You’ve heard of popping caffeine pills for energy or gulping down a Red Bull. But caffeinated mints? Mojo for Energy is the first caffeinated mint I’ve ever heard of, and I’ve decided to give it a whirl. Each minty tablet is said to equal one cup of coffee or one energy drink, providing 22 milligrams of caffeine. How do they get caffeine into a little tablet in the first place? The mint’s number two ingredient is guarana extract—and guarana fruit contains three times the caffeine of a coffee bean the same size! Ingenious. Ginseng, taurine and vitamin B12 round out the formula. Another benefit of this tablet? It only has five calories, which is a vast improvement over calorie-laden soft drinks and specialty coffees and the empty calories consumed there, just for the sake of staying alert. Each packet contains 12 mint tablets that you can stash in your pocket or purse for convenience.
Each mint is about the circumference of a nickel and has a cool taste. The actual flavor is called Tri-mint, which tastes a lot like chalky peppermint to me. The tablet must be savored like a lozenge, because it is too hard to chew right through. But that means you have more time to let the mint freshen your whole mouth while the ingredients kick in to give you a boost of alertness for that long road trip or snore-worthy business meeting. I have personally been scared straight from trying these kinds of supplements since I witnessed Jessie (Elizabeth Berkley) from Saved By the Bell fall into a dangerous rendezvous with caffeine pills in order to stay awake and study. But, used responsibly, caffeine is a part of life for so many people—and, for that reason, this seems like an ingenious product that could really catch on.
Mojo for Energy is brought to us by Sweet Stuff Innovative Products. Product creator Jill Pyles wanted to create an alternative to coffee and soft drinks for a quick boost of energy. The name “Mojo” was decided upon because it represented the first initials of people in her family—and the final “o” was added to signify the others who would try the product.
Atkinson’s most famous candy, Chick-O-Sticks are a cultural icon. Quite a nostalgic treat, these candies are a favorite of the generation that grew up rocking out to Elvis and cutting loose with the Jitterbug or the Lindy Hop. Lucky for us, these candies are still sold widely today. Chick-O-Sticks are made from a recipe of finely ground and roasted peanuts mixed with granulated sugar. The mixture is then rolled into candy sticks and topped with toasted coconut. If you like Butterfingers, you may like Chick-O-Sticks, because the filling of both is virtually the same. Or, like me, you may just wonder where all the chocolate coating went. Still, the Atkinson’s company is doing their own thing, and the resulting candy pieces are flaky, crunchy, and a bit like tightly wound peanut brittle. The taste is good, but these orange-colored nuggets will get stuck in your teeth, so keep a toothbrush handy for afterward. I liked these overall, but I wouldn’t eat a bag full, or even crave them. And that’s coming from a fan of both peanut butter and coconut. A plus to these candies it that they are individually wrapped and they will not melt in the heat. With two grams of fat and 80 calories per serving, you won’t have your fitness instructor on your tail.
Sold in longer sticks or smaller, bite-size pieces, Chick-O-Sticks are founded in a strong candy-making tradition. The Atkinson’s Company has been making sweets since 1932 from their home in Lufkin, Texas. The company is family-owned and produces other quality products like Old Fashion Peanut Brittle, Assorted Sours, Mint Twists, Long Boys (chewy coconut caramels), Rainbow Coconut and Peanut Butter Bars. By far the most popular, Chick-O-Sticks are a great invention, and one that we hope will be around for future generations of candy aficionados.
“They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysteriously spooky….” No, these aren’t creepy, but they are Kandy Kookies (pronounced cookie, not kooky). Colorful, candy-coated drops about the size of a Junior Mint, Kandy Kookies are most similar to malted milk balls. But they also have a hint of chocolate chip cookie flavor to them. You could almost identify these bite-size treats as candy-coated Cookie Crisp cereal. Almost.
Available in five-pound bulk bags or smaller eight-ounce gift bags, these candies may be a taste worth acquiring. Here’s the concept: If you are craving a cookie, but don’t want to eat a whole one, you can just eat one of these Kandy Kookies. But I think you will be disappointed if you are expecting a fresh-from-the-oven Toll House cookie. If you come in expecting a piece of candy and not a cookie, you will be much better off, and more likely to walk away with a grin on your face. Note: These candies aren’t bad at all. Like sweet, crunchy M&M’s on steroids, they come in a mix of fun colors, though I can’t distinguish any difference in flavors between the various candy shells.
The Reno-based Kimmie Candy Company is the culprit behind Kandy Kookies. (Just try to say that sentence five times fast). Started only eight years ago, the company was the concept of agricultural worker Joe Dutra. He simply wanted to market his “Sunbursts” (sunflower seeds with layers of chocolate and candy coating) as a snack that is actually healthy to eat… or at least better for you than many other snacks. In less than a decade, the company burst into the scene, expanding nationwide and now distributed internationally. Their other products include Choco Rocks (candy-coated chocolate that really looks like pebbles!), Heart Tarts, Peanut Crunchers, Gold Nuggets, and Baby Dino Eggs among others. Pick up some Kandy Kookies for your candy jar, and don’t forget to share.
The mysterious RJ claims to “scour the world” to find the best natural ingredients to use in this licorice. (Who is this guy anyway?) The end result sure tastes natural, but in a very good, non-wheat-germ-kind-of way. RJ’s Natural Licorice Logs are smooth in texture and taste, not waxy-tasting or artificially flavored like most licorice produced in the U.S. Soft and easy to chew, RJ’s Licorice Logs come in black and raspberry, but also in chocolate, apricot and orange chocolate varieties.
The raspberry flavor is not phony in taste, but closer to what a real raspberry delivers the taste buds. Fans of black licorice will appreciate the natural, velvety texture of RJ’s blend. Whether you buy the individually wrapped logs or the packs of three, these licorice logs are a hearty treat, and much more filling than Twizzlers. Maybe that’s because the wrapper lists it’s “energy” content on the nutrition facts—not calorie count. This company makes everything, even candy, sound healthy and good for you. Vegetarians and vegans will be happy to chow down on this licorice, but the main ingredient is gluten—so gluten-free dieters will need to steer clear. All in all, the ingredient list is impressive, and you really feel like you’re eating something good for you in this candy gone natural.
RJ’s is based out of New Zealand and is family operated. Do they make other candy products, you may ask? No. Licorice is their passion, their one and only. And with this focus on one product, they hope to bring innovation to the field as they “take licorice into the future.” I think there is something to be said for a company to specialize in one product and do it well. That is what RJ’s has done, and it truly shows in every bite.