It’s hard to improve upon a good thing, and most candy fans seem to agree that M&M’s are a good thing (just visit the M&M’s store any day of the year). But along the way, the candy-coated chocolate candies have made a few additions that stood up to the original. Peanut, dark chocolate, pretzel, and crispy varieties have all amassed their own passionate followings (case in point, our office complex snack bar has a dark chocolate M&M’s dispenser which needs to be re-filled five times a day). So when the Mars Chocolate announced earlier this year that its latest flavor would be caramel, needless to say we wondered if this new iteration would be an instant classic or just another coconut.
A few of us sat around popping the new caramel M&M’s into our mouths and chewing in silence. Finally, a chorus of pleased “hmm’s” arose. The candies are on the larger side, akin to the peanut butter flavor, and contain a chewy core of caramel inside the typical layers of chocolate and shell. The caramel is denser and chewier than the closest candy alternative, Milk Duds, and has a slight salty aftertaste (a modern palate update the classic recipe of Duds might want to take notice of). A few people mentioned they expected something a bit gooier and some thought the combo of chewiness with crunchy shell was off-putting.
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Verdict: Caramel M&M’s didn’t wow anyone like we had hoped they might. According to the literature accompanying our sample, caramel filling is the 4th most popular category of chocolate, but the new candies probably won’t be moving it into the #1 spot. In short: they’re good, not great.