May 6th, 2013 by Neil
Here’s another guest post from ex-pat friend Neil! ~Rosa
A staple of Dutch towns is the HEMA department store. I dither on its American equivalent. K-Mart? Target? Everything there is their own brand, from clothing to sausage to the carpet cleaner.
Often, when you ask a Dutch person “Where would I buy a…”, the answer is “HEMA”. I discovered recently that they have candies I’m curious about. To that end, I bought a huge bag of mini caramel & biscuit bars.
Each bar is about 3 inches long. The form is your basic, chocolate-covered candy bar. It turns out it is tough to cleanly eat these.
[Note from Rosa: Do these individually wrapped chocolate bars remind anyone else of wrapped tampons?]
The chocolate flakes fall, the biscuit crumbs drop, and the caramel threads stretch. This mess is the least of the bar’s issues.
The chocolate taste simultaneously involves acidity and salt. The caramel falls flat, flavorwise. And the biscuit is there for just texture, it seems.
My officemate may have put it best when saying that this is trying to be a Twix, and failing miserably. They’ve become an office snack for when I’m desperate for sugar but not discriminating on any other level. These rate a –.
Category: --, caramel, chocolate, cookie, European, guest post, review |
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April 17th, 2013 by Rosa
Cookies? Why am I reviewing cookies on my candy blog? Because these Laceys Cookies are more or less made out of almond brittle and chocolate, so they’re basically candy. Plus they’re freakin’ delicious.
The Laceys were two rounds of thin almond brittle cookies, about 2.5 inches in diameter, sandwiching a generous layer of bittersweet chocolate. Flour was near the end of the ingredients list, and I really couldn’t tell that there was any flour in these at all in terms of texture or flavor.
The cookie portions were sweet and crisp with a solid crunch. I’d guess that they were about 50% chopped almonds and 50% butter toffee/brittle.
The generous proportion of almonds brought a wonderfully roasted nuttiness, and the cookies finished with a toasted butteriness from the toffee. That toffee cleaved and crumbled without any hint of doughy cookieness.
The bittersweet chocolate center had a great duskiness to it and a light sweetness that didn’t overwhelm the cookies. Instead, it complimented the nutty butteriness of the toffee cookies.
A delicious, quickly disappearing treat – OMG.
Category: chocolate, cookie, nuts, OMG, review, toffee, Trader Joe's |
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March 27th, 2013 by Rosa
As I’ve noted before, one of the many perks of being a candy blogger is that friends who travel to exotic places often bring me back candy presents. My friends Ariel and Logan returned from a mini-vacation in Bermuda with a couple of candy gifts for me, including this Cadbury Time Out.
The wrapper described its contents as 2 milk chocolate covered wafer fingers with milk chocolate centres. The obvious comparison here is with Kit Kats. In fact, I found these to be even better.
Each finger was about five inches long and less than half an inch across. I was happy that they came two to a package, though I sort of wish there were more. Because I already ate them both (in two sittings, at least).
The wafer cookies were crisp and toastier than Kit Kat’s version. Instead of the cream that Kit Kats have, the two wafer cookies sandwiched a layer of folded chocolate, which made the Time Out taste really rich and chocolatey.
The chocolate was the best part. It had a surprisingly complexity for a mass-produced bar, lots of bittersweet coffee notes that kept it from being overly sweet. Instead, it tasted like a well-balanced, grown-up treat. An OM.
Category: chocolate, cookie, OM, received as gift, review |
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February 8th, 2013 by Rosa
This week’s review items come courtesy of Nana and Justin, a couple of college friends of mine who are living, teaching, and blogging in Japan and who are kind enough to mail me Japanese goodies from time to time. I’m closing out the week with a review of a Japanese Kit Kat that is a Kyoto speciality – it’s Yatsuhashi flavored!
What is Yatsuhashi, you ask? Wikipedia to the rescue! Apparently, it’s a famous regional dessert of Kyoto that’s made of glutinous rice flour, sugar, and cinnamon.
The Yatsuhashi Kit Kat had classic Kit Kat‘s flaky, crisp wafers but was covered with a crumbling white coating. Alas, the coating was falling to pieces by the time the Kit Kats got to me, so I wasn’t able to get a good glamour shot.
Nana and Justin and others have sent me Japanese Kit Kats for review that all arrived in pristine shape, so I think the disintegration was due to the fact that the coating was frosting-like, whereas other coatings have been chocolate-based. Still, though it didn’t look that great, it tasted awesome!
The white coating melted mostly smoothly on my tongue and tasted like vanilla frosting made from fresh cream. Every once in a while, I hit a crunch from a grain of granulated sugar. The whole thing was topped off by a sweet cinnamon kiss that floated above the sweet and crunchy confection.
It sorted of reminded me of Cinnamon Toast Crunch or a crunchy Snickerdoodle, except that the vanilla frosting coating had a dairy freshness to it that made it even better. Yet again, I must lament that the Kit Kat flavors available to us in the U.S. are pretty lamely tame in comparison to what’s available in Japan. An OM.
For alternative takes, check out Eataku’s review (which clued me in on the proper name for this treat) or Jim’s Chocolate Mission (which helped confirm that I had the right name for these guys).
Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), cookie, Nestle, OM, review |
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January 23rd, 2013 by Rosa
I’ve often benefitted from friends who travel abroad and bring me back international candy. My friends Emma and Jason recently went to Japan, and Nana and Justin just sent me yet another package, so I’ve got some new Asian goodies in the pipeline.
These Kit Kat Gran Wafers from Emma and Jason came in a box of 10 individually wrapped fingers. The box was way bigger than it needed to be, as it was only half full.
Sad because these Kit Kats were delicious! I would’ve loved to have twice as many in the box.
Unlike regular Kit Kats, the Gran Wafers were totally nekkid. As in missing an outer coating of chocolate, wafers exposed to the world. They were much thicker than regular Kit Kats as well, with five layers of wafer cookie sandwiching four thin layers of deeply dark chocolate.
The crunch of the thick stack of wafers was quite substantial. The layers in between the wafers were made of actual chocolate rather than chocolate cream, giving the whole treat a substantial depth of cocoa flavor.
I loved this extra intense twist on the usual Kit Kat formula of wafer cookies and chocolate. An OMG.
Category: Asian (China, Japan, and Korea), chocolate, cookie, Nestle, OMG, received as gift, review |
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January 21st, 2013 by Rosa
Galaxy chocolate is the UK equivalent of Dove chocolates. I picked up a couple of imported cookie-themed Galaxy bars at my last trip to Cost Plus World Market, the Cookie Crumble and the Orange and Shortcake.
Both bars were wavily segmented into 6 imprinted rectangles that broke easily around their bounds. They had a thickly creamy milk chocolate base that was sweet with just a bit of a throat-burning sour tinge at the finish.
Cookie Crumble had gritty nuggets of chocolate cookie that added a slight gritty crunch. The cookie bits were basically black in color, like Oreos, and they basically tasted like the cookie parts of Oreos.
It reminded me of a slightly nicer version of Hershey’s Cookies ‘n Milk Chocolate bar, as the Galaxy chocolate base had a much more luxurious mouthfeel and was just higher quality in general. Still, it also gets an O because I found it to be a tad too sweet in the finish.
Orange and Shortcake had larger cookie bits of pale shortbread that visually stood out against the milky brown chocolate. They added a bit of crunch and grit, but not much flavor, as I mostly tasted the orange flavor in the chocolate.
There were bits of candied orange rind in the bar, which brought a nicely sweet, brightly fruit burst of flavor to the chocolate. They were my favorite part of the bar – an unusual and tasty twist that elevated it to an OM.
Category: chocolate, cookie, Dove, European, Mars, O, OM, review |
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January 11th, 2013 by Rosa
I remember Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme from my childhood. I think the Cookies ‘n’ Milk Chocolate are a newer addition, within the last few years.
By the way, this whole ‘n’ thing is crazy annoying. An ampersand takes up the same amount of space but is grammatically correct.
Both bars were crammed full of crunchy bits of chocolate cookie which tasted like Oreo cookies. Cookies ‘n’ Creme had a base of “creme” that was supposed to emulate white chocolate but, as Cybele pointed out, wasn’t really white chocolate, as it was mostly made of vegetable oils.
The “creme” was sweet with a slightly sour fake vanilla flavor, like canned frosting. Though it’s not a high quality base by any means, it is a classic. To me, it just goes well with the bittersweet cookie bits, but that’s probably my nostalgia getting in the way.
Cookies ‘n’ Milk Chocolate had a milk chocolate base that had Hershey’s characteristic slightly sour tang to the finish. The milk chocolate seemed to make the cookies taste even more chocolatey.
I loved the Cookies ‘n’ Creme as a kid. These days, I won’t turn down a free miniature version of it or the Cookies ‘n’ Milk Chocolate (I got these from work), as the cookie bits are a nice departure from the norm, but I wouldn’t go out an actually buy them myself. An O.
Category: chocolate, cookie, Hershey's, O, review |
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January 2nd, 2013 by Rosa
I’ve reviewed a few Sanders treats on this blog already, including some of their individually wrapped Favorites that Duke’s hospital sells in its gift shop. I snagged what I believe is the rest of the line at Sweets and Snacks back in May and tasted them last November (hence the slight bloom on the dark chocolates).
Maple Pecan Butter Cream was the only milk chocolate of the five. That milk chocolate covered a maple-flavored buttercream that was full of chopped pecans.
I found it to be absurdly overly sweet. The sweetness tasted of maple syrup and brown sugar, and holy cow was it overpowering.
A few notes of caramel and cocoa from the chocolate and nuttiness from the pecan bits valiantly struggled to be noticed. If you like pecan (pronounced pee-can, of course, not puh-kahn) pie, you’d like this.
For me, way too sweet. It made my teeth itch.
Dark Chocolate Coconut Supreme was Sanders’ version of a Mounds. It had a thick dark chocolate shell around a dry coconut center.
I appreciated the greater amount of dark chocolate here (oodles more compared to Mounds), as that chocolate had a nicely mild cocoa finish, but I thought the coconut center could’ve used more oomph. It lacked nuttiness and had only a light coconut flavor.
Caramel Butterscotch was a chewy, sticky caramel inside a snappy dark chocolate shell. The caramel was sweet and buttery, and though I didn’t get the candied flavor of butterscotch, exactly, it was a still a nice mix of chocolate and caramel.
Cookies and Cream Cruncher was a disk of “ivory confectioners coating” full of little beads of chocolate cookie. It was certainly crunchy, thanks to the high density of the Oreo-flavored cookies.
The fake white chocolate was throat-burningly sweet. It tasted super artificial, like canned vanilla frosting, and was made of palm kernel oil. Thumbs down.
Finally, Mint Royale was the most strikingly colored of the bunch: a bright pastel green with a dark chocolate cocoa center. It snapped when I bit into it but also had a smooth and creamy melt.
The whole thing reminded me of mint nonpareils but with more chocolate flavor. The mintiness was mild with cocoa undertones – too mild, I thought. For something called a Mint Royale, it really needed to go for broke on the mintiness.
The Caramel Butterscotch is the only one of these that I’d want to buy and eat again, so it gets an OM. The rest were generally too sweet and/or not flavorful enough, so they get Os.
Category: caramel, chocolate, cookie, mint, nuts, O, OM, review |
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August 27th, 2012 by Rosa
I got these Blommer Milk Chocolate Covered Grahams and Dark Chocolate Covered Grahams as free samples at Sweets and Snacks. Mine were individually wrapped (unfortunately, I ate them before I realized that I didn’t have photos of the packaging), though it seems like they’re sold by the box on their website.
Both treats were graham cookie squares covered in either milk or dark chocolate and decorated with little squiggles. The graham cookies had a nice crunch with a bit of grittiness from the crumbs. They had a lightly sweet graham cracker flavor, though I wish that graham flavor was stronger and toastier.
The milk chocolate was sweet with a slight fruitiness, and its sweetness intensified at the end. I enjoyed it enough to give it an O, but it was too sweet for my taste.
The dark chocolate was more to my taste. It had a great depth of chocolate flavor, with just a hint of sweetness that came through in the finish.
The more subtle sweetness of the dark chocolate let the graham flavor come through more. It gets an OM for a well-balanced mix of flavor and texture.
I’d buy the dark chocolate version as a nice teatime snack. While I wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase the milk chocolate version, I’d happily eat another if it were offered to me for free again.
Category: chocolate, cookie, O, OM, review |
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August 22nd, 2012 by Rosa
On Monday, I reviewed Skinny Cow‘s Milk Chocolate Dreamy Clusters. Today, I’m covering their Heavenly Crisp bars in Peanut Butter and Milk Chocolate, which were also free samples from their booth at Sweets and Snacks.
Both bars were 110 calories and described as “delicate wafers layered with delicious milk chocolate creme” or “delicious peanut butter creme”.
They were also coated with a thin layer of fake chocolate, as indicated by the label “milk chocolate flavor”. Hooray mockolate! Milk chocolate flavor had a white decorative drizzle; peanut butter’s was golden brown.
Palm oil appears several times in the ingredient list in various forms, and cocoa butter is completely missing; hence the mockolate designation. They were a mess to unwrap, as the mockolate was all melty and messy, even at room temperature.
The wafers, at least, were great. They were the lightest, airiest wafers that I’ve ever encountered in candy. Must help keep the calorie count low! They added a pleasant, if flimsy, crunch and a neutral toastiness.
The milk chocolate flavored version did have a nice malty cocoa flavor, likely due to the cocoa powder on the ingredient list. It had a well-balanced, light sweetness that went well with the toasty wafers.
Peanut butter flavor had actual peanuts and added a roasted nutty flavor. It felt a little pastier in my mouth than the chocolate did and didn’t stand up as nicely against the wafers.
I really like the light crunch of the wafers and how they played off the light sweetness of the other ingredients, but the lack of real chocolate was a bummer that brought these bars down. An O.
You can read Cybele of Candy Blog’s take on these. I agree with her assessment to pass these over in favor of chocolate with you know, actual chocolate.
Category: cookie, mockolate, Nestle, O, peanut butter, review |
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