Many of us in the CNN Library have a sweet tooth and love sampling new flavors of candies and snacks, almost as much as we enjoy doing editorial news research. We combined our two loves in honor of National Junk Food Day in July, when we wrote about new snack hybrids and flavor pairings.
(Photo: Courtesy Starburst)
Now that fall’s here, we’re back to share our “expert” thoughts on some new takes on traditional Halloween snacks — in time for trick-or-treat 2015. We believe both kids and adults will be shrieking for some of these. Others are just plain ghastly. Are you scared yet? Boo-ya!
Brach’s Candy Corn
Amy Roberts: We tried Sea Salt Chocolate (my favorite of the three), Peanut Butter Cup, and Fruit Crèmes, which include strawberry, orange, peach, lemon, and raspberry flavors. I was amazed and mesmerized when Julie unveiled her discovery that each striped section of the chocolate and peanut butter varieties was a different flavor. In one candy! Perhaps the reason I missed this is because my technique is to just shove all of them in my mouth at the same time.
Just Born Marshmallow Peeps
Amy: We tasted Candy Corn dipped in White Fudge, Pumpkin Spice dipped in White Fudge, and Caramel Apple dipped in Caramel Fudge. The texture of the soft marshmallow paired with the fudgy coating is what makes these special. All so good, especially the candy corn. We also tried the new tombstone-shaped Peeps. I was briefly concerned about what a tombstone would taste like: Regret? Unfulfilled dreams? Concrete? Fortunately, they just taste like regular Peeps.
Julie In: Peeps to me have always been a springtime treat, but once I wrapped my brain around these fall flavor offerings, a cornucopia of possibilities opened before me. What’s not to like about a pumpkin-flavored chick-shaped marshmallow with white chocolate at the bottom? The tart green apple Peep balanced well with the sweet caramel. My favorite of the three was the candy corn Peep. Its flavor was subtle and rounded out nicely with the white fudge.
Hostess Pumpkin Spice Twinkies and Candy Corn Cupcakes
Julie: Remember the eight-month long Twinkie shortage back in 2013? Well, those dark days are long gone, and Twinkies are back with a vengeance, a delicious pumpkin spice-filled vengeance. The distinctive spongy yellow cake is the same but this time, the crème inside is light brown and flavored with hints of pumpkin and cinnamon. I liked that the filling complemented rather than overpowered Hostess’ original golden child. Meanwhile, the candy corn cupcakes are vanilla-flavored and filled with a dollop of crème, lightly frosted and dotted with yellow, orange and white sprinkles. Unfortunately, I didn’t really taste the main draw: the candy corn flavoring. Note: These fancy Twinkies are only at Kroger stores.
Little Debbie Pumpkin Spice Rolls
Amy: I have never been a huge Twinkies fan, mostly because I am stumped as to how the crème filling gets in the cake. These yummy Little Debbies are the sweater-weather cousins to the brand’s Swiss Cake Rolls. Very few pumpkin spice products are spicy enough for me, and these were. And, Julie, these are available everywhere.
Jelly Belly Bean Boozled
Amy: If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you’re probably familiar with Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. Bean Boozled by Jelly Belly, now in its third edition, is along the same lines, except the funky flavors are mixed in with the regular flavors. You don’t know which one you’re getting, since they look the same! This year, there are two new types: Lawn Clippings (not terrible) and Stinky Socks (tastes like goat cheese). My sample was all trick and no treat, including Rotten Egg, Skunk Spray, and Barf, which was very realistic. Not even the Toothpaste flavor helped to wash away the Baby Wipes residue from my mouth.
Julie: While Amy and I jealously guarded the other treats, we gladly shared these with our colleagues, especially the Canned Dog Food and Barf flavored jelly beans. We’re generous like that. About 15 of our co-workers helped us taste test them, and kept us entertained with their facial expressions every time they ate a funky-flavored bean. If you’re brave enough to try these, make sure you channel your inner child, open yourself up to double dog-dares and bring a stomach of steel.
Flix Candy – Box of Boogers and Lip Pops
Amy: Here’s the category with the biggest innovations. We tried Box of Boogers and Sour Spooky and Pumpkin Lip Pops The boogers had three flavors: Strawboogy (strawberry), Sour Green Boogy (Lime), and Snotterine (tangerine) — they all had a powdery aftertaste but looked realistic — or so I hear. As for the lip pops, picture a baby’s pacifier where the handle is shaped like a jack o’lantern’s or a vampire’s grin.
Julie: I suppose I’m picky with my booger gummies. I didn’t care for the dusty residue on the gummies and the taste left me underwhelmed. I liked the idea and that they came in different shapes and sizes, but I wouldn’t buy these except as a gag gift. The lip pop itself was overly large and the taste was just OK.
Zombie Bones and Brains Gummy Candy (Target)
Amy: I liked the berry flavor of the bones and brains candies. There were fewer brains in the package than I would have liked, though. Isn’t that always the way?
Julie: Despite the picture of a smiling cartoon witch on the package, the gummy candies are pretty gruesome-looking. The blue raspberry taste was pleasant, and I pretended that the gummies were actually vitamins for strong bones and a healthy mind. I would probably buy them again.
Starburst Halloween Mix
Julie: Starburst’s take on the Halloween spirit includes new flavors like Batty Blackberry, Bewitched Blueberry, Mysterious Mango and Chilling Cherry-Kiwi. I sensed a trend there. The individual candy wrappers include graphics such as bats, smiling ghosts and skulls. Other than the flavor names and pictures, I forgot that these were part of the Halloween Mix. Personally, I would have gone with a flavor like blood orange, but there’s no denying that the Starbursts were tasty. I wouldn’t mind eating this mix of particular flavors year round.
Dove Chocolate Eyeballs
Amy: Dove Eyeballs are only found at Target, also where I also got my elasticized waist jeans, which, coincidentally is all that fits after I started Eyeball 30, the diet where you only eat Dove Eyeballs for 30 days. Sticking to this diet is easy.
3 Musketeers MUSKEFEARS
Julie: The 3 Musketeers MUSKEFEARS fun size bars are advertised as having the same great taste but with a spooky red nougat inside. The fluffy chocolate center is more dark pink than red. I suppose “spooky pink nougat” doesn’t instill fear like “spooky red” (even though everyone who has done laundry knows that nothing is scarier than pink clothes after a red sock is accidentally left in a load of whites). Never fear, it tastes exactly like a regular 3 Musketeers bar.
Amy: I had no idea Julie, or anyone really, could have opinions this definite about nougat color. I enjoy eating these no matter what color they are inside. Now I must pause to savor the accomplishment of my personal and professional milestone of using the word “nougat” in a sentence. Twice.