Summer is officially over, and you know what that means: time for snack food companies to start marketing conveniently packaged things that are marginally more healthy than candy bars, at least so that they can be slipped into a backpack and passed off as “breakfast.”
The latest entry in this market is Reese’s Snack Cakes, and I am totally not making up the stuff about breakfast. The headline on the press release I got actually says, “REESE’S BRAND SAVES YOUR MORNING WITH NEW REESE’S SNACK CAKES.” To be fair, it’s not just intended for kids. “Research shows 83% say they have indulged in dessert before noon in the past month,” the press release reads, “so we had a crazy idea – give Reese’s fans permission to have cake as a mid-morning snack whenever they want.” This isn’t just a pick-me-up before third period, this is for adults who are feeling desperate when that initial caffeine rush wears off.
I received a box of Reese’s Snack Cakes in the mail on Friday morning and promptly ate one for lunch. It didn’t really make me feel any less hungry, but it didn’t make me feel any worse, so that counts as a victory. The chocolate had melted a bit because the box had spent a few minutes sitting out in the sun, but after a few hours indoors, at a temperature similar to its natural habitat, the convenience store, the snack cakes were less messy and better for eating discreetly, which is what you want if you’re sneaking food mid-morning. They come two to a package, so you could, in theory, share with an accomplice.
Now on to the important part: How do they taste? They are very sweet. The proportion of peanut butter to chocolate is smaller than it is in most Reese’s products, so you don’t get as much of the salty peanut butter flavor that you would in a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (or Pumpkin or Heart or shape of your choice). The cake part is dense and about the consistency of a “soft” store-bought cookie. Perhaps the manufacturers were going for something that couldn’t be easily crushed, which is a consideration in backpacks full of textbooks and laptops. There are also fewer crumbs, which, again, is helpful if you’re considering discretion. The packaging boasts that the outer coating is “real chocolate,” and I’m slightly disturbed that someone considered this a selling point. Are other Reese’s products not made with real chocolate?
I was not terribly impressed with the Reese’s Snack Cake. If I were absolutely starving and someone slipped me a package, I decided, I wouldn’t turn it down, but, given a choice, there are a lot of things I would choose first, including a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. I set the box aside. When I checked it again on Sunday night, the contents had been vastly depleted. At first I wondered if the dog had gotten into them, but I didn’t see any incriminating wrappers. I did, however, spot quite a few piled in the garbage can in my partner’s study. When I confronted him, he admitted that he had eaten all the snack cakes on his own. “But you said I could!” he said. “And they were good!”
Maybe I had judged the Snack Cakes too harshly. So I begged him to leave me a couple, and I tried them again. They were still a bit too sweet for my taste, but now that it’s time for a final ranking, I will defer to my partner, since he ate a lot more than I did.