REVIEW: Hershey’s Kisses Flavor of Hawaii Pineapple Coconut

Hershey s Kisses Flavor of Hawaii Pineapple Coconut

This time last year, Hershey’s launched its “Flavors of America” campaign. I thought this was a genius way to introduce new flavors – appeal to our national spirit and highlight the diverse agriculture and local/regional culinary specialties of our fair country.

While I had issues with the Flavor of New York Cherry Cheesecake bar, for the most part I enjoyed the products that came out of this promotion – Orange Creme Pop and Key Lime Pie Twizzlers, Strawberry Kit Kat, etc.
 
I thought the Flavor of Hawaii Coconut Almond Hershey’s Kisses were the standout of the bunch. They were superbly light and the enrobed almonds added a nice crunch. I nearly ate a whole bag in one sitting.
 
When I heard that Hershey was retreading these Kisses as Pineapple Coconut, I was excited but confused. I didn’t understand why it was having another go at Hawaii when there were plenty of other flavors and states it hadn’t hit yet. I love pineapple, though, so I definitely wanted to try them.
 
On breaking open the bag, I inhaled a lung-ful of suntan lotion. It smelled like whatever tropical-fruit-scented concoction I was slathering on my translucent skin during my family’s summer 1987 vacation to Honolulu. In that sense, it was definitely a flavor of Hawaii for me. But a food-scented lotion is more appealing than a lotion-flavored food. My hopes were starting to deflate like a pool float with a slow leak.

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While last year’s Coconut Almond Kisses were a subtle affair with a classy coconut and a smart almond textural bump, Pineapple Coconut were like 12-year-old me in Hawaii – frizzy, permed hair, Jamz shorts in a seizure-inducing pattern and geometrically abstract sunburn lines. Just wrong.
 
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The same lovely coconut remained, but these Kisses were mostly pineapple. Not an authentic “I just came from the Dole Plantation tour” flavor, but more of a “Check out these gummies I found at It’s Sugar.” I’m not against fake-fruit flavors – I prefer fake watermelon to the real thing – but in this case, the artificiality didn’t mesh well with the low-key coconut. I wouldn’t even say I disliked the pineapple on its own merits – I think it would have been great as a Twizzler.

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These Kisses also lacked a nut filling, which I really missed. I decided to make some of my go-to crafty snacks – I call them Flying Saucers. One round pretzel, one Hershey’s Kiss, bake at 250F for 3 minutes exactly, press one M&M into the center to flatten it out.  

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For me, the pretzels fixed the flavor imbalance and gave it texture. I had more appreciation for the Coconut Pineapple afterwards.

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Overall, these weren’t bad and would be a nice treat for a luau-themed patio party this summer, but if the Coconut Almond Kisses are available – choose them instead.
 
Now, can we PLEASE move on to some other states’ great flavors? How about Vermont Maple Kisses? New Mexico Chili Chocolate Kisses? Massachusetts Cranberry? Louisiana Bananas Foster?

(Nutrition Facts – 7 kisses – 170 calories, 9 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 0 gram of dietary fiber, 16 grams of total sugars, 13 grams of added sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.75
Size: 10 oz. bag
Purchased at: Hershey’s Chocolate World
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Same light, lovely coconut flavor as last year’s model.
Cons: Pineapple that isn’t in tune with the coconut. Why are we going to Hawaii again? This kiss needs nuts (or pretzels or something crunchy and savory)!

REVIEW: Hershey’s S’mores Crunchers

Hershey s S mores Crunchers

Hey folks, it’s your resident “S’more Connoisseur,” and I am BACK for more.

Today’s review comes compliments of Hershey’s new snack line, “Crunchers.” You might’ve already seen the Reese’s and Cookies N’ Cream versions in your local convenience store. I’ve tried and enjoyed both, so I had to pounce on these S’morsels (what they should have been called) as soon as I saw them.

So, what the heck is a “Cruncher?” Well, they’re basically little globs of chocolate with crunchy ingredients tossed in. As you would imagine, S’mores Crunchers have mini marshmallows, graham pieces, and graham cookies. I’ll touch on that redundancy later.

I opted for the larger sized bag. Let’s see if I made the right choice.

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Well, right off the bat, they didn’t smell very good. Does chocolate spoil? It smells like what I assume old spoiled chocolate would smell like. Whatever, I can get over that if they taste good.

I mean, I guess? There’s just too much chocolate. I realize that sounds stupid because if these were in bar form, it might be the same ratio, but they tasted like a regular Hershey’s bar.

The graham and marshmallow peak through as you chew, but the overwhelming chocolate always took over. It’s like eating misshapen Kisses with random bits mixed in.

You probably read that and thought, “Ah, that doesn’t seem so bad.”

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Unfortunately, I have a major problem with S’mores Crunchers, and it has to do with the little marbits clumped amongst the chocolate.

The marshmallows are HARD AS A ROCK. I’m serious. Take this as your warning. It’s not pleasant.

There are some pieces that have just graham, which lived up to the “Cruncher” name, but any clump with a marshmallow was like chewing on a pebble. I may have dental paranoia, but I had to chew with extreme caution. These things taste like they’re Rocky Road flavored, and literally made with bits of a rocky road.

I isolated a few of the tiny marshmallows to confirm it was them. I was expecting that crunchy, spongey, powdery texture you get from hot cocoa marbits, but nah, these are rough. They melt in your mouth in time, but I doubt you’ll take solace after cracking a crown.

The bag boasts these are “A delightfully munchable crunchy snack.” I counter that they are a “decent, terrifying dentist visit waiting to happen.”

The graham pieces and cookies were also irrelevant. I guess they wanted two different shapes because there is no taste or textural difference between them.

I could see these as a snack mix ingredient, not a standalone. Since there is so much chocolate, there needs to be something savory, like pretzels, to balance it out. That’s how I’m finishing this bag, if I even bother.

The Reese’s and Cookies N’ Cream varieties of these Crunchers are considerably better, so choose those or go for the Hershey’s Snack Mix. They’re usually on the shelf right beside these anyway.

(Nutrition Facts – about 10 pieces – 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 16 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.19
Size: 6.5 oz. bag
Purchased at: CVS
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Well on its way to being a pretty good snack mix ingredient. It’s still Hershey chocolate. Pieces with just graham are fine.
Cons: Marshmallows are a textural nightmare. Not a good standalone snack. Too much chocolate. Two types of graham for nothing. Worst of the Cruncher varieties so far. Bit of a lazy concept.

REVIEW: Krispy Kreme Hershey’s Gold Doughnut

Krispy Kreme Hershey s Gold Doughnut

Last year, Hershey’s made one of their strongest moves in a decade with its Gold Peanuts & Pretzels Bar, utilizing a caramelized creme “golden” base over the usual cocoa. It’s a masterpiece in the realm of mainstream sweet and salty bars and Hershey’s is wasting no time at all pumping out new ways for us to consume their latest behemoth.

After collaborating with 7-Eleven to make a drinkable cappuccino version of the bar, the chocolate company opted to make sweet, sweet food love with one of the greatest treats in the fast food universe – Krispy Kreme’s Original Glazed. The new limited-time Hershey’s Gold Doughnut takes the O.G. and tops it with pieces of Hershey’s Gold and a salted caramel icing.

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The aroma is strong. The leading smell is the ample Gold bar pieces, which carry a sweet nuttiness akin to peanut brittle, accented by the extra push of salty caramel and the unmistakable golden aura of fried yeast dough. The salted caramel icing is perfectly drizzled on top of the already amazing original glaze and studded with so many candy pieces that it left a handful of bits at the bottom of the bag like coveted escaped french fries.

Biting into this golden trophy of a doughnut reveals some of the most immaculate textures the fast food world could ever provide, and boy is it SWEET. The soft and fresh bouncy glazed doughnut is taken to new heights with the added chew of the Gold bar pieces. The crunch of the pretzels and peanuts provide a stark contrast to the fluffy base.

The only flavor that doesn’t come through as strongly as I would like are the peanuts. But the creamy, fatty essence of the golden chocolate does well to bring a bit of extra depth to the overall profile. The salted caramel icing is aggressively sweet but has a legitimate salty pop and thick sticky texture that makes it stand out from the original clear glaze.

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The ultimate test of this glazed greatness is to see how it holds up in the microwave – and my god does it deliver. A quick 8-second zap in the micro launches the flavors and textures into the melty, salty stratosphere for a taste that made me throw my head back in euphoria. Everything is heightened, the caramel fully activated, and the bar pieces are still firm enough to deliver a slightly melted chew atop the fried gooey decadence.

This is a wonderful doughnut, but in the grand scheme of the sweet and salty symphony it’s missing a bit of bass. While the treble is through the roof with very high highs of sweet and salty sending my upper register through the roof, I’m missing a bit of balance to weigh the flavors down and complete the movement that spawns an encore. It’s a worthy update to the very strong original, but short of the perfect score.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 doughnut – 280 calories, 15 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 135 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 20 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.89
Size: N/A
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Awesome sweet and salty flavors. KK didn’t mess with their perfect glaze. Caramel is actually salted. Microwaving it will cause euphoria.

Cons: Peanuts get lost a bit in the mix. Can be overwhelmingly sweet and salty without enough fat to balance.

REVIEW: Hershey’s Flavor of New York Cherry Cheesecake Bars

Hershey s Flavor of New York Cherry Cheesecake Bars

The Flavor of New York. That’s a big promise – and an invitation for a loud “Yeah, right” from a New Yorker. We’re a cynical bunch.

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As any local knows, there are two New Yorks. One is the tourist-packed landmark areas like Times Square. While this might be the dominant image of the city, it’s the last place New Yorkers want to spend time. We avoid it like the plague – unless one (like myself at the moment) happens to be working for a media conglomerate that insists on making you wade through a sea of human road cones twice daily. This loud, inauthentic, unsubtle chunk of real estate is where I found the Flavor of New York Cherry Cheesecake bar – at Hershey’s Chocolate World.

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The other New York is where locals really live, eat and shop – the quiet side streets and less-traveled neighborhoods. On one of these surprisingly bucolic stretches, I purchased a true New York cherry cheesecake to compare Hershey’s bar to. Eileen’s Special Cheesecake has worked the same tiny storefront since 1976.

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These would be my base “Flavor of New York.”

Back at the office, I zipped open the Hershey’s bar. The creamy white chocolate with dark pink crunch balls looked close to what I expected. Some red speckles mixed throughout like the Cookies & Cream bar, wouldn’t go amiss, though.

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The first sniff was cheesecake, then my nose broke the bad news: faux cherry. I’m often down with artificial fruit flavors, but one molecule of fake cherry and it’s flashbacks of disgusting medicine for me. Blek. Apparently I’m very sensitive on the cherry front.

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It carried over to the taste as well – cream cheese, white chocolate and cough syrup – albeit much less grimace-inducing than a shot of Robitussin. Let’s call it cough-syrup-adjacent. A bite of Eileen’s cherry cheesecake reminded me that actual cherries are delightful. I’d hoped that with modern technology, the flavor masters at Hershey’s could make a GOOD 2017 fake cherry. Sadly, these are 80s-era fake cherries and I’m not having it.

I do love a bar full of Hershey’s crunch balls, however, and the cream cheese / white chocolate combo was a pretty good interpretation of cheesecake. I just had a hard time forgiving the crime against cherries.

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To me, this candy bar is like Times Square. It has an underlying greatness, obscured by the flashing lights and garishness of chemical cherries.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – 220 calories, 100 calories from fat, 12 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 21 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: 5 for $5.00
Size: 1.5 oz. bar
Purchased at: Hershey’s Chocolate World Times Square
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Good cheesecake taste! Nice crunchy balls! The Hershey store smells like chocolate!
Cons: Medicine-y taste, but won’t stop a cough. Doesn’t capture the “Je ne sais WHAAAT” of New York. Made me walk through Times Square.

REVIEW: Hershey’s Eggs with Pretzel Bits

Hershey s Eggs with Pretzel Bits2

I’ve been insecure about eating pretzels ever since I took that university astronomy class six years ago.

One evening we had a test review session, and the TA explained, “The sun is lowest in the sky at the winter solstice.” One girl asked, in complete seriousness, “Is that in August?” She had an open bag of pretzels on her desk, so ever since that time, I’ve wondered if pretzels are the preferred snack of those who are a few stars short of a galaxy.

Nevertheless, my obsession for anything holiday related trumps my insecurities about pretzels, so here I am trying Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Eggs with Pretzel Bits.

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All of them are in the same blue wrapper, which is a bit boring in an Easter basket, don’cha think? I’m sure they did this either (a) because it’s cost prohibitive to make different wrappers for just one flavor of candy, or (b) because they want you to mix colors with their other flavors.

The answer is always money.

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When I take them out of the wrapper, my first thought is that they are ugly. They look more like footballs, complete with a seam, than they look like eggs.

But the real test comes in the eating. Are they any good?

Yes!

They have that familiar Hershey’s flavor you get in Kisses or those packages of six candy bars they sell next to the marshmallows and graham crackers. But this time, it’s crunchy. Me likey.

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I’ve let a few melt in my mouth so I can isolate the pretzel bits. I wondered if they’d be some pretzel-like imitation, but no, they’re the real deal, down to the salt. I don’t notice the salt if I crunch the whole egg at once, but with the pretzels by themselves, it’s definitely there. I can get my pretzel fix with these without feeling insecure about my knowledge of seasons.

Now, everyone knows that Hershey’s chocolate is never going to rival Cadbury Mini Eggs or Lindt bunnies. But these certainly beat those RM Palmer coins and eggs that were a staple of my childhood Easter baskets.

The biggest problem with these is their availability. I looked in nine different stores before I finally found them in the tenth. I think I encountered every other flavor on the way, but this pretzel variety is hard to find. But that’s fitting. They’re Easter eggs, after all.

(Nutrition Facts – 8 pieces – 200 calories, 90 calories from fat, 11 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 20 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 10 oz. bag
Purchased at: Harmons
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Familiar Hershey’s chocolate with a crunch. Actual pretzels inside.
Cons: One color of wrapper. Look like ugly footballs. Hard to find. College students who don’t understand seasons and solstices.