, which is when it also become a bit more artificial tasting. The caramel tastes, unsurprisingly, like the caramel in regular Milky Way bars and does an equally awesome job of sticking to my teeth.

Although the artificial apple flavor is faint, my tongue gets sick of it before it reaches the five piece serving size. And that’s why it’s taking me so long to finish this bag. Now you might be thinking if I don’t complete enjoy them, then Trick or Treaters will feel the same. That’s true, but they’re much better than candy corn, chocolate coins, Smarties, Good & Plenty, Now and Later, cheap gum, and Sixlets.

(Nutrition Facts – 5 pieces – 190 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 26 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Limited Edition Milky Way Caramel Apple Minis
Purchased Price: $3.29
Size: 11.50 ounces
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: It’s not bad at first. Better than candy corn, chocolate coins, Smarties, Good & Plenty, Now and Later, cheap gum, and Sixlets. Pleasantly chewy.
Cons: Doesn’t taste like caramel apples. Apple flavor is weak and artificial. Candy corn, chocolate coins, Smarties, Good & Plenty, Now and Later, cheap gum, and Sixlets. Not being able to fit into my sexy pirate costume.

REVIEW: Strawberried Peanut Butter M&M’s

Strawberried Peanut Butter M&M's

The peanut butter and jelly sandwich has grown with me throughout the years. Sometimes it would pop up in my bright green lunch bag. During high school it would find its way in a brown lunch sack. I would like to think my palate has matured since then, but due to my lack of culinary expertise and being a broke-ass college student, I’m finding out that a good ol’ PB&J (cut in quarters) can qualify as a hearty meal.

I’m definitely a chunky peanut butter girl, and I prefer grape over strawberry jam, unless I’m in a bind and the only jam I have left comes from one of those tiny Smucker’s packets you get at a diner (I also take Splenda and swizzle sticks). So why would I even try the new Strawberried Peanut Butter M&M’s?

Look at Red M&M on the packaging. The come hither look on that horny bastard’s face tempting you with not only peanut butter, but with the sweet taste of strawberry as well. It’s like he’s saying, “Hey, don’t worry, Green M&M won’t be home. She works nights at that club off of Interstate 95. It’s just going to be me, you, this here strawberry and a smooth as silk jar of peanut butter.”

As awful as it sounds, I gave into the Red M&M and his Strawberried Peanut Butter candies. What can I say; I’m a sucker for cartoon product mascots. The M&M’s come in three autumn inspired colors and are roughly the same size as your standard Peanut Butter M&M’s. I was a little disappointed to find out that there wasn’t any strawberry jam inside each piece, instead the shell is supposed to be strawberry flavored, but I didn’t find the taste potent enough. But it could be my taste buds, because my mother thought they had a strong taste of strawberry. To me, peanut butter made strawberry their bitch and I think strawberry wanted that as long as it got top billing when it came to naming this circular confection.

After reviewing the so-called M&M’s Premiums, I realized there’s no difference in quality between the two. It just shows you how pretty packaging can make something more expensive even if it tastes or looks like crap. Kind of like the Kardashian sisters.

The Strawberried Peanut Butter M&M’s are a limited edition, but I don’t think I will stock up, because they’re mediocre at best. Maybe it’s because I have fond memories of the old school Peanut Butter M&M’s, or maybe it’s the grudge I’ve been holding with M&M’s after they yanked the Crispy and Mini ones off the shelves a few years ago. Those little Minis tubes were useful when it came to holding your crack, paperclips, pushpins or other small office supplies.

I would buy the Strawberried Peanut Butter M&M’s again if they came in that tube, but I guess I’d also have to deal with the Red M&M on the package making bedroom eyes at me.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bag – 230 calories, 14 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein, 2% calcium and 2% iron.)

Item: Strawberried Peanut Butter M&M’s
Price: 78 cents
Size: 1.40 ounces
Purchased at: That-Store-Which-Has-A-Creepy-Smiley-Face-Mascot
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Nice peanut butter flavor. Green M&M bringing home a decent income by working 3 days a week. Never needing to buy Splenda or swizzle sticks. Melts in your mouth quite nicely.
Cons: Strawberry flavor is only on the shell and it isn’t strong enough. Red M&M giving you bedroom eyes. The death of both Crispy and M&M’s Minis. Really high in saturated fat.

REVIEW: 3 Musketeers & Milky Way Slammers

Copying, cloning, imitating…it seems so easy to do, because it is.

Xeroxing your ass at work, Dolly the Sheep, shitty boy bands, and the midterm exams of anyone who sat next to me in my physics, chemistry, and math classes in college are all examples of how easy it is to copy things. Although, I have to admit that I earned C’s and D’s in my physics, chemistry, and math classes, so I apparently sat next to the wrong people.

Sometimes copying is so easy that you can cut and paste a review from a quasi-product review blog, add your own lame comments, and then claim you wrote the whole damn thing by yourself.

(Editor’s Note: There was a link for the comment above, but I decided to remove it, since he admitted to it and apologized. To be honest, he actually seems like pretty decent guy. So all is good.)

Without copying, imitating, plagiarism and Cliff Notes, I probably wouldn’t have my English degree.

Now if it’s so easy copy things, why is it that these 3 Musketeers and Milky Way Slammers don’t really taste much like actual 3 Musketeers and Milky Way candy bars. I tested it by drinking a swig of a Slammers and then took a bite from the candy bar it was supposed to imitate. They both taste good as chocolate milks, but neither one came really close to tasting like their solid brethren.

It’s sort of like Tito Jackson not being able to match the success, weirdness, and child molestation charges of his brother Michael.

I don’t know about the Milky Way Slammers, but as for the 3 Musketeers Slammers, I think there’s only one reason why it doesn’t really taste like a 3 Musketeer candy bar.

That reason is Splenda, which has been the reason for the war in Iraq, Scientology, Jen and Brad breaking up, spam emails, freeway traffic, white guys who act black, holes in the ozone layer, AFLAC commercials, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, internet porn addiction, Limp Bizkit cover bands, welfare abuse, Madonna adopting children, the lack of laws to protect copyrights in China, my hairy palms, why rappers keep getting shot, dropped calls on cell phones, spinning rims, and for some reason it’s the catalyst that makes me dance when I hear the Duran Duran song, “The Reflex.”

The one thing that surprised me about both the 3 Musketeers and Milky Way Slammers is the fact that they don’t need to be refrigerated, despite containing milk. Of course, after you open it, it is necessary to refrigerate what you don’t drink.

I don’t know about you, but that’s scary AND exciting. It’s as scary and exciting as placing an ad in the “Curious” section of your local alternative newspaper.

(Editor’s Note: Thanks to Matt Freeman from Edelman for sending me the free samples. Oh yeah, TIB reviewed the Starburst Slammers last year. That one I didn’t get free.)

Item: 3 Musketeers & Milky Way Slammers
Price: FREE
Purchased at: Received from PR Firm
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Tastes good as regular chocolate milk. Vitamins and minerals, but not really significant amounts. No child molesting for Tito Jackson. Despite it being made with milk, it doesn’t need to be refrigerated until after opening it or if you want it cold. Low and reduced fat.
Cons: Really doesn’t taste like the actual candy bars they’re named after. Everything Splenda is responsible for. Jacko. Placing an ad in the “Curious” section of your local alternative newspaper.

REVIEW: Hershey’s Whoppers Twosomes

Hershey's Whoppers Twosomes

Oh, if only Dr. Frankenstein used milk chocolate and Whoppers to create his creature instead of cadavers, then maybe everyone would have loved his creature, instead of running away in fear.

Fortunately for us, the Hershey company decided to use milk chocolate and Whoppers to create something that we could all possibly love and not want to burn to death with torches, the Hershey’s Whoppers Twosomes.

If you’re not familiar with Whoppers, they are malted milk balls, that are about half an inch in diameter and come in either a cardboard box or a box that’s similar to a milk carton. You can suck on them or bite them to get to the milky malted goodness.

The good thing about them is that they’re great to eat in movie theaters because of its chocolatey goodness, they’re easy to share, and they’re easy to throw at the screen when they show irritating commercials or a preview of the next Jennifer Lopez movie.

There are also a few bad things about Whoppers, like the malted milk can get stuck on your teeth, I can’t fit more than seven of them in my mouth, and they make horrible replacements for eyeballs and testicles.

The Whoppers in the Hershey’s Whoppers Twosomes were mini ones, which are roughly the size of BB pellets or my balls when I go swimming in really cold water.

The top of the candy bar looks like a typical Hershey’s chocolate bar, but the bottom of it has dozens of bumps from the protruding mini Whoppers, which reminded me of a few things, like a Nestle Crunch bar, my pimple-covered skin when I was fifteen years old, and the most confusing braille sign ever.

When I took a bite into the candy bar, the Whoppers dominated the taste of it, which was good, because I really like the taste of Whoppers. The candy bar had a similar crunch and texture of a Nestle Crunch bar.

The Hershey’s Twosomes not only come in a Whoppers version, there’s also a Reese’s Pieces version and a Heath Bar version.

Unfortunately, all three are limited edition candy bars, so once they’re gone, they’re gone…until Hershey decides to tease us again next year by reintroducing them as limited edition candy bars and then taking them away, making us want more.

I guess Hershey believes if this teasing works well for drug dealers, it should work well for candy bars.

Item: Hershey’s Whoppers Twosomes
Purchase Price: 55 cents
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Really good. Get the Whoppers taste without big chocolate balls in your mouth. Has the crunch and texture of a Nestle Crunch bar.
Cons: Limited edition. Back of candy bar can be used as the worst braille sign ever. My complexion when I was fifteen.