5th Avenue

On Monday, I reviewed the Butterfinger. Today’s review is of the 5th Avenue, a highly similar but less well known peanut butter bar made by Hershey’s.

The 5th Avenue is “crunchy peanut butter in a rich, chocolatey coating”. If you’re new to the candy blogging world, you should know that “chocolatey” is candy marketing speak for “not made of real chocolate”. Yum… Still, it fared better than most mockolate bars did.

The peanut butter layers of the 5th Avenue were nice, crisp, and peanut buttery. As a bonus, they didn’t get lost in the nooks and crannies of my teeth like the Butterfinger’s did. And the chocolately coating was super sweet but actually wasn’t that bad, especially compared to that of the Butterfinger. At least the 5th Avenue’s coating had some cocoa flavors to it.

All and all, the 5th Avenue turned out to be a nice combination of salty and sweet, though I personally would’ve tempered the sweet just a bit. I give it an OM, though it may have the advantage of framing effects, as I tasted it alongside the Butterfinger.

And if you want a second opinion, here’s Cybele’s take on a head-to-head match-up of the two.


Nestle had quite the coup when they enlisted Bart Simpson (and the rest of the Simpsons) to shill their Butterfingers. Everyone knows that nobody better lay a finger on Bart’s Butterfinger. I find that to be a shame, as that’s helped Butterfinger overshadow the similar, but better, 5th Avenue bar (review of that to come on Wednesday).

The Butterfinger’s tagline promises that it is crispety, crunchety, peanut-buttery! I actually don’t think the filling tastes much of peanut butter. It’s more of a butterscotch, with a buttery sweetness to it. And while it is crunchy when you bite into it, it’s also quite crumbly. The layers don’t hold up too well, and they get stuck in the nooks of your teeth, where they then harden and become a social faux pas in the making.

The worst part of the Butterfinger was the fake chocolate coating. It was way too sweet, had no cocoa flavor whatsoever, and completely ruined what was already a mediocre bar. An O. And yet, the Butterfinger seems to be doing well enough to have inspired many spin-offs.

PS: Happy birthday, Dad!

Limited Edition Reese’s Crunchy Peanut Butter Cups

Reese’s is awesome at churning out limited edition stuff. The newest iteration is their Limited Edition Crunchy Peanut Butter Cups, which I picked up as an impulse buy at the counter of my local Walgreen’s. Hooray marketing!

My friend Steve just asked what makes it crunchy. Just like peanut butter, the peanut butter cups are crunchified by the presence of peanuts. The peanut butter cup doesn’t look any different on the outside, but the peanut bits are visible in the pb cup cross section.

The peanut bits add a nice textural component to the cup and contributes a strong peanut scent, though I don’t have a regular pb cup to compare it to. Even without a regular pb cup handy, I can tell that the peanut butter filling in the crunchy cup is sweeter and less salty than its non-limited edition counterpart.

I think the crunchy is an improvement on peanut butter cups. The peanuts aren’t too intrusive and don’t get stuck in your teeth, and the peanut butter cup texture is more exciting. I do wish the nuts were roastier but still give this limited edition a solid OMG.

Fannie May Chocolates – Part II of Chicago Week

The saga of my sweet-toothing my way through Chicago continues with Fannie May chocolates, who I would liken to Chicago’s version of See’s, except See’s is better.

At a Fannie May store, I picked out a selection of their chocolates and a few of their individually wrapped candies (review on those to come next week). Top down in columns, from left to right they are, as best as I can tell/remember: bittermint, some nougat thing, vanilla buttercream dark, no clue, buttercrisp, peanut butter, raspberry cream?, lemon buttercream, and a Trinidad. The salesguy assured me that there would be a comprehensive key online. There isn’t.

bittermint – this was a mint in the York Peppermint Pattie vein. The dark chocolate shell was quite thick, and the gooey mint innards had a strong mintiness tempered by a slight bitterness. The lightly bitter finish went nicely with the dark chocolate.

rectangular nougat thing – I have no idea what this is and couldn’t match it up to anything on their website. It was dark chocolate coating a chewy, nutty nougat log that tasted of maple, I thin.

vanilla buttercream dark – I’m not a big fan of buttercreams but let myself be talked into buying this one by Katie, who loves them. This was sweet and cloying but otherwise had a great vanilla flavor. If you have a higher sugar tolerance than I do, you’d probably like it.

buttercrisp – an almond buttercrisp in milk chocolate. I found it too be too hard to bite into and with a weird, not quite toffee-like texture (it didn’t cleave like toffee does).

peanut butter – a creamy peanut butter filling where the peanut butter was not nearly nutty or salty enough. The milk chocolate shell was slightly too thick for balance.

raspberry cream – I think that’s what this was. The chocolate shell was thicker than I expected, and the filling tasted strongly artificial with a slight cherry cordial winey-ness to it.

lemon buttercream – the center of this tasted like a lemon meringue pie. The lemon-ness was super bright.

Trinidad – I’ve managed to save the best for last: it’s a chocolate cream center with “pastel coating” and toasted coconut. The chocolate filling was smooth and creamy, and the coconut flavor was just right.  The only one I really enjoyed from the ones I picked.

I had wanted to buy some Mint Meltaways in my boxed assortment but the salesguy told me not to because their mintiness would overpower everything else. I managed to buy a little tray of 3 larger meltaways at a Walgreen’s instead. I tasted them after the Frangos that I so loved, and they paled in comparison.

The Mint Meltaways had a pastel green white chocolate coating that tasted too sweet and sugary. It gave the confection an unpleasantly greasy creaminess and a thick finish. The mint flavor was weaker than that of Frangos, and it was more artificial tasting.

Overall, I didn’t really enjoy Fannie May that much. I liked the bittermint and Trinidad, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to seek those out. An O for the chocolates described here. The individually wrapped chocolates I bought fared much better, and my review of those will publish on Monday.

Abba-Zaba – Sour Apple

Back in November of 2007, I reviewed the original Abba-Zaba and didn’t much care for it (and also spelled the name wrong). I did, however, note, “Apparently, the Abba-Zaba also comes in a peanut butter-filled apple-flavored taffy, which sounds intriguing. Apples, particular tart green ones like Granny Smiths, and peanut butter are a great combination, so the Abba-Zaba version sounds promising. I probably still won’t like it because it’s taffy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to try it some day.”

I was oh so wrong. I absolutely loved the Sour Apple Abba-Zaba, have since chomped and chewed my way through two of them, and wish I had more. It may not sound like much for me to say that I ate two of something, but take a second and think about all the candy that I go through and have stashed away. For me to like something enough to not only polish it off all by myself but also go out and buy more of it, it has to be good.

The peanut butter filling is creamy, barely salted, and could be nuttier. On it’s own, meh. But paired with the bright green apple sweetness of the taffy and YUM! The flavor combination is a winner in my book. The apple taffy tastes just like a green apple Jolly Rancher, so it’s not actually sour. The sour moniker just differentiates it from the smoother sweetness of non Granny Smith apples, I guess. The taffy cleaves nicely when you break it, is pleasantly chewy when you chomp on it, and slowly melts in the mouth if you have the patience to do such a thing. I personally don’t.

I think the Sour Apple Abba-Zaba makes a great study snack. It’s not too unhealthy, must be eaten slowly, and tastes great. An OMG.

Little Debbie Nutty Bar Singles

I share Cybele from Candy Blog’s view that 100 calorie packs are a rip-off when it comes to candy but can be sensible in the case of other snacks to help prevent mindless overeating. Little Debbie’s 100 calorie Nutty Bars do not clearly fall in either category. On the one hand, you don’t really save that many calories from limiting yourself to eating just one of the regular Nutty Bars (155 calories each, but they’re wrapped in pairs). On the other hand, the 100 calorie portioned Nutty Bars and the regular Nutty Bars both come 12 to a box and cost the same, so at least you’re not paying extra for the pre-portioned packaging.

I have a special fondness for Nutty Bars because they’re one of my dad’s favorite snacks for fishing, so they were (and probably still are) always around the house. I agreed to review the samples sent by the manufacturer partly out of nostalgia. If you’re unfamiliar with Nutty Bars, they’re wafers alternated with peanut butter and covered in chocolate. They’re shelved with cookies and other baked goods, but they’re also nearly a candy bar (maybe if the chocolate coating was a bit thicker). The 100 calorie Singles are basically a scaled down version of the more caloric and more delicious originals. As far as I can tell based on memory, the Singles are the same dimensions as the originals, but the Singles bar is much, much lighter – 19g compared to the original’s 28g.

The lost weight and calories have come at the expense of the peanut butter and chocolate flavoring. The peanut butter flavor is present, but it’s quite light and a little too sweet, while the chocolate coating is barely noticeable and slightly greasy to the touch. The chocolate and peanut butter do complement the light, crisp wafers quite nicely. Though I miss the dense crunch of the original Nutty Bars, the overall light, airiness of the slimmed down version has its own appeal.

As a chocolate bar or cookie, these guys are too light on flavor to merit more than an O. As a sensible and affordable snack for dieters, maybe to help stave off chocolate or peanut butter cravings, however, I give them an OM for tasting pretty good, all things considered. I’m going to recommend them to my dad. Here are other takes from Chow.com, Chocoblog, and Sugar Savvy.

Hershey’s Whatchamacallit

Hershey’s Whatchamacallit is a bar that I’ve seen on grocery store shelves all my life but had never bothered to pick up, probably because I had no idea what was in it. While candy bars like Twix and KitKats had a strong advertising push during my childhood, the Whatchamacallit was neglected.

The wrapper claims peanut flavor crisp, caramel, and rich chocolatey coating. The bar was texturally wonderful with a crisp, sharp crunch. The crunchy rice crisps that made up the center of the bar had a salty, super nutty peanut butter flavor, and there was just enough caramel in the form of a thin ribbon to add the sweetness needed to balance out that peanut butter taste. Because the coating was marked as “chocolatey”, it’s probably not real chocolate, but it was a super thin layer, so the fake mockolate (Cybele’s term) did not noticeably detract.

A definite OMG for this bar. I wish I’d discovered it earlier. The only downside is that the bar is extremely high in fat (especially saturated fat) and calories, so sadly, it’s not a chocolate bar to eat on a daily basis.

Snicker’s Limited Edition Nut ‘n Butter Crunch

Oh Limited Edition items, how you appeal to my candy blogger impulses! The bright orange wrapper on the Snickers Limited Edition Nut ‘n Butter Crunch (I’m fond of pointing out how Reese’s has driven us to associate orange candy bar wrappers with peanut butter) promises “milk chocolate, peanuts and creamy peanut butter taste.”

Peanut butter taste? That worries me. Why not just creamy peanut butter? It must be some horrid substitute made from oil or something. Yum…

I must admit that I’ve never been a Snickers fan, as I don’t really like peanuts that much. I used to hate nuts in things. Now that I’ve been candy blogging for a while, I’ve learned to tolerate and even enjoy eating nuts. But I’ve still never had the urge to grab a Snickers bar. I don’t even think I’ve ever had a standard-sized Snickers (just the mini versions), so though I felt that the Nut ‘n Butter Crunch was smaller than usual, I couldn’t be sure. It weighed in at 1.71 ounces.

First of all, this bar doesn’t live up to its name, as it’s not that crunchy. The peanuts are the only thing providing texture to the bar. It had a strong peanut smell, probably thanks to whatever provided the peanut butter tate. The milk chocolate coating was slight sweet and covered a thick filling of peanuts in a pasty… thing… that’s definitely not peanut butter, as its texture is not at all creamy. The Nut ‘n Butter Crunch was an extremely salty bar (14- mg of sodium), possibly due to the peanuts and the nuts. The sweet and salty mix of the bar works well, and the texture is pretty good as well.

I give the Nut ‘n Butter Crunch an OM. All the peanuts make it high in protein, and it tastes better than most of those supposedly healthy protein bars that are covered in chocolate and full of sugar. Maybe this is a candy indulgence that you can pretend is good for you!

Candy Backlog #1: Russell Stover Halloween chocolates

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions (why wait until January 1st to change your life for the better?), but I’ll still take advantage of 2008 to clear out some old candy reviews to make room for all my new ones. These guys are from Halloween (oops), but I think the reviews will still be useful, as Russell Stover will just remold and repackage these for Christmas (trees, nutcrackers), Valentines (hearts), and Easter (eggs).

Orange Marshmallow Pumpkin

When they say orange, they mean orange. The innards are unnaturally brightly orange, almost highlighter-like in its fluorescence. The marshmallow is nice, fluffy, and foamy, the way I think marshmallow in chocolate should be, but it has a weirdly artificial, almost medicinal taste. An O.

Strawberry Cream Pumpkin

Unlike the orange marshmallow and the caramel & marshmallow pumpkins, the outside of this pumpkin was completely smooth instead of being textured. Perhaps it needs the thicker chocolate shell because it contains cream instead of marshmallow. Unfortunate, the milk chocolate shell was too sweet, and Russell Stover chocolate isn’t that great. With such a thick layer of chocolate coating, you can really taste its inferiority.

As you can see, the strawberry cream looks just like marshmallow. It’s light and fluffy but not foamy. Therein lies the dividing line between marshmallow and cream, I guess. Flavorwise, the strawberry was light and unremarkable. Another O.

Peanut Butter Ghost

Again, I’d like to point out how the color orange has come to be associated with peanut butter thanks to Reese’s marketing. The Russell Stover packaging is cute enough, even if I think the chocolate inside looks more like a nun than a ghost.

Usually I don’t like it when peanut butter overwhelms the chocolate it’s accompanying, but it works in this case because, quite frankly, I find Russell Stover chocolate (at least the kind they use to cover their regular cheap eats) to be boring. Consequently, it was great that this bar tasted strongly of peanut butter. The filling was pretty nice and had a super nutty finish. Its texture was quite smooth, without the crumbly grit of the peanut butter you’d find in a Reese’s. I do wish it were a little saltier.

An O, though I liked this one much more than the pumpkins it shares a review page with. I think it would warrant an OM when it’s on sale post-holidays.

Emily’s Chocolates’ Dark Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

An extremely generous box of samples arrived from Emily’s Chocolates (BUY on Amazon!) while I was out of town for Thanksgiving break, so I didn’t get them until yesterday. I haven’t had a chance to taste everything in there, but I did try the cookies, and they were most definitely worth the wait. In fact, they were so good that I’ve bumped today’s news story to share this review.


The sandwich cookies come in mint cream and peanut butter cream. The peanut butter cream cookies come in a similar container, only it’s orange, and it’s snowman had a top hat instead of earmuffs. Isn’t it funny how we now associate orange with peanut butter, all thanks to Reese’s? The packaging is pretty, cute, and festive, making these cookies a great candidate for a hostess gift or a way to suck up to teachers.

Both flavors of cookies are like dark chocolate-covered Oreos with generously thick layers of peanut butter or mint cream. The dark chocolate covering is thick, rich, and delectable. Here’s a shot taken with a flash that shows off how hefty the layers of chocolate and cream are, though it makes the chocolate look lighter than it really is.

The cookies are a great blend of textures – smooth dark chocolate, crunchy chocolate cookie, and creamy filling. The mint cream cookie smelled strongly of mint and chocolate and packed a wallop of mint flavor. I loved it. The mint flavor was strong, but not too strong, leaving the cookie well balanced. The finish was of just chocolate, which I think works well, as a lingering, sugary mint taste isn’t always pleasant. Flavor-wise, the cookie is reminiscent of a Thin Mint, but better – it’s more texturally interesting, the chocolate is of better quality, and there’s more of everything! An enthusiastic ZOMG! for the Dark Chocolate Covered Mint Cream Sandwich Cookies.

The peanut butter cream cookie smelled slightly of peanut butter, and it’s peanut butter taste was present but mild. The finish was pretty much all chocolate, just like that of the mint version. I would have preferred a stronger and saltier peanut butter flavor, though the overall cookie was still delicious. An OMG for the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream Sandwich Cookies.

Emily’s also sent me their limited edition boxes of their dark chocolate covered nuts and fruits, a big box of their milk chocolate covered macadamia nuts (apparently still in stock on Amazon as of 11/26), and an adorable dark chocolate-covered cashew-filled snowman. I’m excited to taste those as well, though I think I may save the macadamia nuts to bring home for my folks for Christmas.

What surprised me the most about the Emily’s Chocolates line was how affordable all the products were. They look like they would cost much more than they actually do. I think they’d make great gifts, especially since all the holiday boxes already look like they’re wrapped. If you order by December 10th, you’ll get free shipping on orders over $40. I’ll try to have the rest of my package (minus the macadamia nuts) tasted and the reviews as soon as possible so y’all can take advantage of that offer.