REVIEW: Peanut Brrr-ittle M&M’s

Peanut Brrr ittle M M s

While the weather on this packaging is frightful, Mars has launched a new seasonal M&M’s flavor that they hope you think is delightful.

Just in time for the holidays, Peanut Brrr-ittle M&M’s have popped up on Target shelves. To be honest, I wouldn’t have pegged peanut brittle as a holiday flavor, but my recent internet searches suggest that homemade peanut brittle makes a great Christmas gift. A terrible gift, but a gift nonetheless.

It’s also possible that Mars only chose Peanut Brrr-ittle for the punniness of the name. If that’s the case, I’m glad that Brrr-occoli or Brrr-ussel Sprouts didn’t make it past the testing phase.

Since these M&M’s are a Target exclusive, you’ll have to journey through the holiday labyrinth that is the Target Christmas section. If you can avoid the shattered ornaments on the ground, the unorganized stockings strewn about, and the incessant droning of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” from a chorus of battery operated gyrating conifers, you’ll land upon the Peanut Brrr-ittle M&M’s nestled between the other holiday varieties.

Peanut Brrr ittle M M s 2

Upon opening the bag, I was greeted by what looked like a traditional package of holiday Peanut M&M’s. I did a double take – had I picked up the wrong bag on the shelf? Had there been a horrible error on the M&M’s assembly line? Thankfully not – the smell of these M&M’s is very different from the traditional variety, a strong dark caramel scent that borders on artificiality.

Those same caramel notes come through in the taste, similar to what you’d find between the peanuts in a traditional brittle. While the basic peanut still sits in the center of each candy, the chocolate coating offers the aforementioned caramel flavors with hints of a more roasted flavor, similar to a hazelnut. I found the flavoring to be inconsistently applied across the M&M’s I sampled (read: most of the bag), as some tasted more heavily of the normal peanut interior, and some bordered on an overwhelmingly artificial caramel coffee creamer flavor.

Peanut Brrr ittle M M s 3

While I found these M&M’s to have a jarring taste at first, I warmed up to them over time as I got used to the nontraditional flavor. I will say that it’s difficult to eat more than a handful of these at each sitting, as the peanut brittle taste does get a little bit overpowering the more you munch.

Thankfully, the Peanut Brrr-ittle M&M’s feature a RESEALABLE ZIPPER! (their emphasis, not mine), so you can save a few to leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve.

Overall, these M&Ms are a perfect way to get your peanut brittle fix without any of the danger of burning yourself with hot sugar on the stove.

(Nutrition Facts – 1.5 ounces – 220 calories, 12 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 20 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 22 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.19
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Caroling while eating. Roasted, caramel flavor. Oh so punny. RESEALABLE ZIPPER!
Cons: Stocking slalom on the way to the shelf. Overwhelming in large quantities.

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.)

Cookies  Screeem M M s 2

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.

Cookies  Screeem M M s 3

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.”

REVIEW: M&M’s Caramel

M M s Caramel

The history of the M&M goes something like this.

They were released in 1941 to melt in the mouth of our soldiers, and not in their hands, while they fought the bloody battles of World War II. After the United States’ victory it was clear the candy was also a success, and the Peanut variety came along in 1954, followed by Almond in 1960, and then things got really “nuts” in the 90’s with Peanut Butter, Mini’s, and Crispy versions.

But recently, Mars developed the technology to fill the center with a “liquid” filling to hopefully burst in your mouth, and not in your hands. The first result of that is M&M’s Caramel.

M M s Caramel 2

Out of the bag the candies look no different than your standard Peanut or Peanut Butter M&M – bubbly round balls of green, yellow, red, brown, and blue, stamped with the signature lowercase “m”. Biting into the bulb-y beasts gives way to the classic candy coating crunch with a layer of chocolate and then a squishy chew.

M M s Caramel 3

It’s a mellow caramel that isn’t intensely sweet. It has a thick smooth texture that has the density of a Rolo but the consistency you would find in a Milky Way. It isn’t the super silky, wispy, almost runny type of caramel you’d find inside of Cadbury’s Carmello Bar, but it isn’t grainy or cheap tasting either, and ends with a solid milky finish.

The restrained sweetness in these M&M’s is kind of surprising. Considering how sweet some of the seasonal White M&M’s can get and how sweet caramel traditionally is, I was anticipating a significant sugar burst from the filling. I want the caramel to be a touch sweeter, or even salty, as it doesn’t have the explosion of flavor that I really wanted.

M M s Caramel 4

While the Peanut Butter, Peanut, and Crispy M&M’s deliver a significantly different flavor and/or texture inside of the shell, the caramel and chocolate in these have a similar sweet-to-salty ratio that makes the caramel notes less distinct. The milk chocolate actually overpowers the caramel until the very end of the candy, where the caramel peaks through for the final extra chewy chomps.

When all is said and done, these are still M&M’s, so they’re good, but they’re far from the breakthrough candy technology that Mars hyped them up to be. Poppin’ a couple of these will definitely quench your generic sugar craving but won’t hit the spot if you’re seeking some perfectly caramelized sugar flavor because they’re much more chocolate dominant than buttery caramel perfection.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 a pack (40g) – 190 calories, 70 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 26 grams of sugar, and 2 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.29
Size: 2.83 oz. package (Share Size)
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Classic M&M crunch. Doesn’t melt in your hand. Tasty milk chocolate. Could help win wars. Smooth milky caramel finish.
Cons: Not enough caramel. Caramel needs more contrast. Chocolate overpowers.

REVIEW: M&M’s White Cheesecake

M&M's White Cheesecake

I’m not in the business of wasting anyone’s time. Therefore, I’m literally going to tell you right away my favorite thing about the new White Cheesecake flavor of M&M’s: The size.

These puppies are not your average M&M. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the bag and found they were about two times the size of the regular chocolate candy. Much more substantial, and in my opinion, a better way to portion control. (If you can keep your hand out of the M&M bowl without mindless munching, please call me because you’re going to need to teach me your ways.) It’s like you’re getting more bang for your buck.

Moving on to flavor: When I took my first bite, there was no evidence of cheesecake at all. What I got was a nice flavor of white chocolate. Now here’s the thing…I LOVE white chocolate. It’s underrated. So I enjoyed the taste and thus gave a 7 rating. But if you came for the cheesecake, I can see why you’d be disappointed. I kept eating them and eating them and eating them to see if the cheesecake came through after a while, but to no avail.

M&M's White Cheesecake 4

What you get is a nice white chocolate that’s just the perfect amount of sweetness. I probably could have polished off most of the bag in one sitting without feeling sickeningly sweet. (Side note: I’m thinking an interesting experiment would be to freeze these babies since cheesecake is typically refrigerated, I wonder if the coolness would bring out the taste? If anyone tries this, let me know.)

M&M's White Cheesecake 3

Back on track: These are definitely Valentine’s Day M&M’s, as evidenced by the hearts on the bag and the color of the candy. You’ll find light pink, white, and something I can only describe as skin tone. Or it’s probably supposed to be cheesecake-colored. Your preference! The other thing to note that I consider a positive was that the M&M coating was nice and thick.

All in all, these were a win in my book because I liked the “white chocolate” spin on M&M’s. If you’re cool with eating a flesh-colored candy, enjoy my friends.

(Nutrition Facts – 1.5 oz, or about 1/4 cup – 210 calories, 100 calories from fat, 11 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 88 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Amazingly large M&M sizing. A nice change of pace from your typical chocolate candy. All the white chocolate.
Cons: Flesh-colored M&M’s. Lack of actual cheesecake flavor.

REVIEW: Coffee Nut, Honey Nut, and Chili Nut M&M’s (M&M’s Flavor Vote)

Coffee Nut, Honey Nut, and Chili Nut M&M's (M&M's Flavor Vote)

Let’s get one thing straight: Peanut M&M’s are the best.

Well, technically, Peanut Butter M&M’s are the best, but the classic whole-roasted peanut M&M’s, represented by the overly optimistic, decidedly plump yellow guy, are right behind them.

Don’t agree? Sorry, you’re in the minority. Pretty much anyone with a computer and a sweet tooth will rank either Peanut Butter or Peanut M&M’s at the top of the M&M’s kingdom, which if you ask me is a not to be overlooked accomplishment given that Mars has mostly been focusing flavor additions more in the white chocolate and milk chocolate spectrum.

Well, Mr. Yellow Guy is finally getting the last laugh, because M&M’s has introduced three new Peanut flavors that America will get to choose from before the winner gets rushed into the regular M&M’s rotation. And by last laugh, I mean literally last. He is, after all, about to get eaten.

Coffee Nut M&M's 1

First up is the Coffee M&M’s. As anyone from Canada knows, coffee and candy just belong together (Dear Canadians: I live in Texas, please mail Coffee Crisp.) These are really awesome, and get my vote for the next Peanut flavor.

Coffee Nut M&M's 2

While I was hoping for an earthy, robust roasted coffee finish that gradually overtakes the sweetness (like you might get in a chocolate-covered expresso bean), I can’t complain about the mocha vibe that resonates as soon as the shell begins to dissolve, even if it is a mocha vibe with seven extra pumps of vanilla syrup and four Splendas. Come to think of it, these taste a lot like coffee Jelly Belly beans, except with a peanut. Frankly, that makes them all the better.  

Honey Nut M&M's

Moving right along, I imagine the idea for Honey Nut M&M’s came into being at the weekly golf outing of yellow anthropomorphic food spokespeople. Given the natural friendliness of both the Honey Nut Cheerios Bee and the Yellow M&M’s guy, this flavor combination was bound to happen. I was also bound to like the flavor given the fact that Honey Nut Chex is in my Top 10 cereals of ALL TIME, but unfortunately the M&M’s didn’t live up to expectations. The characteristic almond flavor of Honey Nut Cheerios is definitely present as soon as you get at the chocolate, but a weird and distracting artificial sweetness comes with it.

I was hoping, if nothing else, the peanut would have the salty and caramelized texture of a honey roasted peanut, but this wasn’t to be. Not that a whole peanut in a milk chocolate shell is that much of a disappointment, but Honey Nut M&M’s weren’t nearly as good as they should have been.

Chili Nut M&M's

Finally, Chili Nut M&M’s push M&M’s into new territory, namely the somewhat fading food trend of pairing chocolate with spicy food. These are interesting; they’re not fireballs by any mean, but there’s an initial cinnamon red hots flavor that enters your mouth as soon as the shell starts to dissolve. A tingling backheat resonates through the milk chocolate, and then really comes on strong once you crunch through the peanut. The last sensation you get is cayenne burn that lasts for a couple of seconds after you’ve finished. I know its tantamount to declaring the wuss card, but I’ll admit it: I needed to grab a glass of water after eating these. All in all, it’s an interesting combination if you’re a heat seeker, although more of a mild annoyance if you’re just a standard M&M’s eater.

Adding to the Peanut M&M’s lineup was long overdue, but I’d be lying if I said any of the new flavors catapulted to the top of the M&M’s flavor list. While Coffee Nut is a welcome addition, the other two flavors taste more like novelties than anything else. And even though I don’t think any of them take a lot away from the smooth milk chocolate and crunchy roasted peanut taste of our adorable yellow friend, I will say there’s something about the classic that’s just hard to improve on.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 pack or 49 grams – 250 calories, 120 calories from fat, 14 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 25 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: 88 cents each
Size: 1.75 oz.
Purchased at: CVS
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Coffee Nut)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Honey Nut)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Chili Nut)
Pros: Coffee Nut flavor has lasting notes of coffee and vanilla. Familiar crunchy shell roasted peanut, and smooth milk chocolate of Peanut M&M’s. Yellow anthropomorphic food spokespeople golf outings.
Cons: None of the flavors beat the classic Peanut M&M’s. Not an overly robust coffee finish. Honey Nut flavor has cloying artificiality. No honey roasted peanut. Chili Nut M&M’s only brings heat, not additional flavor.