It’s the most wonderful time of the year! By which I mean we are entering the part of the year where almost every holiday is all about eating (even Yom Kippur ends with a big feast). I don’t presume to venture a prediction, in these uncertain times, about how wonderful anything else is going to be. But I do know there will be candy. And any season with candy is not completely awful.
So, my dear friends, it is my happy duty to inform you that Hershey’s has already planned out its Christmas season, which will probably be in stores before Halloween is over. (Which is great, because the Americans among us will need sustenance while we anxiety-watch the election returns.) Hershey unveiled them in a Zoom call on September 1. The Hershey’s employees wore cozy sweaters and used backdrops that made them look like they were speaking to us from either Narnia or the set of a Hallmark holiday movie. We were all supposed to get boxes of the new products in advance of the call but
Santa FedEx was a little slow, so some of us had to sit and watch while everyone else unwrapped their packages and ate their chocolate. It didn’t bother me, though, because I am Jewish and this is how Christmas is for me all the time.
This is what we have to look forward to:
Did you know that Kisses were invented in 1907? Did you know that Hershey’s now sells 10 billion of them every year? And did you know that, as of this holiday season, there will be 10 different varieties of Kisses on the market? Now you do!
Kiss Number 10 is Sugar Cookie. It is historic because it’s the very first Kiss that has no chocolate in it whatsoever. Instead, it is made of sugar cookie-flavored white crème with crunchy, colorful bits of sugar cookie embedded in it. If you like Hershey’s white crème (previously seen in Birthday Cake Kit Kat and Cookies ‘N’ Crème Fangs), you will really like this. Even if you don’t really love white crème, you will find it hard to stop eating them. It’s a lot like actual sugar cookies! They’re sweet, colorful, and inoffensive.
In honor of this new Kiss, Hershey’s has created a new cookie recipe: Holiday Sugar Cookie Blossoms. They are just like Peanut Butter Blossoms, except instead of peanut butter, the cookie part is sugar cookie (from a mix).
These are very, very pretty. They come wrapped in colorful, shiny foil. If you can figure out a way to attach them to a hook or a string, they would probably look very nice on your tree (if your tree follows an aesthetic that has room for orange). The nutcracker pattern is also stamped onto the candy itself, so if you’re feeling sadistic—the holidays can do that, we’re not judging—you can bite the nutcracker’s head off.
Nutcrackers have a smaller proportion of peanut butter to chocolate than other Reese’s products. If I had a choice, I would rather eat a Peanut Butter Cup or some other shape, but these sure are pretty. And small, so you can eat more.
For everyone who has ever struggled to pick out the perfect white elephant gift, Reese’s, out of the goodness of its collective heart, has created a peanut butter-stuffed white elephant in a tasteful necklace-sized gift box that you can wrap up and give away. The white elephant aspect of it is that it’s covered in white crème, which remains somewhat controversial. But I do like the pun.
I admit, I did not have high expectations for this one, since there are few things in life that sound less promising than sugar-free gum. But this gum was actually quite good! I think Candy Cane is a little less intense than plain old Peppermint, but it’s still refreshing, and the flavor lasts a very long time. (I made the mistake of trying to chew three cubes of it at once, and it still tasted like candy canes by the time my jaw got tired and I had to concede defeat.) It also blows up into a nice, nonsticky bubble, if that’s your thing. They come in a little container with a picture of a maniacal-looking snowman on it that doubles as a holiday decoration.
This isn’t exactly a new product, but can we all agree that Mint + Dark Chocolate, which came out last year, is the very best of all the recent Kit Kat flavors? So who are we to argue with the decision to release Mint + Dark Chocolate Duos in snack size form, which means one thing: it is now possible to buy and eat an entire bag of them all at once. This is probably far more comforting than chestnuts roasting on an open fire or Jack Frost nipping at your nose. Huzzah!
These aren’t really new, either, but I don’t think any major candy company has ever experimented before with deconstructing the candy bar, so bravo to Hershey’s. I can only imagine what kind of Picasso-esque Santas and Snowmen will appear on coffee tables across America this holiday season. It’ll be just like Paris in the 20s. Or maybe it will just amuse kids for five minutes or so before they gobble the whole thing up and get wired on sugar again. I’m told by parents that those five minutes can be very precious.
Alas, I didn’t get a sample of this because, at nearly two feet long, this is the biggest cane ever, too big to fit into our boxes. I tried not to think of phallic jokes while the Hershey’s people were presenting this because Christmas is a clean and wholesome holiday (or so I gather from Hallmark movies), and I will say no more.
Also returning this year are Hot Cocoa Kisses, stuffed with marshmallow crème (“like a hug in a mug!”) and Reese’s Mystery Shapes. I think there are four mystery shapes and I was only able to identify one—it was a stocking, I think? Maybe they could be used as Rorschach ink blots, but I also found them so delicious, I didn’t care what the shapes were. They don’t have the rigidity of the cups, so you get to the peanut butter that much faster, and that is the important thing and the true meaning of Christmas.