Thursday, April 1, 2010

More Easter Peanut Butter!!

I really do have the greatest job in the world. I was giving my "Motivation by Chocolate" seminar for the leadership team in the Town of Waynesville, NC on Tuesday, and they told me I HAD to check out the chocolate shop on Main Street. It's called The Chocolate Bear and it was fabulous. Love their logo:

And their packaging:
And I HAD to score a bunch of their great chocolates (more to come). I just wish I'd had my camera with me - the place was beautifully decorated. The cute lady working there told me that she and the owner were both interior designers and you could tell. Hopefully, the town will bring me back out to speak and I'll snag some pics for you all. But until then, the chocolates will have to speak for themselves.

They carry the creations of local chocolatiers and bakers and also order from large companies, so they have quite an amazing assortment. Like this festive and gigantic peanut butter cup:

Or what I THOUGHT was a festive and gigantic peanut butter cup:

It's not - it's a fudge cup. I hate to say it, but if I had known this (I swear the sign said peanut butter) I wouldn't have gotten it. I have nothing against fudge - and this is good fudge. It just doesn't rock my world. (Maybe if it were peanut butter fudge!) This is just plain ol' soft chocolate fudge encased in a milk chocolate cup. I'm sad about this. : (

I hope I fair better with the rest of their treats. It's not like they were cheap - the "I Wish It Was Peanut Butter Cup" cost more than $6.00!!

Here are my typical favs in the peanut butter egg department in their standard size:

This was the first time I'd seen this packaging. Last year King Size was one giant egg:

These were broken and a bit melted when I opened them, but they are still beautiful to me.

I like the white chocolate too, although I prefer the milk. The white is just a tad too sweet, the milk - perfection. But don't get crazy - I wouldn't turn down a white chocolate Reese's Egg!! What do you prefer? White or milk?


Okay, Palmer is in the house! They have both an egg assortment (peanut butter with dark chocolate coated coconut cream and butter cream - we'll see them in a future post):

and a clear rip off of the Reese's packaging and colors:

All these chocolate companies are shameless when it comes to ripping off the ideas of their competitors. At least Palmer added a little yellow flower on top:

Well, the Palmer PB Egg can't hold a candle to the Reese's PB Egg. Much too much, too thick, waxy Palmer chocolate. Bummer - I was kind of rooting for them. Palmer's PB seems to be creamier in their smaller eggs (which makes no sense to me, but it is what it is). These are not worth it at all. Stick with Reese's.

Look at these from Trader Joe's:

There are three individually wrapped eggs in the box - roughly the size of the standard Reese's egg. They have a little flower design on them:

Now here's a weird thing, when I made my first autopsy cut - I saw no peanut butter - just chocolate!

I had to cut again further down the egg. This does not bode well for my obsessive love of peanut butter:
Boo! These are totally lame! I love Trader Joe's PB cups, so I thought these would be delish. Nope - not peanut buttery at all. If you just want a chocolate egg with a slightly peanut buttery center - these would be perfect for you. The chocolate is good, don't get me wrong, but why bother involving peanut butter if you are going to overwhelm it? Boo again!!

Across the street from The Chocolate Bear was a Mast General Store. I LOVE Mast General Stores! They are the coolest old timey general stores and they have a kickin' candy section. This peanut butter egg came in a completely generic wrapper and there is no company or website listed anywhere. So we have no clue who made these:

Cute dancing bunny:

And pretty good looking peanut butter too:

This egg was exactly as it looks - great peanut butter and a pretty decent chocolate. Still too thick a chocolate shell in my book, but much better than either Palmer or Trader Joe's.

This is a Lamme's (remember them from my Texas trip?) peanut butter egg:

I knew I was going to be in trouble when the damn thing was hard to cut:

Peanut butter and chocolate are not supposed to be hard. (Look at my poor melted and cracked Reese's Egg - this stuff is soft!) This one looks good in the picture - good peanut butter to chocolate ratio, but it's crappy. Damn - these are so disappointing!! (And I bought two at $2.75 each at A Southern Season!) It was the weight that fooled me - they are kind of heavy and I thought - "Oh yum - these are packed with peanut butter!" Yeah - freakin' rock hard peanut butter. Where's the Fairy Bunny when you need him? Or her. Or it.

I know, I know. I keep going back to Russell Stover. I just can't walk away. It's like how I keep going back to those bad guys. Speaking of which, Afghanistan Man called me again last week. To remind me our first date two bloody years ago was on Easter Sunday. And to tell me how great I am and then to disappear again. I hate men and right now I'm hating these candy companies for wasting so much peanut butter!

Well, the picture doesn't look so bad....

How can it be so tasteless? Is it really this hard to work with peanut butter? This must be a peanut butter cream (although it doesn't say that on the label. Creams are so much fluffier and lighter, maybe that's it.) Why do I think Russell Stover won't let me down just like these bad boys I keep going out with? When will I learn from my mistakes and realize that people (and candy makers) just don't change. At least this only cost me 49 cents.

This egg is different from the others in that it has crisped rice:

Can you see it in there?

This egg looks great - it even has a great texture. But the peanut butter is still kind of tasteless. These are made by Sanders Candy (you will see in a future post that they also make Pecan Titans which are God awful.) I think you want to keep eating this egg because it's thick and fluffy and the rice crisps make the texture interesting. But the taste is totally boring. Not worth the calories. Tricky, tricky!!

Let's see some giant eggs:

This is by my poor beat up standard Reese's Egg for scale:

Look at all that delicious Reese's Chocolate:

This egg is so damn good it should be illegal! The only slight drawback is that to make it this big and have it stay together the chocolate base is very thick - it kind of comes apart when you try to eat it. But, let's face it - this thing is awesome!! It reminds me of the world's largest Reese's Cups (reviewed many posts ago) which my friends and I could NOT stop eating.) Maybe Reese's puts some kind of addictive substance in their products. Oh yeah - they do - it's PEANUT BUTTER!

See's has peanut butter eggs:

Like the PB to chocolate ratio:

And See's peanut butter actually has some taste! This is their biggest peanut butter egg:

Look at the size of that monster! Here's the deal though - while See's peanut butter has somewhat of a peanut buttery taste and there is plenty of it, it's not as salty as the Reese's peanut butter. There's is just something about that Reese's peanut butter that is so damn good! But I'll say that See's is the second best. In fact, I'll say that See's and Reese's are the only ones worth eating.

I also found this egg in Mast General Store and it's by Canipes Chocolates and Candies in Myrtle Beach, SC. Maybe that's where the dancing bunny egg came from too. Who knows? Yet another Easter mystery. I love the pretty box:

And look at the size of this thing!

I even put the standard egg on top so you could see the size!

It weighs 8 ounces and if you can imagine a decent size potato - that what this is like. A chocolate and peanut butter potato. This one really is a peanut butter cream egg - and it is WAY too rich for me. It's more like fudge or frosting - which I might normally go for, but not where peanut butter is concerned. Way too sweet and too egg whitey - not peanut buttery enough.

These are totally not Easter candy, but I just found them and want to go ahead and see what they've got to offer. They are the only two PB & J candy bars I've seen:

Okay - this doesn't look so great:

Uh-oh - I'm not a big fan of the whole jellied raspberry thing (see that bottom layer):

The raspberry totally overpowers the peanut butter. There are also crushed potato chips in here (kinda cool, huh? They give it a great texture and up the saltiness factor.). It actually seems like it could be pretty good, but there's just too damn much raspberry. Maybe if the raspberry were reduced by half. Or added in a different consistency - more like a filling than in that scary jellied state.

When I saw this on Bissinger's web site, I had to get it:

Pretty, isn't it?

And I'll be damned if it doesn't taste like peanut butter and jelly! It's really kind of eerie - I thought it would be much more chocolately. It's not something I would really crave, but it is a work of art and of tasting genius. The raspberry (raspberry jelly in this one too - my PB & Js were always made with grape jelly) is the stronger taste here too, but it works much better. I am so surprised!

Yay for Reese's, little yay for See's, and big fat BOO for everyone else (except for Bissinger's P B & J). More Easter candy to come!!! Marzipan, coconut, caramel --- good grief - I need a few more days! Maybe if I pray to the Fairy Bunny......


Kris, in New England said...

Reese's really is the KING of the chocolate/pbutter combo. No others match up - like you I've done the legwork (though not as much...).


Now, bring on the coconut for that is my undoing. Dark chocolate and coconut - Mounds Bars are the best. High standards!

How's the hip???

Denise Ryan said...

Kris - I'm so glad you back me up! And it's just about the cheapest too!! It just doesn't get any better than that!! I'm doing too much legwork - I've got to slow down or my hip will collaspse from the load and my jeans won't fit!! : )

Ah - you just got coconut moved up in the cue! Your wish is my command!

And thanks for asking about the hip - it's getting better and better! And the other seems to be hanging in pretty well. The best part is all that pre-surgery nighttime aching is gone - what a Godsend!!

How about you?

Food Makes Fun Fuel said...

You're killing me, absolutely killing me. Growing up, the reeses peanut butter cup was among my favorite things in life. Now I have an all natural diet, so those are out, but I was happy to see natural ones at trader joe's. I, too, was upset with the peanut butter to chocolate ratio. I think the best eggs will be just getting an egg mold and making them myself at home; that way I can use as much PB as I want.

Denise Ryan said...

Oh - Fuel - thanks for the comment! I am so sorry you can't have the Reese's!! I think your plan to make some yourself is brilliant!! And thanks for the back-up on the Trader Joe's - maybe they'll make some better ones next Easter. Thanks again!!!

Emily said...

OMG thanks for this great post...... i'm glad to know i don't have to bother with most other peanut butter eggs... although i am sorta disappointed about the see's and trader joe's eggs not being betterl. but good news since i can just go and get more reese's eggs from cvs! :)

Denise Ryan said...

Thanks, Emily!! And YES - stock up! They are selling out this year!! LOVE them!!!

Kris, in New England said...

Denise - my bionic hip is fantabulous! My soon-to-be bionic hip is degrading quickly unfortunately. I suspect it too will be bionic in about 2-3 years.

Glad you are doing so well on both! Pain-free living can never be overrated!!!