Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Aftermath and Overview: Twizzlers Christmas Trees

Same delicious Twizzlers in small tree-sized bites. What's not to love? Twizzlers rarely stray from the classic red licorice-type product, so I am happy to see the candy company branching out (Get it? Nevermind...) into holiday-specific fare!

Score: 4

Christmas Aftermath and Overview: Peeps Gingerbread Flavored Marshmallow

It's such a surprise, especially in a marshmallow-based product, to find that these Gingerbread Peeps actually taste spicy! They're that sort of spicy that sets your nose to tingling as if a sneeze is approaching. I would never place the flavored sugar coating as Gingerbread, specifically, but I can certainly taste a spiced mixture that is evocative of Winter and Christmas.

Score: 3

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Aftermath and Overview: Hershey's Kisses Santa Hat

There is absolutely nothing new about the actual candy content of the Hershey's Kisses milk chocolate santa hat. It's the same old Hershey's Kiss. However, this one clocks in at about 4 to 5 times the size of your average Hershey's Kiss and it's packaged in a really sweet and clever little foil santa hat and placed within its own box and somehow that makes it feel special. Of course I've got no complaints about the taste of an original Hershey's Kiss. It's innovative packaging and I totally bought into it. I'd definitely want to find one of these little cuties in my stocking.

Score: 5

Christmas Aftermath and Overview: Snickers Nutcrackers

I love that Snickers went for the underutilized Nutcracker shape for their annual Christmas treat. It's festive and rather nostalgic. I also like that the ratio of caramel to nougat is a little different than in your average Snickers bar. Here the caramel is dominant over the nougat and peanuts and I like it that way. I've never appreciated a Snickers so much! What was missing was extra caramel! Thanks, Ben and Will!

Score: 4 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Aftermath and Overview: Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark Square

This Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark is better than all of the other mass-marketed brands I've encountered. The peppermint chunks make a stalwart appearance with good crunch and a strong flavor. The white and dark chocolate layers blend and melt with each bite. The peppermint bark comes in these individual serving squares (perfect for a small snack, I'm finding!) or a full candy bar size.

Score: 4

Christmas Aftermath and Overview: Andes Creme de Menthe Christmas Tree

Same delicious creme de menthe flavor as traditional Andes mints, now in a festive Christmas tree shape. I love the familiar candy in larger form. It's a nice change, as well, from the overwhelmingly dominant peppermint flavor this season.

Score: 4

Christmas Aftermath and Overview: Disney Brand Utz White Chocolate Flavored Covered Mickey Shaped Pretzels

Do not mistake these Utz White Choclate Flavored Covered Mickey Shaped Pretzels for white chocolate covered pretzels. Note the careful phrasing of the "flavored covered" pretzels. This is more like pretzels in white chocolate flavored frosting substance. It tastes really artificial. But I don't care because it's delicious nonetheless. Of all of the sweet treats this season, I could not stop returning to the bag of Utz white chocolate flavored pretzels. The salty and sweet (not to mention artificial buttery) taste fantastic!

Score: 4

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Candy, Day 12: Gingerbread Twix!

Happy 12th Day of Christmas Candy! And Merry Christmas! I'm ending the holiday series with a favorite, this year's new Gingerbread Twix! Surprising! Unique! Addictive! I find it strange that a cookie-based candy bar didn't make the obvious move and place a band of caramel over a piece of gingerbread cookie. That would have been divine. They should really try it. But in the end, the Gingerbread Twix consists of a traditional shortbread cookie with a layer of gingerbread flavor-infused caramel. I would never identify the resulting caramel flavor as gingerbread, but the substance is delicious nonetheless. It tastes vaguely fruity, like a combination of ginger and clove and nutmeg. That combination of spices blends beautifully with the traditional candy bar. I wish Twix could make these all year long and just call them something else. Perhaps Spiced Twix. They're wonderful.

Score: 5

Christmas Stocking Stuffer: White Chocolate Peppermint m&m's

I never thought the day would come when any flavor of m&m could possibly compete in deliciousness with the original peanut butter m&m's. That day, however, has arrived- and in a surprising form. I absolutely love these White Chocolate Peppermint m&m's. The white chocolate is rich and creamy and gives enough good substance to the candy to carry the strong peppermint flavor easily. These far outshine the Mint and Holiday Mint m&m's. Try these while you can!

Score: (outstanding!) 5

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Candy, Day 11: Holiday Mint m&m's

In the past I have encountered Mint m&m's with negative to neutral results (previous reviews here). In addition, I honestly cannot tell what constitutes the difference between the Mint m&m's of the past and new Holiday Mint m&m's. No idea. I can vouch, however, that whereas Mint m&m's were just ok, Holiday Mint m&m's have totally caught my fancy. I love them. The mint is far more zingy and present. They're crisp and fresh and, in the right mood, I'd reach for these over the classic (ideal) m&m's.

Score: (surprising) 5

Monday, December 23, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Candy, Day 10: L.A. Burdick Chocolate Snowman

In the past I proclaimed L.A. Burdick as #1 Hot Cocoa in the world(!). It still holds true. The chocolate shop's bonbons are predictably delightful, as well. High quality chocolate truffles decorated in really fanciful designs. I love their annual Christmas Snowman, a two-bite truffle filled with dark chocolate mousse ganache with notes of clementine. There's a hazelnut thrown in to anchor the truffle with a solid center and some crunch. It's delightful. Thanks, Nadine, for sharing. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

12 Days of Christmas, Day 9: Junior Mints Peppermint Crunch

I've covered these Christmas season Junior Mints Peppermint Crunch in the past (read past reviews here). I love them. I wait all year for them. In fact, they are one of the very few examples of Limited Edition seasonal candy that I prefer over the original. It's not like they are so different from classic Junior Mints. However, the Christmas Edition has red sugar crystals embedded in the chocolate coating which adds a tiny bit of crunch to each bite. There's something really satisfying about that added crunch to the all-soft candy. It gives each bite more substance. I wish there was a way for Junior Mints to have these on the market year-round.

Score: (a festive and hearty) 5

Saturday, December 21, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Candy, Day 8: Russell Stover Iddy Biddy Santas: 60 Chocolate Mini Santas

These Russell Stover Iddy Biddy Santas constitute one of my very favorite Christmas treats this year. First, the chocolate is good. That's really the most important. It's tasty melty friendly chocolate. Second, you get a big bang for your buck. Russell Stover is some of the least expensive mass-marketed chocolate out there but I think it can hold its own against the top-selling brands like Hershey's or Nestle. Finally, there are sixty (60!!) miniature Santas packed into a foil package approximately the size of a bag of Peanut Butter m&m's. Packaging brilliance! You'd never guess so many could fit in such a small bag! These are great! I actually had to buy three packages before I could get one in front of the camera prior to consumption! They're simply too enticing to resist!

Score: 5

Friday, December 20, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Candy, Day 7: Kraft Jet-Puffed Peppermint Mallows

Mmm, I love a special edition flavor of Jet-Puffed Marshmallows! The flavor of these Peppermint Mallows is certainly mellow. In fact, unless I was informed of the pepperminty notes I would have pegged the flavor as vanilla. However, there is something so festive about these swirled pink and white mini mallows. Add them to a cup of hot cocoa or batch of rice krispie treats and suddenly the treats feel so festive. Despite the lack of real flavor, these little cuties are totally appealing.

Score: 3

Thursday, December 19, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Candy, Day 6: Wild Ophelia Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark Bar

I really like the fact that Wild Ophelia brings exotic chocolate flavors to the mass market. As a little sister of the Vosges chocolate empire, you know you can expect high quality despite the low price. It's really pretty with large chunks of peppermint crystals embedded on the underbelly of the bar. And the dark chocolate has a beautiful rich flavor. That said, I think of peppermint bark as melting in one's mouth- that's a big part of the appeal- and the dark chocolate in this bar simply refused to melt and blend with the peppermint. The overall flavor was great but the consistency was a little disappointing. These Wild Ophelia bars are worth testing out, but I'd try a different flavor than the Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark.

Score: 3

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Culture Worldwide: Hungarian Szaloncukor, the Holiday Christmas Tree Candy

image courtesy of

This is a great article explaining the Hungarian tradition of szaloncukor candies, a traditional candy hung on the annual Christmas Tree. The name translates to "drawing-room sugar" because of the fact that the Christmas Tree is usually placed in the drawing room and the candies are the primary means of decorations. Therefore, the candies come in a beautiful array of colorful paper or foil wrappers for the holidays. Reader Kamala, who lived in Hungary, states that the candy itself is an acquired taste, with a number of flavored jelly fillings. I'd love to hear more reactions from people who have tried the traditional Hungarian sweet. Are there places in NYC to acquire these Christmas bonbons? Thanks for the tip, Kamala!

To read more about szaloncukor: 

12 Days of Christmas Candy, Day 5: Hershey's Milk Chocolate Santa

This Hershey's Milk Chocolate Santa is the perfect two-bite treat. Same old Hershey' milk chocolate bar- but that's great and doesn't need meddling. The chocolate comes in a really sweet and somewhat traditional mold of a cheerful Santa. His beard makes up over half the candy's substance. This is one of the nicer santa-shaped chocolates I've encountered- simple, delicious, inexpensive, traditional, and festive.

Score: 4

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Candy, Day 4: Palmer Crisp Kringle Double Crisp

Ok, so Palmer "chocolate" treats for the holidays are actually mockolate, not the good stuff, so you can't really compare them to the other chocolate goodies on the market. One would assume that this alone would be reason enough to ignore the brand entirely. However, their packaging might be the best out there and the cost of the treats tends to come in at about half that of Hershey's or Russell Stover or the other mass market brands. These two reasons can be substantial enough to pad your rounds of holiday candies with some of the cute little goodies that Palmer comes up with. I love the look of this three-pack of Santas. They have a nostalgic feel to them. I hate crisped rice in chocolate so I was bound to dislike these. However, if you like a crisped rice sweet, these were surprisingly tasty for the lack of real cocoa content. I was pleasantly surprised despite low expectations!

Score: 3

Monday, December 16, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Candy, Day 3: Wonka Everlasting Gobstopper Snowballs

In 2010 I reviewed Everlasting Gobstopper Snowballs- the batch was all white. That would, of course, make sense, because they are called "snowballs." This year's Christmas holiday product, though called Snowballs, are colored in traditional Christmas colors of red, green, and white. Does it really change anything? No. And actually, I like the festive nature of the color-filled triad over the original white snowballs. However, it's a pretty inaccurate description. Wonka should have renamed the "Snowballs" as "Ornaments" or something else evocative of the Christmas holiday. Just a thought...

Score: 3

Sunday, December 15, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Candy, Day 2: Mrs. Fields Peppermint Bark

This Mrs. Fields Peppermint Bark comes in the ideal 3-4 bite packaging- nice for seasonal snacking on the go. This is an inoffensive peppermint bark for a mass-batch retailer. The peppermint bits are perfect and I like that Mrs. Fields' bark incorporates a layer of white and dark chocolate, both. My big disappointment was in the white chocolate layer that remained waxy and not nearly melty enough.

Score: 2

Saturday, December 14, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Candy, Day 1: Brown-Haley Dark Chocolate Peppermint Roca

I love that satisfying crunch that results from biting down on a piece of Almond Roca. Butter infuses every bite of the traditional holiday candy. The toffee is firm but breaks down easily and the milk chocolate melts with the toffee blending into a beautiful rich blend of sweetness. (And I digress but can't help but note that I make my own fair version of the candy and that moment when the candy is still warm and the chocolate hasn't yet become firm is as close to perfection as anything I've ever tasted or encountered. Although it seems a little immodest to brag....). This Dark Chocolate Peppermint Roca is good, too. I really wish that the chocolate was milk instead of dark as the pepperminty outer layer remains firm long after it should be melting with the toffee. I also didn't mind the addition of the peppermint flavor but didn't think it really did anything that great for the candy. The essence of Roca is butter and peppermint only distracts from the main attraction. These are fun to try and are pretty tasty, but I'll opt for the original flavor in the future.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

The 12 Days of Christmas Candy Are Coming!! Get Ready for 12 Days of Merry Sweets!

Get ready! The 12 Days of Christmas Candy are coming (again!)! Check back for daily sweets updates and sugar revelations!

Preview: Vosges Chocolate Library

I was recently the lucky recipient of a library of a wild array of Vosges chocolate bars. Here's a preview of enticing flavors for upcoming reviews! Big thanks, Sally!

Red Fire Bar- 55% dark chocolate with Mexican ancho and chipotle chillies and Ceylon cinnamon

Mo's Milk Bar- 45% deep milk chocolate with hickory smoked bacon and alderwood salt

Bapchi's Caramel Toffee Bar- 45% deep milk chocolate with sweet butter toffee, walnuts and pecans

Naga Bar- 45% deep milk chocolate with sweet Indian curry and coconut

Woolloomooloo Bar- 45% deep milk chocolate with roasted and salted macadamia nuts, Indonesian coconut and Canadian help seeds

Mo's Dark Bar- 62% dark chocolate with hickory smoked bacon and alderwood salt

Black Pearl Bar- 50% dark chocolate with green ginger, Japanese wasabi and black sesame seeds,

Barcelona Bar- 45% deep milk chocolate with hickory smoked almonds and fleur de sel grey sea salt