Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mellocreme Pumpkin Love

Happy Halloween!

Halloween brings visions of candy corn. Now, they say people have either a love or hate relationship with candy corn. This doesn't apply to me. I have a 'meh' relationship with candy corn. I eat it, I like it, but I don't buy it for myself.

Mellocreme pumpkins, on the other hand, are a different story.

I'm almost ashamed to admit how much I look forward to these sugary morsels each year. Yes, they are far too sweet. But to me, it's about more than taste. Mellocreme pumpkins indicate the change of the season. Fall is my absolute favorite season, so this is quite welcome. I think the pumpkins are perfect for Halloween through Thanksgiving, though most people don't associate them with the latter.

I love the mellocreme pumpkin, and I love eating them. Heck, they get a straight up 10.

But are they truly that tasty? Well, I have to be honest with myself this year. No, they are not. I'd probably give them a 5 or 6. I know this because I have 'meh' feelings toward mellocremes that aren't orange pumpkins. I don't love mellocremes in the form of Valentine hearts or Christmas trees. I know they are all the same, but in my head, the pumpkins are 10 times better.

I love the mellocreme pumpkin because of what is represents to me: fall and the upcoming holidays. And I'm okay with that. I won't be ashamed anymore!

Rating: Priceless.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Russell Stover Halloween

Buzzard Egg
This is a marshmallow egg covered in milk chocolate. I didn't quite realize what it was until I got home. An egg? For Halloween? Did they decide to slap a buzzard on leftover Easter stock and call it Halloween candy?

Silliness aside, I actually like the packaging. The wrapper is a nice blackened purple/silver color and the buzzard looks sharp. I'm rather afraid of taking her egg.

The chocolate layer was very thin... and very sweet. The marshmallow was fluffy, soft, sticky... and very sweet. Yes, the whole thing was very, very sweet. Throat-burningly so. But that's okay with me; I like very sweet. I was also very pleased with the freshness of the marshmallow.

At 110 calories, this is a nice treat that I don't have to feel guilty about. I'd be interested in a dark chocolate version to cut some of the sweetness.

Rating: 6/10

Caramel Pumpkin
The caramel is chewy, with a nice stretch – I pulled it in half and the caramel stretched for a long time. However, it's lacking in taste. It's not buttery, salty, burnt, or even particularly sweet. It's not bad, but it's distinctly lackluster.

Rating: 5/10

Caramel & Marshmallow Pumpkin
I suppose this is the love child of the marshmallow egg and caramel pumpkin. Now, I know I just knocked the caramel pumpkin, but I wonder if my taste buds were off that day because the caramel here is much better. It's buttery, but it would benefit from some saltiness. The marshmallow adds sweetness and interesting texture.

Rating: 6/10

Coconut Cream Pumpkin
My first thought was, 'Wow, what a poor misshapen pumpkin.' While the other two pumpkins actually resembled pumpkins, this looked much more like a hockey puck. It seemed very heavy and solid to me, almost like a chocolate covered cookie (or hockey puck). It's not pretty, but I can forgive that.

The middle didn't strike me as cream, but more like fluffy, sticky icing. I'm not sure that the cream is actually coconut flavored. It tasted mostly of vanilla, but there were pieces of coconut throughout. Not so much that it had that stringy texture, but enough to give it a nice flavor. Coconut isn't a preferred flavor of mine, but I liked this.

Rating: 7/10

Overall, I think these would be nice additions the special Halloween bags you might make for your kids/grandkids/other special kids in your life. They are also a nice, cheap treat to pick up for yourself. They are fresh and come in a greater variety than what I've reviewed here (orange marshmallow, strawberry creme, etc.).

The calorie count is much lower than a regular candy bar. The Buzzard Egg has 110 calories; the Caramel Pumpkin has 160; the Caramel Marshmallow Pumpkin has 120; the Coconut Creme Pumpkin has 150.

Brand: Russell Stover
Store: Walgreens
Price: $0.39 each

Monday, October 29, 2007

Snickers Creme Pumpkin

I wasn't sure what to expect from the Snickers Creme Pumpkin. When I think of creme/cream in candy, my first thought is of something sweet and milky. My second thought is of something with a custard-like consistency.

But in the world of Snickers, creme apparently means “no nougat.” The Snickers Creme Pumpkin is just caramel and peanuts covered with milk chocolate; the regular nougat is missing. I don't have a regular Snickers to compare it to, but the caramel seems slightly runnier than usual; perhaps this contributes to the creme bit.

Aside from the name, I really liked the Snickers Creme Pumpkin. It was cute, like a tall, slim Jack-o-lantern. All of the flavors come though, especially the peanuts. There aren't a terrible lot of them, but the nutty and salty flavors are very clear. It's almost like peanut flavored caramel. I don't miss the nougat, but I haven't had an actual Snickers in some time, so I can't say how it compares.

I like the scaled down size, so I hope they introduce something similar for the other candy holidays. One reason I don't eat Snickers often is because it's just too much. It's nice to be able to pick this up. I might try to grab a few more if they go on sale after Halloween.

I am a bit annoyed that the nutrition facts aren't printed on the wrapper. I sent an email requesting the information, but it's been over a week and I haven't heard back from them. Boo Snickers!

Other than that, this was pretty darn tasty.

Rating: 8/10

Name: Snickers Creme Pumpkin
Brand: Mars
Store: Walgreens
Price: $0.50

Friday, October 26, 2007

The girl bakes! Chocolate Kahlua Cheesecake

Here is what I hope to be a weekly installment to the blog: The girl bakes! I've mentioned that I don't eat a lot of prepackaged snacks, and that is partly because I've always made my own. I've been baking since I was a kid, but it's always been basic things like cookies, brownies, and box-mix cakes. Over the past year, however, I've been getting more adventurous. Today's edition of The girl bakes! covers my first cheesecake: Chocolate Kahlua.

I used a ready-made graham cracker crust because we happened to have one, and I didn't have the ingredients to make one from scratch. I adapted the filling recipe from two different recipes that I found in an old cookbook. One recipe called for amaretto, but I decided to substitute Kahlua. Here's what I came up with:


16 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3 tbsp. Kahlua liqueur
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted


1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. Beat cream cheese, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth.

3. Add eggs one at a time, stirring just until combined. You don't want to over-beat, so I would do this by hand.

4. Stir in Kahlua and chocolate chips.

5. Pour mixture over crust and bake for approximately 35 minutes. I took it out when just the center 2-3 inches still appeared moist.

I didn't have any cream to whip, so I skipped the toppings. The cake is rich, dense, and smooth. The Kahlua flavor is there, but it isn't overpowering. I would actually prefer it to be a little stronger, but then, I really like Kahlua. The rest of my family enjoyed it as well.

I'm very pleased with the way this came out. I would definitely make it again, but next time I would make my own crust with either graham crackers or shortbread cookies. The ready-made crust was actually a bit too small, and I had to toss a little bit of the filling out. I'll also top this with some whipped cream next time.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

3 Musketeers Mint

I'll be honest: I didn't expect to like this. For one, I don't care for the original 3 Musketeers. Two, I didn't think this could measure up to the York Peppermint Pattie, which I'm a big fan of. However, I'm happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised by this bar.

The 3 Musketeers Mint is whipped-up minty candy covered in a thin layer of dark chocolate. Like the original 3 Musketeers, this is advertised as a 'lighter' candy option. According to the wrapper, it's “a lighter way to enjoy mint chocolate.” With 150 calories and 5g of fat, I'd say that's a fair assessment. Better yet, this isn't a single bar, but two smaller bars, which makes it perfect for sharing or portion control. One smaller bar has only 75 calories, a pretty guiltless treat. I like it when a candy lives up to its claim.

The mint is sweet and fluffy. The texture reminds me of a dense marshmallow. The mint flavor is pretty mild, much less intense than a York Pattie. Whether that's good or bad depends on your taste. Now, what's odd about this bar is the aftertaste... I can only describe it as salty. It's strange, but I rather like it.

I ate one of the bars when I was in the need of a evening candy-fix, and it was surprisingly satisfying. I decided to put the other half in the freezer overnight. When I pulled it out the next day I found quite a treat. Of course, mint and cold work well together. I would eat these frozen fairly often over the summer.

While this doesn't overtake the York Pattie in my book, I can see myself alternating between the two.

Rating: 7/10

Name: 3 Musketeers Mint
Brand: Mars
Store: Walgreens
Price: $0.69

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Twix PB

The Twix PB is a chocolate cookie topped with peanut butter and coated with milk chocolate. It sounds good – a chocolate covered peanut butter cookie – but I feel the three elements have trouble working together.

The cookie is bland. It adds a nice crunch to the bar, but there's little going on in the flavor department. The chocolate coating doesn't add much either. It cuts into the peanut butter with a little sweetness, but it's not providing that
chocolate/peanut butter combination I adore.

In fact, all I'm really getting here is peanut butter. It's good, although perhaps a little on the oily side. It's slightly salty with a
grainy texture, which I like. But I want more than just decent peanut butter from this bar. While I like the crunch the cookie adds, I can get the same effect by spreading some PB on a graham cracker.

In the end, I'm spoiled by the many superior peanut butter products out there, and this bar just can't compete. But if you're a fan of Twix or peanut butter, I still suggest giving it a try. It's not a bad bar (I did eat it!); it's just not something I'll reach for again.

Perhaps a dark chocolate coating would have added more chocolate flavor?

Rating: 5/10

Name: Twix PB
Brand: Mars
Store: Walgreens
Price: $0.69

Monday, October 22, 2007

Frey Cafe and Cacao

I noticed the Frey Supreme line of chocolate bars in the Target aisles a while back, but I've only just got around to trying them. They come in a wide range of flavors. I picked up the Cafe and Cacao, and I was going to get the Tiramisu, but decided to have some fun with the Hot Chili Pepper instead. I'll have a review of that one later.

The bars are 100 gram tablets. They are rather thin, which I think gives them a nice snap. They are split into 10 pieces, so it's easy to snap pieces off to share. A serving size is four squares (so 2.5 servings per tablet). One serving of the Cafe and Cacao is 210 calories.

The Cafe and Cacao is supposed to be "extra fine milk chocolate with coffee and crispy cocoa nibs." That's right up my alley; I love nibby bars and coffee flavor. So, naturally, I ripped this open as soon as I got into my car and ate half of it for lunch (healthy, I know). The rest of it disappeared over the course of the next day, so I'm writing this from memory. This also means that I don't have any pictures, which I'll try to include in the future.

The bar smells like a sweet hazelnut coffee, and upon checking the ingredients I see there are ground hazelnuts in there (another favorite of mine). The chocolate is sweet and milky with a fairly creamy texture. The coffee comes through, but not overwhelming so. It's definitely sweetened by the hazelnuts. I really enjoyed the texture of this bar. While the chocolate is creamy, the cacao nibs (and I suppose the ground hazelnuts) give it a nice crunch and an extra chocolate punch.

Now, I am biased towards this bar because it combines some of my favorite flavors, especially coffee, which I don't think is used enough in candy. So my final rating?

Rating: 8/10

Name: Cafe and Cacao
Brand: Frey
Store: Target
Price: $1.66

Mission Statement

So I like food. More specifically, I like sweets. I'm always on the lookout for new products and old favorites. This blog is where I'll share my opinion on whatever I'm currently snacking on. I'll probably devote most of the space the candy, but expect to see cookies, granola bars, cereals, and other snacks here too.

I do lean toward 'healthy' snacks. Now, I'm not picky about my candy, but I avoid prepackaged foods that contain things like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and trans fat. For this reason, I don't eat a lot of prepackaged foods, which is why much of this space will end up being devoted to candy. But I have found some healthy things that I'm excited to share with you guys.

I'll try to post fun, interesting things that are also affordable and easy to find. I'll include information on price and purchase location with each post.

I don't claim to be any sort of expert, and I'm sure my taste differs from many, but this should be fun nonetheless!