Very American Sweets - Reviews of 5 Peanut Butter Candies
In the eyes of the average Swede (and likely in the eyes of many other Europeans, too), peanut butter is probably the most typically American condiment there is. While the practice of scoffing down a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast might be common in the US of A, over here it's seen as a somewhat strange, even a bit exotic, practice. In fact, although I am well into my 20s it's only a couple of years since I tasted my first peanut butter product. Below, I will review 5 different peanut butter candies, my reactions to which have ranged from near-repulsion to adoration. They were all received in snack swaps with different people in the US,
The first peanut butter candy I ever tasted was a Butterfinger bar and to be honest, it nearly put me off the whole concept of peanut butter candy. For about the first bite or two I thought it was quite nice. For the third and fourth bite I thought it was acceptable, but after that... It's just too much somehow. Too buttery, and too sweet. I mean, obviously it's supposed to be buttery (it's in the name, after all), but it was just too much for me and after the first few bites I really didn't like it. I didn't even finish the bar, and that's quite rare for me. I have no desire to eat it again, but since I was told it's not that representative of peanut butter candy as a whole I decided not to give up and to try something else instead. In hindsight, I'm glad I did!
Peanut Butter M&M's
M&M's are a very well-known candy here in Sweden, although you never used to find them in stores when I was a kid. Even now, you normally only find the Original and Peanut varieties. In fact, I didn't even know there was a Peanut Butter variety until I heard about it in a snack exchange community. After my unfortunately encounter with the Butterfinger bar, I was a bit skeptical but the M&M's turned out to be a positive surprise. They were really tasty! I think the main reason why I liked them was the blend of saltiness and sweetness. For some reason I hadn't actually expected there to be salt in the peanut butter, but I found that it went really well together with the chocolate. It also kept the candy from tasting too sweet, since the chocolate was of a very light/milky variety. Overall I really enjoyed them, and I thought the M&M format was very suitable for the taste.
Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs and Cups
I had heard a lot of good things about the Reese's brand before I started to swap snacks, and I was happy to find, in two separate swaps, two different types of Reese's Peanut Butter candy: Eggs and Cups.
I tried the Eggs first and although they were certainly nice I wasn't completely sold. I guess after what a pleasant surprise the M&M's were, I was expecting more. I wasn't quite sure why I didn't like these as much as the M&M's until after I had tried the Peanut Butter Cups, too. I realized then that my level of enjoyment of peanut butter candy has to do with the ratio between the chocolate and the peanut butter. I seem to prefer candies that are heavier on the chocolate, where the peanut butter functions as a complement or an addition to the chocolate taste, more than ones where there's a lot of peanut butter and less chocolate.
The Reese's Eggs have quite a bit of peanut butter to less chocolate and although I liked them they weren't anything too special and I didn't really get that urge to have a second one that chocolate tends to inspire in me. The Cups, on the other hand, absolutely made my taste-buds sing! They've got such a great balance between saltiness and sweetness, and just the right amount of peanut butter for the amount of chocolate. They are definitely my favorites of the peanut butter candies I've tried to date and truthfully they may even be one of my favorite candies in general, at least when it comes to chocolate. I'm quite disappointed that they don't seem to sell them here in Sweden and I will definitely be requesting more of them when I do snack swaps with the US in the future. They are simply delicious!
Tastykake Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes
Now, Tastykake Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes aren't technically candy, but I figure as cakes go ones with peanut butter and chocolate come pretty close to being candy. I made a bit of a mistake with these cakes because I didn't think about the fact that cake is best eaten fresh and I left the package unopened for a little while. By the time I tried them they had gone a tad dry and since they don't sell them in my country I couldn't just get a new package to try. Even if I had eaten them fresh, I doubt I would've liked them as much as some of the other peanut butter products above. Don't get me wrong, they were certainly tasty, but I think I just prefer the chocolate and peanut butter combo to the chocolate, peanut butter and sponge cake combo.
Which of these 5 peanut butter candies is your favorite?
All in all I've become quite the fan of peanut butter candy, but only if it has that perfect balance of peanut butter and chocolate. It's the harmony of sweet and salty that I can't seem to get enough of. I predict a lot of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in my future! Those were definitely my favorites, followed by the M&M's. The Tastykake and the Reese's Eggs share a third place in my top list, and Butterfinger ended up somewhere far down the list...
Do you know of another peanut butter candy from anywhere in the world that you think I should try? Let me know in the comments!