Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Rainbow of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Did you know that you can get Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in both dark and white chocolate, as well as the original milk chocolate flavor?

Of course, we needed to try all of these together in order to compare and contrast them.

First of all, I hadn't paid attention to the nutrition information in a long time, and, really, just over 100 calories per cup isn't bad, as far as I'm concerned. There were some other interesting things the labels told me, too...

1) The Dark cups have the highest iron, the highest fat, the lowest protein, the lowest sodium, the lowest calcium, and the most dietary fiber.
2) The original cups have everything right down the middle.
3) The White cups have peanuts as the first ingredient, since its coating is not technically "chocolate," so the individual ingredients that go into the coating, although they might cumulatively be greater in volume than the peanut butter, do not constitute a majority separately. They have 5 calories more per cup than the other two cups. They have the lowest sugar (surprisingly, to me), the highest sodium, and the highest calcium by a long shot.. It *does* include cocoa butter (among other oils, but as the first one listed) so it does qualify as actual white "chocolate" and not just confectionery coating.
4) The biggest difference in the semi-sweet chocolate (used for the Dark cups) and the milk chocolate is that, after sugar, the next ingredient in the milk chocolate is cocoa butter and the next ingredient in the semi-sweet is chocolate. Then those are reversed for the third ingredient. Also, the milk chocolate has both nonfat milk and milk fat, whereas the semi-sweet only has milk fat.

Furthermore, I'd never noticed this before, but I do know the story behind it:
"Orange background color is a registered trademark."
Back in 1991, when Peanut Butter M&Ms came out, they made their packaging *this* color of orange, and wrote "M&Ms" in the same color as the Reese's yellow logo. Reese's took them to court and won. I don't know if the color was a trademark at the time, but a court found that it was proprietary to them, anyway, and that Mars could not use it for their candy. If you compare them in the store, you'll see that the Peanut Butter M&Ms bags are a bit redder than their Reese's Pieces counterparts.

Now, on to the fun part:

Although it is fall, it is still roughly 78 degrees in the house, and all of the chocolate was deliciously soft, which made it difficult to photograph and move. The semi-sweet chocolate seemed to fare the worst for the heat.

The peanut butter appeared to be the same in all three of the cups. The chocolate (including the white, for purposes of this discussion) was all of equal smoothness.

What was most surprising to me was that the white chocolate cups were not treacly. I felt like the white chocolate was very mellow and allowed the peanut butter flavor to come through. James, who prefers white to other chocolates in general, thought that it wasn't balanced because he couldn't really taste the white chocolate.

The milk chocolate had the balance we were used to, and it tasted the most "natural" to our well-trained nostalgic palates. It was the sweetest of the three.

The semi-sweet chocolate was sharper and stood up more to the peanut butter as equally strong in the flavor profiles. It made the cups taste more like a prepared dessert than a candy bar, and maybe a little more earthy.

I recommend that you try them all (maybe all at once, for breakfast, like we did!) and see what you think.

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