Posts filed under ‘caramel’

Hammond’s Caramel Covered Marshmallow aka Mitchell Sweet

I’d never heard of Hammond’s until I picked up their Caramel Covered Marshmallow (BUY!), which they call Mitchell Sweets, at The Candy Store. I kind of wish I’d spent my money on something else, though to be fair to The Candy Store, I realize now in hindsight that one of the proprietor’s had gently tried to turn me towards a different caramel. But I, of See’s Scotchmallow loving backing, could not be dissuaded from the caramel/marshmallow combination.

The marshmallow turned out to have a terrible texture. It was spongy, it was tough, and it was too chewy in a hard gummy way, not in a nice sticky way. It also tasted of nothing but blandness; no vanilla, no toasted marshmallow tinge.

The caramel was sweet, with a lingering butter flavor. The Mitchell Sweet came wrappe in wax paper, and the caramel was so sticky that it stuck to the wrapper. I wish the caramel were more burnt or had some sort of redeeming flavor qualities, but alas, none were to be found.

I give the Mitchell Sweet an O for it’s terrible texture and blandly sweet taste. Cybele from Candy Blog liked them, though, so to each her own. I much prefer the See’s scotch kiss (#19), with it’s duskier caramel and it’s fluffy marshmallow. The scotch kiss is frighteningly addictive, whereas I’m okay with never eating another Mitchell Sweet again.


January 4, 2008 at 8:00 am 2 comments

Gigi’s assorted caramels

After being impressed by Lula’s Chocolates’ Aloha Rocky Road, I was eager to dig into my sample of their assorted (and handmade!) caramels. Whoever writes their product descriptions really knows their way around food adjectives.

“I start with small batches of premium butter and fresh, heavy cream, which I slow cook in heavy, copper pots. We offer plain caramels, and, for nut lovers, we add fresh, whole almonds, cashews, or macadamia nuts.”

I can definitely taste the quality of the ingredients in these generously sized caramels. They’re super, super buttery and creamy – so much so that I almost expected them to literally melt away in my mouth. The plain caramels are almost too rich and buttery, if that’s possible. They don’t stick in your teeth at all because they’re so greasy. The caramel is sweet and light without any dark notes, and the intense creaminess is almost overwhelming in the plain version.

The addition of nuts helps a lot. It’s nice to have the contrast between the soft caramel and the crunchy, grainy nut. The macadamia (left) helped texturally but didn’t add much in terms of flavor, as macadamia nuts are pretty buttery tasting and high fat too. The almond ones (right) were a taste revelation. The smoky almond flavor balanced out the caramel and broke up the texture better than the macadamia nuts did. I wish there were more almond caramels in my assortment. As far as I could tell, my bag had no cashew ones, though it’s possible I may have eaten one thinking it was macadamia nut.

These caramels are a delicious and decadent treat. Because they’re so rich, you can only eat one or two at a time, but that just means you can savor them for a longer time. My only complaint is that the wax paper was sometimes a little embedded in the caramel and impossible to remove before eating. I take that little foible as further proof that these caramels are truly handmade. An OMG for the almond ones; an OM for everything else.

December 7, 2007 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Das caramels

Before I left school for Thanksgiving break, I checked my PO Box one last time. Surprise! There was a box of caramel samples from Das Foods. I was thankful that I’d thought to check my mail; otherwise I would have had to wait an extra week to taste these.

The caramels may come in a small box, but Das Foods packs that box to the brim. I was surprised at how many caramels fit inside (not that I’m complaining). I was also surprised to see that my caramels differed a little from the ones in the website’s photo. Where were my visible grains of fleur de sel (French sea salt)?

Even if I couldn’t see the salt, I could taste it. If you’ve never had a salted caramel before, you’re missing out! While it may seem like an odd flavor combination, the salt really cuts through the sweet to bring out the darker, burned sugar flavors of the caramel. The Das caramel had a dark and dusky flavor that I found quite enjoyable. The website claims lavender and honey flavors; I could taste the honey component (which probably brought some of the darker sugar taste) but didn’t notice the lavendar.

Texture-wise, it had a creamy, buttery, and slightly greasy mouthfeel. I loved the buttery and creamy; the slightly greasy I could do without, but I don’t think it’s physically possible to get the first two without the latter. Life’s tough like that. The chew was quite soft and enjoyably sticky – it gets stuck in your teeth but eventually works its way out without you having to commit a social faux pas by picking it out.

Das caramels come in a wide assortment of flavors, including cafe cortado, ginger and pistachio, chocolate walnut, lemon and honey, orange and honey, and chai latte. They all sound intriguing. An OMG on these guys, even though I probably won’t buy them again (I’m not one who likes to regularly eat caramels). The box that I do have, however, I will slowly savor.

November 30, 2007 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Brach’s Candy Corn varieties

I have a love-hate relationship with candy corn (BUY!). On the one hand, it really doesn’t taste that good. It’s too sweet, and it leaves that sugary aftertaste in your mouth. On the other hand, it’s sooo addicting! I think when I eat candy corn, I keep reaching for more pieces to try to wipe out that candy corn aftertaste… with more candy corn.

On second thought, I love candy corn. I hate that I love it, but I do, which is why I was excited to try Brach’s new flavors of candy corn: caramel apple and caramel.

The caramel apple does a pretty good job of tasting like a red candied apple. The brown layer is the caramel and tastes just like a Milk Maid. The apple layer – blech! It tastes like candied apple, but really artificially and unappetizingly so. There’s already something a little eerie about the fake taste of a candied apple; the further candy imitation of that is unbearable. Candy corn is already sweet as it is, and the apple just takes it too far into the realm of fake sweetness.

Thankfully, the caramel candy corn was much better and was actually enjoyable. The brown layer was the same caramel flavor as that of the caramel apple, only the caramel version didn’t have the apple layer to mess up the flavors. I think the rest of the caramel corn (the yellow and white) were standard sugary normal candy corn flavored. I like how well the candy corn evoked the caramel flavor of a Milk Maid caramel.

An O for the caramel apple and an OM for the caramel. I think the caramel corn may be a good addition to Brach’s autumn mix (candy corn, Indian corn, and mellowcreme pumpkins).

November 26, 2007 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

That Popcorn Place Decadent Gourmet Popcorn

Earlier this week, my friend Cassie took me to That Popcorn Place on the downtown Drag near UT. What a wonderful food find! They’ve got dozens and dozens of flavors of popcorn, from the savory (ranch, cajun, sour cream and onion, bacon and cheese) to the candied (caramel, vanilla, orange) to the decadent gourmet (s’mores, cookies and cream, dark chocolate), and oh man are they good!

In accordance with Austin’s Keep Austin Weird philosophy, That Popcorn Place is a literal mom and pop operation. Mark, the “Pop” of the business, was in the shop when we stopped by, and he’s the most gregarious proprietor I’ve ever had the pleasure to come across. He gladly answered all of my questions about the shop and the popcorn and was incredibly generous with the free samples (the portions of which were also generous). In fact, I had to stop him from bringing out even more flavors for us to try because I couldn’t finish it all. I think if we had asked, he would have let me taste every one of his 50+ flavors. Believe me, I felt bad about turning down free samples and leaving popcorn behind on the counter.

I walked out with a small sized (about 9 cups) mix of some of their savory flavors (ranch, loaded potato, and cajun) and a snack sized (about 3 cups) bag of three of their decadent gourmet flavors: s’mores, dark chocolate, and cinnamon roll. Each bag was only $4.50 (the decadent gourmet is more expensive because it’s loaded with chocolate), a popcorn steal. For the record, the snack sized bag was packed full to the brim when I bought it; I ate a bunch on the way home because I just couldn’t resist.

As you can probably guess, I absolutely loved the decadent gourmet popcorn. I tried the cookies and cream (vanilla popcorn tumbled with oreo pieces) in the store and didn’t like it enough to buy it, but even that was good enough for me to polish off my handful of free sample. I ended up choosing cinnamon roll because Mark said that was his favorite and the one he was most proud of, s’mores because the three other customers in the store at the time ordered it, so we figured it had to be good, and dark because Cassie wanted to try it. Mark was wonderful about letting us mix flavors in the bag, so don’t be afraid to ask for that if you’re able to visit them in person. And if you order online, it couldn’t hurt to try and ask for that same accommodation. Or you could just buy a bag of each flavor – it’s worth it!

The cinnamon roll is their caramel bliss popcorn with a hint of cinnamon and drizzled in white chocolate. It has just the right touch of cinnamon – strong enough to make its presence known but not so strong that it overpowers the caramel. The white chocolate is a great evocation of cinnamon roll icing, and it’s good quality chocolate too. The caramel layer is perfect – thick enough to get stuck in your teeth a little, but no so thick that it stays stuck there. The thinness of the caramel layer also gives the popcorn a little bit of a chew and a crunch without making it difficult to bite down, like some other caramel popcorn gets.

The s’mores was their caramel popcorn plus mini marshmallows, graham cracker crumbs, and a heavy drizzle of milk chocolate. At first I thought the mini marshmallows were just bits of white chocolate, but nope, actual marshmallow bits. The texture was dry and almost styrofoamy, but the pieces were too tiny for the texture to be noticeable unless you very carefully nibbled apart a marshmallow bit on its own, and the marshmallow taste was spot on. I couldn’t really taste the graham cracker crumbs through the heavy chocolate coating, but every once in a while I’d get a large piece of cracker, and then I could taste it. It couldn’t hurt for them to use larger bits of graham cracker. Finally, the milk chocolate was really good – sweet, smooth, and creamy. I wish I’d thought to ask Mark what brand of chocolate they used.

We asked Mark to throw in just a few pieces of dark, and I didn’t really notice any in our bag. I think that’s because the milk chocolate of the s’mores was so nice that it approaches what some companies try to pass off as dark, because the sweetness of the caramel probably undid the lower sugar content of dark chocolate’s flavor, and because I tore through my bag of popcorn pretty quickly. An enthusiastic ZOMG!!! for the lot. Extra exclamation points for top notch customer service.

I hope That Popcorn Place will be open on Saturday so I can buy more to bring back to New Haven with me. If not, they’ll be one of the first places I visit when I’m home for winter break. They also offer online ordering, though it means missing out on the in store experience! I may resort to that if I need a popcorn fix in the spring semester. The shipping and handling gets a little pricey, but the popcorn is so well-priced that I think I could afford the splurge. They also have cute gift tin options, and I personally would be delighted to receive this popcorn as a gift.

In case you’re wondering, the savory flavors were incredibly, ZOMG!-worthily delicious too. I won’t write about them here because they’re not candy-related, but they’re gooooood, and you should buy some. I especially like the cajun, and the dill pickle is weirdly intriguing.

November 23, 2007 at 8:00 am 1 comment

Russell Stover Caramel & Marshmallow Pumpkin

I’m a college student, and it’s practically my job to procrastinate. Which is why I’m allowed to post reviews of Halloween candy during Thanksgiving week. I actually have a few more pumpkins and a ghost waiting for reviews as well, but I left them at school and haven’t tasted them yet. After all, candy is candy is candy, and I’ll bet this Russell Stover Caramel & Marshmallow Pumpkin tastes just like a Russell Stover Caramel & Marshmallow turkey or Santa or Christmas tree or holiday bell or whatever they sell it as after Halloween.

I was surprised at how tasty this pumpkin was. It was covered in milk chocolate that was nothing special, but it wasn’t fake chocolate, a definite plus. The marshmallow was soft and fluffy, and not too gooey or sticky or dense. The caramel had a great texture to it was well, with a great level of chew and stickiness. It wasn’t as dusky as the caramel in a scotchmallow, but it matched the vanilla marshmallow well.

For the price and the taste, I give this an OM. I wish I’d bought more of this cheap and adequate approximation of a See’s Scotchmallow!

November 21, 2007 at 8:00 am 2 comments

Cocoa Deli

I’m kicking myself for somehow neglecting to take a picture of these guys whole, outside of the wrapper. A shame because these Cocoa Deli pops look much better than they taste – like cute little fudgsicles! I liked that the popsicle stick was made of plastic, a nice detail.

The wrappers definitely try to play up the Belgian chocolate angle. The term “Belgian chocolate” carries some cachet with it, but this candy showed that Belgian does not always equal good.

According to the wrapper, the Belgian milk chocolate fudge popsicle (what a mouthful!) is Belgian milk chocolate filled with layers of chocolate truffle (23%), chocolate truffle (14%), and cocoa pieces (0.8%). That last percentage confused me. I thought the percentages were cocoa percentages in the types of chocolate truffle, but the cocoa pieces percentage seems to refer to the percentage of popsicle compilation.

Either way, it doesn’t really matter, as the popsicle (by the way, that’s what the chocolate is referred to as on the nutrition facts panel. Serving size: One popsicle) tastes pretty much the same all the way through. A careful examination shows a thin layer of darker chocolate truffle to distinguish the two types visually, but it all tastes the same to me. It’s super rich and creamy (and also really high in saturated fat) with a soft chocolate filling in a similarly soft chocolate shell. I couldn’t taste or feel any cocao nibs in the popsicle, but 0.8% is tiny, so I guess that’s understandable. The whole thing basically just tasted of sweet and of chocolate and was overwhelmingly cloying.

The Belgian chocolate caramel crunch truffle popsicle was also too rich and too sweet. The wrapper describes it as layers of chocolate truffle (13%) containing butter toffee pieces (1%) and cocoa cookie (5%) and a caramel flavor truffle (19%).

The caramel layer is lighter in color than the chocolate truffle of the fudge pop. It smells slightly duskier but doesn’t taste like caramel at all. No burnt sugar notes, just an overwhelmingly rich sweetness. Spherical little balls of cookie stud the truffle. They’re light golden brown in color and don’t look or taste like they’re made of chocolate, even though the wrapper says that it’s a cocoa cookie. Finally, there are tiny grains of toffee in the thin upper layer of chocolate truffle, but I had to really look for them to be able to identify them. I don’t think the casual popsicle eater would have noticed their presence.

These things cost only $1 a pop, and you get what you pay for. They’re cute, but they’re way too rich and don’t taste very good, unless you like to inundate your tastebuds with sugar. An O.

October 17, 2007 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

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