REVIEW: Reese’s Crunchy Peanut Bar

Reese s Crunchy Peanut Bar Wrapper

Some new Reese’s products are announced with great fanfare —- social media announcements, television commercials, or (as I like to imagine) a red carpet dotted with Reese’s Pieces to lead the way to the closest candy aisle. Other products seem to surprise us, one day gracing shelves with an air of nonchalance that makes you think they’ve been around for years.

For me, at least, the Reese’s Crunchy Peanut Bar falls into the latter category. After all, it seems like a simple idea and consists of everything Reese’s does best: chocolate, peanut butter, peanut butter creme, and, of course, crunchy peanuts. When I first saw the bar in stores, I wondered if it was the Cheshire Cat of Reese’s products, disappearing and re-appearing to play tricks on my mind, until social media confirmed its brand-new status.

Reese s Crunchy Peanut Bar Coating

Despite its unassuming entrance into the Walmart checkout and, therefore, my growing sugar stash, one thing about the bar isn’t unassuming: its size. This King Size packet contains one hefty bar, which comprises three servings of Reese’s goodness and measures about 3/4 of an inch in thickness.

Reese s Crunchy Peanut Bar Split

The combination of flavors in Reese’s Crunchy Peanut Bar is a sweet-and-salty lover’s dream. Inside the standard chocolate coating are a substantial layer of peanut butter and lots of roughly chopped peanuts, densely packed and held together by peanut butter and creme. The peanuts are the dominant force, providing a nice hit of salt that plays beautifully with the other components. The bar has a greater peanut-to-filling ratio than any crunchy-filled peanut butter cup I’ve tried and maybe even enough peanuts to make a PayDay feel insecure.

Although the wrapper lists peanut butter and peanut butter creme as separate components, they taste similar and are initially hard to distinguish. The visible layers of soft peanut butter filling are deliciously sweet with a lighter, smoother texture than your standard Reese’s filling.

Reese s Crunchy Peanut Bar Crumble

Meanwhile, the subtle peanut butter creme seems closer to a peanut butter-flavored version of the “white creme” (oil-based white chocolate substitute) that we all know. Delicate layers of hardened creme are remarkable more in function than taste, acting as a binding agent to hold the peanuts in place. Because of this, the bar crumbled apart easily, like a dessert bark, and sometimes felt like an odd choice. At times, I wished for more of a creamy element to add some moisture, especially when the loose peanut crumbles felt like trail mix in my mouth.

If you are a believer in the peanut butter war that pits Team Crunchy against Team Creamy, the Reese’s Crunchy Peanut Bar is definitely a victory for Team Crunchy. As a member of Team I Shouldn’t Have to Choose, I enjoyed this new product, but found it easy to detect small flaws due to its simplicity. Peanut fans will revel in Reese’s latest release, while others yearning for more daring or complex flavors might find that, among other options, this bar fades into the background.

Purchased Price: $1.48
Size: 3.2 oz (90 g)
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 1/3 bar) 170 calories, 12 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Reese’s Ultimate Peanut Butter Lovers

Reese s Ultimate Peanut Butter Lovers Wrapper

I’m someone who slightly prefers seasonal holiday item-shaped Reese’s products over regular Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

These non-cup shapes that I pick up at 50 percent off the day after the holiday include Trees, Pumpkins, Ghosts, Eggs, Bats, Hearts, Bunnies, Holiday Lights, Stockings, Santas, Carrots, and probably sometime in the future, witch hats and cats. Just throwing those out there, Hershey’s.

I think I enjoy the shaped ones more because they seem to have a different peanut butter to chocolate ratio than the cups. Or perhaps getting them at 50 percent off is the reason they taste extra special.

Anyhoo, I do love that unique sweet and salty Reese’s nutty filling, which I believe my taste buds notice more with the seasonal Reese’s. That’s why Reese’s new Ultimate Peanut Butter Lovers Cups that are entirely coated in a peanut butter-flavored candy intrigue me.

Oh, um, don’t get this confused with Reese’s Peanut Butter Lovers that have been on and off shelves over the past few years (currently on, I believe). The non-monogamous shell on those is part-chocolate and part-peanut butter candy-flavored.

Reese s Ultimate Peanut Butter Lovers Shell

Nibbling the top of the ridged edges of these reveals the tan shell with faint brown specks has a mild nutty flavor similar to the gritty filling within it. Because they taste alike, the peanut butter flavor is taken to another level. It creates a delectable treat for Reese’s peanut butter fans. Also, at times, it reminds me of a White Reese’s, but one with a less sweet shell. Because of my previously mentioned Reese’s peanut butter adoration, I do love these light brown cups.

Reese s Ultimate Peanut Butter Lovers Filling

However, I will admit the chocolate and PB combination that make up the original Reese’s (and all holiday shapes) is hard to beat. The whole reason why we love Reese’s is because of the two ingredients. But it’s nice to be able to experience a product that’s as close as we’ll get to having a shell-less peanut butter cup.

Reese’s Ultimate Peanut Butter Lovers is the “ultimate” Reese’s product for peanut butter fans. Well, again, unless The Hershey Company discovers a way to make its popular candy shell-less.

DISCLOSURE: I received free product samples from The Hershey Company. Doing so did not influence my review.

Reese’s Ultimate Peanut Butter Lovers Cups will be rolled out in standard (1.4oz, SRP $1.09), king size (2.8oz, SRP $1.79) and miniatures (9.3oz, SRP $4.09) at retailers nationwide beginning in early April 2021 for a limited time.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 1.4 oz/2 cups
Purchased at: Received from Reese’s
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 pieces) 210 calories, 13 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 156 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, 13 grams of added sugar, and 7 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Reese’s Snack Cake

Reese s Snack Cake Package

What are Reese’s Snack Cakes?

Each snack consists of a chocolate cake layer topped with Reese’s peanut butter creme and covered in milk chocolate.

How are they?

Reese s Snack Cake Exterior

When I unwrapped my package of Reese’s Snack Cakes, I was expecting a take on a Hostess CupCake or Zinger: a supple, airy sponge slicked with icing. What I found looked more like a candy bar: two chocolate-coated rectangles nestled in a cardboard sleeve, compact and entirely coated with milk chocolate.

Intrigued by the snack’s appearance (and anything involving peanut butter), I felt this warranted deeper investigation. Because I’m weird, I like to analyze snacks layer by layer, pretending that I’m a junk food scientist studying a sugary ecosystem. Here are my findings:

The milk chocolate coating is smooth and creamy. It tastes like what you’d find in the candy aisle, but a little sturdier and less prone to melting.

Next, the peanut butter creme has the delicious flavor of Reese’s filling, but with textural differences that remind me of marzipan or even hard fudge. It is soft, but dense and malleable enough that the layer can retain its shape when separated from the cake.

Reese s Snack Cake Innards

Finally, the cake layer is difficult to classify. Its deep cocoa flavor pairs well with the other cake components, but its texture is unsuccessful. Dense, dry, and crumbly, it is barely a cake. It tastes like a cake deprived of moisture or air, with all of its crumbs squeezed together. It brings to mind protein-enhanced snack bars (think Protein One), and with six grams of protein, it could probably pass as one more easily than it could pass as a cake.

Overall, the peanut butter and chocolate outshine an unsuccessful cake, which should have been the star of this snack. A different product name would have helped to leverage expectations, but the result is not Reese’s strongest offering.

Anything else you need to know?

Reese s Snack Cake Size

In press releases, Reese’s has billed its Snack Cakes as breakfast or mid-morning snacks. Given both the product’s candy bar sweetness and lack of resemblance to cake, I don’t understand the breakfast connection. Coffee cakes, muffins, and scones will not need to fight these snack cakes for space at the brunch table.

Conclusion:

Decidedly un-cakelike, Reese’s Snack Cakes deliver on the classic chocolate and peanut butter pair, but are worth less than the sum of their parts.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 2.75 oz pack (2 cakes)
Purchased at: Sheetz
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 380 calories, 21 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 33 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Reese’s Mallow-top Peanut Butter Cups

Reese s Mallow top Peanut Butter Cups Bag

It’s the most wonderful time of year for junk foodies. Post-Christmas clearance candies mingle near Valentine’s Day conversation hearts, while Easter specialties gradually inch into the seasonal aisle like budding spring flowers.

At the same time, highly-anticipated new products from our favorite brands emerge to ring in the New Year. A new and limited time spring offering, Reese’s Mallow-top Peanut Butter Cups have been at the top of my wish list, so I was thrilled to find them early. (With the thrill came some relief because when overlapping holiday products stimulate my anxieties about whether time is an illusion, usually my blood sugar is low.)

Reese s Mallow top Peanut Butter Cups Layer

Delivered by the Baby New Year Bunny Cupid via the CVS candy aisle, Mallow-top Peanut Butter Cups contain the classic Reese’s peanut butter filling, encased by a dual-flavored shell. The bottom half of the cup is standard milk chocolate, while the top is marshmallow-flavored white crème. Unwrapped, the cup’s contrasting colors are pretty, achieving a similar look to fall’s half-green Franken-cups.

Recently, Reese’s has brought us varied fillings galore, so a flavored shell feels like something special. In order to savor the marshmallow coating appropriately, I delicately severed the top portion of the cup to test it first. The crème has the sweet vanilla-tinged flavor of a marshmallow, but it is extremely subtle. Although its gentle flavor prevents an artificial quality that anything “flavored” can sometimes bring, the subtlety comes as a surprise because the white crème smells so strongly and convincingly of marshmallow. Overall, the crème is a bit of a disappointment, especially when compared to the recent Witch’s Brew Kit Kats, which I feel created a more successful marshmallow flavor.

Reese s Mallow top Peanut Butter Cups Innards

In news that will surprise no one, the Mallow-top’s three components together taste good overall. But again, the subtlety of the marshmallow white crème underwhelms. While marshmallow flavor is discernible in the first bite, it is quickly overpowered by the familiar peanut butter and milk chocolate combination. With a clean palate and the taste buds of a trained sommelier, you might not need to read the product wrapper in order to know that marshmallow was the intended flavor.

I am not saying that Reese’s Mallow-tops are not worth a try, especially because marshmallow flavors and textures can be polarizing. Because I like a fluffy, chewy, or gooey marshmallow, I definitely missed that textural quality in this product and might have preferred a Big Cup with a marshmallow fluff and peanut butter center.

Reese s Mallow top Peanut Butter Cups Individual

I suspect that people who will enjoy Mallow-tops include: Reese’s fans who find themselves torn between the milk chocolate and white crème varieties, anyone who prefers hot cocoa with tiny marbits versus puffed marshmallows, and my friend Jenn, who enjoys the flavor of marshmallows but thinks sticky food is gross. Meanwhile, people who will be disappointed in the product include fluffernutter sandwich fans, white chocolate/crème haters, and those rogues who use peanut butter cups instead of chocolate bars in their s’mores.

Overall, Reese’s Mallow-top Peanut Butter Cups are a step in an interesting direction, but the brand is definitely capable of doing more to strike the right balance between invention and tradition.

Purchased Price: $4.59
Size: 7.8 oz. bag
Purchase at: CVS
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 2 cups) 180 calories, 10 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Reese’s Big Cup with Pretzels

Reese s Big Cup with Pretzels Wrapper

NOTE: This won’t be available until November. Thanks to Reese’s, I was able to try it a little early.

A successful stuffing of Reese’s Pieces into Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups has led us down the sticky hole to the new Reese’s Big Cup with Pretzels. It’s taken four long years to go from Reese’s Pieces to pretzels, but if you’ve ever gone through a sticky hole, you know it takes a while to go through one.

While previous stuffed Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were available in Big Cups and the original size, these are currently only available in these honkin’ Big Cups. Although, I’ve been told by a little peanut butter cup that a bag of pretzel-stuffed miniatures will be sold starting in January.

Why a thicker peanut butter cup and not a regular-sized one? Your answer is probably as good as mine. I think the pretzel pieces might not be thin enough for a normal-sized cup.

Reese s Big Cup with Pretzels Closeup

While they might not be thin enough, the pieces are still small. It’s as if Hershey’s factory workers were allowed to let out their 2020 frustrations onto bags filled with skinny pretzel knots and used the shattered pieces in these. They’re just bits, but they provide a satisfying crunch that no peanut, cookie, or Reese’s Pieces could come close to.

But here’s the thing, while it has the popular snack’s crunch, I don’t notice a pretzel flavor. Even in bites that seemed to be mostly pretzels, I didn’t get that unique flavor.

I thought the savory snack might make the candy noticeably saltier than a regular Big Cup, but they don’t. Also, because of the added ingredient, this isn’t as sweet as a standard Big Cup.

So does that mean this a big bland brown disk? No.

That signature Reese’s peanut butter and chocolate flavor is still there, although subdued a bit. They’re basically Reese’s Big Cups with a BIG crunch, and I’d still stuff these into my big mouth.

But here’s another thing. I have to admit my taste buds weren’t too excited about these because they’re more intrigued by a similar product from Reese’s announced around the same time. However, it won’t come out until March 2021, and that’s Reese’s Big Cups with Chips. Yes, potato chips.

I’m someone who prefers chips over pretzels. If I’m watching a major sporting event, like the World Curling Championship, I’m going to be watching it while sweeping some chips into my house for all eight to ten ends. It’s not going to be pretzels. So it makes sense that my taste buds are looking forward to the chip version more.

But as for this Reese’s Big Cup with Pretzels, it’s worth a try. But buy a bag of Synder’s of Hanover with it if you want a bit more pretzel flavor.

DISCLOSURE: I received free samples of the product. (Thanks, Reese’s!) Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 2.6 oz (King Size)
Purchased at: Received from Hershey’s
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup) 180 calories, 10 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 18 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.