Easter is rapidly approaching, which means the aisles of your favorite drugstore are turning pastel, with racks and racks overflowing with jelly beans, choco bunnies and all manner of corn syrup concoctions. Indeed, the selection is so vast it threatens to paralyze sucrose-craving shoppers.
To help guide you through the supremely stressful selection process, Senior Candy Editors Megan McDonald, Hannah Wallace and Cooper Levey-Baker recently visited a Sarasota Walgreens to rank their top picks. Here are the results:
Cooper Levey-Baker's Picks
4. Smarties Jelly Beans ($2.69)
It sounded too good to be true, and it was. The combination of signature Smarties sugar with the texture of a jelly bean sounds promising in theory, but the end result is a mess. For starters, the skin of at least half the jelly beans in the bag is cracked, which means these things won't even look nice in a clean white bowl sitting on an Easter morning coffee table. And the flavor veers radically from classic Smartie, a tragic error. I salute your ambition, Ce De Candy, Inc. of Union, N.J., but you blew it.
3. Jesus Saves jelly beans ($3.29)
I don't know what I expected when I popped a red "Jesus's blood" jelly bean into my mouth. Salt? Iron? But I was crushed to learn that this bean, like all the others inside my hollow Jesus Saves aluminum cross, is just a plain ol' jelly bean. The biggest sin here is the portion size. A single cross contains less than a handful of jelly beans, which might help me overcome my tendency toward gluttony but is definitely fueling my feelings of wrath.
2. Peeps with Socks ($4.99)
Candy that keeps my footsies warm on a long cold spring night? Sign me up for this item, which includes a four pack of classic Peeps along with a pair of Peeps-patterned socks. The Peeps are too one-dimensional marshmallow for my taste buds, but the socks—99 percent polyester, 1 percent spandex—are crazy stylish. Look for them at Sarasota's next expensive soirée.
1. Reese's Peanut Butter Egg ($5.99)
Holy moly. This enormous egg-shaped mold of chocolate stuffed with Reese's peanut butter filling represents the absolute apex of Easter candy. It's so big you need a chef's knife to slice through, and the peanut butter filling—normally so slight—is dense and powerful. I'd rather eat this than a package of regular cups any day.
Hannah Wallace's Picks
4. Chocolate eggs ($0.99)
Rookie mistake: I went for the generic. I’m sure Hershey’s chocolate eggs are delightful. But these, unwrapped, look like neglected olives and taste like a Whopper you found at the bottom of your purse. Disconcerting, too, that even on the shelf there’s a lot of exposed chocolate in that mesh packaging.
3. Candy bracelet ($0.99)
I’ve tried several techniques, and there’s really no way to be sure you’ll get all the brittle candy in your mouth without also sucking on the elastic string. Stylish? Sure. Sexy? You bet. But eventually you wind up with saliva all over your arm.
2. Candy-pooping duck ($3.99)
I have so many questions. Is this Easter-related? Is it appetizing? Is it even appropriate? The colorful little candy feces are fine enough, I suppose: a satisfying crunch and a sweet-tart moment of flavor. But it’s the rhythm of the whole process—head bob, poop, crunch, repeat—that’s really addicting.
1. White chocolate bunny ($4.99)
This one’s for you, General Woundwort. I always preferred a white “chocolate” bunny for my basket, back when I didn’t want any cocoa flavor getting in the way of my sugar. My palate has since matured, but the prominent vanilla flavor of the pale bun still holds a custardy appeal. (And of course, it tastes better when you eat the ears first.)
Megan McDonald's Picks
4. Russell Stover Chocolate Marshmallow Egg ($0.69)
So, in the interest of full disclosure, I accidentally grabbed this one by mistake--I meant to go for the classic marshmallow flavor. That being said, the chocolate was, you know, fine...but it was too one dimensional for my taste. Also, as far as aesthetics go, let's just be honest--this looks like an egg that Hannah's head-bobbing, candy-pooping duck might have laid.
3. Brach's Jelly Beans ($2.99)
Apparently this season, Brach's is offering a spiced variety of its traditional jelly beans (which for some reason are rebranded at Easter as jelly bird eggs), which I regarded with equal parts awe and fear. That being said, if you're anything like me, these intensely sweet, colored little bean-eggs hold a significant amount of nostalgia--my brother and I always found them at the bottom of our Easter baskets when we were kids, and would trade flavors based on our favorites (give me all the green ones).
2. Cadbury Mini-Eggs ($0.99)
Another treat that's only available for a very limited time, Cadbury mini eggs are seriously delicious. They're about the size of a jelly bean, but they're solid chocolate and coated with a speckled pastel sugar shell. The chocolate is high-quality and flavorful, and the crisp candy shell adds a nice crunch. They almost made my No. 1 spot. Almost.
1. Cadbury Creme Eggs ($4.29 for a four-pack)
It seems you either love or hate these cream-filled chocolate eggs, and I am firmly, 100 percent, unabashedly in the love camp. I look forward to them every year and am both happy (for the sake of my teeth) and sad (for my taste buds) that, like their mini-egg counterparts, they're only available for a limited time. The Cadbury milk chocolate is smooth and full of flavor, and the creamy filling, which is white and orange to mimic an egg, is super sweet and a tiny bit grainy, which adds a nice textural contrast. Yum.