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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Archer Farms Apple Cinnamon Pretzels

It's still fall, and we're still checking out these autumnal "limited edition" goodies that show up on Target's shelves every year. Today's choice: Apple Cinnamon Pretzels.

Very similar to last year's Pumpkin Spice Pretzels, this offering is simply salted mini-pretzels with a "confectionery coating." The coating on these pretzels does taste vaguely of apple cinnamon, although the specific flavoring is less pungent than I'd like it to be. It's undeniably sweet—not unlike traditional white fudge covered pretzels—but as my wife was quick to point out, the apple flavor in particular tastes fake.

I wasn't expecting an authentic apple cider flavor or anything like that. I didn't expect the number one ingredient to be actual apples. In fact, there's absolutely no mention of apples or apple derivatives of any kind in the ingredients list. A bit disappointing. I suppose some kind of apple essence might be included under the "natural flavorings" banner.

"Cinnamon" is listed in the "less than 1%" category.

I think it might have improved these pretzels greatly had they found some way to put dried apple bits in the sweet coating, both to make the texture a little more complex and also to boost the apple flavor. Even if they'd have pureed a single apple in the fudgey part of these pretzels, I think it might have made them vastly more interesting.

My better half expressed her wish that they'd have used a yogurt coating instead of "white fudge." I suppose yogurt might be a tad healthier, but in most cases, there's just as much sugar involved. I'm not sure if there'd be any discernible health advantage in a product like this that's already loaded with sugar and sodium. It's an indulgent, dessert-ish treat for sure, with plenty of fat and carbs.

I know, I know. The product makes no claims that it's a health food, so why analyze it as such? Because this product, in my humble opinion, simply isn't worth the calories it carries. It's odd to have a product that's supposed to be flavored like sweet apples taste this salty. Sweet and salty does often work, but throw cinnamon and fake fruity flavors into the mix, and it's a bit of a gray area if you ask me. 

This flavor simply doesn't work as well as the aforementioned pumpkin spice version. The wifey liked them even less than I did. She refused to go back for a second handful. Nice try, Archer Farms, but I don't think this is a repeat buy for me.

I give these pretzels 6 out of 10 stars.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Archer Farms Maple Trail Mix

Maple's a good fall flavor. Along with pumpkin and apple, it's one of the most autumnal things you can eat. Maplicious.

This trail mix is pretty good, but it could easily be even better. How, you ask? By putting way fewer "cinnamon cookies" in the bag and adding a lot more nuts.

At first, the cinnamon cookies seem okay. They're vaguely cinnamony, crunchy, and not unlike the "graham bites" in the Rudolph's Mix we looked at two years back. Their flavor is very similar and their appearance and texture are nearly identical. They just don't bring as much to the mix as any of the other ingredients, and they take up way too much space in the bag. I even started picking them out and putting them in another container to save for...I don't know...feeding to the squirrels?

The "cinnamon-flavored pretzel balls" are pretty interesting. I think they're little pretzels coated with cinnamon yogurt. Unique and tasty.

The almonds and peanuts are candied in a mapley glaze and could easily stand alone as a delicious snack. I just wish there were more of 'em. There are tragically few raisins, as well.

The cereal squares are Chexy and sweet, although the maple glaze on them makes them taste and feel just slightly stale to me. I think they'd have been better without the glaze. There's enough sugar in here already. Why not just let the multigrain flavor do its thing?

If you're a fan of maple, this trail mix is worth a shot. I just think they came soooo close to making something great, and fell just shy of the mark. I probably wouldn't buy it again, but if someone put a baggie full of it in my backpack, I'd most definitely still eat some as a snack here and there.

I think we paid a clearance price of $2.99 for this trail mix. It might have been a little more previously. Always changing prices on us, those tricky Target employees—fortunately, they're usually lowering them. Just another reason I still shop at Target once in a while.

I give this trail mix 7 out of 10 stars.

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