EGG-POCALYPSE: 17 Egg Chocolate Easter Battle (updated 2018!)

Even though Halloween is the universally loved and official holiday of candy consumption, any true sugar aficionado knows that Easter is a very close second. While you’ve gotta pay respects to the classics, the truth is that the days of stale jelly beans and yellow Peeps are long gone, and the limited candies of spring come in many shapes and sizes – but most notably, eggs. Some eggs are spring staples that only pop up once a year, and some are simply re-shaped versions of year ’round candy classics.

To truly up my husky boy knowledge I decided to embark on a 17 egg Egg-pocalypse pitting all of the commonly available candies against each other that can be found at Safeway, Target, Walgreens, and many other fine sugar-peddling stores in March and April.  When ranking the eggs I kept in mind overall flavor, execution, difference or similarity based non-seasonal versions of the candy, whether or not I felt the need to buy another one before summer comes, and of course, my personal taste bud bias. I also limited it to only full-sized eggs because mini is a whole different war for a different day.  Let the battle BEGIN!

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17. Cadbury Chocolate Creme Egg

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Thick frosting-esque chocolate filling inside of a milk chocolate shell. Very sweet and becomes fairly single noted after two bites. It’s not disgusting but definitely doesn’t make me want more. Would be better with a darker more bitter filling or some other type of contrast – very forgettable and easy to skip.

16. Cadbury Creme Egg

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I used to like these a lot when I was younger but now I find them way too sweet. The creme has a strange not quite marshmallow and not quite caramel texture that is off-putting and tastes like eating an icing made with tons of powdered sugar and lacks any sort of balance.

15. Nestle Crunch Egg

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There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this egg at all, in fact, it’s pretty awesome, it’s just a relatively straight forward chocolate experience – like the thickest most epic Crunch bar you’ve ever had. While I like Crunch bars quite a bit, I usually just enjoy them in mini size around Halloween and don’t ever seek out a full sized version – that’s kind of how I feel about this egg. Executed really well – sweet and crunchy, but not something I feel the need to buy again.

 

14. Russell Stover Marshmallow Egg

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Thin but smooth milk chocolate with a very creamy, almost wet marshmallow center. It’s like a gooey cross between a creme and a marshmallow. Soft hints of vanilla and not too sweet, which wasn’t what I was expecting and was surprisingly good.

13. Russell Stover Coconut Cream Egg

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This is like a sweeter, cheaper, marshmallow-y Mounds bar with decent dark chocolate coating and slightly gritty but fluffy coconut insides. The filling is far from pure coconut but has enough flakes to give the proper flavor and is a pretty enjoyable candy. The texture on this one almost reminds me more of marshmallow than in the marshmallow egg.

12. Almond Joy Egg

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This egg is in the exact same vein as the Crunch egg above but slightly better – there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just very similar to the year-round available version. Almond Joy’s already have a bit of an egg shape so this was a very natural progression, just thicker and more intense. Imagine if you stacked both pieces of an Almond Joy on top of each other and removed one of the almonds – that’s pretty much what you get here. Delicious sweet coconut with creamy milk chocolate. It’s classic.

11. Dove Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Egg

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High quality smooth milk chocolate with a much more chocolate forward flavor than the Reese’s staple.  It’s lacking some of the peanut butter punch with the PB getting overpowered and almost becomes too rich without any salty relief. It’s a well made product but not super craveable or classic like its competition, although it’s still peanut butter and chocolate so hard to deny.

10. Cadbury Caramel Egg 

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Good quality milk chocolate shell filled with thick gooey caramel that has a slight hint of butterscotch. Not salty at all but not as overwhelmingly sweet as the original  Cadbury Egg, and for a sweet Easter basket treat this is definitely my favorite that Cadbury offers.

9. Twix Egg

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It’s a Twix. It looks and eats like a slightly less tall more wide version of the original Twix bar. I’m not sure if it’s my recent experience with the giant Twix egg but the cookie seems a little less crunchy than what I expected. It’s a wonderful combination of chocolate, cookie, and caramel that is delicious but less so than the regular longer bar, where the added height gives a bit more textural excitement.

8. Snickers Egg

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It’s a snickers. Very similar ratios to a standard bar but just slightly more caramel and slightly less nougat.  For most people I think Snickers is a top 5 candy bar during the regular part of the year so this doesn’t disappoint, but it doesn’t exceed expectations either.  I recall the Christmas Nutcracker having bigger peanuts and more drastically different ratios of caramel and nougat, which I was hoping for here but didn’t get.

7. Turtles Egg

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The chocolate shell is thinner than what you get with a Cadbury egg but what’s on the inside is twice as nice. This thing is packed with caramel and pecans so much so that you get both in every bite. The caramel is thick and not too runny, holding the pecans together, which tempers the overall sweetness for a well rounded turtle treat that’s so rich it almost becomes savory with a hint of pecan pie.  Delicious.

6. Lindt Lindor Milk Chocolate Truffle Egg

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This is exactly as advertised, and basically, “wow”. It’s a bigger and stretched out version of the Lindor milk chocolate truffle, aka an incredibly smooth and velvety chocolate that is as rich as butter with a perfect amount of sweetness. Very decadent, very delicious, almost feels as though it’s in a different class of quality than all of the other eggs, but, that doesn’t mean it’s the best.

5. Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cup Egg

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A crunchy peanut butter cup with salty golden Butterfinger flakes embedded within the butter that pairs really well the milk chocolate. I like their regular cups and I think this one may benefit in the same way that the Reese’s eggs do with a bit more height to give a stronger PB to chocolate ratio.  This egg was an absolute surprise to crack my top 5 but I could not deny its deliciousness.

4. Reese’s 3D Egg

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Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are my favorite candy ever, and they have, in my opinion, the perfect balance of sweet and salty PB to chocolate ratio. The only thing that trumps the original is the egg variety, which puts a greater emphasis on the salty peanut butter. The 3D version of a Reese’s egg also changes the ratio, but this time favors chocolate over PB. The thick outer shell of milk chocolate is delicious and creamy but asserts itself a bit strongly for the salty subtleties of the filling. The inside of the egg is also different than your usual Reese’s with a creamier but also gritter consistency than what the tried-and-true “flat” eggs offer. Wonderful egg, and still better than most, but can’t mess with my PB-lovin’ heart.

3. Oreo Egg

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Less sweet than a Cadbury egg and more texturally intriguing, this is the 2017 answer to what I thought the Cadbury egg was when I was younger. The slight crunch of the cookies makes it much more interesting with a little bit of contrast and the creme does taste a lot like the inside of an Oreo. The outer milk chocolate is smooth and creamy and on par with Hershey’s, maybe just slightly below Cadbury, but the overall balance is much better.  I’m a big fan of last years Oreo candy bar and this is just like that except bursting with creme filling.

2. White Reese’s Egg

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Just like the regular Reese’s egg this is exactly like the white cup but plumper with greater peanut butter to chocolate ratio. It works just as well, popping with sweet salty peanut flavor, but much like with the regular cups, it’s hard to dethrone the original no matter how good a variation can be.

1. Reese’s Egg

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It’s a big debate among Reese’s fanatics but the egg is often regarded as the GOAT of all Reese’s seasonal shapes among hearts and pumpkins and I am definitely in that camp. The PB to chocolate ratio is through the roof with more peanut butter than your typical Reese’s cups. While I have no problem with the original at all, these eggs explode with rich sweet peanut butter flavor that is always fresh and worth savoring every bite.  The classic milk chocolate Reese’s egg is a must have every spring and the true champion of my Easter basket heart.

Well, there you have it – my ranking of seventeen different chocolate eggs!  What do you think?  Did I completely mess it up or are my taste buds spot on?  Let me know in the comments what your favorite eggs are and any amazing ones I may have missed!

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REVIEW: Cap’n Crunch’s Limited Edition Blueberry Pancake Crunch

Pancakes have played a pivotal role in my culinary journey.  They were the first thing I ever learned to cook when I was five years old, are the breakfast I have every Christmas morning, are my most often customized and changed entree, and the only reason why I own a plug in griddle.  I even memorized the recipe from the Joy of Cooking book, which I have since adapted and incorporate blueberries whenever I can get my hands on them.  Blueberries work so well in pancakes that I often wonder if they were created solely to be cooked in cake or muffin form, so I was elated to learn that the Cap’n had caught onto this perfect combo and wanted to package the flavor in cardboard form to deliver Cap’n Crunch’s Limited Edition Blueberry Pancake Crunch.

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Opening the box delivers a big sugary aroma with the sharp undercurrent of maple syrup.  It’s hard to explain exactly how the two smells work together, but there isn’t a specific blueberry essence as much as there is just standard breakfast cereal “sweet”.  Trying the cereal dry has a satisfying sweet and slightly salty crunch, with some but not a ton of distinction between the tan and blue colored corn and oat balls.  You would think that the two different colors would function similarly to the Cap’n’s crunch berries, but they taste much more like each other than they do two separate flavors.  There’s a touch more maple in the tan balls and a hint more berry sweetness in the blue ones, but still no dominant blueberry flavor, especially when compared to a cereal like Tiny Toast.

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Adding in some milk really drives the maple smell to the foreground and I’m excited.  The moisture from the milk helps bring the flavor together and definitely reminds me of a maple-y pancake, although not one studded with my favorite baking berry.  As the blue cereal balls towards the bottom get more soaked in milk they give off more blueberry vibes and I’m starting to see the full flavor be revealed before me.  Interestingly, as I sit contemplating over my empty bowl the flavor that lingers in my mouth IS blueberry, which is pleasant, but a bit of a surprise considering it didn’t play too big of a role during most of the chomping.  The leftover milk has absorbed a good amount of the maple flavor and tastes like cold creamy syrup, definite A+ cereal milk satisfaction.

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I’m not going to be unreasonable, but it’s worth noting that none of the other nuances you would expect from pancakes like butter, eggy-ness, or buttermilk can be found here; but there is a golden sheen from the maple that will remind you of the classic griddle cake.  Is it as delicious as a piping hot short stack bursting with berries and drowning in syrup?  No, of course not, but it is a maple-forward cereal with some berry boost and a satisfying sugar snap that is right up there with Peanut Butter Crunch as some of the Cap’n’s finest work.

Rating: 8.5/10

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REVIEW: Baskin Robbins Chocolate Hazelnut

For as long as I can remember Baskin Robbins’ flavor of the month in February has been Love Potion #31, but this year, much like they did in October with Trick Oreo Treat, they have made their love potion a seasonal flavor and brought back Chocolate Hazelnut as the February special.  It’s no secret that chocolate is a sensual aphrodisiac, but is there some romantic allure to the hazelnut as well?  I’ve noticed it popping up more frequently this time of year, and with February 5 being named “World Nutella Day” (apparently since 2007), there may be a consumer conspiracy at hand.  Baskin Robbins’ ode to the apparent love nut is chocolate ice cream and hazelnuts covered with chocolate flavored coating swirled with a hazelnut cookie fudge ribbon.

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The chocolate ice cream is just as expected – smooth, decadent, and creamy with a wonderful milk finish that isn’t too dark or bitter.  It’s that classic high quality chocolate flavor that isn’t remarkable or complex but serves as a great foundation to building a solid scoop. The hazelnuts are ample and give big bursts of genuine nutty flavor.  They aren’t tiny pieces either – they’re entire chocolate covered nuts that bring not only a solid richness and big textural crunch, but extra sweetness as well because of the coating.  Hazelnut is not one of my favorite nuts but their unique, almost bitter flavor really shines in the sea of sweet chocolate.

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While the ice cream and hazelnuts are both very good, the real star of the show here is the hazelnut cookie fudge ribbon; a thick fudgey ganache with crunched up cookie grit and fantastic pops of saltiness.  The darkness of the ribbon flourishes against the lighter chocolate base and the salt cuts through the dominant sweet flavors bringing the whole experience together.  I’ve always felt that BR does ribbons really well and this one truly makes all of the flavors sing and elevates it beyond what would have been a fairly basic scoop.

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If you love Nutella you’re going to love this flavor; there are no if ands or buts that this scoop delivers huge chocolate hazelnut satisfaction.  If you’re like me, and think Nutella is good but a touch overrated and you really fist pump for team peanut butter, you will likely also find this February offering surprisingly delicious.  I went into this expecting to be slightly underwhelmed but the variance in texture and layers of chocolate made it much more interesting than I thought it would be, and is a worthy side piece to Love Potion #31.

Rating: 8.5/10

REVIEW: Taco Bell Naked Chicken Chalupa

Rarely does an item get as much buzz as the latest release from Taco Bell.  Granted, I probably spend more time than most people reading about limited Oreo flavors and weird protein concoctions, but the Naked Chicken Chalupa has seemed to permeate through all of the different food and news sources I tend to look at on a daily basis.  Aside from the usual spots like Grub Grade or Brand Eating, the Naked Chicken Chalupa has seen hype from The San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, and tons of other relevant non-junk food blogs.  For those of you who haven’t heard of it, the Naked Chicken Chalupa is a deep fried piece of chicken shaped like a taco shell filled with lettuce, tomato, shredded cheese, and an avocado ranch sauce.  I don’t eat tons of fast food but I love Taco Bell and all of their zany ideas, so I have been pumped on this since it was first announced and hope it lives up to the hype.  Let’s dig in.

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My initial thought is that it is smaller than I expected it to be.  The smell immediately reminds me of a standard cafeteria chicken sandwich with a little extra spice.  The cheese has melted, which is always a good sign, and considering the decently lengthy wait time in the drive through this bad boy was made fresh.  The shell is fried chicken crispy and holds its shape perfectly.  The bite has a nice crunch and spice to it with really solid seasoning that is not too salty.  Unfortunately the chicken is of the cheaper McChicken/separated variety, but is white all the way through without any weird looking or tasting pieces; I imagine it would be hard to shape an actual chicken breast into a taco.

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The avocado ranch sauce is creamy and a touch spicy, but has pooled at the bottom and mixed with the slightly wilted lettuce a bit, leaving an undesirable texture in certain bites.  It’s less greasy than the regular Chalupa shell, which I’m happy about as that’s a potentially big issue with a fried meat vessel in place of a standard tortilla

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The Naked Chicken Chalupa is good but it feels a bit…naked.  The execution on the shell is spot on but an additional meat on the inside would really bring it home.  I would love a nacho cheese double chicken Chalupa or supreme beef version.  Deep frying the shell when it is ordered presented both negatives and positives – it helped melt the cheese but also got the lettuce to wilt and be flimsier than on most Taco Bell products. The possibilities on this new item are endless but the initial attempt falls short of being a slam dunk.

Rating: 8/10

REVIEW: Baskin Robbin’s Superfudge Truffle

New year, new flavors, new excitement.  Even though they didn’t close out the year with the strongest choices, I will always look forward to the Baskin Robbin’s flavor of the month.  January 2017 sees a return of a former featured favorite from BR’s past, Superfudge Truffle, which combines a rich chocolate fudge ice cream with decadent chocolate truffle and toffee truffle pieces.

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Are you a fan of chocolate?  Meet your new heroin.  This is one of the richest, thickest, chocolate on chocolate onslaughts I have ever scooped into and it is GOOD.  There’s no beating around the bush with the decadence in this ice cream – the chocolate fudge base is so fully loaded with chocolate it’s nearly black with a sticky brownie-batter like texture.  The base, while called fudge, is actually better than most fudge’s I’ve had because it isn’t so overwhelmingly sweet that it’ll give you a headache (like most fudges are).  Just when you think you’ve hit the ceiling of chocolate indulgence you frequently run into a chocolate truffle, which melts with the luxurious texture you’d expect, and stands up to the deep darkness of the fudge cream.

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One of my concerns going into this flavor was that there would be no reprieve from the chocolate, but the use of the toffee truffles works surprisingly well.  While still chocolate in nature, the toffee truffles give a slight crunch and burst of saltiness that not only provides the palate a break from the cocoa but highlights its full bodied brilliance even more.  Because toffee has a buttery and salty profile, as opposed to the pure sweetness of caramel or white chocolate, the alternating types of truffles keep the flavor fresh and insanely addictive.  Some of them have a crunch like a giant chocolate chip and some of them blend their way into the chocolate fudge backdrop.

This flavor is very similar to another Baskin Robbin’s classic that flows in and out of rotation – Mississippi Mud – which combines chocolate fudge ice cream with regular chocolate ice cream, fudge chunks, and a fudge ribbon.  Mississippi Mud was my go-to for total chocolate annihilation when it was available, and Superfudge might even best it because of the use of only the fudge base and the inclusion of the toffee truffles.  Superfudge Truffle is on par with the best flavors Baskin Robbin’s have released the last couple of years, AND, when it’s all gone it leaves dark chocolate psychedelic artwork in your cup.  Double win.

Rating: 9/10

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REVIEW: flapJACKed Cinnamon Apple Mighty Muffin

What better way to kick off the new year than by microwaving another muffin?  In an attempt to try all of the flapJACKed Mighty Muffin’s to see which one is truly the GOAT, I am continuing my conquest with one of my favorite flavor combinations of all time – Cinnamon Apple.  As a bonafide cinnamon-junky I put my most critical pants on, added a 1/4 cup of water, stirred thoroughly, put it in the microwave for 38 seconds (the learned perfect timing), and hoped for the best.

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A super strong and sweet cinnamon apple smell erupts from the container that is nearly identical to the Quaker Oats packaged oatmeal you’ll find in grocery stores and hotel continental breakfasts all across America.  It’s spicy, juicy, and slightly tart and translates perfectly into the flavor.  There are little pockets of cinnamon sugar bombs all throughout the “muffin” that emulate the swirl in a cinnamon raisin bread.  The muffin base itself is dry and evenly fluffy, but the little cinnamon surprises are ample enough that the flavor never falls flat.  As with the other flavors I have tried I am impressed by the amount of mix ins that flapJACKed puts into their product – getting multiple flavors in every bite.

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The use of small dried apple chunks help give this the most natural sweet flavor of any of the Mighty Muffin’s I’ve had and it works incredibly well.  Even though the apples are dried, the addition of water and the microwaving process helps rehydrate them and gives a textural contrast against the muffin itself.  I cut up some fresh apple to have with the muffin, since in the past I felt the Mighty Muffin needed a bit of assistance, but in this case it was unnecessary – the provided apple flavor is true and strong.

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Cinnamon Apple is by far the best of the Mighty Muffin’s I have tried and is the first of their products I definitely want to re-buy.  Whereas there are already good chocolate and s’mores protein products on the market, this is the best spin on cinnamon apple I have tried as a ready made breakfast supplement.  Oftentimes this flavor generally comes out tasting artificial and strange, and flapJACKed have nailed it.

Rating: 8.5/10

Quick Nutrition: 220 cal – 5g fat – 350mg sodium – 24g carbs – 5g fiber – 8g sugar – 20g protein

PEPPERMINT PRETZEL BATTLE: Snack Factory Dark Chocolate Crisps versus Rold Gold Snowflakes

Chocolate covered pretzels are a crack food for me.  Up there with peanut butter and popcorn they’re one of those foods I feel like I could eat forever, spiraling into a blissful abyss of sweet and salty crunch that stays texturally and tastefully fun forever.  In honor of the holiday season these cocoa dunked wonders are more abundant than ever, and, much to Santa’s approval, also laced with peppermint.  Among a slurry of festive options I decided to try two very different iterations to see how they compared to each other.  This battle of joy pits Snack Factory’s Dark Chocolate and Peppermint Pretzel Crisps against Rold Gold’s Peppermint Dipped Snowflakes.

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Snack Factory’s version of a peppermint present takes their already delicious pretzel crisp and dunks them in a decently thick coating of dark chocolate, adorned with pieces of crushed up candy canes.  The shape of the pretzel already mimics that of a bow, so the festive vibes are instantly in tow when opening the package.  The aroma from the pretzels is pure dark chocolate, with a bittersweet edge giving no signs of peppermint.  Visually the pretzels don’t look as neat and pretty as the package would imply, with a lot less candy cane pieces than I was expecting.  The dark chocolate is rich and only slightly sweet, playing off of the salty crunch of the pretzel nicely.

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Unfortunately, due to the sporadic nature of the candy cane pieces, not every bite has the peppermint smooch the product promises and overall fails to nail that perfect minty/chocolate balance that I’m looking for.  They definitely don’t overdo the mint, which is always a major cause for concern with this kind of flavor, but on roughly half the bites I was missing out on that peppermint rush.  On the pieces that have more candy canes there’s not only more mint but a bit more sweetness as well and the pretzels achieve the right balance, despite the thinner crisp shape not giving as much salt and crunch as a traditional pretzel.

Rating: 7/10

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Up next, Rold Gold’s snowflakes float from their cheery red bag with the light scent of peppermint promise.  The first thing I notice with these pretzels is they are noticeably sweeter, which is exactly what I would expect with a white chocolate base.  The extra sweetness here helps highlight the peppermint and the salt, and despite the still slightly mellow mint taste these bad boys really swing.

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Although many of the pretzels are individually coated, there are a number of flakes that are stuck together, which makes me think Rold Gold really went to town with the fudge like a snowstorm.  Beneath the white coating are ample red specks that bring an even and balanced peppermint flavor that is present but not too dominant.  There’s something about the combination of white “fudge” and pretzels that is an automatic win for me, and a flavor I simply can’t get sick of.  While the mint definitely takes a backseat to the chocolate, they nailed the tricky task of getting mint in every bite without tasting like toothpaste.  At first I thought I still wanted more mint but it’s such a fine line to walk on I think these snowflakes have truly struck December gold.

Rating: 8/10

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