Each time the Reese’s Dark Peanut Butter Cups come out as a limited edition, I’ve always missed them. One of the original rounds, and you can see the wrapper on Mike’s Candy Wrapper Page here, and as a part of the Dark Knight movie release last summer (I was only able to find the milk chocolate ones). I’m sure there were other released that I’m missing, but most of them came out at a time when I wasn’t paying much attention to candy. Crazy, I know.
I only knew they were on shelves again by first finding them on display at my local Wawa and then seeing Cybele’s review of them not even thirty minutes later.
The package design is interesting because looks like a RPBC, as it keeps the same colors and yet it’s different enough to know it’s not the normal kind. Aside from the word “DARK” printed on the front in white, I don’t know what stood out to tell me this was a different candy beast. Telepathic candy vibes perhaps?
Out of the wrapper, the cups smell awesome and similar to the regular RPBC. I do get notes of something darker, more roasted and less sweet. The cups have one of those hard paper trays to sit on to protect them, and it has a game piece on it telling me I didn’t win (the wrapper has a contest on the front as a part of some promo). Which is sad cause I could use $2,500,000. The cups themselves are much darker in appearance and the chocolate is a nice deep dark reddish brown. I glance at the ingredients list to see there’s milk solids in here, which always confuses me as to why companies put them in dark chocolate. Is it cost effective? More shelf stable? Note to self: I need to look that up.
Handling the cups, they’re very solid. No softness or sticking to my fingers like the normal kind. The bite is still soft and I was almost expecting a snap to the chocolate. The chocolate is still sweet, but much milder and more rich with a hint of coconut and strawberries. The peanut butter is the same as we all know and love: salty, roasted and very nutty with that signature texture. The milder chocolate and the peanut butter go so well together, as does the more rich texture of the chocolate. Luscious, just luscious.
It’s hard to say they’ve improved on the original RPBC, as it’s such a classic candy and has so much perfection about it. Still, I am just smitten with these and I find myself buying them again and again. I have a new candy crush.
Links Reese’s Website
My sister over in Queens is always telling me of these cool fellows she sees when she visits one of the many flea markets in Brooklyn. When she mentioned that one of them was Mast Brothers, my interest was immediately piqued and did my best to accompany her on one of her trips as soon as I could. I’ve heard of Mast Brothers before, and to be fair I had acquired these bars and had tasted them this past November. At the time there was only whispers about Mast Brothers on the internet, as they sold exclusively in Williamsburg, Brooklyn at the time. As of now they’re found in select shops in the Five Boroughs with no online sales yet.
In recent months they’ve gotten lots of attention, one of the most notable was a write up in the New York Times. The Mast Brothers started from humble beginnings that they remind faithful to. They’re New York City’s only bean to bar chocolate maker, with each bar hand crafted by Rick and Michael using cacao beans acquired from small family coops. Needless to say, their ideas and processes are certainly heartfelt and full of quality.
When I was at their table at the flea market. I was immediately torn between the selections. Firstly, they have a lot to offer, and it was difficult deciding on which to try to get a good idea of their range and flavors. The other factor is the packaging. It’s simply gorgeous. I felt the pull to try a bar that I wasn’t as interested in, tasting wise, because the paper that it was wrapped in was just too beautiful. That’s a good problem to pose to your customers.
I finally narrowed it down to three bars:
70% Dominican: Dark in color with a nice gloss and red undertones. The snap is hard and the break is clean with only intermittent air bubbles. I can tell there’s lots of cocoa butter here, as it melts easily under my fingers as I hold up a piece to examine. The bar smells very fruity: berries, tart cherries, cranberries, coffee, cocoa, vanilla, coconut. It breaks nicely when bitten into. The flavor starts off cool and dry with light cocoa notes, then blooms with a tartness of red berries and coffee. Those tastes linger and fade away to leave a somewhat tannic flavor of cocoa powder and cream. The aftertaste is extremely clean. Love it.
80% Fleur De Sel: This bar’s color is deep, dark brown with blue/gray undertones and a subtle sheen. The snap is hard with a nice solid break. The bar smells strongly of cocoa, coffee, caramel, and strawberries and coconut. The flavor is dry at first, but quickly opens to light flavors of cocoa, red fruits, coconut, and green coffee. I’m pleased as this chocolate is quite mild, especially for an 80%. There are only a few slight dry/tannic notes at the finish. Thankfully it’s not sour at all. The salt is barely noticeable, as I taste them more as grit in the bar. If I really pay attention, I do notice a little saltiness, but it’s not terribly noteworthy. A great bar.
60% Salt and Pepper: A nice medium brown color with only a very light gloss. There’s flecks of pepper and salt easily visible in the bar’s backside, and it’s really beautiful. The chocolate smells lightly of chocolate (of course!) with notes of berries and coffee. The bite is soft and the chocolate is very creamy and smooth. You notice the light saltiness right away, and it really compliments the milky, caramel flavors of the chocolate. The pepper shows later, about halfway through the flavor. It tastes sharp and floral, but not overly so, it makes a great, spicy addition to the chocolate. Again, I love this, as it’s unique and very tasty.
Needless to say. I’m impressed. I’m floored. This is some unique and tasty chocolate and I can’t wait to get my hands on more.
Links Mast Brother’s Website
Even on the East Coast, I have heard tales of the wonder and delight about the See’s Awesome Nut & Chew Bar. My friends out west all rave about it and I never understood what the fuss was about since I’d hadn’t eaten one before. It wasn’t until I read Cybele’s review of the bar that I specifically began to crave it. My love of chocolate and good nougat just called to me in this bar, yet I dawdled in purchasing myself some. It was only this past summer where I located them in a See’s store and bought a bunch to compensate.
The bar’s wrapper describes it as “chewy nougat with almonds and honey covered in dark chocolate”. I love the look of this bar, or should I saw the wrapper. The red is pleasing to look at, and the yellow lettering has a classic feel to it. The little bee is a whimsy element, and reminds me that I’m in for a real treat.
Unwrapped the bar is lovely. Long and slender with the dark chocolate looking glossy and flawless. The dark chocolate is perfect for this bar, and I’m glad they didn’t decide to use a milk chocolate. It smells lightly sweet with nice notes of cinnamon, coconut, coffee, and cocoa.
The nougat is immediately impressive as you can really taste the honey in it. The almonds are crunchy and fresh. The bar’s texture is a nice chew that’s not flimsy, yet still soft so it’s satisfying. You can tell the ingredients are pure, simple and combined to make something really out of this world. I know it’s a short description, but it’s accurate since the flavors are very straightforward and clean cut. It’s simply something I suggest you to experience yourself.
I was able to by more of these back in December and everyone I shared them with were immediately addicted. Just a warning.
You have to be pretty darned confident to name a candy bar with “awesome” in it. This bar lives up to it’s name. It’s so good. It’s a good thing I don’t live in California otherwise I’d be eating these all day.
Links Sees Website
The See’s Scotchmallow is infamous in the candy world. For the longest time I didn’t understand why, mainly because I hadn’t ever had one. I did wonder how something so simple and unassuming could be so mind-blowing. It wasn’t until this past summer that I finally had a chance to have my taste bugs exploded into space by one. I went up to the bonbon counter in the See’s store and bought a few to take home with me. I wish I had the foresight to get more.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, a Scotchmallow is a bonbon (it also comes in bar form, but I’ve never seen it) that has a honey marshmallow on top of a round of thick, creamy caramel. The whole thing is then enrobed in semi-sweet Guittard chocolate. Are you drooling yet?
The Scotchmallow I got is round and almost an inch tall and about 1 1/2 inches across. So it’s not tiny by any means. It’s also lighter than it looks, which I can credit to the fresh fluffy marshmallow inside.
Let’s just say this is a bite of heaven. The chew is substantial, since the caramel is so soft and thick, so this little bonbon packs quite a punch. The dark chocolate is flavorful and holds its own against the marshmallow and caramel, and does a nice, neat job of holding it all together. The caramel is awesome: thick, chewy, and soft with strong burnt sugar notes and a subtle saltiness. The marshmallow is fresh and spongy, with a subtle sweetness. Ambrosia.
There also seems to be many ways in which you can eat a Scotchmallow. You can pop the whole thing in your mouth in one go, nibble off the chocolate bit by bit, eat a hole and suck the marshmallow out first, etc. etc. I was recommended by a friend to work it so that the marshmallow is the last part you eat, so you can really taste the honey. It’s impressive that was and you so can taste the wonderful, subtle flavors in the fresh marshmallow.
You have no lived until you’ve tried one of these. If you haven’t, I suggest rectifying that right away, you won’t regret it.
Links Sees Website
I was utterly delighted when I received a sample of these in the mail from Just Born. I first remember seeing them in my friend’s Flickr photos, then Cybele gave them a wonderful review. I had reviewed an assortment of spice beans by Just Born for CandyAddict at about the same time, and I realized that they were probably the same set of jelly beans, just different packaging. Still, the candy brat in me wanted to have the ones with the Hot Tamale branding because they seemed so much cooler in my mind.
The beans are a nice size. Not as small as Jelly Belly’s beans, but no where near as large and many of the pectin varieties you see out there. I’d say well, they’re the size of a baked beans or a peanut. The panned shell is glossy and smooth with an even color. The texture is nice and chewy and doesn’t ever get sticky.
Peppermint (white): Very intense and fresh. It’s just lick sucking on a candy cane. It’s powerful flavor is refreshing and sweet.
Spearmint (green): More sweet and herbal than the peppermint. It’s grassier and not as intense. It’s a good balance of flavor too, it’s not powerful like a stick of gum.
Cinnamon (red): Very punchy and spicy, true to normal Hot Tamales. It has that signature kick to it, along with a warmth from the spicy burn. Thankfully these at not as fiery a Red Hots, otherwise I wouldn’t have enjoyed them as much.
Clove (yellow): Oh, how I love clove flavored beans! These come across as very earthy and spicy. They have great woodsy accents that really capture the taste of cloves.
Wintergreen (pink): My favorite of the bunch. It’s very bright, sweet and pleasantly herbal in flavor. It has nice spicy notes that remind me of a nice mug of root beer.
These are great, and a nice change from the Brach’s beans I love so much. I wish I could find them year ‘round, heck, even find them in stores near me. Maybe I can plead Just Born to supple me with more of them.
Links Hot Tamale Website