Crunchy Chewy Choco Goodness
While I love sour candy (see: Sour Snacks), I, like most people, do also like chocolate. It's not my favorite dessert, but every once in a while I do get the urge for a bit of chocolate goodness. We are all human, and humanity is drawn to the melty mash of cocoa bean butter (with other tasty ingredients worked in). And sometimes, when my eye catches something interesting at the grocery checkout, I find my hand reaching for it.
Today we have three candy variants I found on a recent grocery run, which, like a small child, I immediate grabbed and added all of them to my total. The urge to smear my face with chocolate and run around on a sugar high took me, and I let it happen:
Dark Chocolate Pecan Turtles
This is probably the safest selection of the three I purchased. Turtles are a standard treat that have existed for years and years. Pecans, covered with caramel and them coated from there with chocolate (giving them their distinctive, "turtle like" shape). I like these even though I normally don't like nuts, which shows you just how good the texture and flavor combo is. Chocolate and nuts? Eww. Chocolate, pecans, and caramel? Eh... I'll give it a try.
The standard Turtle is probably something you've experienced yourself, either under its brand name or a knock off. The caramel is thick but not overpowering. The pecans are crunchy, but not too crunchy, with a yielding texture that works nicely with the caramel. And the chocolate adds the right sweetness to bring it all together. The standard version is issued in milk chocolate, but I've started seeing the dark chocolate version around as well. It's not billed as a specialty item, so this might be one that sticks around for a while.
As a dark chocolate version, the only thing different here is that the candy is coated in dark chocolate instead of the standard milk variety. This has a subtle change for the flavor as the dark used is slightly stronger in flavor and tone than milk chocolate. It's not overpowering, as this is still a mild dark (not even close to a true semi-sweet or darker), but it does add more of that bold flavor. Still, the caramel and pecans hold up nicely and this still eats like a comforting Turtle.
Unless you really hate dark chocolate I think this is a solid buy for any fans of Turtles. The flavor is smooth and enjoyable and, legitimately, if you didn't know this was the dark chocolate version you might not even realize you were eating a variant version on first bite. It's just good.
Caramel Cold Brew M&Ms
M&Ms have been on a tear as of late, issuing more and more flavors of their classic candy-coated chocolates (that melt in your mouth but not in your hands, as they say). Milk Chocolate and Peanut were joined by Almond and Peanut Butter and Mint... and now there's all kinds of random flavors. I'm partial to the Pretzel and Crispy varieties (while avoiding anything with nuts as, in general, I don't like nuts). Being a lover of chocolate and caramel, you'd think that a caramel M&M would be a winner for me, but I always found them to bee too sweet. Cloying in a way. Caramel is great, but sometimes it can be too much.
I picked up the Caramel Cold Brew variant expecting it to be a little chocolate flavored with coffee and caramel. Subtle in its flavors but more like a traditional M&M. Instead, though, I discovered these were Caramel candies with a coffee flavor. Their shape is large, maybe even larger than a Peanut M&M, and they are very much caramel filled. It was odd, and the bite was off putting. M&Ms are firm candies in my head and any time they have a soft inner core they throw me off. It's like the texture of a chocolate Skittle (which did, in fact, exist at one point and was really weird). It didn't bite like an M&M.
With that said, the flavor was nice. The candy has a strong but tasty coffee tone. It reminded me of an chocolate-coated espresso bean, the flavor strong but smooth with just the right slap of coffee in there. The caramel flavor then comes in and adds its tone, making the whole flavor experience sweet, but not too sweet; strong, but not too strong. They absolutely nailed the flavor of the candy, that's for sure.
It's the texture, that soft first bite, that throws me. While I thought the flavor was fantastic I just can't get over the soft core of the candy. I think if this had been done with caramel flavor on a crispy bite, or even just flavors worked into the chocolate, I would have been better with it. My brain expected a more standard M&M and this was not it. If you like the Caramel M&Ms this might work for you. The flavor is great. You just have to be able to get past the texture and, after a full pack of these, I was unable to do just that.
Salted Caramel Twix
Salt and caramel have been flavors that have gone together for a while. You'll see plenty of fancy gourmet chocolate marked with "sea salt and caramel", which is just a fancy way of saying, "this caramel has gotten tarted up." Like, it tastes good -- whether it's sea salt or table salt or whatever they're calling the substance, it works well with caramel -- but the point of the salted caramel is also to get a little bit of that salt crunch on the candy. The two together create a medley of textures in your mouth.
If you've had a Twix you will already know that they have a crunchy aspect to them. Caramel folded over cookie bars, with a chocolate coating on top. Twix has put out a variety of options over the years -- Peanut Butter Twix, Cookie Dough Twix, Cookies & Creme Twix, Twix Ice Cream Bars -- but none of those have felt as boring as this bar. This is a slightly saltier Twix where, if you didn't know you were getting the Salted Caramel version, I think you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between the standard bar and this "special" one.
As far as basic construction goes, this is a standard Twix bar: cookie bar, caramel on top, chocolate coating around. The one difference is that in the bar, somewhere, is an "extra pinch of salt". The salt kernels aren't on top, nor are they obvious to the eyes after you've taken a bite and looked inside. You can taste the salt, a little bit, but it's not super overt. Maybe you get a crunch of salt, but you also have the cookie crunch so those two textures blend together. In essence this is a basic Twix that maybe you might think is just a little saltier. By a touch.
It is a good tasting bar. It's a Twix. Caramel and chocolate with a cookie center is a winning combination and I'll never turn down a standard Twix (I will steadfastly avoid a peanut butter one, though). This is a good candy. It's just a very safe and unassuming candy. It's a Twix but only slightly different... but not really. Get it if you like Twix and maybe think just the barest hint more salt would be tasty. But don't get it because you're expecting a substantially new Twix experience. That just doesn't exist here.