Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hershey's Kisses Irish Creme

Oh no, I didn't like these Irish Creme kisses one bit. Blech. The Irish Creme center takes on a disturbingly sour note that does not blend well with the chocolate shell. I'll have to go eat some more Peppermint Candy Cane Kisses to get this lingering sour taste off my tongue.

Score: 1

Hershey's Caramel Apple Kisses

Oh my, oh yes, I've been searching for these limited edition Hershey's Caramel Apple Kisses high and low since I learned of their existence during last year's Autumn/Halloween candy season, and these innocuous little goodies exceed all expectations and anticipation! First off, this is Good caramel- not that chewy hard kind, but the oozing messy buttery delicious caramel. Second, and even more important, the taste of apple is literally infused into the caramel- and it's not that synthetic Green Apple that one tastes in most mass-produced candy but an apple flavor that evinces memories of apple picking and fresh baked apple crumble. Oh yes, these are fantastic. I'm stocking up big time at the local Target where I found the first bag. Hershey's has created some fantastic limited edition flavors (see my collected reviews of their past flavors: Orange Creme; Raspberry; Mint Truffle; Candy Cane; Truffle; Coconut Creme; New York Cheesecake; Cherry Creme; Creme de Menthe; and Hot Cocoa. Wow, that's an obscene amount of chocolate consumption.) but these rank up there with the best!

Score: 5

Hershey's Kisses Mint Truffle

Strangely, last year I vastly preferred the flavor of these Mint Truffle Hershey's Kisses to the Candy Cane variety. This year, my taste buds appear to have flipped. These Mint Truffle Kisses blend a really soothing mellow mint center with a rich chocolate shell but now I feel like the mint is a little bit overbearing compared with the peppermint counterparts. I still wouldn't say no to a handful of these little treats but currently favor other holiday options far more.

Score: 3

Hershey's Kisses Candy Cane

They're back and I love them! I reviewed these Candy Cane Hershey's Kisses last year and wrote with sadness of their ephemeral nature, available only during the holiday season. There's something about the mellow nature of the peppermint flavor blended with that super melty white chocolate base that's totally compelling. Throw in the crunchy red non-pareils suspended throughout and these constitute a nearly perfect mouth full of peppermint chocolate. There must be a way Hershey's could justify selling these year-round. Thanks for finding these, Dan!

Score: 5

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hershey's Kisses Cookies 'n' Cream

I'm not usually a fan of white chocolate so was automatically predisposed to turn up my nose at these Cookies'n'Creme Hershey's Kisses. They are, however, simply delicious! White chocolate tends to crumble into waxy chunks instead of melting away in one's mouth, but these little morsels were super melty and combined beautifully with the crunchy chocolate cookie chunks suspended throughout. Yum! A surprising winner amidst of the ever-growing pantheon of kisses flavors!

Score: 4

Cherry Cordial m&m's

I was not excited for artificial cherry infused chocolate m&m's but these are surprisingly good! If you know the taste of cello's cherry cordials that exact same taste really sings through the chocolate here. I'd still prefer a little liquid filling or layer of pure cherry nougat surrounding a chocolate center within the hard shell, but these are definitely worth trying!

Score: 3

British Consumers Unleash Tirade of Criticisms Against Hershey's Kisses

Oh my. Today Hershey's Kisses launched their long-awaited distribution throughout Great Britain. We all know that Cadbury rocks it over Hershey's. And perhaps unleashing Hershey's Kisses into a market already saturated with and spoiled by Cadbury products won't bring in a ton of new fans, but "conical filth bombs" and "regurgitated milk" still seem a bit strident a description of the Kisses. Really? And this from a land where Nestle products boast high sales? Blech upon the Nestle chocolate! Hershey's Kisses, you may not be the best, but you're no filth bomb to me! And you consistently come up with such amazing limited edition flavors. That dedication to innovation should count for a lot! Read more rude reactions to Hershey's sweet little bonbons here...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Jet-Puffed Holiday Mallows

These Jet-Puffed Holiday Mallows may not taste at all different than a normal Jet-Puff marshmallow but they're certainly festive. Honestly, I wish Jet-Puffed had tried to infuse some sort of holiday-related flavor into the bunch- spice? cinnamon? apple cider? eggnog? peppermint? The company has made some daring advancements in Marshmallow flavoring before, to both excellent and billious effect, and it would have been cool to try another foray into flavored marshmallow. That said, these are a nice Christmas-related treat, perfect for topping hot cocoa or festive holiday cakes. I doubt the results poured into a batch of rice krispie snacks would be particularly appealing but there are enough possibilities to make purchasing a bag worthwhile.

Score: 3

Junior Mints Peppermint Crunch

I loooove Junior Mints and was unbelievably and unabashedly excited to try their new Peppermint Crunch holiday flavor. Ok, it's basically the same old Junior Mint with a little red sugar adhered to the top of each candy. And I'll admit that if I were consuming these in a darkened movie theater I might just think that these were ordinary Junior Mints that had gone a little stale and crystalized a bit. And ok, the red sugar gets a little lost or muddied in the chocolate coating and doesn't present the festive sparkle that I believe Junior Mints was aiming for. That said, after about three compulsive handfuls, I realized that there's something vaguely compelling about an added crunch in the mix. Somehow it makes you want to consume mint after luscious mint until the box is empty because the crunch is evident and yet vaguely elusive. It gives you a little something to chew on. To summarize, there's not much different about these Peppermint Crunch Junior Mints from the originals, but they are delicious. And the crunch doesn't diminish that tastiness in the least. Try them! I wish I had more! Wish I could remember where I found these! Wish I had more!

Note (12/20/2010): Dan found me a big batch of these addictive Junior Mints at an uptown Duane Reade. After eating another couple boxes and sharing the treats with others, I am convinced that these sugar-topped Junior Mints are even better than the original. Others agree. But I'd like to convey the message to the candy makers that these would be even better with something even crunchier. The sugar isn't so pretty against the backdrop of chocolate so why not go for a larger crunchier bit on top? Go for it, Junior Mints!

Score: 5

Peeps Marshmallow Christmas Trees

These Christmas edition Peeps offer nothing new in the way of flavor, but they're certainly a festive variation on the classic shapes.

Score: 3

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Non-Caloric Cupcake: Design-Your-Own Virtual Cupcake

image courtesy, cupcake cafe, nyc

And the cupcake craze continues. At least this newest endeavor, however, is devoid of regrettable calories. Today's Grub Street blog alerted me to a new website by Baked By Melissa that allows you to design your fantasy cupcake online- with so many alluring variables to consider. Perhaps I'm biased, but I do believe that my virtual Spice Cupcake with Maple frosting and Jelly filling would rival any flavor offered by the many cupcake purveyors across New York City. Go play and make something pretty!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

More Art from Candy: A Liz Lemon of Nerds

photo courtesy, whatthecool

I feel like candy is inspiring crafting and art everywhere I turn these days! A fantastic amalgam of two of my favorite things! This portrait by Andrew Salomone depicts 30 Rock actors Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin in a rainbow of Nerds candy and was originally published by whatthecool blog. If you'd like to try your own candy portraiture, Make:Projects provides a handy article on how to preserve your candy art for posterity. Now go craft something tasty and beautiful of your own!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wishlist: Jelly Belly Air Fresheners

photos courtesy the glow company

Thanks to my friend Tara's investigative gifts, I am now aware of and searching out Jelly Belly's new line of candy-scented candles and air fresheners. Who knows, they may smell repulsive, but they could also emit sweetly spectacular jelly bean scented aromas! Now to track them down...

Demeter Tropical Dots Perfume

This Tropical Dots cologne spray by Demeter Fragrance Library was a big disappointment. I love the smell of Dots- a vaguely powdery subdued fruit melange that I believe would smell delicious upon my skin. This Tropical Dots perfume, though, emits a strident tutti frutti aroma that doesn't come even close to the actual candy. Which is surprising because no matter what one thinks of Demeter's fragrance choices, they tend to be almost alarmingly accurate. As I said, major disappointment. I vote that Demeter should make a Red Vines scent- I'd bathe in it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Goo Goo Supreme Clusters

These traditional (since 1912!) Goo Goo Clusters, brought back from a Kentucky sojourn, are so fresh, so simple, so tooth achingly sweet, and sooo addictive. Pecans are suspended in milk chocolate which in turn surrounds a layer of both marshmallow and caramel. The entire thing constitutes an exceedingly sweet sticky and blissful mess. These are intense. I couldn't eat them all the time or in large quantities, but I love them nonetheless. Thanks, Farris!

Score: 4

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mary Jane Wicked Mix

It would be an understatement to assert that I love the classic Mary Jane candies. Peanut butter taffy wrapped around a soft peanut butter center is sublime; it's hard to improve on perfection. That said, I'm glad that the company that makes Mary Jane candies tried. In the Halloween-inspired Wicked Mix we are presented with four new flavors: Peanut Butter and Jelly; Peanut Butter and Banana; S'mores; and Peanut Butter and Vanilla. None of them reach that joyous taste that makes you want/need to keep reaching into the bag for more and more. I think they're onto something in a few of these varieties, though- peanut butter really does go with almost everything. The Peanut Butter and Jelly is a grape flavored taffy wrapped around the soft peanut butter center. I had hoped for more. Somehow the grape is too cloying to blend well with the peanut butter flavor. They should have gone for a more tart red raspberry flavored taffy to really get it right. The Smores flavor was blatantly gross- there's no peanut butter in a Smore anyway. The Peanut Butter and Vanilla was great, though a little weak in presence compared to its classic counterpart. Finally, the Peanut Butter and Banana was an excellent surprise- a lovely flavor-filled candy that blends and melts effortlessly in one's mouth. And I don't usually love an artificial Banana. All in all, I'll stick with the classic. I'm really excited, though, to see the next Mary Jane flavor innovation! I'll be waiting!

Score: 3

Peeps Chocolate Mousse Marshmallow Cats

These chocolate mousse flavored cat-shaped Halloween Peeps are super cute. That's the only positive thing I can really say about them, though. The chocolate flavor infused into the marshmallow tastes awfully artificial- actually, a lot like the flavor in a chocolate Necco wafer. If you like those, these cats might be right up your alley! They sure look festive, though. Maybe they'd be good as a cake decoration for Halloween or something similar with emphasis on aesthetics rather than taste. Three cheers for Peeps continuing to experiment with variations on the classic- keep trying!

Score: 2

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Candy Bouquet

I thought I must be hallucinating as I beheld a pumpkin exploding with candy classics; the best way to usher in a festive Halloween weekend! Thanks a bunch, Tara, Zach, and Evan! You're the best!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The New York Times: Candy Scapegoated!

Photo Courtesy Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Ok, candy consumption can lead to cavities and even weight problems, but has sugar unfairly become a go-to scapegoat? Today's New York Times examines the phenomenon...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Baked Bakery, Brooklyn

I'm obsessed with the edible-glitter and glamor of Top Chef Just Desserts, and within the assembled group of skilled contestants, Erik Wolitzky is by far my favorite. Amidst a bunch pastry chefs who get their knickers in a bunch about overly-precious assemblages, Wolitzky is a baker who has wowed the judges with perfect flavors over pretty packaging in every challenge. Lucky me to live in the same borough as his bakery, Baked! We recently went to sample some the establishment's delicacies- pumpkin whoopie pie, caramel apple cupcake, peanut butter chocolate rice krispie treat, and a carrot cake cupcake for good measure- and they all made me swoon. Especially the caramel apple cupcake topped with an insanely delicate yet rich frosting. Indescribable. Highly worth trekking out to Red Hook. Go now!

A Note On Bad Lighting

I was appalled at the bad lighting evident in the most recent batch of candy pics- all yellow and dark and filled with ugly shadows. Bah! With Halloween fast approaching (and most of the pictured candy now devoured) the proverbial show must go on and we will have to make due with these sub-par images. However, I would like to assure the candy-crazed audience that in a pique of frustration I purchased a proper tungsten light to pair with my intrepid light box and this sad visage of non-sparkling candy will never again occur!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hershey's Pumpkin Spice Kisses

If the Caramel Apple Kisses hadn't been so incredibly delectable, I'd be raving about these limited edition Pumpkin Spice Kisses instead! I've unfortunately become totally consumed with the wonder of the Caramel Apple variety and so perhaps the timing was inopportune for proper attention to these Pumpkin-flavored morsels. They're really good! I'm not a big pumpkin fan- especially faux-pumpkin- but there's something really "correct" in their semblance to the flavor of a pumpkin pie. Hershey's doesn't go for overkill on the sweet factor which really helps. Instead, there's this mellow blend of pumpkin and cinnamon and the milky white center coheres the whole thing into a very meltable, surprisingly flavor-packed bonbon. Even if you're not into candy that tastes like pumpkin (it's really not an appealing thought, to my mind- it is a vegetable, after all), try these out- they constitute a really successful and unique flavor.

Score: 4

Pumpkin Peeps

photo courtesy mark "deathmatch king" abramovich

Peeps, glorious peeps! They never taste very good to me- the marshmallow's too dry and I like a little goo in my marshmallow- but I sure do love their holiday-specific designs! These pumpkin cuties uphold the proud Peeps tradition beautifully.

Score: 3

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Licked, Sucked, Stacked, Stuck: Candy at the Brattleboro Museum

Photo courtesy the artists and art:21
Paul Shore and Nicole Root, New York Brownie Room (After Walter De Maria), 2010. Brownie.

Speaking of candy elevating/elevated by fine art, Rory drew my attention to an upcoming exhibit at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center called Licked, Sucked, Stacked, Stuck, running from November 6, 2010- February 6, 2011. I am so going- this is worth traveling for. Not only are the images incredibly enticing (check out the show's flickr page), but the concept of the show looks pretty thoughtful and potentially profound. The museum produced a brief statement describing the curatorial aims:

"Three years ago, visual artist Paul Shore and art historian Nicole Root were struck by the commonly overlooked parallel between mass-produced candy and contemporary sculpture. Their collaborative investigation into the formal similarities between art and candy grew to include a high-fructose meditation on the way reproductions shape our experience of art. After seeing these photographs, videos, and sculptures, one thing is certain: you will never regard the local candy store or the Museum of Modern Art the same way again.

For a more in-depth explanation of the upcoming exhibition, check out this write-up on art:21.

Kathleen Griffin: Art from Candy

photo courtesy kathleen-griffin.com
Perfect, 6' rug made of shoelace licorice

photo courtesy kathleen-griffin.com
I'll Never Love You More Than I Do Right Now, 300 pounds of cherry candy cast on a wooden chair

photo courtesy kathleen-griffin.com
Candy Windows, five candy windows

I've talked about some tongue-in-cheek candy art before (most notably, the artist cake series at both SF MoMA and the Chinatown Cake Club, and photographer Dustin Wayne Harris' images of cakes reflecting his dating history), but Kathleen Griffin elevates the use of candy in her work to a higher plane. This is really stupendous, weighty stuff. I'd so love to see it in person. Check out her work, candy-based and otherwise, on her website, kathleen-griffin.com, and keep your eyes peeled for her next exhibition. Thanks, Robert, for introducing me to this!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wishlist: Dexter Blood Slide Candies

photo, courtesy walyou.com

Oosh, just in time for Halloween! I'm not a fan of the teevee show, Dexter, but these little Dexter-themed blood slide candies look fantastic! And disturbingly real! I'd certainly be taken aback if I unwittingly witnessed someone popping a blood slide candy into their mouth. Tracking these down is a must! Thanks to walyou.com for the heads-up- for an in-depth analysis, click here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Wonka Store Opens in Times Square

photo courtesy, posterwire

Read the Gothamist article to obtain all the important details about today's opening. I wonder if the shop sells any candy that we can't find in any corner bodega. Either way, I'm sure the spectacle is marvelous and the chocolate is scrumdidilyumptious!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Backlog: Junior Caramels

Meh. As a big fan of Junior Mints and a mega-fan of caramel, these Junior Caramels seemed really exciting. They're not. They're ok. The chocolate is a little waxy out of necessity, the caramel is a little bland. They're tasty at the movies, but I'll stick with the Junior Mints for sure.

Score: 3

Backlog: Cadbury Flake Praline

Cadbury flake bars are divine- on their own, crumbled over ice cream, dipped in peanut butter. Shall I go on? Cadbury chocolate is perfection and with that light airy layered consistency there's no messing with the perfection of a Flake bar. Praline is delicious, too, but mixed into the Flake equation it simply equals Too Sweet. I don't really taste the nutty praline. Instead, it's just an overwhelmingly corn syrupy sweetness that was too much. Keep trying, Cadbury. There are some lovely possibilities waiting to be blended into that package of flakey chocolate goodness!

Score: 2

Backlog: Pocket Coffee

Why do I remember Pocket Coffee so distinctly from my childhood? I don't think I was allowed to eat the caffeine-infused treat, so maybe I'm just accessing a deep-stored longing to consume these decadent bonbons from way back when. Either way, I've loved these classic candies for as long as I can remember. They're the perfect combination of a delicate dark chocolate shell and liquid espresso filling. The coffee filling forms crystals on the chocolate interior thus creating a more solid foundation to cohere the delicate candies. They pack a punch- both with taste and caffeinated energy- and I love them.

Score: 5

Cupcake Dental Floss

There's something vaguely perverse about cleaning one's teeth with dental floss that smells of cavity-inspiring baked goods. But it's a pleasantly perverse feeling. Luckily, the flavor and aroma to the cupcake floss is pretty subdued, just a suggestion of sweet vanilla. I like it! Thanks, Dan, for finding this healthy treat alternative!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Best NYC Donuts

image courtesy of nycfoodguy.com

I may complain vociferously about the inundation of cutesie cup-cakeries burgeoning across the city, but will readily admit to my hypocrisy of supporting any and all new-comers to the doughnut field. I'm just that way. So I was pleased to find this thoughtfully compiled list of doughnut delicacies across the NYC landscape from seriouseats. Check it out: you'll soon be drooling. I maintain that the Doughnut Plant should win every category, but then I haven't tried half the offerings on the list. Next project! I'll report back! Thanks to Alex for sending me the list and thus catalyzing this new deep-fried reporting project!