Posts filed under ‘marshmallow’

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.


January 7, 2008 at 8:00 am 1 comment

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

Hebert’s Fully Loaded – Rocky Road

Bar number 2 from the Hebert’s Fully Loaded lineup. The Rocky Road boasts “Rich Milk CHOCOLATE with Walnuts, Dark Chocolate & Marshmallow Pieces.” Thank goodness the wrapper for this one is less frenetic than that of the Dark Turtle.

Walnuts were a much better choice for a Fully Loaded bar than the pecan pralines of the Dark Turtle. While the sugary pralines overpowered the chocolate, the walnuts nicely complemented the sweet milk chocolate with their bland nuttiness and added a good textural mix.

The dark chocolate bits didn’t distinguish themselves in any way, and I didn’t make any note of marshmallow pieces in my blind tasting notes. Alicia tasted this bar and said that the marshmallow pieces were actually white chocolate. The milk chocolate base was pretty good quality, though nothing standout or exceptional. It actually came out of the wrapper looking pretty greasy but didn’t taste that way (thank goodness).

Like the other Hebert’s bar, I can see why this would be appealing, but again, it just doesn’t do anything for me. I just find it too busy, like it’s trying too hard. Another OM from me, another high rating from my friends: second place with a 3.86/5. I have two Hebert’s bars (Dark Apple Cider and Dark Margarita Lime) that I picked up after my chocolate party. I think they may be truffle bars, and I’m excited to taste them.

December 19, 2007 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Lula’s Chocolates – Aloha Rocky Road

I was so excited to receive this sample of Lula’s Chocolates’ Aloha Rocky Road. The wrapper says it contains “homemade, artisan marshmallows”, “Hawaiian, house-roasted macadamia nuts”, and “premium milk chocolate”. Doesn’t that just sound delectable? I like the Hawaiian twist on your traditional rocky road with the addition of macadamia nuts in place of almonds or walnuts.

The chocolate comes in one giant, chocolate-covered slab. The packaging is simple, yet functional (unlike the Sweet Sweet Confections S’mores Bars) – the cellophane was sturdy and the package opened easily. Surprisingly enough, the bar arrived fairly intact – only a few marshmallow pieces on the edges were slightly smushed, and even then barely noticeably so. I also liked how the Lula’s logo looked summery and Hawaiian.

I appreciate the quality of the ingredients that went into this treat. The marshmallows are good – they’re fluffy and not overly sweet but definitely not bland either. The chocolate is good quality as well. It has a nice texture, a great snap, and a smooth mouthfeel, and though it was milk, I didn’t find it too sweet at all. The macadamia nuts were delicious as well, but really, it’s hard to go wrong with chocolate-covered macadamia nuts.

Tastewise, I think this bar got everything right. It was delicious, and the lucky friends I shared it with agreed. However, I didn’t like how it came in one giant slab. It was hard to eat and share, as it didn’t break into pieces easily. Should I pick up the entire bar and bite off a chunk? Should I try to break it apart with my hands? I went with the latter, which was difficult and messy. Also, the marshmallow and macadamia nut pieces are haphazardly distributed throughout the bar, and it’s hard to get a taste of both in the same bite. It was more like I was eating chocolate covered marshmallows and chocolate covered macadamia nuts that just happened to be fused together.

I think the concept could be improved by changing the presentation. Why not make individually wrapped, bite-sized pieces of Aloha Rocky Road – one cube of marshmallow topped by a roasted macadamia nut, all coated in chocolate? That would make them easy to share and easy to eat. Of course, it would be harder to pack, but I think it would be an improvement. An OM for the way it is now; an OMG if it wasn’t so messy.

November 28, 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

Sweet Sweet Confections S’mores Bars

Is there anyone who doesn’t like s’mores? To me, there are few things better than this simple treat of gooey marshmallow, crunchy graham cracker, and sweet, melted chocolate. It’s oozy, it’s sticky, it’s messy, and it’s delicious.

Because I love s’mores, I was super excited to try Sweet Sweet Confectionss’mores bars that the company sent. Handmade graham crackers and marshmallows dipped in chocolate? What’s not to love?

While the idea is great, I’m afraid I found fault with Sweet Sweet Confections’ execution of their concept.

For starters, the packaging does not hold up well. While the bars look gorgeous on their website, they arrived all smushed together, even in their padded mailer. I should note that these bars were first mailed to a Well Fed editor, who then mailed them to me. However, Dom on Chocablog had the same issue, and Michelle on Candy Addict’s photo also looks nothing like the advertised version. I think these bars need something a little sturdier than a cellophane bag. When I tried to open it at the top, the whole bag split apart, like cellophane is wont to do, which was super annoying, as it meant I no longer had a bag to keep the bars in.

The bars themselves are slightly smaller than credit card-sized. Taste-wise, they were good but not great. I expected the graham cracker to be crunchy like, well, a graham cracker. Instead it was soft and crumbly, like a cookie or a really dense cake. While I prefer a more cinnamon/honey tinge to my graham crackers, I enjoyed the graham “cracker” layer. The chocolate coating was good and smelled incredibly chocolatey. It wasn’t high end chocolate or anything like that, but it was real chocolate, and it did it’s job. My biggest beef was with the marshmallow. Marshmallows should be either fluffy and soft or oozy and sticky, not dense and chewy. While eating this bar was far cleaner than eating a real s’more, the marshmallow’s texture just left something lacking.

I was impressed by the ingredients of the s’mores bar. With the exception of invertase as the final chocolate ingredient, I can pronounce and identify everything that went into these bars. I definitely believe that they’re handmade since the ingredient list is so preservative and additive free.

I found these bars to be good, but I wouldn’t pay $4 for the pouch of three. The different flavors and textures balanced well, but the bars were a little too sweet (though my tastes skew towards the dark chocolate end). A couple of my friends tried the bars and really liked them, but they also agreed that $4 for three bars was too much. If the bars were a little more high end – nicer packaging, nicer presentation, and better chocolate – they would be worth shelling out even more than $4 for because they could then be billed as a gourmet treat. In the state that the s’mores bars currently are in, I’d rather spend my $4 on a bag of marshmallows, a box of graham crackers, and a nice bar of dark chocolate and make my own s’mores. Only an O, I’m afraid.

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

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