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The 3 best mass-produced sweets


Fat Guy
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I'm taking a class on Sundays -- a long, long class -- and there are several chefs in it, including pastry. One of the things we've been talking about, standing around the vending machine during breaks, is which mass-produced sweets are the best. Most are barely edible if you're accustomed to good sweets. But the following three widely available sweets are, I think, tasty:

1. Snickers. Most candy bars are just bad: low-quality chocolate, artificial-tasting fillings, too sweet, poorly conceived ratios. But Snickers works for me. There's so little chocolate that its quality isn't paramount. The caramel/peanut/nougat filling is tasty. And the bars are remarkably balanced and consistent over time.

2. Oreos. I really enjoy Oreos. I think they used to be a little better -- maybe they used to have animal fat? -- but they're still good.

3. Famous Amos chocolate-chip cookies. While I don't necessarily favor cookies at the dry-crunchy end of the spectrum, these are pretty good examples of the style. They do in a pinch.

What's your list of three? We're talking about the major, nationally available (in your country -- I'm referring to the US but of course you may live elsewhere), mass-produced snacks. Not great regional stuff but the stuff you can find pretty much anywhere.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I confess that I love (Heide) Jujubes, the nasty-chewy things in the green box. They lack the overmanipulated atomic-powered artificial intensity of more modern creations like Starbursts, which is a beautiful thing.

I'll vote for Oreos too, though back when I could eat gluten I was a fan of Pepperidge Farm cookies -- Milanos and Brussels in particular. My first Orange Milano, many years ago when I was young, was a revelation. Wonderful with tea in the afternoon.

Does ice cream count? The consistent mass-produced perfection of the core Haagen-Dazs flavors still amazes me, and should amaze anyone of a certain age who was raised on stuff like Sealtest in the half-gallon cartons. Simple and brilliant.

Edited by John Rosevear (log)

John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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Oreo's seem to have been growing in popularity in the UK now and I've heard a few people at work rave about how great they are. I tried one out of curiosity but really wasn't keen, not as charcoaly as I imagined from the colour and look of them but I didn't think the taste offered anything to make me want to eat them again.

I used to really like Crunchy bar's however recently I've found the honeycomb has lowered in quality and has become much more sticky, this can be seen also when breaking it open and it isnt' really as appealing.

I'm a bit of sweet (candy) fiend though and all too often eat way too many sugar coated sweets and jelly type sweets. far too sickly, far too sweet and I can munch through them far too easily....mmmmm astrobelts!

Chocolate bars is a tough one, I don't often buy chocolate bars when not at work and at work I'm limited to whatever's in the vending machine if I have a major craving for one!

Bounty has been my recent bar of choice, not too much chocolate but enough to smother the big chunk of desicated coconut. Split in to 2 bars to try to slow down your eating a bit (or share if your that way inclined!).

The danger for unhealthy foods at work seems to have magnified ever since Marks and Spencer created those tubs of cakes and snacks with such things as chocolate rolls, caramel shortcake (mmmmm) and rice crispy type cakes.

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Heath Bars. Maybe not the best chocolate and maybe not the best English toffee, but really, really good nonetheless.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Jelly Babies

Score Bars

Coffee Crisp

get my vote.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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Well, Terry's Chocolate Orange takes the first three places, of course, in a not-so-close contest with Jacob's Orange Club ("If you waaaant, a lot of... "). Then there are Maltesers, and taking Fat Guy's definition of sweets, Marks & Spencer's late lamented Butter Crunch biscuits, and good Raspberry Ripple ice cream sold in cardboard-wrapped rectangular blocks, about 2" x 4" x 12".

Since we're limited to three choices, lastly there are (again Marks & Spencer) - what were they called ? - Double Devon Butter Toffees ? And of course third place goes to After Eight mints, and to Fox's Glacier Mints, Polos, and Murray Mints, and Mint Toffos.

The good news is that all that sugar doesn't even affect your mental abilities in later life. Fairfranco, good call on chocolate rolls - and there are always chocolate fingers, aren't there ?

(I'm sorry, but I didn't grow up with them, and Oreos are rubbish).

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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--Reese's peanut butter cups, but in the holiday shapes (eggs, pumpkins, etc), as the chocolate/filling balance is better than in the round cups.

--Newman's Ginger-Os; like an Oreo, but with delicious ginger cookie wafers & filling.

--Junior Mints; the dark chocolate coating still tastes like real chocolate.

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2. Oreos. I really enjoy Oreos. I think they used to be a little better -- maybe they used to have animal fat?

Yes--up until about 10 years ago they were made with lard. Then they switched to vegetable shortening. This was done, in part, to get kosher certification.

My favorite mass-produced cookie used to be Freihofer's chocolate chip, when they were still made in Troy, but they're gone now. The Entenmann's cookie is a pale, tasteless imitation. Nothing else in the cookie aisle comes close. They're all crap.

I like some of the UK products--Smarties and Hobnobs.

Jelly Belly jelly beans are good, and I never say no to M&M's.

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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Sour candies in general - Warheads, Sour Patch Kids, sour straws, etc.

Jelly Belly beans

I love Kasugai Gummy Candies, but I don't know if those count as "mass produced" in this context. I mean, they're mass-produced, but they're imported from Japan and only really available in the US in stores that stock lots Asian products. But those muscat grape flavored ones are excellent and one of the only candies my parents bought when I was growing up.

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Marshmallow Fluff - I haven't had it in years but my Aunt Leona used to make me peanut butter and Marshmallow Fluff sandwiches.

Oreo's - I dare not buy them. Over my life I have gone through Oreo withdrawal too many times.

Goldenberg's Dark Chocolate Peanut Chews, though their new packaging is weird.

Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

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1. LU Petit Ecolier cookies (dark or extra dark chocolate). Not too sweet, and amazingly good chocolate.

2. Munch bars. Actual butter in the candy.

3. I used to love Mystic Mints, but I have no idea if they're even made anymore, or if I'd like them now. I also used to like Sunshine Lemon Coolers, but I'm pretty sure they aren't made anymore. So, I'll go with Fiddle Faddle as my third choice.

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1. Coffee Crisp. Love them - can't resist the bags of little ones you get around Halloween.

2. Kinder Surprise. Because there's a toy inside.

3. Ferrero Rocher hazelnut chocolates, the ones wrapped in gold foil with the hazelnut cream inside. They taste best around Christmas.

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I agree with JAZ who mentioned LU Petit Ecolier cookies (dark or extra dark chocolate). That is the only commercially produced cookie I can think of that I would eat. Oh, I like Trader Joe's triple ginger cookies too but I don't think either may be what Steve was looking for. Certainly, you can't get either from a vending machine. I was thinking he meant more commonly available?

I used to like Oreo cookies but it has been a long time since I enjoyed them. I'm guessing it has to do both with their recipe change and my tastes changing.

For commercial candy the only thing I'm really down with are Mounds or Almond Joys (though the almonds are always stale).

I still occasionally buy a Hershey's chocolate bar (plain or with almonds) and when I finish it I always wonder why I keep doing that.

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3. I used to love Mystic Mints, but I have no idea if they're even made anymore,

No, they're gone. Those were my wife's favorite. They've been sort of replaced by chocolate-covered mint Oreos, but those are not as good.

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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feedmec00kies

And Kasugai are also responsible for "Nodo ni Sukkiri" that was the long-awaited answer to my wish for a delicious minted-toffee-type mint in Japan.

The funny thing is that I got over a taste for sweet things by the time I was about twenty years old. The memories do remain, though, as does the feeling !

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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Marshmallow Peeps, only the yellow ones and only at Easter.

Heath Bars.

Little cinnamon bear cookies, whatever they are called.

Those little cinnamonbears are great in a bowl with milk!! Its the best cereal they never intended to be a cereal!!

"It only hurts if it bites you" - Steve Irwin

"Whats another word for Thesaurus?" - Me

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