QUICK REVIEW: Hot Cocoa M&M’s

Hot Cocoa M&M's

What are Hot Cocoa M&M’s?

Unlike the Hot Chocolate flavor from a few years ago made with dark chocolate, Hot Cocoa M&M’s are standard milk chocolate with a white chocolate marshmallow center.

How are they?

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Have you ever had a regular M&M? How ’bout a White Chocolate M&M? Well, imagine tossing one of each in your mouth at the same time. There ya go. That’s a Hot Cocoa M&M.

Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. These are still decent, but they’re also very reminiscent of flavors you’ve probably already had.

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The idea of a marshmallow-flavored center got me pumped, but it just tasted like white chocolate. Whatever. I like white chocolate. I guess you could convince me it tasted like the fake marshmallow crème you’d get in a s’mores-flavored sandwich cookie, but barely.

I guess I should have tempered my excitement, because about 75 percent of the marshmallow experience is the texture, and you’re obviously not getting a gooey, stretchy marshmallow in the middle of M&M’s.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Hot cocoa is the type of treat that’s very reliant on factors you can’t mimic in a piece of candy. There’s a (sometimes horrible) experience when it comes to drinking a piping hot mug of hot cocoa, and these M&M’s don’t really conjure that.

Conclusion:

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The center was still satisfying and I’ll eat the entire bag, but Hot Cocoa M&M’s were a bit of a miss for me. I was hoping they’d be more of a Swiss Miss.

Yeah, that was corny, but I stand by it. If you pick these up, go in expecting a milk chocolate/white chocolate hybrid and enjoy.

As always, I appreciate M&M’s living up to their name, and releasing “More & More” flavors to the public. That’s what “M&M” stands for by the way.

Don’t fact check that.

Purchased Price: $3.19
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 oz.) 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 18 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: White Chocolate Peanut M&M’s

White Chocolate Peanut M M s

What are White Chocolate Peanut M&M’s?

Mars is continuing its recent rollout of Peanut M&M varieties with an old classic –- White Chocolate.

As far as I’m concerned, they can go years without even thinking of doing anything but new peanut flavors, because Peanut M&M’s are flat out better than regular M&M’s. Go ahead, admit it.

How are they?

The white chocolate is nice, but it’s very mild. It’s not as pronounced a flavor as regular chocolate, so it gets masked by the peanut and shell. I almost wanna call these “boring,” but that wouldn’t be fair.

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The texture and crunch of the peanut in the M&M makes up for the lack of bursting flavor. I still enjoy these a lot despite the fact there’s almost nothing going on flavor-wise.

It’s almost like Mars made a “low sugar” version of Peanut M&M’s, which of course isn’t the case.

These are an enigma. Regular white chocolate M&M’s probably taste better, but when you factor in the texture, and the idea that Peanut M&M’s destroy regular milk chocolate M&M’s, they’re basically on the same level.

Is there anything else I need to know?

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I’ve only seen these in a Sharing Size bag, so if you don’t feel like spending $3 for ten servings of White Chocolate Peanut M&M’s, maybe wait and see if smaller sizes hit convenience store shelves.

Conclusion:

White Chocolate Peanut M&M’s may be the least flavorful M&M’s I’ve ever eaten, but I didn’t want to stop eating them. They went down so easy that my “Sharing Size” bag was practically reduced to “Fun Size” before I knew it. I dig ’em, but wish they were a little sweeter. Maybe mixing these with regular White Chocolate M&M’s might make for a winning combo.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 9.60 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (14 Pieces) 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 14 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Peanut M&M’s Sweet & Salty Snack Mix

Peanut M M s Sweet  Salty Snack Mix

What is it?

A mix of two types of M&M’s — peanut and peanut butter — with peanuts and pretzel balls. There’s also a milk chocolate version available with milk chocolate and Crispy M&M’s mixed with almonds and pretzel balls.

How is it?

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Solid, but unspectacular. Even though the pretzel balls are pictured sparingly on the outside of the bag, they seem to be the most populous of the residents inside the bag. The peanuts are a touch disappointing in that they are neither sweet nor salty.

It might have been better if they were salted or honey roasted; instead, they are just kind of there and don’t differentiate themselves from their brothers and sisters encapsulated in chocolate with a candy coating. Despite those shortcomings, the mix of the four components does accomplish the stated goal of being sweet and salty, and overall it makes for a tasty, satisfying snack.

Is there anything else I need to know?

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Using a trick perfected by potato chip industry, the bag is much larger than it really needs to be based on the contents inside. While the label proudly trumpets that it is “Sharing Size,” I’d advise using restraint before announcing to friends, family, or co-workers that you are indeed open to sharing a bag. The label says there are “about 8 servings,” but if you invite more than two others into your circle of sharing then no one is going to get much.

Conclusion:

There’s really nothing remarkable about this product, and it would be pretty easy to just create this mix yourself (even if you not a DJ).

With that said, I’ve never seen those little pretzel balls at the store and doing it yourself is never as easy as it looks. So if you like Peanut M&M’s, you’ll enjoy these even though they certainly won’t change your life.

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 7.70 oz. bag
Purchased at: H-E-B
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 oz. serving) 130 calories, 7 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Neapolitan M&M’s

Neapolitan M M s

When I read that M&M’s were making a Neapolitan variety, my first thought was “Is that still a thing?” I haven’t had Neapolitan ice cream since I was a kid in the 80s. My mother would bring home tubs of the cheapest store-brand tri-colored treat and daintily shave off layers from all flavors equally. Then I would excavate every molecule of strawberry ice cream until it looked like David Copperfield made it disappear with jazz hands and a hypnotic stare.

Never mind that chocolate was actually my favorite ice cream; I had to take the strawberry. This irritated my mother to no end. But she kept buying Neapolitan and I kept eating a neat one-third of it.

Now it’s 2018 and I don’t think I’ve heard Neapolitan referred to as a flavor in more than 20 years. I wanted to try the M&M’s, but wondered if I could resist the urge to only eat the pink ones.

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The aroma inside the bag was mostly chocolate. The visual was a bit of a surprise – the vanilla pieces were a rich cream color instead of white. Yes, I know, the bag clearly depicts them as cream-colored, but I was taken by the overall packaging color scheme – which was WHITE. Just sayin’.

Despite there being three colors, the flavors of the pieces are the same. Yes, I know, the bag clearly says all three flavors in every piece, but I thought the pink ones might be strawberry-dominant, cream more vanilla, etc. This disconnect didn’t affect my feelings about them overall, but again – just sayin’.

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My first taste impression was a strong strawberry and chocolate flavor. But instead of taking me back to the freezer with an ice cream scoop, Neapolitan M&M’s brought me back to the breakfast table. They are the solid orb version of a bowl of Frankenberry and Count Chocula cereals combined. The strawberry was a pretty spot-on facsimile of Frank, my personal strawberry flavor touchstone. My memory of Neapolitan strawberry is a much more subtle flavor than Frank. The chocolate was close enough to The Count to make the comparison, although hardcore Chocula fans might disagree. I’d expected a real ice cream experience, but my love of monster cereals made it still a successful combo in my opinion.

I couldn’t immediately find the vanilla. But as I plowed through the bag and thought about the cereal comparison, the case of the missing vanilla was solved. It’s the milk in the cereal bowl. It made total sense because most M&M’s vanillas taste like milk to me. It took a bit to find because it’s a supporting actor here – Frank and The Count are center stage, which was alright by me.

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Overall, I thought these were fun and tasty. Kids will love them because of the child-friendly flavors, as will nostalgic adults. I think M&M’s are most successful when they’re tinkering with fillings/textures (nuts, caramel, crispy), but these are on the higher end of the flavor-only M&M’s varieties. Bella Napoli!

(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, 15 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 18 grams of total sugars, 17 grams of added sugars, and 1 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.19
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Nostalgic flavor combination that smacks of Monster Cereal goodness. All three flavors in every piece kept me from eating only the pink ones
Cons: Not really ice cream-ish (if that’s a deal breaker for you). Showing/telling me things on the packaging that I ignore and am later surprised by.

REVIEW: Cookies & Screeem M&M’s

Cookies  Screeem M M s

These Cookies & Screeem M&M’s exemplify a trend I have been noticing in the last few years. In a world inundated with pumpkin, peppermint, and red velvet flavors for holidays, some companies make whatever flavor they feel like and somehow say it’s a holiday version. (I was disappointed last November when I asked for a pumpkin shake at Jack in the Box and their only “seasonal” offering was a Golden Oreo salted caramel shake. What does that have to do with Thanksgiving or Christmas!?) Like last year’s Boo-tterscotch M&Ms, these Cookies & Screeem ones don’t really have anything to do with Halloween.

They’re kind of Halloweeny because they’re black (or dark purple). I guess that’s how they justify it. But it’s still not as Halloweeny as the regular orange and black M&Ms of my childhood. (If my memory serves me right, they added purple and green to the orange and black in 2008, which I thought made them look more Eastery, and they switched to fall colors in 2010.)

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These M&M’s consist of a speckled shell, a layer of dark chocolate, and a white chocolate center. That’s all that makes up the “cookies and cream” side of it; if they added other flavors, I can’t detect it, and the ingredients list is too vague. I do think it’s a cool concept to have two kinds of chocolate in one candy.

One of the first things I notice when I eat one is a chemical quality, probably from all the food coloring they used to make them black.

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I like dark chocolate M&M’s. I like white chocolate M&M’s. But sometimes two rights make a wrong. These chocolates aren’t terrible, but I feel like the bitterness of the dark clashes with the sweetness of the white. I like the two flavors better when they’re on their own.

The sizes are inconsistent, and I actually like the small ones better. The ratio of dark to white is more enjoyable in the small ones.

I wasn’t able to brush my teeth immediately after trying these, and a few minutes after I had tasted them, I got an aftertaste that tasted like Oreo. That was the closest I got to the cookies and cream experience, and even that was fleeting. I would have liked these a lot more if they followed a traditional cookies and cream approach: white chocolate with crunchy cookie bits.

Will you go through the whole bag? Probably. But this is one of the brand’s weaker offerings.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz./about 16 pieces – 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 10 milligrams of sodium, twenty grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 18 grams of sugar (including 17 grams of added sugars), and less than 1 gram of sugar.)

Purchased Price: $3.19
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Cool concept of two chocolates in one candy. Not terrible. At least they’re trying to branch out.
Cons: Chemical flavor. White chocolate and dark chocolate taste better on their own. Doesn’t screeem “Halloween.” Doesn’t screeem “cookies and cream.” Doesn’t screeem “a product that will come back next year.”