Cookies ‘n’ Creme Kisses

May 19, 2008

I like to try the limited edition Kiss flavors, and people know this. This week I was presented with two huge bags of Kisses — one Cookies and Cream, the other Vanilla Yogurt (which will be up later this week). That’s about 28 ounces of Kisses. Yikes!

I expected these to be like Hershey’s Cookies and Cream bar, which is white confection studded with chocolate cookie pieces. Instead, the Kisses are white confection studded with crunchy nonpareils, even though there are Oreo-like wafer cookies illustrated on the package. The crunchiness of the nonpareils is okay, but they don’t constitute cookie in either texture or flavor.

The white confection is grainy and oh-so-very throat-burning sweet… which isn’t surprising. There is a strong vanilla flavor, which I suppose can be translated as cookie-ish. Just think vanilla wafers, not Oreos. Actually, think of vanilla wafers dipped in milk with two extra spoonfuls of sugar, and you’re there.

Bottom line: Too sweet, grainy texture, and somewhat misrepresented. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the giant bag I have. (Actually, I know plenty of people who will take them..)

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is 9 pieces. There are 210 calories, 11g of fat (7g saturated), 21g of sugar, and 3g of protein per serving.

Rating: 4/10

Name: Cookies ‘n’ Crème Kisses
Brand: Hershey’s
Store: Walmart
Price: $3.00
Weight: 18.8 oz.

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Reese’s Whoppers

May 14, 2008

After reviewing the Strawberry Milkshake Whoppers a couple weeks ago, I felt I had to give the new Reese’s Whoppers a shot. The Reese’s line may be Hershey’s most popular, and they’ve expanded well beyond the classic Peanut Butter Cup over the past few years. I’m actually surprised that the strawberry flavor hit the market before these. Peanut butter is a crowd-pleaser, and it’s a natural place to take malted milk balls.

I wasn’t thrilled with these, but I didn’t have high expectation, so that’s okay. The peanut butter coating is greasy and waxy, keeping in line with other Whoppers products. It a bit too sweet for me. The malt and the peanut butter aren’t distinctive enough. I felt like I was eating sugary cereal… this is probably what the Reese’s cereal tastes like.

For me, the peanut butter and malt are two sides of a triangle, and they really need chocolate to serve as the missing leg. I think Hershey should have gone with the classic peanut butter and chocolate combo as opposed of simple peanut butter.

Overall, not bad, but not worth it.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is 17 pieces. There are 190 calories, 8g of fat (7g saturated), 19g of sugar, and 4g of protein per serving.

Rating: 5/10

Name: Reese’s Whoppers
Brand: Hershey
Store: Wal-mart
Price: $0.99
Weight: 3.5 oz.


Classic Cheesecupcakes

May 12, 2008

Ah, neglect. Sorry guys, but the semester just ended, and between exams, papers, graduation(!), and seeing off friends, I totally neglected to post. But I’m back with something very yummy. :D

I was calling these New York Cheesecakes, but I’m really not sure what constitutes a cheesecake as New York. According to Wikipedia, there are dozens of types of cheesecakes. These are what I consider classic mini-cheesecakes with a graham cracker crust. I don’t have a mini-cheesecake pan, but muffin liners do the trick just fine.

Perhaps the best thing about these babies is freeze-ability. All I have to do to reach Cheesecake Heaven is pluck one out of the freezer and let it thaw on the counter for a few minutes. You’ll find notes on freezing at the end of the recipe.

Also, amidst everything, my computer ate a batch of photos — I guess it has a sweet tooth too! As such, I don’t have any pictures of these cheesecakes.. so here’s a picture of my cat instead. Isn’t he cute?

Classic Cheesecupcakes

Baking Temp.: 325°
Approx. Bake Time: 20 minutes
Yields: 6 mini-cheesecakes

Ingredients

Crust:
3/4 c. graham cracker crumbs (about 4.5 whole crackers)
3 tbsp. butter, melted

Filling:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. beaten egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. heavy cream

Instructions

– Mix together graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Line a muffin tin with 6 paper cups. Spoon two tablespoons of the mixture into each liner. Press crumbs into the bottom and partially up the sides of the liner. (I press down with my tablespoon to make a little well.)
– Beat cream cheese, sugar, brown sugar, and cornstarch until smooth. By hand, whisk in the beaten egg and vanilla extract just until combined. Whisk in the heavy cream.
– Spoon the batter over the crust, filling the cups to the top.
– Bake in a water bath. Place the muffin tin inside a larger (and deep) pan. Using a kettle, fill the larger pan with very hot water so that it reaches halfway up the muffin tin. Move to a preheated oven.
– The cheesecakes are done when they are set but still springy. The batter may jiggle, but it shouldn’t slosh.
– Let the cheesecakes cool in the muffin tin for 30 minutes. Next, remove them from the tin and let cool on a rack until they reach room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours before eating.
Notes
– I like to crush my graham crackers between the two halves of a folded sheet of wax paper, with a rolling pin.
– To freeze: Place cooled, uncovered cheesecakes into the freezer for one hour. Remove from freezer, then wrap each cheesecake in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Stash them in a freezer-safe bag or container, and eat as you please. They should be eaten within a month, so date the container.


Hershey’s Cacao Reserve Truffles

May 5, 2008

I love this idea. It’s like emergency chocolate — little one-bite truffles in a portable tin. Each Altoids-like tin is filled with eight itty-bitty molded truffles, though they do have a homespun look to them.

I found these on clearance, but they usually ring up at $2.50 per tin. That’s a pretty steep price for Hershey’s fare. I know it’s part of the Cacao Reserve line, but for me, premium Hershey’s doesn’t equal upscale.

Milk Chocolate: These melt away into something thick and greasy that coats my mouth unpleasantly. The taste is similar to Hershey’s milk chocolate — tangy and yogurt-y, but more so. It’s actually borderline sour. I’d rather have a tin of mini Hershey’s Kisses.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is one package. There are 310 calories, 22g of fat (14g saturated), 23g of sugar, and 3g of protein per serving. That breaks down to about 40 calories and 3g of fat per truffle.

Rating: 4/10

Dark Chocolate: The outer shell is a bittersweet chocolate with a dry snap that sets it apart from the creamy center. The filling may or may not be the same as the milk, but it does have the same thick and greasy texture. It contains cream and milk, which accounts for the tangy dairy flavor I get. Overall, it was actually rather bland, but I still prefer it to the milk version. These are best enjoyed by popping the whole thing in your mouth and letting it melt away.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is one package. There are 290 calories, 22g of fat (15g saturated), 17g of sugar, and 4g of protein per serving. That breaks down to about 35 calories and 3g of fat per truffle.

Rating: 4/10
(taking the regular price into account)

Overall, as much as I love the idea, these are overpriced and not all that tasty. I’m going to keep the tins to see what other wee treats I can fit inside.

Name: Cacao Reserve Milk and Dark Chocolate Truffles
Brand: Hershey’s
Store: Target
Price: $1.24 / $0.62 (regular $2.50 each)
Weight: 1.8 oz. each