A Candy Upgrade

Mama’s Goodies

Mama’s Goodies

I Paid: $4.99 per 4-ounce bag (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 4 stars

Marketing: 4 stars

Mama’s Goodies represent a novel twist on a candy that most Americans would consider a national treasure: These nut brittles were actually inspired by an “old-world Iranian recipe” from a mother-daughter team of immigrants. Each variety has only eight to ten ingredients (stuff like honey, maple syrup, nuts, sugar, and, yes, corn syrup), and the components yield a simple and pleasing end product.

Sesame Seed Nut Crunch is the best; the sesame flavor comes through with a purity and intensity that is surprising. Although there’s a sugary brittle coating, the seeds drive the flavor.

Cashew Nut Crunch is less interesting—the nut’s mild flavor is hidden beneath the sweet, honey-boosted taste of the brittle. The pecan variety fares better: After the same overwhelming brittle attack, the natural rolling, earthy, smoked nuttiness of the pecans battles back and asserts itself.

Almond Nut Crunch is dominated by a pleasant, lightly burnt caramel flavor. And Macadamia & Coconut Nut Crunch tastes like an effortless success, the clean, light macadamia flavor dominating each bite, with a natural coconut chaser bringing up the back half of the experience, a perfect complement to the sweet, nutty opener.

If you’re a brittle fan who’s seen and eaten the usual suspects, Mama’s Goodies are a swell way to take things to the next level.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.