August 11, 2011

The Frozen Candy Bar Taste Test {Naptime Simple Tips}

Candy

A few weeks ago I asked people on my Facebook fanpage to share which candy bar they like to eat frozen. I was astounded at the response. I always thought I was a little weird for freezing candy bars, but it turns out you all like frozen candy bars as much as I do! I try to be good about only indulging once in a long while, but I always keep a nice stash of Snickers Bars (my personal favorite) in the freezer just in case I need a quick fix. Let’s face it, even though we all love naptime cooking, there is nothing, NOTHING, faster than tossing a candy bar into the freezer during naptime and calling it dessert a few hours later.

A lot of your remarks made me curious about candy I had never tried to eat when frozen, so I decided to host my own frozen candy bar taste test on vacation in Cooperstown. To prepare for our candy feast I factored in a few extra long runs and my mother shimmied her way through Zumba class for a solid week prior. As for the friends we snagged into taste testing, well, they played a few extra tennis sets the next day to counteract the effects of their mass candy consumption.

Here are the candy bars we started with: Snickers (obviously), Milky Way, 3 Musketeers, York Peppermint Patties, Junior Mints, Charleston Chews (Vanilla is the only one I could find!), Heath Bar, Skor Bar, Reese’s Pieces, Classic Caramel Twix, Caramello, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups  *(Side note: it seems nobody likes to freeze fruity candy.)

Notes: All frozen candy bars were compared to their room temperature twins.

Freezing Technique: All of the bars were tossed on the shelf in a regular freezer and kept there for at least 4 days, undisturbed (that part was hard) until the taste test.

Frozen Candy Bar Taste Test Questions:

1. Initial Flavor: Underwhelming, overwhelming? Did freezing mask or highlight the taste of the candy?

2. Bite Feel: How did one solid bite of each bar feel? Teeth-breaking hard? Crackly, crunchy, chewy?

3. Mouth Melt: After initial full bite, did the candy bar begin to melt in your mouth? Too quickly, too slowly, just right?

4. 5 Minute Mark: Leaving a few bites for last, how did the candy bar feel after five minutes of thaw time?

5.  Refreshment Factor: The purpose of frozen candy bars, in my house at least, is for frozen dessert satisfaction after a long hot day. Did the bars deliver?

The Results:

Snickers: My favorite (which is why I put it first), the frozen Snickers bar is indeed a satisfying and refreshing frozen candy. All the elements – nougat, caramel, peanuts, chocolate – become solid as a rock in the freezer and take over half an hour to thaw completely. One hot afternoon we spent nearly twenty minutes letting the chilly bars slowly dissolve on our tongues at the beach. The slow melt proved an effective way to cool us down on a hot day while satisfying any kind of sweet/salty craving we had.

Milky Way: Like the Snickers Bars, we found the slow melt and sustained chill of the frozen Milky Way refreshing and tasty. I couldn’t bite into it at all for the first minute it was out of the freezer because it was truly frozen solid. Only after about a minute and a half was I able to slowly bite off a piece and enjoy the cold nougat and solid caramel. After five minutes it began to slowly thaw and the caramel regained a slightly chewy texture. The Milky Way delivered the same cool refreshment as the Snickers Bars, however, most of us missed the salty crunch of frozen peanuts.

3 Musketeers: Unlike the above bars, the 3 Musketeers bar does not have any kind of caramel filling. The interior is straight chocolate nougat which transforms into a frozen chocolate cloud after four days in the freezer. The melt time is shorter than the Snickers and Milky Way because there is no caramel to thaw. The initial bite is chewy and a little crumby and after about ten minutes it begins to melt slowly in your mouth. We found the rich chocolate taste completely decadent and perfect for the real chocoholics among us. If you are not a fan of frozen caramel, but still want that intense frozen nougat texture and flavor, this bar is for you.

York Peppermint Patty: Based on my Facebook fanpage this is a huge favorite! My friend Katie told me last week that growing up her Mom always had bag of mini-Yorks permanently stashed in their freezer and all of her friends would come over to eat them. I relayed this to my own mother and she pulled a bag of frozen mini-Yorks out of her freezer right then and there. Holy cow, I have no idea how that bag escaped me for so long! After our taste test I can understand why Yorks are such a mainstay in freezers the world over. When Yorks are frozen they don’t become hockey pucks, but get considerably more dense and chewy then their room temperature counterparts. You really have to clamp down for the first bite. The nice thick coating of dark chocolate gives way to just the right amount of chewy minty interior. The balance of chocolate with mint is just right – refreshing without being over- or underwhelming. After five minutes the York had thawed completely and the interior transformed back into it’s original room temperature light and fluffy state. While this was fine, I think I prefer York patties frozen. The peppermint is much more refreshing and the texture far more satisfying.

Junior Mints: It seems that in the freezer Junior Mints get thoroughly chilled, but never fully freeze. The chocolate coating stayed fairly soft and easily gave on the first bite. The minty interior was chewy, but thawed after just two minutes. We loved these for their instant gratification, eating one is like blasting your mouth with an icy peppermint spray. But I would almost say it isn’t necessary to put them in the freezer to get the same effect; the candy doesn’t transform in any meaningful way when frozen.

Charleston Chews – Vanilla (The only flavor I could find!): In my informal survey a LOT of people said they liked frozen strawberry and chocolate Charleston Chews and, I have to admit, I had no idea why. I have never been partial to Charlestons Chews since I always found them all toffee chew without any interesting flavor or textural elements. But, since you all seem to swear by them I had to give them a try. The first thing I noticed when I bought my bar was that the actual wrapper reads “Try Frozen.” Clearly, the makers of this candy bar, along with everyone else, know something I don’t! (How did I miss the boat on this one?) As directed by the manufacturer, I froze the bars and enjoyed the results a few days later. When frozen, the toffee chew turns into a frozen airy cloud, kind of like, I would imagine, frozen marshmallow fluff. The bar is transformed from chewy one-note candy to a chocolatey bar with a refreshing vanilla interior that crumbles into a million little delicious vanilla-y pieces with each bite. I adored the frozen Charleston Chew and can see why everyone else does, too. I was even happier to note that the crisp interior stayed such for nearly ten minutes before thawing into a chewier state. At which point I promptly threw it back in the freezer!

Heath Bar: I’ve always liked Heath Bars, though I am careful about chewing them with my back teeth. The brickle can get stuck in there for days and I always have visions of being reprimanded by my dentist for loosening old fillings! Luckily, freezing the Heath Bar definitely took away the chew factor of the brickle, rendering is crispy and crunchy without any lingering tugs in the back of my mouth. However, that is about all it did. Texture change aside, I didn’t find a frozen Heath Bar particularly more refreshing or interesting that a room temperature Heath Bar. The thinness of the bar enabled it to thaw in five minutes flat, leaving us back where we started.

Skor Bar: My friend Jessica swears that Skor Bars are better than Heath, though I have yet to understand the difference between the two. The Skor was exactly the same as the Heath Bar. See review above.

Reese’s Pieces: From the freezer this candy is just, well, cold Reese’s Pieces. But when my friend Kirsten shared her recipe idea for a Reese’s Pieces freezer candy I couldn’t resist trying it out. Stay tuned….

Caramel Twix: The classic Twix proved an interesting candy bar when frozen. The shortbread cookie base froze solid, as did the caramel on top and the whole thing made a satisfying snap when I took my first bite. The shortbread was ice cold, but still a little soft and the caramel melted very slowly over a few minutes while I chewed. In a way it reminded me of eating a frozen Milky Way, only on a slightly smaller scale.  After about ten minutes the bar thawed completely, turning it back into the regular chewy caramel cookie candy we know and love.

Peanut Butter Cups: Not many people mentioned freezing Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups from the start and I think I can tell why: they are tasty, but not super refreshing. This isn’t completely surprising since I don’t think many people eat peanut butter for the refreshment factor. Like the Junior Mints, the Cups get thoroughly chilled in the freezer but don’t really freeze solid. The initial bite took a little effort, but after that the peanut butter cup was just a slightly colder than normal peanut butter cup. The flavor didn’t change much and it definitely didn’t yield any new interesting textures. I LOVE peanut butter cups just as they are so I think I’ll skip freezing them in the future.

Caramello: I have to admit, I don’t really eat Caramello and had never thought about freezing them. The caramel in this candy bar is particularly fluid and soft so I wasn’t surprised it didn’t freeze as solidly as the Snickers, Milky Way or Twix caramels. It was nice, however, that the chocolate stayed a bit soft. That way it was slightly easier to bite into to get to the soft chewy interior. My mother liked that it didn’t threaten to break her caps! I wouldn’t say this is a particularly amazing frozen candy, but it does break apart in nice small squares which makes it good for a sweet nibble now and again.

 

  • http://debbidoesdinnerhealthy.blogspot.com/ Debbi Does Dinner

    How fun!  I would totally pick the Snickers as well.  Interesting on the Peanut Butter Cups, I would have thought that would have rocked!

  • http://www.whatmegansmaking.com megan @ whatmegansmaking

    This sounds like the best test ever!! I love it :)

  • Anonymous

    York Peppermint Patties frozen with peanut butter on top were a mainstay at camp when I was a kid. I still love them as a special treat!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Molly-Dunn-Hardy/100002481318912 Molly Dunn Hardy

    No Kit Kat? That’s my absolute frozen favorite!

  • http://www.jackscouponcodes.com Jackie

    mmm I have never tried a frozen candy bar. I will have to freeze some of my favorites and give this a try. My favorites include snickers and york peppermint patties.

  • Alison

    I love frozen gummy bears! Their juiciness is so refreshing when cold (freezer or fridge)!

  • http://yummysmells.blogspot.com/ Sarah R

    If you can find Curly Wurly, the UK chocolate/caramel candy, it is by far the BEST frozen thing I’ve ever had – smack it on the counter so it shatters and it just melts into gooey deliciousness! Def agree with you on the Reeses though, kind of a let down. Oh Henry is good frozen too.

  • Glenn

    I love frozen chocolate, it doesn’t taste too sweet like warm chocolate does. My favorite is frozen m & m’s.

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  • lisa

    a frozen candy taste test? thats the stupidest thing ive ever heard!

  • madeline

    ikr how stupid it just makes u feel fat

    • AmandaHugg

      are you retarded?? you sure sound it.

  • Thursday

    My favorite is a Yorkie [nestle] bar.
    They’re basically a thick bar of chocolate thats moulded as blocks. it turns completely solid and takes a pretty good chomp to break a bit off [which is the part i like]
    My friend likes them too but she grates the bar with her teeth [a bit like a hamster]

  • Selena

    Dad always swore by freezing the charlston chews, telling me to try as he loved it as a kid. I never really bothered to try freezing them until tonight, as I liked them as they were, a kinda vanilla flavored caramel with chocolatey coating. But frozen was awesome!

    • KelseyTheNaptimeChef

      That is good to know! Charleston Chews were never my favorite, but now everyone swears they are amazing when frozen so I am going to start doing it!

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