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.


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


Pucca Choco Pretzel

April 14, 2008

The Japanese know how to do cute, and their sweets are no exception. These little fish-shaped pretzel-cookies are filled with “choco cream” — think of an inside-out chocolate covered pretzel. They are absolutely adorable. In addition the the fish, my box contained at least one octopus-shaped cookie. I thought it was deformed at first, but then I noticed that octopus shapes were featured on the box. So, sorry octopus. You’re aren’t deformed; in fact, you’re just as cute as your fish-shaped companions!

Unfortunately, my infatuation with these starts with the cuteness and abruptly ends with the flavor.

The pretzel shell is nice and crunchy, but it’s really nothing but a bland cracker. It has no taste, not even a hint of salt. That’s a shame, because I really love the salty-sweet combo of a chocolate covered pretzel.

The “choco cream” is a mixture of sugar, vegetable shortening, cocoa mass, and powdered milk. I’m not loving it or, well, even liking it. The taste is tolerable — it has a strong dairy component and is slightly malty. The texture, however, is terribly greasy and coats my mouth unpleasantly.

Overall, these are cute, but the taste and especially the texture of the filling killed these for me. I believe they also come in a strawberry flavor.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is 4 cookies. There are 80 calories, 4.5g of fat (2.5g saturated), 4g of sugar, and less than 1g of protein per serving.

Rating: 4/10

Name: Pucca Choco Pretzel
Brand: Meiji
Store: World Market
Price: $1.50
Weight: 1.76 oz.


Choxie Dark Chocolate Truffle Collection

April 7, 2008

As you might guess by the heart shaped box, this is Valentine’s Day candy. I picked it up a few days after the holiday — at 75% off I couldn’t really resist. I’ve only just gotten around to reviewing it, but I think it’s sold year-round in a non-heart-shaped box. That’s how I’ll justify this being about two months late, anyway.

I was disappointed to find that the chocolate were slightly ashy. I guess they weren’t stored properly. Aside from that, they’re attractive pieces. That flavors include, caramel, honey, lemon, tea, chocolate, and coffee. Each piece is surrounded by the same bitter dark chocolate shell. It’s rather bland, so the chocolates really rely on their fillings, which also turned out to be rather bland, unfortunately.

Dark Chocolate Caramel: I didn’t eat this one — I shared!

Dark Chocolate Honey: This one is filled with a milk chocolate ganache with a small reservoir of honey at the top. The ganache is very light — almost mousse-like — but it’s really lacking in flavor. However, the sweet honey offsets the bitter chocolate shell nicely, so it works in the end.

Dark Chocolate Lemon: The one is filled with a white chocolate lemon ganache, which is light and refreshing. It tends toward sweet lemonade more than zesty lemon, which contrasts well with the bitter dark chocolate. I liked this one.

Dark Chocolate Tea: Yikes. It’s acidic and medicinal. I might expect something bitter and slightly acidic, but the medicinal edge is more reminiscent of cough syrup than tea. This one went into the trash.

Double Dark Chocolate: While the other pieces in this box tend toward a light, almost mousse-like ganache, the dark chocolate ganache is very thick. The filling is actually rather tasteless — it’s slightly sweet but not really chocolate-ty at all. Another bust.

Dark Chocolate Coffee: When I bit into this, I was surprised to find that it was crunchy. Then I checked the description — there are cacao nibs in here. It’s a nice touch. The filling is light in both texture in flavor. It has a mild mocha flavor, which is fine, but isn’t the “full-bodied coffee” flavor promised.

Overall, you can see that I found most of the chocolates to be pretty bland. Even the pieces that I liked were uninteresting. If I had paid the full $7 for this, I’d feel ripped off. It’s more than overpriced. But it was under $2, so it’s okay — worth the try anyway. I’ve been pleased with some of Choxie’s other products, but I’ll definitely steer clear of their boxed chocolates from now on.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is 4 pieces. There are 210 calories, 14g of fat (9g saturated), 12g of sugar, and 3g of protein per serving.

Overall Rating: 4/10

Name: Belgian Dark Chocolate Truffle Collection
Brand: Choxie
Store: Target
Price: $1.75 (regular $7.00)
Weight: 1.9 oz.


Elmer’s Easter Eggs II

March 10, 2008

One thing I forgot to mention in the first leg of the Elmer’s roundup was that it’s pretty cheap. These here were three for a dollar.

Sometimes cheap things bring pleasant surprises. Sometimes you get what you pay for. Here are examples of each.

Gold Brick Egg: I remember these. I would always get at least a couple in my Easter basket and would never eat them because they contained pecans. If the formula was the same then as it is now, I had little to worry about. There are practically no pecans here, and that’s a problem if you’re going to call it a “pecan melt-a-way.” There are a few pecan chips, which is what you see in the photo, but it’s not nearly enough to add flavor. I don’t like it when candy lies.

On to the chocolate. It doesn’t get much better here. It tastes more of fudge than chocolate… which is okay, I guess. I thought it might be fake!chocolate, so I checked the ingredients. Like the Dove Truffle Egg, this is chocolate filled with a “melt-a-way” filling. In the Dove Egg, coconut oil is used to create that silky texture. In the Gold Brick Egg, partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil is used. It’s certainly not quality ingredients, but I don’t know that I’d call it mockolate. (The outer layer of chocolate is quite real.)

In the end, I’m concerned with the taste. It’s not offensive, just bland. I don’t like or dislike it. It was cheap and it‘s a classic/novelty, so I considered giving it a 5. Then I remembered that it lied about the pecans. That demoted it to a 4.

Nutritional Breakdown: Serving size is one piece. There are 160 calories, 10g of fat (7g saturated), 16g of sugar, and 1g of protein per serving.

Rating: 4/10

Heavenly Hash: Let’s move on to something much better. Marshmallow and almonds enrobed in milk chocolate? Sounds great to me! The chocolate coating is fine, nothing outstanding, but perfectly acceptable. The marshmallow is a bit sweet, but the texture is nice — soft, moist, and stretchy. Now the almonds… yum! The almonds are great. They are whole, crunchy, fresh, and perfectly roasted. The nuttiness cuts through the sweetness and gives the piece a nice balance. Unfortunately, there were only two or three almonds in mine. I would really love (and certainly be willing to pay more than 33 cents for) this if it had more almonds. Still, it’s quite good.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is one piece. There are 160 calories, 6g of fat (3g saturated), 23g of sugar, and 1g of protein per serving.

Rating: 7/10

Name: Gold Brick Egg / Heavenly Hash
Brand: Elmer’s
Store: Walgreens
Price: $0.33 each
Weight: 1 oz / 1.33 oz


A Russell Stover Easter

March 4, 2008

When I first saw these I thought, ‘Russell Stover duped the Cadbury Crème Egg!’ I should have given them a little more credit, as these are bit different.

However, these do bear some resemblance to the Cadbury Crème, so I’ll preface this roundup with this statement: I’ve never liked Cadbury Crème Eggs. They’re too sweet for me. While I enjoy sweet chocolate, I’m not one for straight up sugary-sweetness. So, if you like the Cadburies, you’ll probably disagree with my assessment of these.

(I do, however, love that clucking bunny.)


Vanilla and Chocolate Crème: This is a milk chocolate shell filled with a sticky, liquefied vanilla fondant and a chocolate “yolk.” The filling is sugary-sweet — so much that it burns my throat. It doesn’t scream vanilla to me; it just sort of whispers it after assaulting me with sweetness. The chocolate yolk blended with the vanilla so that I couldn’t discern any distinct flavor.

The chocolate shell is good, and not too sweet, but is really overpowered by the filling. If you like Cadbury Crème Eggs, this might be for you, but it’s a bit too sweet for me! Rating: 4/10


Chocolate Crème: I hoped that the chocolate crème would be less sweet, but it’s still throat-searing. It’s not particularly chocolate-ty, just slightly fudgy. It reminds me a bit of chocolate syrup.

The texture of the filling is nice and thick. It’s quite viscous, so you don’t have to worry about it dripping all over you — unless it’s hot, I guess. It’s also very shiny, and I like shiny things. :P Rating: 5/10


Dark Chocolate Crème: This contains the same chocolate crème, but with a dark chocolate shell and a vanilla yolk plopped inside. The chocolate shell is good — not too sweet or bitter — and has a nice snap. Still, it’s not enough to tone down the sweetness of the filling. I think this would benefit from thicker sides. I ended up scooping a bit of the filling out with my fingers and eating the remains — it was pretty good that way, but my fingers were all sticky. Rating: 5/10

Marshmallow and Caramel: Don‘t worry, I’m actually quite fond of this one! The marshmallow filling is, surprisingly, not very sweet. It’s quite moist; in fact, it feared it would be greasy, but the mouth-feel was just fine. The yolk is a dollop of sweet, buttery caramel. All of the flavors — the marshmallow, caramel, and chocolate — work very well together.

Russell Stover also makes an enrobed Marshmallow and Caramel Egg, but this is very different — I like it better! Rating: 7/10

Cybele at Candy Blog also reviewed these.

Name: …Eggs.
Brand: Russell Stover
Store: Walgreens
Price: $0.50 each
Weight: 0.9 oz (marshmallow) and 1.2 oz. (the others)


Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter and Chocolate

February 22, 2008

When I bought this, I hardly registered what it was. It was robotic. I thought ‘candy… new…’ and my arm automatically reached for the box. Such is the fate of a candy blogger… we’re like machines, except we run on sugar instead of fossil fuels.

Imagine my disappointment (just disappointment, not surprise) when I got home and noticed that this utilized no chocolate, but “chocolate candy” instead. Yeah, you know, “mockolate.” The fake stuff. It’s the pyrite of the candy world.

It’s particularly disappointing because this is a pretty good idea: candy-coated peanut butter candies mixed with candy-coated chocolate candies. It should be the Reese’s Cup that melts in your mouth, not in your hand… but it’s not. The chocolate candy just doesn’t taste very chocolate-ty. It’s sweet with a mild cocoa flavor, but just isn’t very good. The Reese’s Pieces are their classic selves, a sweet peanut butter candy, which has always reminded me a bit of peanut butter fudge.

Reese’s Pieces were a favorite of mine when I was younger, even more so than Reese’s Cups. It’s odd really, considering that I’ve always been a huge chocolate-lover. These days, Reese’s Pieces disappoint me. They’re not bad — not by far — but they don’t taste like much unless you pop a bunch at once. That’s just not my style. I’m a sorter — each color gets it’s own pile, and then I methodically eat them one by one. Still, I’ll always have a soft spot for them.

The Reese’s Pieces are in their traditional colors of orange, yellow, and brown. The chocolate pieces are dressed in red, green, and blue. I found this disappointing as well; I hoped it would be like roulette — you don’t know if it’s chocolate or peanut butter until you bite into it. They should have just mixed up some Reese’s Pieces and Kissables. Then we could have gotten some real chocolate, at least.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is 46 pieces. There are 2.5 servings per box. There are 190 calories, 9g of fat (6g saturated), 25g of sugar, and 3g of protein per serving.

Rating: 4/10 for the mix, but 6/10 for Reese‘s Pieces alone.

Name: Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter and Chocolate
Brand: Reese’s (Hershey) (USA)
Store: Wal-mart
Price: $0.99
Weight: 3.5 oz