October 28, 2015

Staying sweet with Hershey's Candy Corn

This is as pure of a dessert as you'll ever see.
My favorite foods to try are the ones that make you ask, "How did they ever come up with that?"

Think pretzel crust pizza. Or Any of Lay's ridiculously flavored chips. Or sweet corn potato chips, for that matter.

So it should come as no surprise to you that I was thrilled to break out the Hershey's Candy Corn bar recently. As you can guess, the bar has pieces of candy corn in it. As you might not be able to guess, it has no chocolate. The majority of its body is something called candy corn creme.

In other words, it's a remix on last year's successful by my book Hershey's Candy Cane bar. We should have one of these for every season.

But the Candy Corn bar really needs to come with a sugar warning. You couldn't get a faster blast of the stuff into your bloodstream if you jammed a needle filled with sucrose straight into your heart. It's not just sugar. It's not just sugar sugar. It's sugarsugarsugarsugarSUGAR!

Candy corn isn't exactly complicated stuff, but it seems nuanced next to this bar. Where candy corn has notes of honey, the Candy Corn bar has savage sweetness. Where candy corn has three colors and a fun shape, the Candy Corn bar has mostly monochromatic white and brutalist blocks.

It's good to eat in the way a sledgehammer is good to drive a nail. It's overkill. And it's amazing.

I do recommend buying the bags with miniature trick-or-treat-sized bars. Eating a full bar at once is a dangerous proposition.

Four sporks out of five.

October 25, 2015

Staying spooky with the Halloween Whopper

The Halloween Whopper was clowning around.
It's Halloween week, so I have some of the scarier ideas to hit the food world on tap over the next few days. Today I'm going to break down Burger King's Halloween Whopper, and then later I'll take on Hershey's Candy Corn bar.

Before we even get into the Halloween Whopper's recipe, let's address the gastrointestinal issue Loomising over everything. Yes, it made news for turning some things an unholy shade of green. No, we're not going to consider that here. This is a forum about eating, so take your freaky restroom observations to other dark corners of the Internet like USA Today.

With that out of the way, let's talk burgers. The first thing you notice about the Halloween Whopper is its black bun. Burger King claims the thing has A.1. flavor baked in, although there's pretty clearly some food coloring involved, too. Other than that, the Halloween Whopper is standard Burger King flagship fare, save some A.1. Thick and Hearty sauce slashed on top.

In all honesty, it's hard to look down at the Halloween Whopper and bite into it. Something about the color says "mold" more than "spooky fun." It's dark in a shade that's somehow completely dissimilar to anything you'd eat, even something dark like pumpernickel.

Get past the color, and you get a bun that's slightly more peppery than normal. And you get a burger that's slightly more zesty than normal. These aren't bad things — the Whopper isn't high-quality "fast casual" territory, but it's always been a solid burger that's a nose above other fast food beef. 

Still, I think we need a little more flavor difference from a bun that looks so starkly different. This thing Haddonfield to have enough flavor to be scary in order to be called a success. Otherwise the Halloween Whopper name is nothing but an empty mask.

I checked out Burger King's Halloween Whopper announcement and was disappointed to find they didn't play up the fear potential a black bun and big flavors could bring. But they did say that the Halloween Whopper was a follow-up to flavored buns first unveiled in Japan. Some very quick research shows Japan got its own black-bunned burgers in the past as well as something called an Angry Red Samurai Burger with a red bun.

Which begs the question: What other colorful buns —and bun flavors — could Burger King bring us stateside? Personally, I'd like to see a Christmas Burger with a Red bun top and green bun bottom flavored like cranberry and fig leaves, respectively. Or a blue-bunned Summer Shore burger bearing the taste of sea salt. We can make hay here!

By the way, you'll need to make hay for your Halloween Whopper. Burger King cited a price of $4.99 in its announcement, but I paid $5.99 on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Either price is honestly too much green. This is a four-dollar burger by Myers reckoning, unless they can get more flavor in it.

Not to be Curtis here, but two sporks out of five. The Halloween Whopper is edible but still belongs on the blacklist. The King could have Strode for so much more.