Friday, December 29, 2017

Jelly Belly Pancakes & Maple Syrup Jellybeans

The best thing about the Jelly Belly Pancakes and Maple Syrup Jellybeans is the intense maple aroma that hits you as soon as the bag is opened. It's wonderful. I swooned a little bit. I wish the flavor matched that intensity. The maple flavoring is lovely, but I want more. There's a dash of butter flavor added in to evoke the presence of pancakes in the mix. That said, I would dispense with the recipe-driven flavor and just go for a strong maple jellybean. I would buy them by the pound.

Score (aroma): 5
Score (flavor): 3

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Fortunato Brothers Marzipan Burger and Fries, Brookyln

Many obsessivesweet posts have been dedicated to the whimsical and highly-skilled marzipan creations from the Fortunato Brothers Bakery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (See past posts here). The marzipan is not only beautiful but incredibly delicious--my absolute favorite flavor and consistency out there. The bakery has outdone itself again with this perfectly recreated hamburger and french fries. There was spaghetti with red sauce in marzipan, as well, but I couldn't capture a good representational photo. Don't worry, I'll visit the bakery again soon. I can't stay away.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Obsessivesweets Readers!
Wishing you a wonderful day filled with celebrations and copious sweets!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Night Before Christmas Candy Snapshot: Dove Holiday Tree-ts Sea Salt Caramel & Dark Chocolate

Luxurious liquid caramel accented with salt contained within a decadent dark chocolate shell. These Dove Holiday Tree-ts are bound to become annual favorites. A definite favorite in the obsessivesweets Christmas catalogue!

Night Before Christmas Candy Snapshot: Hershey's Mint Fudge Bon Bon Bells

Hershey's Mint Fudge Bon Bon Bells have become another perennial favorite on obsessive sweets.

(Click to read past review, 2016)

Night Before Christmas Candy Snapshot: More Snacks for Santa with Dove Cookie Crisp and Milk Chocolate

Santa's midnight snack appears to be on multiple candy company's minds this year with Hammond's Santa's Snack Candy Bar, Ghirardelli's Milk Chocolate Cookie Crunch Squares, and now Dove's Cookie Crisp and Milk Chocolate Squares. (Thanks, Ben and Will!) Take a cue from Santa and try them all!

Night Before Christmas Candy Snapshot: White Peppermint m&m's


A perennial favorite, White Peppermint m&m's are a holiday season highlight!
(Click here to read past review, 2013).

Night Before Christmas Candy Snapshot: Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Cookie Crunch Squares for Santa's Snack

Ghirardi recreates Santa's snack of milk and cookies in chocolate form with Milk Chocolate Cookies Crunch Squares.

German Chocolatier Konditorei Heinemann Champagne Truffle Advent Calendar

Since 1932 German confectioner Konditorei Heinemann has been offering up high-end and exquisitely constructed chocolates. I was lucky enough to sample their crown jewel, the champagne truffle. According to an article on Global Blue, after a five-year study and 57,000 samples, the Club des Croqueurs de Chocolat du Japon named these truffles the best in the world. No small shakes that. One bite and it's clear this is an exceptional mouthful. One hour later and I can still taste the champagne. The softer champagne layer adds just the right hint of bittnerness to the sweet chocolate truffle, allowing you to savor it longer. I have not previously encountered these truffles in the NYC market but obsessivesweets reader Abe kindly shared this batch from his private collection. If you encounter these German chocolate delights, I highly recommend stocking up!

Konditorei Heinemann: History

Global Blue: The Best Chocolate Shops of Dusseldorf

Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas Feast: Jelly Belly Holiday Favorites Jelly Beans

I enjoyed the Jelly Belly Holiday Favorites Jelly Bean mix more as a novelty than an enticing candy. The assortment is a fascinating amalgam of holiday-themed flavors--pumpkin pie, egg nog, cranberry sauce, hot cocoa, and candy cane. The cranberry sauce and candy cane are pretty delicious although they don't really combine well. The eggnog is not exactly tasty, but certainly a recognizable version of the traditional holiday beverage. The pumpkin pie was disgusting, but then again, I think the real thing is pretty gross. If you're a pumpkin pie fan, don't trust me on this one. It tasted all-too real to me. Finally, the hot cocoa was the same disappointing chocolate jelly bean flavor that never works. I've never met a chocolate jelly bean I enjoyed. So yes, these Holiday Favorites make a fun stocking stuffer or silly gift for the holidays but don't purchase for the flavors. I would recommend the Jelly Belly Christmas Mix, instead.

Score (innovation): 4
Score (flavor combination): 2

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Christmas Cheer in a Hershey's Candy Cane Bar


First off, you cannot approach the Hershey's Candy Cane bar as a chocolate bar. That only leads to disappointment. However, if you approach the bar with the knowledge that you are consuming "Mint Candy" loaded with red crunchy candy bits, the bar is a delight. It tastes exactly like those smooth and melty non pareil mints molded into candy bar form. The Hershey's Candy Cane bar would never become a go-to candy for me--the chocolate bar will always win. However, during the holiday season it's a tasty and festive way to shake things up. Definitely worth a taste!

Score: 3

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Winter Edition Ritter Sport Spekulatius (Speculoos) Milk Chocolate Bar

Even as a long-time impassioned fan of Lotus Speculoos cookie spread, even I am getting too much exposure to Speculoos during its recent trendiness. Speculoos is suddenly pervasive in ice cream and cookies and candy and it's delicious, but perhaps the market is just too saturated. That said, Ritter Sport does everything so well, I expected their Speculoos / Spekulatius bar to be the best. Here's the rub. The bar actually uses the traditional speculoos cookie, not the speculoos cookie spread. I was ready for a creamy melty mouthful of the rich spread, but instead got a crunch-filled cookie bite. It was good. It's like a far better version of a chocolate covered graham cracker. I wish Ritter Sport would try a Speculoos Cream bar, though. I think they would manage to make the combination amazing.

Score (the bar itself): 4
Score (missed potential to achieve perfection): 2
Score (dreams of a Ritter Speculoos Cream bar): 5

Monday, December 18, 2017

Down the Chimney: Hammond's Santa's Snack Chocolate Bar

Hammond's makes high quality chocolate bars with whimsical flavor varieties. Some are fantastic, others are not as successful, but the chocolate itself is consistently good. Hammond's Santa's Snack Chocolate Bar blends bits of pretzel, cookie, peanut brittle, marshmallow and cereal all into the milk chocolate base. It's an awful lot of different ingredients and frankly, they become indistinguishable within the bite. You might not be able to identify what you're eating but each bite breaks down with a bit of crunch, a bit of salt, and a bit of butter. It's good, but it's a little too much. A Peanut Brittle bar would be good. As would a cereal bar with marshmallows. This bar is fun to try for the holidays, but in the end it is not one of Hammond's finest.

Score: 3

Friday, December 15, 2017

Lindt Limited Edition Gingerbread Milk Chocolate Truffles

 I'm such a fan of the wide new array of Gingerbread flavored Christmas sweets in the candy aisle this year. It's such a fantastic flavor for Wintertime and so refreshing after the onslaught of Pumpkin Spice in the Autumn. Also, ginger, cookies, and chocolate go so beautifully together so it's hard to go wrong with this special flavor. Ginger is wonderful. And Lindt has honed in on traditional gingerbread beautifully in these truffles. Picture Lindt's fantastic smooth milk chocolate truffle filling (perfection) infused with the robust and dark notes of ginger and molasses. This isn't sweet gingerbread with tons of icing. This is gingerbread with soul and spice and depth. It really works. That said, I wonder if dark chocolate might work even better? I'd love to find out. In the meantime, these will do beautifully throughout this holiday season.

Score: 4

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Repeat Christmas Favorite: Peppermint Crunch Junior Mints

This is my sixth year running touting the glories of the annual limited edition Christmas holiday Peppermint Crunch Junior Mints (read past reviews here). I adore them. I love them even more than the traditional Junior Mints and that's an achievement because it's nearly impossible to improve on the original. That tiny bit of sugary crunch adds the ideal element on top of the creamy mint center and bite of dark chocolate. Try them if at all possible during the Christmas holiday season before they disappear again.

Score: 5 (5! 5!!!)

Monday, December 11, 2017

Trader Joe's Apple Cider Caramels

As opposed to the strident artificial Jolly Rancher- type apple flavoring embedded in Hershey's Caramel Apples, Trader Joe's Apple Cider Caramels trend far more to natural flavors. The caramel remains center stage while a subtle apple flavor is infused within the buttery creamy base. I love the consistency of the central caramel, well contained within a firm dark chocolate structure. Well worth a taste-test! Thanks Kara, Mark, Conor and Ronan!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Christmas Treats in the Candy Aisle: Peeps Peppermint Bark Delights

Of all of the Peeps Delights series, the Peppermint Bark flavored marshmallows dipped in Dark Chocolate are among my favorites. Peppermint and marshmallows are a natural pairing, and the peppermint's crisp notes off-set the mellow nature of the marshmallow. Dark chocolate adds a bit of depth to each bite and the sugar crystals lend a tiny bit of crunch. It's good stuff. If you're delving into the Peeps pool this holiday, I recommend reaching for these Peeps Peppermint Bark Delights.

Score: 4

Peeps Reviews Past (click each name to link to review):
Flavored Peeps
Apple Flavored Marshmallow Dipped in Caramel Fudge  
Blueberry Delight Flavored Marshmallow Dipped in Creme Fudge
Blue Raspberry Flavored Marshmallow
Bubble Gum Flavored Marshmallow
Candy Cane Flavored Marshmallow
Candy Cane Flavored Marshmallow Dipped in Dark Chocolate  
Candy Corn Flavored Marshmallow Dipped in White Chocolate
Cherry Flavored Marshmallow Dipped in Dark Chocolate 
Cherry Flavored Marshmallow Drizzled in Dark Chocolate
Chocolate Mousse Flavored Marshmallow
Coconut Flavored Marshmallow Dipped in Dark Chocolate
Gingerbread Flavored Marshmallow
Hot Cocoa and Cream Flavored Marshmallow Dipped in White Chocolate
Lemonade Flavored Marshmallow 
Lemon Delight Flavored Marshmallow Dipped in Lemon Fudge 
Maple Brown Sugar Flavored Marshmallow Dipped in White Fudge 
Mint Flavored Marshmallow Covered in Milk Chocolate
Orange Creme Flavored Marshmallow 
Orange Flavored Marshmallow Dipped in Orange Fudge
Party Cake Flavored Marshmallow 
Raspberry Flavored Marshmallow Covered in Milk Chocolate 
Red Velvet Flavored Marshmallow Dipped in White Chocolate
Sour Cherry Flavored Marshmallow Dipped in Lime Fudge
Strawberry Creme Flavored Marshmallow
Strawberry Creme Flavored Marshmallow Dipped in Milk Chocolate 
Strawberry Delight Flavored Marshmallow Dipped in Creme Flavored Fudge 
Strawberry Flavored Marshmallow
Sugar Cookie Flavored Marshmallow Dipped in Milk Chocolate
Vanilla Creme Flavored Marshmallow

Traditional Peeps
Peeps Bunnies
Peeps Spooky Cats
Peeps Chicks (Blue)
Peeps Chicks (Green)
Peeps Christmas Trees
Peeps Easter Eggs
Peeps Ghosts 
Peeps Hearts
Peeps Minions
Peeps Monsters
Peeps Pumpkins
Peeps Snowmen
Peeps Tombstones 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

For Those That Were Naughty: Palmer Double Crisp Lumps of Coal

Palmer's Christmas Double Crisp Coal isn't the highest level of chocolate--not even mid-level. On the other hand, there is something so visually appealing about these shining black foil-wrapped pieces of "coal". They're very chic. I want to have a bowl of them in my living room year-round for guests.

Score (Double Crisp): 3
Score (Visuals): 4

Monday, December 4, 2017

Reese's Peanut Butter Santa's Helpers

There is no way to improve on perfection so Reese's Peanut Butter Cups have kept the same recipe but evolved into a new form for the Christmas candy season. Reese's Peanut Butter Santa's Helpers are peanut butter cups molded into half-egg shapes and wrapped in festive foil wrappers emblazoned with elves, reindeer, gingerbread men, and of course, Santa. Great for holiday hosting, Christmas stockings, and late-night snacking.

Score (a merry Christmas): 5