31 Days of Junk: Haribo Ghostly Gummies (#24)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

I’m just gonna say it: I don’t like gummy bears.

It doesn’t matter the brand, I can’t get down with any of them. I’ve always found them to be oddly greasy, and there’s something about their lack of coating that makes me feel as if I’m just gnawing on blubber. *shudder*

Now, there are plenty of gummy candies and gummy-adjacent candies I can and do get down with.  Sour Patch Kids. Licorice. Those gummy coke bottles that are covered in granulated sugar (especially the cherry coke kind!) All of those pass the texture test for my mouth.

But not the plain ol’ goomy bears.

That being said, I can appreciate what Haribo did with their “Ghostly Gummies”. Four different designs—a bat, a skeleton, a pumpkin, and a skull—in colors like yellow, orange, and purple-black. For not doing anything new with the recipe, they did a good job of a switching up the presentation.

As I said, no new recipe—same old fruit gummy bear flavor. When I opened the bag and took a whiff, it was that distinctly recognizable scent that all original gummy bears have, that of orange tea. It’s such an appealing smell that I really wish I could get into gummy bears more, but I just can’t.

Strangely enough, I’ve almost finished off the entire bag since typing this, so maybe I’m a convert??

Photo: ObsessiveSweets.com
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31 Days of Junk: Spooky Nerds Rope (#23)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

Nerds are cool—especially the duplex flavor boxes (what a fun concept!)—but they’re sort of underwhelming as a candy, right? Neon-colored tangy grit. That’s about it, really. Aromatic and zippy oversized sugar granules, not much more. Edible gravel.

I’ve enjoyed the occasional box of Nerds, if for no other reason than to shake up my candy eating habits, but I didn’t really take notice and intentionally seek them out until they came in “rope” form.

Nerds Rope are just the aforementioned candy stuck to a foot-long gummy strand. The flavor of the gummy never really stood out to me; everything still tasted primarily of the recognizable tart Nerds flavor. But that didn’t matter. There was something novel and enjoyable about the combination of candies—crunchy and chewy. It just works.

While I’m a big fan and advocate of the Nerds Rope, I have absolutely no idea what makes this particular Nerds Rope “spooky”. It’s not spookily flavored, like pumpkin spice or anything. Hell, the packaging is barely spooky; sure, it’s orange, and the little Nerds mascot is wearing a witch’s hat. But that’s it. I guess that makes it Halloween-ified?

Look, there’s really not much I can say about the spooky Nerds Rope. It’s exactly like a regular Nerds Rope in every single way, except for a slight variation with the packaging. Couldn’t they have made the Nerds themselves (on the gummy rope) look like bats or skulls or something? Or couldn’t they have been black and orange Nerds? As is, the “spooky” Nerds are colored orange, white, and mauve. *shrugs*

Spooky, un-spooky. Whatever. I’m a fan!

 

31 Days of Junk: Wax Fangs (#22)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

When it comes to old-timey candy, I’ll be the first one to jump to its defense, championing every Necco wafer and candy-dotted folio from here to the Veach Short Stop gas station in Bumfudge, Illinois. (To further validate my allegiance to those dusty treats of yore, I developed an affinity for horehound drops as a child and went as far as ordering packs of Black Jack and Clove chewing gum online as a teenager.)

Still, I cannot understand–and have never been able to–the relevance of wax lips/wax fangs.

Nik-L-Nips, sure, I get those. Those are a functional wax treat. Bite off the wax cap, slurp out the popsicle juice inside the bottle, and toss.

But wax fangs? I looked them up on Wikipedia for the heck of it and see that they were never really intended to be chewed on, but that’s not what the contrary information on the pack I have in front of me says. There is an ingredients list, which includes sugar and BHT (to maintain freshness), and even a section that states, “For nutrition info, call…” Heck, even the catchphrase on the back plainly says, “Play Now, Chew Later”. These are meant to be treated like a candy, even if it’s not one you can swallow and digest.

Upon opening the pack, I’m blasted with the most delicious smelling wax lips I’ve ever encountered. I’m talking, like, whoa. Intense Fruit Stripe Gum aromas. Suddenly, I want to eat the hell out of these fangs. Wasn’t expecting that!

I bite a hunk off the side. Semi-tough at first, but quickly devolves into a spot-on chewing gum texture. And tasty; Fruit Stripe gum all the way. What crazy magic is this?! When did wax fangs become so goddamn good? I’m chewing and chewing, and the wax never changes consistency–just the most perfectly rubbery piece of gum.

I’m…shocked. These are fun to chew on! Who’d have thunk? Wax fangs. Functional candy. I love playing with my food.

Stop what you’re doing and go out and buy some of these right now.

31 Days of Junk: Brach’s Smore’s Candy Corn (#21)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

Another day, another candy corn type of goodie. Only this time, it’s not a random treat trying to imitate candy corn, it’s candy corn trying to imitate a random treat. To be specific: a s’more.

S’mores are American as apple pie, but they taste better and are way more fun to make. They’re truly one of the greatest junk foods ever to be assembled. Which is why whenever a company releases a s’more-inspired snack, I’m ever so eager to try them.

I’ve had s’more Oreos (why didn’t you call them S’mOreos, you idiots?) and enjoyed ’em. I’ve had Ben & Jerry’s s’more ice cream. I’ve had both name brand and generic versions of s’more cereal, both equally delicious. But each of these takes on the classic campfire treat had the vital components to make it work: namely, graham cracker crunch (in some form or another), actual marshmallow, and real chocolate. This is why these various iterations work so well.

But can a s’more-flavored candy corn pull it off? These ones from Brach’s do a pretty decent job of it.

Again, they lack the full-bodied, all-encompassing experience that goes along with eating an actual s’more (or any s’more adjacent treat involving the same ingredients), but what they lack in varied textures they make up for in size. These suckers are huge! Far bigger than your average candy corn. The picture doesn’t do them justice. They’re like arrowheads. Or teeth from a Sarcosuchus.

The main flavor here is marshmallow. A bit of cocoa, too. But I didn’t notice much graham cracker taste. If I closed my eyes and ate one of these and you told me it was a hot chocolate-flavored candy corn, I’d have believed you.

I tried biting them down the line, color by color, to see if the different colors, in fact, faithfully represented the flavor they were supposed to—but I didn’t notice any variation.

While these certainly won’t replace the s’more, they’re good in a pinch.

31 Days of Junk: Skeleteens Love Potion No. 69 (#20)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

Finally, a Skeleteens soda that doesn’t scorch my innards! It’s even, dare I say…refreshing? A quick look at the ingredients list explains why: this one doesn’t contain jalapeno oil. Hallelujah!

The ingredient list is still pretty wild and chockfull of weird herbs that I wouldn’t be able to pronounce right on the first go ’round. And while the wild ingredients didn’t really make sense with the other two sodas I tried, here they sort of do: I think this particular soft drink is supposed to be an aphrodisiac. At least, that’s what the scrawlings on the side of the label would lead me to believe. (Specifically, “arousing carbonated drink.”)

Well, I’ve drunk half the bottle, and I’m not aroused, but I do think it’s the best Skeleteens soda I’ve tried, so perhaps it’s making me feel lovey-dovey.

The soda has a really pretty amethyst color to it and a subtle floral flavor. There’s a bit of grape popsicle or watered-down cough medicine in the smell, too. It’s not overly sweet—just right, in fact. And nicely carbonated—won’t burn a hole through your tongue.

One of the ingredients is dillweed, and believe it or not, it was the first thing I tasted with my initial sip. Like a pickle, minus the sour saltiness. Just a little grassiness, somewhere in the distance there.

Overall all, a winner from The Skeleteens!

31 Days of Junk: Jelly Belly Candy Corn (#19)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

I didn’t realize this, but one of Jelly Belly’s original confections was candy corn and other mellowcreme treats. In fact, they were the primary confections before Jelly Belly started making jelly beans. Crazy, right?

The company, started in 1869, was originally called “Gustav Goelitz”, named after the man who started the company. It wasn’t until 1960 that the company started making jelly beans, and it would be another 16 years before they came up with the name “Jelly Belly”.

With that bit of history out of the way, it made me wonder: considering its history, would that mean Jelly Belly makes the best candy corn? Better than Brach’s?

After eating a few of Jelly Belly’s take on the tri-colored fall treat, I can say definitively, without a doubt: I don’t know!

They’re much smaller than Brach’s, that’s for sure. And they seem more nicely made: glossier and more of an effort to make the candy look like actual corn. (Notice the ridging on each piece.) The texture and flavor are also a bit different. These are chewier and have a softer candy corn flavor, versus other brands I’ve eaten which overwhelm my mouth with cloying sweetness after just a few pieces.

Would I be able to tell them apart from other brands in a blind taste test? Probably not. They taste like candy corn; I guess that’s all that matters.

 

Horrorstuffs & humor / don't tell yer granny

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