My husband LOVES Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, as do many others, apparently, since they are number two in overall candy sales in the US. So when I saw Reese’s Dessert Bar (no bake) Mix on an end cap in Target recently, I decided to try it. My husband was quite excited about it too, but after having made the mix, and after all of us have tasted these bars, two out of three of us agree that Reese’s Peanut Butter cups are simply better (in more ways than one). More on that later.
But what of the value? The mix I bought is made in a very small card-stock “pan” that is provided in the box (see the above photo). I didn’t realize this when I bought it, simply thinking that–like all other box mixes I’ve experienced–it was to be made in an 8″x8″ pan.*
So right-off-the-bat I was unpleasantly surprised. From this small “pan,” which is about 5.5 x 7 inches at its base, you are supposed to get 15 servings. Now, you may be better at cutting softish desserts than me, but there’s no real way that I’d be able to cut that many pieces of this dessert. I cut it into nine rectangles, but I could’ve gone for 12 easy enough. I think 12 servings is much more realistic than 15. At Walmart, this mix is about $4.00, which would make a 1/12 serving $0.33 each. That price isn’t counting the margarine used for making the recipe, but that would still make a serving less expensive than a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup these days.
Taste and Appearance?
As already mentioned above, two out of three of us in my family prefer the cups to these no bake bars. My son happens to like the “bar eating experience” of these, however (he says he eats them slower than a cup, and he likes that), and he thinks the bars taste more like peanut butter. As for myself, I like the peanut butter taste of the cups more, so this must be an individual taste bud thing.
The top chocolate coating is not at all easy to spread on the soft layer it goes on. I heated up the coating, and squished it up in the bag, as instructed, but it really should’ve been more liquidy. If you try making these yourself, I’d advise heating the pouch up more and spreading it on the refrigerated bar base (instead of just refrigerating the whole thing afterwards, as instructed). In any case, below is a photo of how it looked in the end. Not pretty. But if it tastes great, who cares? I don’t think these bars taste that great, though. Honestly, I don’t even like them very much. Many other homemade bars and cookies taste better than these Reese’s No Bake Bars, and no doubt look more appetizing, too.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that not too many people care about the nutritional value of a dessert like this. However, I’d like to comment on what the box claims to be a serving size and to compare Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to these bars. As discussed previously, the stated serving size is 1/15 of the mix, which I think is unrealistic. One 1/15 size bar (which would be very small) has 180 calories and 20% of one’s daily recommended limit of saturated fat (these bars do not contain trans fat). One 1/12 size bar, which is still small but which is more realistic (I think), would therefore have 225 calories and contain about 25% of one’s daily dose of saturated fat. It probably wouldn’t be too healthy to sit down and eat about 1/4 of that little pan of bars at once, but I can easily imagine someone doing that (like my husband . . . my son said that it wouldn’t be that hard eating the whole pan, if one were hungry and not practicing any kind of restraint).
How does one bar, either the 1/15 or 1/12 size, compare to eating two regular size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (that is, one package)? According to the Hershey’s web site for Reese’s products, a package of two cups has 210 calories and 23% of the daily value of saturated fat. These numbers are between the figures for the two serving sizes.
My view is that I’d be much more satisfied eating two original candy cups than either one small, or very small, bar from this mix. There’d be no reason for me to buy this mix again, with its “convenient” “pan” included in the box–which I had originally failed to notice because of my past experiences with boxed mixes–or its unrealistic (deceptive?) statement of serving size (and therefore nutritional value).
* Reese’s DOES have a bar mix that is made in that size pan (8″x8″), I’ve since found out, and oddly enough, the bars are completely different. That mix is called “Reese’s Peanut Butter & Chocolate: Premium Dessert Mix.” My review here shouldn’t be mistaken for the premium mix.