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Charms Fluffy Stuff Snow Balls Cotton Candy – Strawberry

Posted in Candy

Evening friends! Are you feeling the Christmas spirit yet? I can’t decide if I am or not. My favorite thing about Christmas (other than the obvious family, friends, yadda yadda yadda) is the lights! I LOVE Christmas lights. There are some very cool displays here in Northern California and I can’t wait to check them out this year. Last night I picked this cotton candy up at The Nugget for no reason other than it was white cotton candy. I received a lot of ribbing because I was so excited about having white cotton candy, which I have never seen! I was disappointed though when I picked up the package and saw that the flavor was strawberry vs. peppermint. Strawberry doesn’t really strike me as a Christmas flavor, but I can roll with it I guess. But I also don’t think that peppermint cotton candy is a thing, so get it on candy companies.

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Now let’s take a moment and give Charms an award at one of the longest titles for one of the most simple foods in existence. Part of the name seems rather redundant, but maybe you don’t know that fluffy stuff will be cotton candy. Maybe when you open the package you think you just opened a bag of teddy bear stuffing. That is exactly what this bag of cotton candy looked like. For a brief moment, my brain had in internal struggle were it did not want to eat it because it was convinced that I was going to be eating polyfill and not cotton candy. ALERT! ALERT! TURN BACK! THIS IS NOT WHAT YOU THINK IT IS LADY.

I really love cotton candy. A friend of mine actually owns a legit cotton candy machine and allowed me once to make my own. In true fashion with my life, I managed to get more cotton candy all over my self and in my hair than I did on the stick, but at least I looked like I walked off the set of a Katy Perry music video. I took a small bite and thought it was okay. When you buy cotton candy from places like the fair or Chuck ‘E’ Cheese you know that the cotton candy won’t last long if it is even remotely humid. Set it down for a day, and it will magically disappear. But somehow, this bag does not wither away into nothing. I attribute this to massive amounts of chemicals. Which are totally tastable. After a few bites, I was indeed convinced that I in fact was eating strawberry flavored insulation.

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Texture: 4/5 – If you have never had cotton candy and want to try some, but can’t get your hands on any, chew on a cotton ball or some stuffing from your kids teddy bear. Except turning into a weird gross mass in your mouth, it magically melts away into nothing.

Smell: 2/5 – This has hardly any smell at all – all you really smell is sugar.

Appearance: 2/5 – Because of the lack of color, it kind of loses its fun appeal of cotton candy. I also thought there were going to be small “snow balls” inside the bag instead of one giant snow brick inside the bag.

Taste: 2/5 – This tastes like sweet strawberry flavored chemicals. Charms should honestly stick to making Blow Pops and call it a day.

December 4, 2012
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M&Ms – White Chocolate Peppermint

Posted in Candy

Well hello there, and a special hello to those of you who have found me via The Impulsive Buy! I’m not going to lie, I thought about skipping a review today because I am dead tired from going to a show in San Francisco last night, and not getting home until 2AM (it was a 2 hour drive each way for me) BUT – How could I do that to you lovely people?

I picked up these M&M’s at Target on Tuesday and decided to give them a whirl today. I did not however know that they are a Target exclusive. What is with all the retailers getting exclusive snack foods? In a sense its kind of cool, but at the same time its frustrating because it forces me to make extra trips to try and find things that I want to eat. The plain chocolate mint M&M’s used to be a staple at my house during Christmas when I was younger. My mom had this amazing purple and pink glass candy dish that I would never be able to lift the lid off of quietly to sneak some M&M’s, no matter how stealthy I tried to be.

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So first off, why do these have to be so massive? They are about the size of a peanut butter M&M, and honestly I find white chocolate a little rich for my taste. I love sugar, don’t get me wrong, I will eat it by the spoonful out of the jar plain, but there is something about white chocolate that tends to give me a tummy ache after about the first handful. The peppermint flavoring is not overbearing, and adds just the right amount of cool flavoring to the white chocolate. I honestly cant stomach more than a handful before rolling the bag up and putting it back in my desk drawer at work for later snackery. There is definitely something familiar about the flavor as a whole though and it took me a while to put my finger on it.

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Texture: 3/5 – The chunks of white chocolate coated in a crunchy candy shell make for a typical M&M experience. Because the interior has a glob of the white chocolate, I often find myself trying to bite off the crunchy exterior then eat the inside because I’m weird like that.

Smell: 4/5 – There is a definite balance of sweet and mint when opening the bag that gives you that nice gust of Christmas.

Appearance: 3/5 – Nothing fancy about these guys. I see where they are going with the red and white, as a nod to the candy cane (and possibly Target), but a couple of green ones wouldn’t have hurt to take festive to a whole new level.

Taste: 3/5 – These M&Ms are good nor bad. For me they were pretty middle of the road. The white chocolate mint lover will enjoy these, but its nothing that I wish they would make year round. For those of you who don’t have a Target near by and are dying to try them – just eat some Smooth n’ Meltys! They taste exactly the same and the nonpareils will give you the same crunch as the exterior of the M&M and most likely for a fraction of the price.

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November 16, 2012
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Peanut Butter Cup Showdown!

Posted in Candy

In honor of the three day weekend I have this weekend, I thought I would do a taste test between three different peanut butter cups. I have had the Unjunked peanut butter cups for a couple weeks, and picked up the Sunspire ones tonight while at the store searching for some chips to enjoy for an all night Netflix marathon of GI Joe, Star Trek, and Rainbow Brite.

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I figured I would start with the ole’ standby – Reese’s. I absolutely love chocolate and peanut butter together. Its like Hall and Oates, Simon and Garfunkel, She & Him – they just go together. My Reese’s peanut butter cup was nothing short of amazing. The chocolate was nice and smooth, and the peanut butter had just the right amount of sweetness.

Next up were the Unjunked Unreal77 peanut butter cups – Now if you have been following my blog at all, I reviewed the Unjunked chocolate candy pieces, and they were not good. I was hoping that the addition of chocolate to the mix would help spice things up, I was wrong. The chocolate outside was not bad, but the peanut butter? Good grief. It was a weird chalky powerdy peanut butter mixture inside that had the faint taste of peanuts. What have they done to the beloved peanut butter cup? I saw on a couple of blogs that people had planned to give these out to kids trick-or-treating, WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS?! I would have rather had pennies or a walnut dropped into my pillowcase instead of this atrocity.

Finally with hopes that I could finish off on a good note, I sampled the Sunspire peanut butter cups. Like the Unjunked, they use nothing artificial in their candy, and I was concerned that I would be faced with the same gross flavor again. These cups are slightly smaller than the other two, about the size of a half dollar. But they make up for the lack of size by giving you three in the package instead of two.

I popped the whole thing in my mouth, figuring that I would go big or go home, and was pleasantly surprised. The chocolate was smooth, as was the peanut butter, unlike the peanut butter used in a Reese’s, which can be gritty at times. If you had told me that these were all natural and contained nothing artificial, I wouldn’t believe you. I think the biggest problem I have with companies trying to create healthy candy alternatives is that they don’t even attempt to make it taste good. I’m sorry, I’ll sacrifice a few calories, a few grams of sugar in my diet, and a few grams of fat to eat something I actually enjoy as a treat instead of trying to convince myself that the “candy” I’m eating doesn’t taste like pencil shavings.

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Texture:

  • Reese’s: 3/5 – The chocolate on the Reese’s is always smooth, but its a hit and miss sometimes when it comes to how gritty the peanut butter is on the inside.
  • Unjunked: 1/5 -The chocolate on the outside was OK, but the powdery peanut butter inside made it practically inedible. Infact, the second cup made it right into the trash can.
  • Sunspire: 5/5 – The chocolate and peanut butter were both incredibly smooth which made for an enjoyable taste.

Smell:

  • Reese’s: 3/5 – The immediate smell I encountered when opening the packaging was peanut butter, not similar to a jar of peanut butter, but fake peanut butter.
  • Unjunked: 2/5 – The only smell that I found present was that of the peanut butter powder. It reminded me of the smell of a peanut butter chocolate Power Bar. Peanut-y but slightly medicinal.
  • Sunspire: 4/5 – I was greeted with the smell of rich chocolate when I took a nice whiff of the packaging of these candies.

Apperance:

  • Reese’s: 3/5 – It never fails that I seem to get Reese’s that have some sort of appearance problem. In the case of the one that I had this time, the peanut butter was not covered completely.
  • Unjunked: 4/5 – I thought that the Unreal stamp on the peanut butter was pretty cool. Despite so far not enjoying anything from their product line,  I really enjoy their packaging.
  • Sunspire: 2/5 - Nothing spectacular about these, I wish that it would have had a more polished look by having a smooth top, but thats just me being a snob.

Taste:

  • Reese’s: 4/5 – Normally Reese’s is my go to candy when I am craving chocolate and peanut butter together. If I had to choose one candy to eat for the rest of my life, it would be these.
  • Unjunked: 1/5 – Not good. I see what they are trying to do, and its just not working. The omission of certain ingredients with the mission to make it healthier has left it tasting almost inedible in my book.
  • Sunspire: 5/5 – Totally out of nowhere with this one. I was expecting them to be OK because they were all natural, but these were EXTREMELY good. I also like the fact that they are reasonably priced (just a dollar at Bel-Air!) for being a healthier alternative. If you are looking for a tasty treat that won’t completely kill your waistline and is not chalked full of preservatives and processed ingredients, pick these up, you won’t be disappointed.

So in closing I would rank these three peanut butter cups in the following order: 1) Sunspire, 2) Reese’s, and 3) Unjunked.

I hope you all have a great 3 day weekend and thank you to all the veterans and active duty personnel (who will one day be veterans) for all they have done to allow me to speak my mind freely.

November 11, 2012
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Smarties Candy Canes

Posted in Candy

Candy canes have to be probably one of my favorite Christmas candies out there. However, I will usually only buy them after Christmas when they go on super-clearance for 30 cents a box. Then I turn into a complete hoarder. I absolutely love mint flavored things. I enjoy honing a candy cane into a sharp spear that I envision poking someone with – but usually just end up poking myself. I also enjoy candy canes when they become somewhat stale and chewy.

This year however, the snack food fairy left these with the Sugar Cookie Peeps and Hot Cocoa 3 Musketeers. I really like Smarties (the American version). I have also been known to enjoy the tropical flavored Tums and Necco wafers on occasion, so this should come as a surprise to no one. In 2006 I went to Canada and got a McFlurry for my friend at McDonald’s. Wait, reverse. I did not go to Canada just to get my friend a McFlurry – I was there on a 2 week vacation. He asked me to get him a Smarties McFlurry. I watched as they made it and was confused when they dumped chocolate chunks into the soft serve ice cream. Where was the chalky candy I was used to? After confronting the McDonald’s staff – and making myself look like a huge ass, I found out that there is a chocolate candy indeed named Smarties. CONFUSING. But this is not the case with these candy canes – Smarties plus candy cane? Could be good.

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I was curious how these would capture the flavor of Smarties as they each have their own individual flavor. None of them are overpowering by any means, but there is a distinct taste between all of them. The white ones are my favorite. I practically shoved the candy cane up my nose attempting to smell these – but alas, I was left without any clues as to what I would be sampling. I took a small bite and was greeted with a cherry? fruit punch? something? flavor. I wasn’t sure if the candy cane was going to have a dynamic flavor throughout to compliment the different flavors in the button sized rolled candy. I took a few more bites and decided that these candy canes taste like a cherry Sucrets, talk about a disappointment. I managed to convince myself to eat half of the candy cane before ditching it in the trashcan because I couldn’t tolerate the flavor any longer. Luckily I had some real Smarties in my stash to pacify my woes.

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Texture: 4/5 – Has the normal texture of a candy cane. No gritty, chalky, sandy texture to be found.

Smell: 0/5 – Completely non-existent.

Appearance: 5/5 – The colors sort of matched the colors of a roll of Smarties. I would say the choices were visually appealing and I kind of want to invent spring time candy canes so that I can look at these. I guess I could just hold onto them until April and then I would have springtime candy canes.

Taste: 1/5 – These were not good. Sometimes my brain tried to trick me into thinking they were fruit punch, but really, they were just a cough drop in a candy cane shape. Reserve these as Christmas tree decorations.

November 8, 2012
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3 Musketeers – Hot Cocoa & Marshmallows

Posted in Candy

Good evening everyone! Did you all remember to set your clocks back (if you’re in an area that does this antiquated tradition)? Despite the “extra” hour of sleep, I for one am beat and could doze off right now. It doesn’t help that its not even 6pm yet an darker than dark outside.

When I was a kid, my favorite candy was a tie between 3 Musketeers and 100 Grand. I can no longer stomach the thought of eating a 100 Grand due to overkill but every now and then when the mood strikes me, I’ll go for a 3 Musketeers. I especially liked the mint flavor that they came out with and sadly the coconut flavor was a bit of a let down. There is only so much you can do with a flavor pallet of chocolate and nougat, but I appreciate that they are trying to stay in the snack food game by introducing new flavors.

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Holiday candy is all over the place in various stores. It was like Halloween had never happened. I was a bit surprised to see these when the snack fairy brought them home, because isn’t the flavoring of a 3 Musketeers kind of like a hot chocolate already? I had to give them a try regardless.

I had to eat a couple to form a decent opinion, honestly if you told me that these were regular 3 Musketeers minis in holiday wrappers, I’d believe you. There is nothing that really sets these apart from its predecessor. The only difference I could taste was a slight change in the flavor of the chocolate. It tasted a bit like they mixed the powder from a package of Swiss Miss into the chocolate when they made it, pat themselves on the back for coming up with a new flavor, and called it a day.

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Texture: 3/5 – The chocolate on these seemed a little more gooey than a regular 3 Musketeers. Not good for stealth chocolate eats.

Smell: 5/5 – The smell of these candies is of a delicious chocolate treat.

Appearance: 4/5 – They look nice. Nice enough to eat. I got nothin’.

Taste: 2/5 – This rating is based solely on how they execute the hot cocoa and marshmallow flavor. I think it falls rather short. They are good but nothing spectacular. Put them in your candy dish at work.

November 4, 2012
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Unjunked – Unreal 41 Candy Coated Chocolates

Posted in Candy

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Today on spoilyourdinner.com I delve into the Unjunked Candy realm. I honestly don’t care for confectionery treats that attempt to be healthy items. The whole point of eating candy is to treat yourself and enjoy something delicious I say! I spotted these at my local CVS along with some other Unjunked items that I will be reviewing over the next week or so as I try them. I figured I would start with the most harmless and classic flavor, candy coated chocolates. Many companies have done this, M&M’s (most notable), Sixlets, Smarties (outside of the USA), etc. Unjunked boasts that their candies have no corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, artificial ingredients, gmos, preservatives, and are low on the glycemic index.

As you can see from the candy colors, they are definitely trying to compete with those of M & M’s, though there is something a little weird when eating a magenta or mustard colored candy, it doesn’t sit right in my brain. It’s kind of like the green and purple ketchup that Heitz released a long time ago that tasted just the same, but your brain was in full on trickery mode because of the color change. The portion size is also considerably smaller compared to a bag of M&M’s as well as the price difference. I can usually pick up a bag of plain M&M’s for about 90 cents to a dollar, and these will run you about $1.70.

I was excited to try these, expecting a nice milk chocolate flavor, and was greated with a flavor, I honestly can’t pinpoint. I actually spent the entire weekend trying to pick out where I had tasted this flavor of chocolate before, but alas, I come up empty handed. I would say its a bit in the middle between milk and dark chocolate? Not bitter per say, but there is just something slightly off in the flavor for me. I was ready to toss them after about 10 candies or so, but I figured I would finish the small handful of a bag hoping that maybe the flavor would grow on me – it didn’t. Now had I never tried a M&M in my life, I would probably like these, but with every bite, I just kept longing for that delicious milk chocolate flavor. If a friend put out a large bowl of these at a party and I took a handful thinking I was going to enjoy some delicious fall?? colored M&Ms and got these instead, well lets just say, I wouldn’t be friends with that person anymore. I’m kidding. But I would bring a bag of M&Ms to the next party, for sure.

Texture: 4/5 – These have a crunchy candy shell and smooth chocolate on the outside.

Smell: 4/5 – They did not have much of a smell, but you could definitely pick up the chocolate scent in the bag.

Appearance: 3/5 -The colors they chose, which I assume were all naturally occurring colors from plant dyes, etc. were rather odd. I would have rather just had a bag of brown candies, but I can see how that would lose its appeal to some.

Taste: 2/5 – I did not enjoy these, though I can see how they would possibly appeal to those who enjoy eating more health conscious chocolate, where they are potentially used to the flavoring. There was something off to me about the chocolate taste. I would not buy these again.

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October 23, 2012
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Brach’s Carmel Apple Candy Corn & Green Apple Candy Corn

Posted in Candy

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Buried in a sea of classic candy corn, harvest corn, and candy corn pumpkins, Brach’s decided to mix things up a bit this Halloween and release two flavors to only crave once a year, Carmel Apple Candy Corn and Green Apple Candy Corn. Every year I convince myself that I love candy corn – and I do, but usually after 1 handful I’m good for another 364 days. I thought that these would change my mind, but nope – they didn’t.

First off, what shape is imprinted on the candy corn? Is it where the kernel is supposed to attach to the cob? Isn’t it supposed to be an indentation instead? I’ve always wondered that.

Let’s start with the Carmel Apple Candy Corn. I was curious how this flavor would translate to this delicious honey flavored treat – it wasn’t too bad. I tasted more honey than carmel and the apple flavor tasted rather fake. I know what you’re thinking, “Erin, it is fake.” I know this, but a girl can dream for a more natural flavor. I was also expecting the red portion to taste like apple and the brown portion to taste like carmel, but the entire candy had one flavor. All in all I would buy these to put out at a party.

The Green Apple flavor does not boast a honey undertone in the bag, which I didn’t notice until I tried them and was surprised by the lack of honey flavor. The bag also has the candy corn coloring backwards, nice proofing Brach’s. I didn’t care for these very much, mostly because it just tasted like a gritty apple candy. I honestly see this flavor as more of an Easter flavor than Halloween. You can definitely taste the crisp flavor of a green apple vs. a red. I still liked the Carmel Apple flavor more. I would not buy the Green Apple Candy Corn again.

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Texture: 3/5 – If you have never had candy corn in your lifetime, I apologize for your sheltered childhood :P These are grainy just like the classic candy corn.

Smell: 4/5 – Both of these smell like their respective flavors. Yum!

Appearance: 3/5 – I’m still confused about the imprints on the candy corns. I also feel like the color blocking was not consistent across the board. They seemed like an after thought.

Taste: 2.5/5 – I would give the Carmel Apple Candy Corn 3/5. The flavoring is decent and it has the classic honey flavoring of regular candy corn. I give the Green Apple Candy Corn a 2/5. I did not care for the flavoring all that much, but I did enjoy the crispness.

October 21, 2012
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