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.


Elmer’s Easter Eggs I

March 6, 2008

(Part II of the Elmer’s roundup will be up tomorrow — there is only so much candy that I can eat at once!)

Elmer’s is a candy company located in Ponchatoula, LA, which is only about 75 miles from me. I’ve always been aware of their products, but didn’t realize they were a local company until a few months ago.

Elmer’s makes a lot of boxed Valentine’s chocolate. I’ve haven’t tried these — they’ve never appealed to me — but I think they’re pretty widely distributed. I’m much more familiar with their Easter products, which include Gold Brick Eggs, Pecan Eggs, and several other products. I think distribution of the Easter fare may be limited to the South.

When I was a kid, I would inevitably get several Elmer’s products in my Easter baskets. This was always a disappointment. I had nothing against Elmer’s, but most of their products featured nuts — and I didn’t like nuts. I know, I know… I was young and naïve, give me a break.

While I devoured Robin’s Eggs, chocolate rabbits, and Peeps, Elmer’s candy sat behind. (Well, not really, I think my parents ate it.) I figured it was about time I gave Elmer’s a chance.

Eggceptionals: This product looks familiar to me, but I don’t remember receiving these. I probably would have eaten them. It’s peanuts and caramel enrobed in milk chocolate The idea is comparable to the Snickers Crème products, which have no nougat. However, unlike the Snickers products, which have a fairly soft caramel, the caramel here is firm. I mean seriously firm; I think it could pull a filling out. I can appreciate a firm caramel on its own, but in a candy bar… not so much.

I like a buttery or salty caramel, but this here is pretty bland. It’s not even super sweet, which could be a good thing. The chocolate is pleasant, and the peanuts are fresh. They give the whole thing a nice, nutty flavor, but the caramel kind of kills this one for me. It’s not bad, but I’ll stick to the Snickers Crème Eggs.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is one piece. There are 130 calories, 5g of fat (2g saturated), 14g of sugar, and 2g of protein per serving.

Rating: 5/10

Pecan Egg: My mom would always eat these. I always thought the Pecan Egg was a lump of pecans. It’s actually nougat covered with caramel and chopped pecans.

How does it taste? Think butter pecan ice cream, and you’re pretty much there. The nougat is soft, but firm enough to hold it’s shape. It’s very sweet and tastes strongly of vanilla. The caramel is very buttery, lending to that somewhat fake butter flavor that I associate with butter pecan ice cream. The pecans could be crunchier, but they are adhered with sticky caramel, so they’re going to absorb some of that moisture.

In all, the flavors blend well together, and this is pretty good. I’d like to give it a try frozen.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is one piece. There are 130 calories, 6g of fat (0.5g saturated), 14g of sugar, and 1g of protein per serving.

Rating: 6 /10

Name: Eggceptionals/Pecan Egg
Brand: Elmer’s
Store: Walgreens
Price: $0.34/$0.50
Weight: 1 oz. each

Nestle Easter Eggs

March 5, 2008

Here are more molded, filled eggs, this time by Nestle. I know that the Wonka Egg has been around the past couple seasons, but I’m not sure about the other two.

Butterfinger Crème Egg: I almost passed this up because I thought it was a solid chocolate egg studded with Butterfinger pieces, ala the Nestle Christmas fare. But no, it’s filled with “Butterfinger pieces and peanut butter crème.” The filling is grainy and, well, a bit too solid to be called a crème, I think. The peanut butter crisps add a nice touch.

For as much peanut butter filling as there is, this didn’t have a super-strong peanut butter taste. I think my taste buds may have been whacked, as I did eat this just after recovering from a bug. In the end, I don’t care for Nestle chocolate, and I’d rather have a Reese’s Egg. Rating: 5/10

Nestle Crunch Crème Egg: This one contains chocolate crème, caramel, and of course, crisped rice — that’s what makes it a Nestle Crunch! Again, I think the crème is too solid to be called so. It’s like a light, maybe aerated, chocolate that doesn’t differentiate itself much from the shell. It‘s quite sweet, and the pocket of caramel adds to that. The caramel is salty and buttery, and I quite like it. However, it’s not enough to save this for me, I’m just not a fan of Nestle chocolate. Rating: 6/10

Wonka Golden Crème Egg: This piece has a little more novelty. It’s a tie in with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, in which Veruca Salt demands the goose that lays the golden eggs… and subsequently takes a trip down the garbage chute.

It contains chocolate crème, caramel, and graham cracker bits. Hmm. Wait a minute. It’s the Nestle Crunch Egg all over again! Disappointing chocolate shell? Check. Not-so-crème-like chocolate crème? Check. Butter, salty caramel? Check. The only difference is that the crisped rice is replaced by graham cracker bits, and to be fair, there is a noticeable graham flavor. I love graham crackers, so I like this change, but it’s not enough to really change my opinion. (Though I do wish more candy would use graham..) Rating: 6/10

Name: … more eggs!
Brand: Nestle
Store: Walgreens and Target
Price: $0.50 each
Weight: about 1.1 oz each

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)

Nestle Turtles

February 25, 2008

When I was younger, I never understood why these were called turtles. Actually, scratch that. I’m still not sure why they are called turtles. I assume it’s because if you squint hard enough, they kind of resemble a turtle with little pecan-feet and a pecan-head sticking out of a chocolate-shell.

The mascot for these is a turtle decked out in a suit complete with a top hat and monocle. If his fashion choices are supposed to indicate a more upscale treat, it’s not really working. He’s too cute, and, well, these just aren’t anything special.

The dark chocolate turtle is sweet and chewy. The caramel is semi-soft, stretchy, and – well, pretty bland. It’s just sweet. There are no buttery, salty, or burnt sugar notes. The chocolate is bland also. It’s not particularly chocolatety, but again, just sweet. The nuts were the last hope for these, and they aren’t doing a good job either. They taste plasticy and stale.

The same things can be said for the milk chocolate turtle. It’s a bit sweeter than it’s dark chocolate sibling, but is otherwise the same. It’s just a little blob of sweetness, nothing deeper than that.

These aren’t truly bad, but I wouldn’t have them again. I have, however, decided that ‘turtle’ is a fun word to say.

Nutrition Breakdown: The serving size for the milk chocolate turtles is 2 pieces. There are 160 calories, 9g of fat (4g saturated), 15g of sugar, and 2g of protein per serving. Serving size for the dark chocolate turtles is 2 pieces. There are 160 calories, 10g of fat (4.5g saturated), 13g of sugar, and 2g of protein per serving.

Rating: 5/10

Name: Turtles
Brand: Nestle
Store: Unknown
Price: Unknown

Cadbury Fruit and Nut

January 30, 2008

I eat a lot of fruit and nuts. All that healthy goodness – it’s how I rebound from all the candy. But I’m not delusional; I don’t think that adding fruit and nuts to candy suddenly makes it healthy. Still, nuts are some of the best compliments to chocolate. I generally don’t do chocolate with fruit, with a few exceptions. I like fresh fruit dipped in chocolate (strawberries, bananas). I also like Raisinets, but those are more about the raisins than the chocolate.

This is my first fruit and nut bar. Apparently, in the Cadbury-Hershey world, fruit and nuts are limited to raisins and almonds. Somehow, I feel cheated. Isn’t that nuts in the plural? I guess I should have read the fine print.

The almonds are great. They are fresh, crunchy, and abundant enough to add a rich nuttiness to the classic dairy-heavy Cadbury chocolate.

The raisins, on the other hand, aren’t really working for me. They add an unpleasant chew and, if you get a big enough piece, an unpalatable burst of searing sweetness. I have a high tolerance for sweetness, but it applies mostly to sweet chocolate, not the super-sugary sweetness of sugar-coated dried fruit.

So, fruit and nut bars probably aren’t for me. However, trying this made me realize how much I would love to try a mixed nut bar. I’m not sure what the best mix would be… almonds, peanuts, and cashews would probably go well together, but I would love to find a way to work in pistachios and hazelnuts. Mr. Goodbar Extreme, anyone?

Ingredient Watch: PGPR alert.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is 10 pieces, or about one-third of the bar. Each serving contains 200 calories, 10g of fat, 22g of sugar, and 4g of protein. It also has 8% of the RDV of calcium.

Rating: 5/10

Name: Cadbury Fruit and Nut
Brand: Cadbury (by Hershey’s)
Store: Walgreens
Price: $1.50

Hebert’s Fully Loaded Dark Turtle

January 17, 2008

This is a slab of dark chocolate topped with pecan pralines and toffee. The chocolate is rich, sweet, and has a smooth melt. The pecan pieces are much more sweet than nutty; honestly, I don’t think they taste much like pecans as all. The toffee pieces are nice and buttery, but seem out of place.

As with Hebert’s Rocky Road, the concept just isn’t working. It doesn’t taste like a turtle. I don’t think the toppings work well with the chocolate; they just add bursts of unnecessary sweetness to what is otherwise good chocolate.

Ingredient Watch: Partially hydrogenated oils in the toppings.

Nutrition Breakdown: Each bar contains 4 servings. Each serving contains 100 calories, 6g of fat, 10g or protein, and 1g of fat. Note that this is according to the nutrition label, which indicates a small serving size. Most people are going to eat half the bar, which is 2 servings, 200 calories, etc.

Rating: 5/10

Name: Fully Loaded Dark Turtle
Brand: Hebert’s Confections
Store: Walgreens
Price: $1.50