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chocolate

Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Bites – S’mores

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Hey everyone! I hope you had a safe weekend if celebrating the 4th of July is your thing! When I think of summer, making s’mores is definitely something that comes to mind. Although I am not really one to go outside, let alone sit by a campfire, I make way more s’mores in the winter in front of my fireplace. Want to take your s’mores to the next level? Instead of using a regular ole piece of chocolate, use a Reeses thin instead, Wowee! so good!

Jet-Puffed released three flavors of these marshmallows recently, S’mores, Coconut, and Birthday Cake – today we will be starting with the summer classic, S’mores. Upon opening the bag, I was immediately greeted with intense sweet smelling aromas of chocolate and graham cracker. The mallows are the size of regular marshmallows that you would buy (not the jumbos) in the bag, about 16 per bag. Honestly I wish regular marshmallows came in a bag like this instead of the plastic ones as they are not resealable and then you have to put them in a plastic bag and if you take too much air out, they turn into a mega-mallow. It’s a whole ordeal that you can clearly tell that I have struggled with before.

Despite the smell, the graham cracker flavor is pretty underwhelming. It is only present as a sandy texture on the outside, and is instantly overtaken by the flavor of the chocolate and marshmallow. I personally love graham crackers, and will eat them plain, so I was a little bummed that the flavor was so muted. I also felt that having a bit of a crunchy texture would have been nice with these. These reminded me a bit of chocolate covered gummy bears, which I do not like, mostly because it’s almost like mixing oil and water. The instant you take a bite, you are fighting an epic battle in your mouth to make the two flavors and textures work, and they just… don’t.

The chocolate immediately crumbles if you don’t pop the whole marshmallow in your mouth. I find that the marshmallow way overpowered all the other flavors, just from sheer volume.

I first tried these the other day because I was desperate for something chocolate-y that wasn’t some of the 80-something-percent dark chocolate Dove chocolate that I have. I have spent the last couple days thinking about how I would rework these and have come up with the following possible solutions.

Solution #1: bigger graham cracker chunks. I find the graham flavor to the wildly lacking, by having more than just a fine dust, I think it would help balance the flavors out a bit.
Solution #2: a graham cracker flavored marshmallow covered in chocolate.
Solution #3: a graham cracker flavored white chocolate coating over a chocolate marshmallow.

Overall, I think these are good, not great. I think they can be retooled a little to really dial in the s’mores flavor. I liked these, but I would not buy them again.

Found at Walmart

July 5, 2021
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Blue Bunny Load’d Cones – Bunny Tracks

Posted in Ice Cream by

Happy Sunday y’all! Somehow it’s already October – this quarantine creep has definitely turned into every day just blurring together. I must admit, I committed the biggest food blogger sin when I bought these Blue Bunny Load’d Cones… I ate all of them without taking a single picture of what they actually look like. I KNOW, I KNOW, you’d think after 8 years off and on of this place that I would know better, but sometimes you just find yourself eating an ice cream cone in the middle of the night, 4 times over. I am not proud, but here we are.

I will admit, I bout these in lieu of buying the box of Drumsticks I had my eye on. It is pretty rare that I buy actual dairy ice cream, so when I do, I usually tend to go for something that I know will be worth the possible pain later but with 2X the mix-ins of two of my favorite things together (chocolate and peanuts (and/or peanut butter) how could I resist?

I don’t know if this is true of Blue Bunny ice cream or if it was my freezer, but this dessert never really firmed up for me. I like that the ice cream was soft, but in this instance, it was a little too soft for my liking. I also found the wrapper frustrating because some of the ice cream went along with once removed, though don’t worry, I licked it off like the animal that I am.

The ice cream is soft and creamy, with a really nice rich vanilla flavor. The blend of chocolate, peanuts, and caramel was well balanced down to the last bite. The only thing that I would change would be to make the peanut halves salty. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I really feel a tiny bit of salt would have really elevated the flavor on this to the next level. Plain peanuts always read cheap filler to me, so having plain peanuts sprinkled in just don’t really do it for me.

Overall I thought these were pretty tasty but if the soft ice cream is part of the package and not a me problem, be sure to eat these quickly once removed from the freezer or you will have a mess on your hands, literally.

Found at Walmart

October 4, 2020
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Milky Way – Salted Caramel

Posted in Candy by

Is it care-ah-mel or car-mell? Either way you say it, this candy bar isn’t new – however it is new to me. Rarely do I fall for impulse buys at the register but something in my brain said “Erin, if you don’t get this candy bar, you will be very mad at yourself later.” At least, that’s how I remember it happening. I don’t frequently buy candy bars, because well, I eat them, and I am trying to cut back on the ole L Bs if you know what I mean.

If I had to choose a favorite candy bar, it would be a toss up between Milky Way and PayDay. Honestly, it would be Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups but are those really a candy bar? And if I really had my choice, I would go with a Milky Way Midnight – the perfect balance of bitter dark chocolate, sweet mallow and caramel. I have always said that I have a sweet tooth, but is it possible to have a salt… tooth too? Sweet and salty is a match made in heaven.

The familiar chocolate exterior of a regular Milky Way greets you when you bite into this bar, in addition to the soft but not messy caramel and nougat. I typically find things like salted caramel usually lacking when it comes to the salt department. The salt flavor is usually so faint that if you hadn’t told me it was there to begin with, I probably would not have noticed. This is not true for this candy bar. You actually get the crunch of the salt, however the bar is not gritty. Its salty, but not too salty.

The only way that I can see an improvement with these would be if they made a Midnight version. Dark chocolate plus a velvety salted caramel and nougat would be a match made in snack food paradise. If you spot these, definitely pick one up if sweet and salty is your jam.

Found at Walmart

July 27, 2020
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Nature Valley – Almond Butter Chocolate Nut Bars

Posted in Nuts, Snack Bars by

Good Morning Friends – I hope everyone had a great weekend!

I spent some time at work and my Mom came down for a couple days and hung out with me which is always a good time. We ate too much food, I taught her how to use an industrial embroidery machine, worked on our family tree, and wandered around a graveyard by my house, you know, like you do.

Today I am writing you from my local bagel haunt (I had to keep the theme going – I apologize) and just witnessed a woman FLIP HER WIG about the amount of cream cheese that was put on her bagel and that it wasn’t applied in an even fashion. This place is notorious for putting a lot of cream cheese and this woman was not having it. She scraped a bunch of it off with a spoon at the coffee bar and proceeded to wave around the spoon of cream cheese at the employee making coffee talking about how unacceptable it was that there was so much cream cheese and how it was applied sloppy. Lady. Please. Its a 2 dollar bagel, there are other things in life to get worked up over – I can give you some examples if you need some help. OH BOY.

These bars are not that new – I have had them kicking around in my stash for a while now. I have a really bad habit of squirreling away food to review and then it just gets buried in the queue never to be eaten. I pretty much love anything that has chocolate involved so I thought that these would be a tasty treat.

I don’t know why but I keep trying to convince myself that I am into almond butter. I don’t hate it but man is it bland. I like almonds in their true form, almond milk, almonds on stuff, but almond butter? Meh. The granola is soft and chewy, and you also get a nice helping of whole almonds as well as the chopped up ones. I have the same problem with these as I did with the cups – the chopped up pieces of almonds can transform into almond rocks, which totally feel like they could destroy your teeth at any given moment. Personally I did not really taste the chocolate very much because of EVERYTHING else going in this bar, but that is okay – it adds a subtle sweetness to the mix.

Overall these are pretty middle of the road for me. They are alright, but that’s about it. The flavor isn’t a knock out, and there aren’t really any parts of it that are memorable to me other than the almond rocks. I will probably finish the box (add them to my snack drawer at work for those moments were I am ready to eat my arm), but I probably would not buy these again. I like my granola bars to be a little more exciting (try the sweet and spicy ones – THOSE are yummy) and these are just too plain for me.

Found at Target

May 28, 2018
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Hostess Bake Shop – Chocolate Covered Twinkies

Posted in Bakery, Confectionaries by

Good Morning Friends – Happy Tuesday to you! My local Smart & Final Extra started carrying the Hostess Bake Shop items recently and I just had to scoop these up. I find the title Hostess Bake Shop a little redundant – because aren’t all the items that they make considered baked?

In this handy little package you will get 4 chocolate and sprinkle covered Twinkies. I am into this packaging visually, but as far as a single serve set up, it would be nice if they were packaged like normal Twinkies. I thought that it was a little dumb buying these because I have had a Chocodile – aren’t these essentially the same thing? Doing a little research for this post, I learned that Chocodiles were kind of a west coast only thing – who knew? I personally do not care for Chocodiles, call me a Twinkie purist. The chocolate to me tastes like a chocolate product, not actual chocolate. There is just something very off about the flavor to me. I do however like the addition of sprinkles, everything is better with sprinkles. Don’t believe me? I couldn’t find the sugar at my Mom’s house a few years ago and proceeded to use purple sugar crystal sprinkles to sweeten my cereal – truly magical.

The chocolate used on these Chocolate Covered Twinkies are different than what is used on a Chocodile. To me this is more like a true chocolate coating instead of a chocolate flavored coating. The Twinkie remains soft and spongy, the filling just how I remember. The sprinkles add a small bit of crunch to the whole bite and I like it. Overall, I enjoyed these. I don’t however see myself eating an entire tray before they get weird and stale, so that is a bit of a bummer due to the way they are packaged. I would recommend these to anyone that likes Twinkies but is also looking to satisfy that chocolate pang. Also if you were not a Chocodile fan like myself, you might just like these.

Found at Smart & Final Extra!

May 1, 2018
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S’mores Crunchers

Posted in Candy, Confectionaries by

Good Morning Friends! If there is one thing that I am familiar with, it is impulsive buys at the check lanes of various stores. We will come back to this.

I try to mix up where I write so that it doesn’t become stale (heh food reference) and today I am tapping away at a Starbucks near my apartment. I just watched a woman meet another woman, and she brought the other woman a large Ziplock bag of what I believe to be fresh parsley or clovers from her front yard – I can’t tell but it seems like a weird gift offering for a breakfast date at Starbucks. Strange.

Back to the check lanes, I did a stint as a cashier at Target before getting promoted to the Grocery Manager there and one thing I would often do when I didn’t have any customers was organize all the check lane candy. I still do this when I stand in line at other stores, it’s just a habit I have. I also used to organize all the register impulse items when I worked for Hot Topic, so I am familiar with what scheming is going on here. Get that one last dollar before you leave, and I fall for it every time if they post up something new there. Gum? Yes please. Mints? Put it on my bill! Candy? SOLD.

When I was checking out at Walmart recently (probably buying all the mug cakes mentioned in the previous post – I have no shame) I found these tucked away at the bottom of the check lane. From the picture they reminded me somewhat of Bunch-a-Crunch. Do they even still make that? Quick Google search – yes, yes they do.

These are packaged in the same way that they Reese’s Crunchers, Hershey’s Crunchers, Cookies n’ Cream, etc. are packaged – small bag, similar to a bag of peanuts that you would find at a gas station, that you tear open and dump the entire contents in your mouth at one time.

Let’s just come out and say it. This looks like dry food you would feed to an animal. Visually its not great. For some reason the chocolate looks like at some point it was melted and then came back to solid giving it that ghosty light color. I thought maybe I inflicted this from a tight grip on the package for too long, but after looking at a few other reviews it appears that I am not alone based on their pictures. Upon first bite I had two simultaneous reactions – WOW this is sweet, and WOW I think I might have just cracked a tooth.

Between having two different graham offerings (why?) and the hard “marshmallow” pieces, this snack is next level “cruncher”. With the abundance of graham pieces you can definitely taste that, but to me it does not taste like a true S’more. The chocolate encapsulates EVERYTHING, which in turn overpowers everything. I think I would have liked this better had they broken the components up ala Goldfish cracker S’mores. I would have also liked to have seen something more similar to a Lucky Charms mallow used instead of the mallow pebbles used.

To me, this would best be served on vanilla ice cream or something of that nature, but other than that, not something I would buy again. I am glad I opted for the smaller bag that way I don’t feel the need to pawn it off on my poor coworkers.

Found at Walmart

April 29, 2018
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Betty Crocker – Mug Treats – Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie

Posted in Bakery, Confectionaries by

Good Morning friends! I hope everyone is having a great Saturday morning. I started my day off going to some subpar garage sales looking at “another mans treasure” aka junk that people were hawking. Maybe I should hold a yard sale to sell off some of my junk food stash – Crazy Erin’s Junk Food Emporium – I am into it. OH or better yet how about a pop up cafe, that’s a thing right?

Anyways, Betty Crocker jumped on the mug cake game with 8 flavors (Duncan Hines has a robust 25 flavor offerings as of this review). Nothing brings out my inner Beanie Baby collector nostalgia like the hunt for all the flavors of a food. At this moment, I believe I have all the flavors but Blueberry Muffin. Let’s just start with the automatic leg up that Betty Crocker has, it included FROSTING. I think one of the most heard gripes from the Duncan Hines release was that the cakes were missing the best part, the frosting. They have since come out with single serve frosting packets to add to your mug creations but too little too late Duncan! (I’ll buy them all I am sure, who am I kidding).

I decided to start with to me, a classic flavor pairing. Something that I knew couldn’t go wrong – Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie.

Two improvements that I could see right out the gate are that 1) they print the microwave instructions on the packet and 2) they give you a fill line on the packet so you can use it to add the liquid portion. Upon looking at packets for other flavors, it appears that they have already started implementing point 1, but the second point would be major as I tend to bring these to work and do not have measuring utensils there – leaving me to eyeball it, which so far hasn’t yielded a dry or soupy disaster.

I prepped my brownie and began to give my peanut butter topping packet a massage in my hands. Protip – do this with the frostings/toppings, they will squeeze out the packet way easier. I patiently waited the one minute and change it took to zap my brownie, hoping that it would taste as good as a brownie should and immediately grabbed it out of the microwave. And immediately regretted that decision. And immediately seared off my fingerprints. After doing the pain dance in my kitchen I made work of liberating the peanut butter topping from its confining packet. In the picture on the box it shows a nice little dollop swirled on top and I attempted to recreate the image, but the peanut butter topping is just way too thick.

Learning from previous mistakes, I grabbed the cup (I didn’t use a mug with a handle, A REBEL I AM) with my shirt and made my way to the couch with my peanut buttery chocolately treat. Also, as I write this review, I had a total epiphany – shouldn’t these be called cup cakes? They are made in a cup. No one really says mug of coffee, they say cup, even though a mug is implied. Shouldn’t a cupcake be called a tincake? Because its made in a muffin tin? WOW. Okay. I like taking my cupcakes (tin cake?) and breaking them in half and putting the frosting side in the middle like a sandwich. It gives you a good frosting to cake ratio. Unfortunately with this current cup set up, all of the frosting is confined to the top unless you decide to mix it together and what kind of monster would do that (Me. It me.)

I was expecting the topping to be slightly sweet peanut butter like frosting, but I would argue that it is pure peanut butter. While I am okay with this, I am not really into eating melty peanut butter alone, so it is best enjoyed with the brownie portion. The brownie is moist, chocolately, and very tasty, and mixes well with the peanut butter on top. However, this treat is probably best enjoyed with a LARGE glass of milk or something similar to. The peanut butter is very thick and I felt like when you give a dog a lick of peanut butter and they struggle trying to eat the glob – it is a lot to swallow if you take a big bite.

Overall, I really enjoyed this treat and can see myself not only finishing off the box but buying it again. The only thing I might do in the future is core out the center after its been cooked with my spoon and infuse the brownie with the peanut butter so that by the time you reach the bottom you still have some topping left to enjoy with it.

Found at Walmart

April 28, 2018
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Krispy Kreme – Limited Time – Nutter Butter Donut & Chips Ahoy Donut

Good Morning everyone! Soooo… does anyone really enjoy going to meetings? When I started working many moons ago I discovered that meetings are the voicemail of office work. JUST TEXT ME THE DETAILS. The only good part about meetings are that they occasionally have food. I was tasked with procuring said food, mostly because I am the first person to the office every day and I have a company credit card (ayyyyye). Donuts were requested and the closest (and only?) donut shop to my work is a Krispy Kreme. I prefer Krispy Kreme’s sour cream donuts to their original glazed, but that’s just me.

I grabbed a dozen and one of the Nutter Butter donuts for myself, because let’s face it, peanut butter ANYTHING is probably going to be delicious – unless you are allergic, then deadly. BUT ANYWAYS. I dropped off the donuts in the conference room and retreated to my office to enjoy my tasty breakfast snack.

Let’s just start with that this donut was smaller than I thought it was going to be – but that was OK, I don’t need a donut the size of Texas to start my day. According to Krispy Kreme, this donut is dipped in peanut butter icing, topped with Nutter Butter crumbles, and drizzled with peanut butter icing. This sounds like a peanut butter lovers dream – except I was somehow completely underwhelmed with peanut butter flavoring. I liked the pieces on top, which gave it a nice bit of texture but overall this was hardly peanut buttery at all. I think they really could have knocked it out of the park if they had oped for a peanut butter flavored cream instead of peanut butter flavored glaze. I would totally pass on this donut again.

Fast forward roughly 7 hours and I have been running around back and forth from my office to my other desk in our 14,000 square foot warehouse – completely ignoring the hunger pangs that have been plaguing me all day since my Nutter Butter let down donut. I didn’t really have time to run out and grab something to eat and I remembered that there was nearly a full box of untouched donuts sitting in the conference room. I made the trek up the front of the building and grabbed the box, presenting it to my coworkers like some sort of donut deity and slyly took another donut for lunch. Do I need two donuts in one day? No. Did I eat two donuts in one day? Yes. Am I proud of it? In the immediate moment, yes in the long term, no. Introducing the Chips Ahoy chocolate chips donut. Doughnut?

Needless to say I was starving judging by this picture because I took a big ole bite before giving it a proper introduction. I will be the first to admit that Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies are pretty hit and miss for me. Sometimes i am really into them, other times they are a paltry attempt at satisfying a craving for fresh baked cookies. I was concerned that the cookie on top would break my two front teeth but it turns out, that baby is a soft bake. Nice job guys. I found this donut rather delicious. The cookie dough cream on the inside with the dark chocolate and cookie on top really hit the spot. I would definitely eat one of these again.

The only donut of the limited time trio that I did not get to try was the Oreo cookies and cream, but let’s be real – I think we can imagine what that bad boy tastes like and the only people that wanted that donut were the people that voted for the cookies and cream Oreos that were released a while back.

April 23, 2018
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M&M’s – Orange Vanilla Cream

Posted in Candy, Confectionaries by

When I see rumblings of a new product on the internet I never really get my hopes up of getting it any time soon. For some reason, Sacramento tends to be the snack food black hole and it takes us weeks if not months sometimes to get things that people in other states get on release dates. I saw these posted yesterday online and thought I would give it a shot, like I always do, and see if I could track them down.

I hoped in my car and made my way to the nearest Dollar General, which is where the confirmed sighting was said to be. There is however no confirmation that these are a Dollar General exclusive (like the Chicken flavored ramen Pringles, which I have still yet to try!) but I thought I would start with the last known location. I made my way inside and low and behold, an entire display of these bad boys greeted me, AT THE DOOR. YESSSSSS. I finished up my other errand and made my way back home.

Orange Creamsicles were a staple in my house growing up. Between those, the Mickey Mouse shaped chocolate coated vanilla ice cream bars, and quarts of mint chip ice cream, we were stacked in the ice cream department. There was something so refreshing about an Orange Creamsicle on a hot day. For some reason, the older I got, the more I moved away from buying them, and as I got even older, I became lactose intolerant, so I never get to enjoy them. My hopes were that these M&M’s would bring back that childhood memory that I have not thought of in so long.

On first impression, I was sort of shocked how bright these were. I believe them to be the same color as the regular orange M&M’s but I think the stark contrast against the white M&M’s really made them stand out. They almost seemed dayglow orange. I could probably stop traffic with them.

I think one thing that would have been fun visually would be if they stamped the orange candies with outlines of an orange slice. Of course that doesn’t change anything about the candy whatsoever, it would be nice to have something fun to set them apart from regular ole M&M’s.

I grabbed a small handful, and ate one at a time. I was ready for artificial orange taste overload, but was pleasantly surprised. I was instantly transported back to my childhood with the flavor of these and I really feel that they completely nailed the ratio of vanilla and orange. The two flavors work well in unison and one does not overpower the other. The orange flavor does not taste like a household cleaner which sometimes happens when you get citrus flavored candies. It is both tart and sweet with vanilla undertones. Normally I am not really a fan of white chocolate, but I like these. One thing that I plan on doing is putting some in the fridge to see how they taste cold, as I really think that will give the full effect of having an orange cream ice cream.

For those of you who like orange flavored things, or like orange creamsicles but cannot eat them due to the same lame affliction of lactose intolerance like I have, I would totally recommend these. I hope they also consider coming out with an chocolate orange version as I think that would be absolutely delicious (especially if they do dark chocolate, YUM). These were totally worth the drive across town and I could see myself buying another bag if they stick around longer than a few weeks.

Found at Dollar General

April 14, 2018
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Limited Edition – Peeps Neopolitan

Posted in Candy, Confectionaries by

Let’s start this off for those keeping score (tabs?) I did get tomato soup with a sourdough bread bowl for dinner last night and it was everything I ever dreamed of. Anyways. I was craving something chocolate at work and I searched my desk drawer high and low hoping that I had some tiny piece of chocolate tucked away for a day like today, but no luck. I remembered that I had these Peeps tucked away in my filing basket, don’t ask, and that while they are not entirely chocolate, they were partially chocolate and in a crisis, that will do.

You’d think I had enough with the Mystery Peeps, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

I purchased these a while back when the Easter stuff started initially setting in stores. I don’t really recall liking anything Neopolitan as I don’t really fancy flavors mixing together. I am also of the camp where I don’t enjoy my food in general touching. While I think that strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate all compliment each other, I feel that they have a time and a place? Want to know if you have strong feelings towards a flavor, discover yourself by writing a food blog.

 

I’ll start with that the pink is kind of a dusty pink, not the pink you are programmed to think of when you think of a pink Peep. Visually not my favorite thing. They are dipped in white chocolate and have a milk chocolate center. I personally did not care of the mixture of textures between the hardened white chocolate and the marshmallow portion. I thought that the milk chocolate was very underwhelming and as a total bite, I thought these were a total dud. I actually wish someone could have recorded my face standing at my desk when I abandoned all shame and took a gigantic bite only to be completely not satisfied with my life choices.

 

Maybe Neopolitan is not my jam, maybe these are just not that great, but personally I was not a fan. I only ate one before returning the remaining two chicks to their plastic-y home, probably to be pawned off on an unsuspecting coworker. I think I would have probably enjoyed these more if they were layered flavors of mallow like a true Neopolitan treat vs biting into a fluffy little mallow with chocolaty innards which if you didn’t know what you were in for, you would have thought they caught this mallow after a Thanksgiving feast. If you get that SUPER vague reference, we should be best friends.

April 3, 2018
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