Russell Stover Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter Egg

So, the last Russell Stover peanut butter egg I ate was… weird.  It was rather unlike any other peanut butter confection I’ve had before and perhaps unlike most I’ll encounter in the future.  I was hoping that this Russell Stover Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter Egg would fare a bit better in the court of my personal opinion.

First thing to note, this is not an egg-shaped egg treat.  Like the Butterfinger Egg, this is an oval, but it is not rounded like the Butterfinger.  It is shaped more like a Reese’s peanut butter egg and I’m into that.  It smells very sweet and peanut buttery – definitely inviting.  As evidenced by my grubby little fingerprints in the photos, the chocolate coating is of the sort that melts quickly under human fingers (or it’s entirely too hot in my apartment, but I think it’s the chocolate), which I find a bit frustrating but lends itself to an easy melt and combination with the extra crunchy peanut butter filling contained within.

This peanut butter is actually a wonderful thing.  Where a Reese’s egg is generally the flakey, sort of dry peanut butter we all know and love, this egg actually has some peanut chunks inside.   The peanut butter isn’t overly sweet and the fairly substantial peanut chunks give it an air of credibility.

I enjoyed this particular egg, perhaps the most out of any thus far in my EGG-stravaganza (it had to happen sometime, folks) and I’d definitely eat it again.  If you’re looking for a bit of an alternative to your standard Easter Reese’s egg, I’d highly recommend checking this one out.

Butterfinger Egg

I purchased this Butterfinger Egg at Walgreens a couple of weeks ago, and I was going to discuss this egg on Monday, but I was feeling rather nauseous for some reason.  I doubt it would have been an honest assessment that the Butterfinger Egg was what made me want to barf.

My coworker has actually purchased the smaller version of these eggs last year and again this year, so I’ve had the smaller version of this particular treat.  I know this clearly says “Butterfinger pieces in milk chocolate”, but I was still rather hoping that the larger version was entirely Butterfinger on the inside.  Nah, just the Butterfinger chips mixed in with chocolate and formed into a half-egg shape.  I actually feel that the Butterfinger element is less apparent in these full size eggs than the minis.  It seemed like a lot of chocolate and not a whole lot of crispety, crunchety, peanut buttery Butterfinger.  Disappointing.

That said, this egg was all right.  I was glad to take a break from the full eggs for a couple of days.  I can only handle so much gooey, sugary innards before I crack, so this mostly solid Butterfinger Egg was just the ticket for me.  If you enjoy Butterfinger on the regular, you might enjoy this egg, though I have the feeling you’ll have similar thoughts regarding the rather Butterfinger-less content.  If you don’t really like Butterfinger, well, you still might like this because it’s light on the main attraction.

I was trying to find a recent commercial for Butterfinger to link to, as the Simpsons are no longer shilling for Nestle, when I stumbled across this last bit of trivia: On a Season Eight DVD commentary, Matt Groening says that Milhouse was created for and first appeared in the commercials. (You can also find a whole lot more about the Simpsons/Butterfinger relationship at that link).  You can also read my history of Butterfinger (the regular ol’ bar).  Speaking of, any votes on whether I should pick the “History of…” series back up again?

Russell Stover Peanut Butter Egg

Today, we have another entry from Russell Stover in this springtime Egg-Off.  I’ve actually not seen a peanut butter egg that is actually egg-shaped previously, only the Reese’s ‘eggs’ that are sort of oval pads of Reese’s signature peanut butter covered in a thin layer of chocolate (delicious, but technically not actually an egg, y’all).  An actual egg shape makes sense, but I wonder… how will Russell Stover choose to execute what seems like a fairly simple concept?

And now I know.  I managed to crack this baby in half with minimal damage to discover the unexpectedly runny goo inside.  I’ve never really seen peanut butter look like this before.  In the process of typing the last couple of sentences, I looked over and saw that my peanut sauce was leaking out of the half-egg and had to quickly salvage the mess.  Superficiality aside, the peanut goo actually tastes pretty good.  It’s not overly sweet and has a smattering of tiny peanut pieces mixed in.  When eaten with the egg chocolate, it actually takes the sweetness down a peg, which is appreciated.

Nothing to write home about on the chocolate in this one; it’s the same as the chocolate in the marshmallow and caramel egg discussed last week.  I’d describe Russell Stover chocolate, generally, as “good enough”.  Palmer “chocolate” always leaves me a little sad inside, but although they also make holiday novelties, Russell Stover is definitely a huge step up.  You should not fear the Russell Stover box of holiday candy.

The only negative point to this egg was the surprise viscosity of the interior.  I definitely wasn’t expecting that texture from a peanut butter egg, and I can’t imagine anyone else is either.  You’d surely want to use caution when enjoying this Easter prize while wearing your church dress, or if you’re me, to avoid getting goop on your hanging-around-the-house sweatpants that you just washed.  That’s the worst.

Cadbury Chocolate Creme Egg

As the axis of the Earth increases its tilt toward the Sun and the length of daylight rapidly increases here in North America, we trudge forward into next season with this weekend’s spring forward (here in the United States, but not in Arizona, anyway), and our Easter egg theme continues with today’s entry from Cadbury, the Chocolate Crème Egg.

Unlike the regular Cadbury Crème Egg, this inside of this chocolate egg was a solid mass that makes their production process fairly clear. The inner crème is very thick, really more of a fondant than a smooth, creamy dollop of sugary jelly. It was only with considerable effort (and the assistance of a fork) that I managed to swirl the chocolate crème into something a bit more food-like.  The chocolate is actually so thick that the flavor was lost unless I let the ‘crème’ melt for a bit.

The chocolate egg itself is the same as every other Cadbury chocolate I’ve had.  It’s a smooth melt with a whole lot of sweetness, that I can only really handle in small amounts, such as a once-a-year Crème Egg or the three squares of Fruit and Nut bar I ate a couple of weeks ago (thanks, coworker).

Here in the US, we get our Cadbury products via Hersheys, and I didn’t find any nutritional information on their website for the chocolate crème egg.  Your standard crème egg has 150 calories and the caramel variety 170, so I imagine it’s something thereabouts.  Not the worst thing you could put into your body, but not a lot of bang for your candy buck size-wise.

I would have enjoyed this egg better if the chocolate crème center had a lighter taste and feel.  I’m not saying it has to be gooey or runny, but a bit more fluff would have been to my liking – maybe even a mousse-like concoction.  It seemed very dry and perhaps I got a bad one, since candyblog.net’s chocolate egg looked much creamier.  I thought this was okay, but I don’t think I’d go for it again as my yearly egg.  It was a little rich for my blood sugar. I have a couple more varieties of chocolate creme egg, so I’m looking forward to the comparison.  Eggs ho!

Russell Stover Marshmallow and Caramel Egg

I picked up several different varieties of Cadbury and Russell Stover eggs at Walgreens the other day.   They stocked truly a dizzying array of Easter-themed eggs, and I picked several that I have not had previously.  Though I considered reviewing a few at once, at this moment and before I am utterly sick to death of chocolate eggs, I believe that each one deserves its own day in the sun (not too hot or we’ll get melty).  With that said, LET THE EGGS BEGIN!

The first egg comes to us from Russell Stover, a fine purveyor of chocolate products.  This is a Marshmallow and Caramel egg, which sounded delicious to me, actually.  I couldn’t wait to break it open and see… oh.  That.  That looks horrifying, doesn’t it?  The caramel inside this egg was yellow, very runny, and yolk-like.  Almost too yolk-like to be appetizing.  I have a feeling that this will be the most visually-like an actual egg and while I appreciate the realism, it was a little gross.  The marshmallow was similar in consistency to marshmallow fluff, which held up well enough against the caramel liquid onslaught.

I have always been a person who hollows out the inside of chocolate eggs and then eats the shell, so when I dipped my index finger into the marshmallow and caramel goo, I was happy to find that it gave up its position easily and without a drippy mess.

The combination of marshmallow and caramel inside the egg is actually quote pleasing.  Though they are markedly different in texture, they can be temporarily mixed like oil and water, or the suspension cough syrup my mother used to force down my throat.  Bad association.  Back to marshmallow and caramel.  I found the mixture to be sweet, but not too cloying, which was probably due in part to the caramel element being lesser than marshmallow. The chocolate egg itself was good, but quite sweet.  I think a dark chocolate egg would have suited its filling more appropriately in this situation, and I hope to see that next year.

Overall, I enjoyed my first egg.  I’m looking forward to the ellipsoidal parade to come, after which I assume I will be completely nauseous at the thought of them and so ready to move onto… wait, what’s the next candy holiday? I think its Halloween, (so far away!) but there’s always Sweets and Snacks Expo 2012 to look forward to in May.  Chicago may have lost G8, but as long as SSE still calls the Windy City home, I’m a happy camper.

Peeps Crispy Marshmallow Treat (with Candy)

After leaving work this evening, I decided to take a leisurely stroll through CVS to check out their Easter candy lineup.  Upon entering, I knew I’d made a mistake and promptly went to Walgreens.  Now, I don’t know how the line of CVS establishments near your place of residence (if you have CVS establishments) goes, but for some reason, the CVS Pharmacy locations in downtown Chicago are just… the worst places on Earth.  The CVS located at State and Adams is a particularly foul beast that should be avoided at all costs, but I always give into its siren song even though there’s a wonderful, perfectly good Walgreens only a half-block further.

That aside, there are few things I enjoy more than a crisped rice treat made with marshmallows.  I just can’t say no to them, whether they are traditional, M&M-filled, chocolate-coated – there’s nothing that can make me turn them down.  But Candy Fan, you might say, what if we made it into a vaguely bunny-shaped lump, covered it in bunny sprinkles, and dyed it a hideous shade of teal?  NO, I’d say in reply, I’ll still eat it!  I don’t care if Blue 1 (Brilliant Blue FCF) “has previously been banned in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland among others”, but is now deemed safe in the EU!  No big deal if Yellow 5 is kicking around in these, because I’m not allergic to aspirin, nor am I a hyperactive child.  I need my Easter magic.

I went for the bunny shape because the duck shape wasn’t so distinctly Easter, and because I’ve just eaten a duck recently.   I believe the duck-shaped treat was a less unsightly pink color, but the research (read: I googled it for a hot minute) I just attempted to do on the internet yielded nothing regarding these treats.  Very odd, indeed.  I didn’t regret going with big blue, although it did remind me of a very memorable scene from Heathers (shown here via puppets).

It kind of looks like a two-headed snowman.

I have to admit, this thing was good.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from a pre-made crisped rice treat, but my rice rabbit was pretty great.  I couldn’t stay away from it, especially while watching that bizarre puppet video.   Spoiler: there’s no glass breakage and it’s a little… odd.  The Crispy Rice Marshmallow Treat, while not quite a convincing bunny shape, was moist and delicious.  I was concerned that this would be a total sugar bomb due to its Peeps namesake, but it was just the right level of sweet.  As I’ve mentioned many times, I have a particular affinity for sprinkles, so these were a special addition for me.

As you’d expect, this also turned my mouth a pleasing shade of blue that would be awesome for a kid (Tongue Splashers gum, anyone?), but I found a bit unsettling as an adult.

Truth: After I finished my blue bunny, I also polished off the rest of my Flix Mix.  Like the version of Native Americans I learned about in my Midwestern elementary school history class, nothing is wasted here at TCF HQ.

Flix Mix

When I came across Flix Mix during my trip to Big Lots, my sister and I looked at eachother and both said something to the extent of, “It’s like Puppy Chow!” I don’t know a person on this planet Earth who doesn’t love Puppy Chow, so I snapped it up faster than you could say “Maybe you should reconsider.”

The inside of the Flix Mix bag smelled very sweet and chocolate-y, but had another odd element – something chemical-y and not found in the homemade variety.  But it was no matter.  This is a packaged product, and one that cost me $1 to boot.  I’ve eaten scarier things and paid more for the pleasure of doing it,

There is a decent layer of the chocolate/peanut butter mix on each piece, but not so much that you lose the crunchiness of the “rice biscuit” below.  Allowing it to melt on my tongue revealed a smooth melt that wasn’t grainy at all and much higher quality than I was actually expecting.  This next point may be something not everyone agrees with, but I liked the fact that the chocolate coating didn’t seep into the Chex knockoff cereal, leaving them in pristine, crunchy condition.

There’s a decent amount of peanut butter taste in these little nuggets, but if you’re someone who goes super heavy on the nut pastes in your own version of Puppy Chow, you might be a little disappointed.   I did wish there was a bit more powdered sugar sprinkled atop the Flix Mix, but that’s my own personal preference talking and would probably make for a rather messy movie snack in a theatre.

Like the Spretzels, the whole box comes out to about 300 calories, which won’t make you hate yourself in the morning.  The saturated fat count is pretty high though (about 10g for the whole box), so try not to get lost in flavor country.  Flix Mix won’t replace Puppy Chow in my heart or palate, but it’s not the worst substitution in a pinch.  I definitely wouldn’t pay upwards of $3.00 for a box at my local cineplex, but for one single dollar, it was worth a try.

Candy Quax

Ah, March in Chicago.  As we peer out from under our winter hats and enjoy the up-to-thirty minutes of light after work hours, we begin to remember that we once had lives – busy lives! – that involved being outside.  A life that involved flowers, and grass, and city bunnies, and enjoyable long walks.  We were free once!  And for me, part of that spring homecoming is my 2nd favorite candy holiday: Easter.

While at Big Lots the other day, I spied this little gem from across the aisle and knew I must have it.  It’s a little yellow candy duck.  Oh Palmer, you’ve done it again! How adorable.  How precious!  And while I would have liked to admire it rather than actually eat it for various reasons, unfortunately, this blog isn’t just about looking at candy.

My photo studio is looking a bit rustic lately.

The Candy Quax is also known as “The Yummy Ducky”, which I find a little unsettling as I don’t condone eating duck (or other cute animals… actually all animals).  Others will disagree.  This candy duck is “hallow milk flavored”, which also a little unsettling. I don’t really know what ‘milk flavored’ is.  The ingredients list is fairly short, my duck being made up mostly of sugar and partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.  That gives this duck 270 calories an 15g of fat (14g of which are saturated.  That’s 70% of your “Daily Value”).  Mmm… that’s good eatin’ for the kids.  Mostly, what had me concerned was the smell.  This thing smells like sugar and wax.

Of course I removed the head, because that’s where you get the best Candy Quax meat.  As I bit into the neck, it crumbled beneath my mighty jaw and I tasted the sweet flesh of my Hollow Milk Flavored Candy Duck.  And it was… sweet.  Incredibly sweet.   Sickeningly sweet, in fact. It was like an entire confection made of the “yogurt” drizzle on top of Special K bars.  It made my stomach turn just a bit.

I could only handle about 5 small bites of my Candy Quax before I caved under the sugary pressure.  Like real a real duck, this magnificent creature is better seen than eaten.  It’s a darling little thing, but should be reserved for decorative purposes only.

Spretzels

My posting here has been rather erratic as of late, and that’s partially because I haven’t had time to go hunt down some new candy excitement.  (And partly because I’ve been spending too much time at bars after work).  So I finally did it.  I went to the store and picked up some new stuff.  And since that store was Big Lots, it was new amazing stuff.   You may be familiar with my previous foray into the Flix Candy line, the Box of Boogers.   In opposition to my expectations, they turned out to be fruity and chewy and delicious.  I can only hope to say the same about today’s candy: Spretzels.  Well, not that they were fruity, but… you know what I mean.

Spretzels, which sounds like a name I would have made up myself because I love combining words to describe products, people, and experiences, is a product combining white chocolate “flavor”, pretzel balls, and sprinkles.  I love a good sprinkle, and pretzel M&Ms are my jam, so that’s all good.  The white chocolate flavor isn’t actual white chocolate, but I don’t expect that from my $1 confection, so we’re okay on that front, too.   These Spretzels seem to come mostly in little singles and dyads, though there were a few larger clumps in my box.  The white chocolate flavored coating is yellowy and a little dry, but a decent blanket to the pretzels. The sprinkles added a little bit of crunch, but since we’re talking pretzels, they were mostly just for decoration.

These aren’t anything terribly exciting, but I did find myself continually going back to the bag.  The white chocolate flavoring, which is often overpowering in this sort of candy, was actually pretty low key.  The pretzel balls had a decent amount of salt on them, which gave them that salty/sweet combo that some people just adore.   These candies come in a movie theatre style box, and I could see them being a great option for mindlessly munching for a couple of hours (make sure you have a beverage, these are salty).  The whole box will only set you back about 280 calories, which isn’t so much in the grand scheme of candy, and will probably last you longer than a Snickers bar.  And Spretzels is more fun to say than Snickers.  Try it.  It’s a win/win.

Harry London – London Mint Bar

Harry London shares a factory in North Canton, Ohio with my good friend, Fannie May, and is also part of the 1-800-Flowers.com family of brands.  So I assume that when you are lucky enough to receive candy along with flowers, this is the candy you’re getting.  When I came upon this Harry London Mint Bar at my local Big Lots in a rather unassuming shiny green package, I thought: I like chocolate.  I like mint.  Everyone knows this.  I’ll try this and see what happens.  But for some reason, it just stayed in my candy collection.  Nothing drew my attention to it, and nothing stood out as particularly special about it.  Real talk: my candy supply is rapidly dwindling and I haven’t ventured out lately to replenish.  So today is a very special day for the London Mint Bar.

When I peeled back the package, my immediate though was, oh my, I have waited too long.  But we are still a few months prior to the bar’s expiration date, so I was fairly confident this wouldn’t kill me.  It may actually make me stronger.  Plus, one shouldn’t judge candy by its appearance.  Good things come in gross packages.  Okay, so the chocolate has bloomed a little and lost what might have once been a shiny exterior.  That doesn’t mean it won’t still be delicious.  It smelled delicious and that was most of what counted.

There is an outer coating of softer chocolate on the bar that melts rather quickly and deposited itself onto my fingers just handling the bar.  Below that is the mint chocolate core that is a bit more dense and less malleable.  The ingredients list dark chocolate and ‘milk confection’, but this tastes pretty milk chocolate-y to me. The melt was fairly smooth, aside from the issue of the two different textures, and I thought it was decently enjoyable.  The mint flavor was not overpowering, but provided a slightly-more-than-subtle hue to the bar.

This bar is definitely rich, and that is evident in the fact that half the bar (35g per serving) contains 200 calories and 14g of fat (9g saturated).  I was done after eating about a quarter of the bar, though I’m sure I’ll be going back for more eventually.  I don’t know that I’d pick this up again, even at the bargain price of $.80 that I paid at Big Lots, as it didn’t knock my socks off.  It’s pretty much what you’d expect from chocolate that comes with your flowers. For my money, I’d rather keep eating Andes mints.