Though it’s one of the most beloved slogans in American advertising, “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand” never rang quite true to me. The pleasure of M&M’s comes from their texture when you crunch on them: hard candy shell, soft chocolate mantle, surprise nuts or peanut butter in the core. Who are these weirdos that let M&M’s sit around in their mouth, slowly disintegrating in their saliva, rather than chewing them like an actual adult?

Crunch is essential to an M&M. That’s what we learned in a recent sampling of alternative M&M flavors, which have proliferated faster than Oreos. M&M’s with a surprising center — nuts, crunchy bits, pretzels, whatever — were among the better offerings. But the flavors were a mixed bag. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Hazelnut spread: There’s a reason they don’t call it Nutella here. It’s a poor knockoff of the beloved brand, but the creamy middle is nice.
  • Pretzel: Salty and crunchier than the crispy M&M’s, somehow.
  • Coffee nut: Maybe you thought there would be an actual coffee bean in this. Sorry to disappoint you, but it’s just coffee flavoring and a peanut. They’re okay, I guess.
  • Crunchy mint: Would you like to eat Thin Mints in M&M form? I have good news for you.
  • Crispy: The worst name. The best texture!
  • Mexican jalapeño peanut: Spicy chocolate can be great. But this one has a sort of grassy, peppery taste — not like the chili-infused chocolate bars you may have tried before. It’s off-putting.
  • Thai coconut peanut: Challenging! The coconut flavor verges on the edge of overpowering but stops just short of being cloying.
  • Caramel: Basic! They’re good. They’re fine.
  • White chocolate peanut: The peanut flavor supersedes the white chocolate flavor, which is either good or bad news, depending on your perspective.
  • English toffee peanut: Why do they taste like sad pancakes? I sincerely want to know.
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mhastings@wsjournal.com

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