As we countdown the days left in 2013, it’s the perfect time of year to look back and reflect on all my favorite candies from the year. 

Crystal Lindell
Crystal Lindell

While I’ll try any candy once (it is part of my job, after all), there are some I’d rather never put near my mouth again. Others, however, are so, so good, I could seriously sustain myself on them for 365 days.

So here’s my uncensored list of candies that I not only love more than a new pair of shoes, but that I’d also actually buy if I came across them in a store. I don’t usually pay for confections in my role, because of the piles of samples I get year-round, and the eternal buckets of extra candy I continuously have in random corners of my house, no matter how much candy I try to give away.

These treats are special though and are worth paying for. If you haven’t given them a try yet, I implore you to do so. Seriously, drop whatever gift you’re wrapping, or whatever eggnog you’re drinking, run out to your local candy store and grab some of these. They all have the very special Crystal Lindell Seal of Approval and are guaranteed to make your day a little bit sweeter — in the best way possible.

1.Snicker’s Bites:

Snickers Bites

What they are:

Unwrapped poppable Snicker’s cubes made by Mars. Packaged in a re-sealable bag, they’re made for snacking and sharing.

Why I love them:

Mars managed to get the ratio of chocolate to nougat to peanuts and caramel just right, so even though these are smaller than a regular Snicker’s, they somehow taste better than the best candy bar on earth, if that’s even possible. Plus, the little pieces make it so you can pop three whole Snicker’s bars before you even realized you’ve opened the bag. Three chocolate cheers for guilt-free candy consumption!

2. Handmade, All-natural Caramels from Mrs. Prindable’s

Mrs Prindables caramels

What they are:

Chocolate-Enrobed Caramels:

  • Coffeehouse Mocha enrobed in White Chocolate
  • Fresh Banana Walnut enrobed in Milk Chocolate
  • Pomegranate Cherry enrobed in Dark Chocolate
  • Hawaiian Red Sea Salt enrobed in Dark Chocolate

Classic Caramels:

  • Tahitian Vanilla Natural Caramel
  • Aleppo Chili Pepper Natural Caramel
  • Vietnamese Cinnamon Apple Natural Caramel
  • Hawaiian Red Sea Salt Natural Caramels

Why I love them:

The thing about caramel is that it’s so, so hard to do well. And, I feel sad for all the people out there, who’ve only ever tried poorly made caramel, going through life believing that they “don’t like caramel.” If I could, I’d give every single one of them one of Mrs. Prindable’s Caramels.

The Hawaiian Red Sea Salt Natural Caramel was my personal favorite and as soon as I ate one of them, I realized I need to seek immediate assistance to prevent me from eating all 12 that came in the beautiful orange cube they’re packaged in. I quickly gave some to my mom, and she wholeheartedly agreed. Mrs. Prindable’s are caramels done right. Eat them at your own risk, and don’t blame me if you go through a whole package in one sitting.

3. Original Gourmet’s Sweetly Naturals Lollipops

Original Gourmet Sweetly Naturals

What they are:

A new lollipop line that features natural colors and flavors in ten vibrant fruity flavors!

Why I love them:

Sometimes a large lollipop can be overwhelming, and I’ll end up throwing it away before I finish it because I’m sick of the flavor. But not with these. The naturals line seriously taste like fruit juice in your mouth — one part refreshing, and two parts sweet treat. My favorite flavor is pineapple — so far. They’re so new that I haven’t had a chance to try them all.

4. Lindt says ‘HELLO’ with new collection

Lindt Hello Collection

What it is:

Contemporary and sinfully delicious premium chocolate bars, sticks and boxes, inspired by classic desserts and treats, such as a caramel brownie bar and strawberry cheesecake sticks. The line is targeted toward millennials, and features fun black packaging with blue and white lettering. While the classic gold “Lindt” is still on each item, the design of the package makes it clear that it’s totally appropriate for teens and twenty-somethings to grab a box of this at their local Target.

Why I love the collection:

First off, the packaging alone is enough to make my list. So many brands completely miss the mark in this area, but it’s so, so important. Packaging has to communicate everything about the product to the consumer, who may only give the box a quick glance while strolling down the candy aisle. These boxes and wrappers scream: “WE’RE COOL, BUT NOT IN A PRETENTIOUS WAY!”

The good news is that the packaging doesn’t lie. Afterall, this is Lindt, and they don’t mess around. They sent me samples of most of the items, and I usually take things like that home to my family, but I confess I seriously wanted to eat all of them at my desk. My favorite was the Caramel Brownie sticks, but everything was good enough to keep to myself.

5. Marich Spring Collection

Marich Spring

What it is:
Marich’s spring collection includes Caramel Robin Eggs, chewy caramel eggs in rich dark chocolate coated with a candy shell decorated in Robin’s Egg blue. The spring collection also includes: Easter Select Mix, Holland Mints, Pectin Chicks & Bunnies, Milk Chocolate Eggs, andGreen Beans natural jelly beans.

Why I love this collection:

Marich’s has a history of providing chocolates to the Emmy’s, and when you taste one of its Robin’s Egg blue, you can understand why. Coated with a delicious chocolate shell painted a vibrant blue, the only thing more delicious than the outside is the caramel on the inside, which pairs perfectly with the shell. It’s easy to imagine famous celebrities popping the eggs while they go calorie crazy after the show, no longer faced with the need to fit into a special dress.

Meanwhile, the Pectin Chicks & Bunnies are anything but your typical chewy candy. Luxuriously created to taste like high-end fruit flavors, and then dusted with sugar crystals, they taste like an adult version of a gummy bear that even kids would like.

So there you have it, a tell-all list of all the candy I truly loved over the last year. And as we shift into 2014, I can’t wait to see what the confectioners do next.