SPOTTED ON SHELVES – 9/23/2016

Here are some interesting new and limited edition products found on store shelves by us and your fellow readers. If you’ve tried any of the products, share your thoughts about them in the comments.

Cold Stone Creamery Peanut Butter Cup Perfection Hot Cocoa
Cold Stone Creamery Peanut Butter Cup Perfection Hot Cocoa

Cold Stone Creamery Birthday Cake Remix Flavored Hot Beverage
Cold Stone Creamery Birthday Cake Remix Flavored Hot Beverage

I guess this is how Cold Stone Creamery is going to make money when most people don’t want to eat ice cream because the weather’s too cold. (Spotted by Carla at Walmart.)

Pillsbury Pumpkin Cutout Sugar Cookies
Pillsbury Pumpkin Cutout Sugar Cookies

Why doesn’t Pillsbury make Pillsbury Doughboy shaped precut cookies? (Spotted by Sylvia at Vons.)

Limited Edition Dr. Oetker Pumpkin Spice Mug Cake
Limited Edition Dr. Oetker Pumpkin Spice Mug Cake

Limited Edition Dr. Oetker Apple Spice Mug Cake
Limited Edition Dr. Oetker Apple Spice Mug Cake

I only know about Dr. Oetker because of Mug Cake. I have no idea what other products they offer. (Spotted by Robbie at Big Lots.)

Limited Edition ThinkThin Coconut Pecan Pie Protein & Fiber Bars
Limited Edition ThinkThin Coconut Pecan Pie Protein & Fiber Bars

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the fall season than by eating a coconut pecan pie protein and fiber bar. (Spotted by Ben P at Target.)

Clear American Organic Sparkling Water (Lime and Lemon)
Clear American Organic Sparkling Water (Lime and Lemon)

Please don’t tell me the water is “organic.” (Spotted by Breanna B at Walmart.)

Limited Edition Nestle Coffee-mate Espresso Chocolate
Limited Edition Nestle Coffee-mate Espresso Chocolate

I liked this better when it was dressed up as Darth Vader. (Spotted by Robbie at Target.)

Snyder's of Hanover Itty Bitty Minis Pretzels
Snyder’s of Hanover Itty Bitty Minis Pretzels

The itty bitty pretzel climbed up into my mouth. It made me thirsty and I washed it down with stout. (Spotted by Rachel C at Macey’s.)

Thank you to all the photo contributors! If you’re out shopping and see an interesting new product on the shelf, snap a picture of it, and send us an email (theimpulsivebuy@gmail.com) with where you found it and “Spotted” in the subject line. Or reply to us (@theimpulsivebuy) on Twitter with the photo, where you spotted it, and the hashtag #spotted. If you do so, you might see your picture in our next Spotted on Shelves post.

Also, if you’re wondering if we’ve already covered something, search our Flickr photos or use the search box on the right (or below if you’re on a mobile device) to find out.

REVIEW: Brach’s Brunch Favorites Candy Corn

Brach's Brunch Favorites Candy Corn

Who’s up for some sugar wax?

Brach’s is back once again with a new concoction – Brunch Favorites Candy Corns.

I can’t tell you the last time I had “brunch.” I had a Taco Bell Lupper yesterday, but brunch? It’s been a while. I don’t even really know which foods I associate with brunch. I just think all you can eat buffet or Eggs Benedict, which I’ve somehow never had in my sheltered life.

Because of my lack of brunch sophistication, I “blind” bought these like they were a mystery bag. I paid the flavors no mind because I wanted to try and guess which each was simply by taste. I caught one had pancakes, but I honestly didn’t even absorb what the others were. I tried to look away as to not have the flavors in my subconscious, even as I took pictures.

You don’t believe me, do you?

Humor me.

When I tore ope the Ziploc style bag that I can NEVER reseal, I was hit with a blast of maple. It was pleasant, but also had a “stale” air to it, if that makes sense.

Brach's Brunch Favorites Candy Corn 2

These were my guesses prior to confirming the flavors.

1. Brown, Pink, and White – This was strawberry for sure. There was also a touch of maple. I guessed these were the pancakes with strawberry syrup?

2. Yellow, Tan, and Yellow – These were buttery and had the same maple notes, but reminded me of marshmallow. My guess was “who the heck knows. Canadian Marshmallow treats or something.”

3. Brown, Yellow, and Light Brown – These tasted like a chocolate cookie/brownie batter prior to cooking, but had a bready taste as well. I pegged them as a dessert. Honestly, they tasted like every chocolate candy corn I’d ever had.

Here’s a very specific flavor I tasted as I munched all at once. Have you ever ordered a diner stack of pancakes that took too long to eat? I kept thinking of that – a cold, syrup soaked pancake with a clump of butter.

After all that, I checked the bag. Ok, so I was kinda on the right track.

Humor me.

Number 1 was Waffles and Strawberry. Number 2 was French Toast and Maple Syrup, and number 3 was Chocolate Chip and Pancakes. Oh.

Brach's Brunch Favorites Candy Corn 3

That’s it? Are these exclusively “brunch” flavors? To me that “unch” is really stretching it. It seems like they just started with the same base flavor and added strawberry, chocolate, and maple to each separately.

I realize there aren’t many “brunch” foods that can made into a candy corn flavor. Unless Brach’s wants to go Jelly Belly on us and make Shrimp Cocktail and Mimosas, I guess this is pretty much the best they could do. The problem is waffles, pancakes, and French toast taste similar. When you try to mimic those flavors in this form they’re all pretty indistinguishable. Maybe “Brunch Favorites” wasn’t the best idea.

My biggest problem is that no matter what flavor candy corn is, it always just ends up tasting like regular candy corn in the end. I think it has to do with the fact candy corn has such a unique and distinct texture. By the time I chew up the waxy cones it just elicits thoughts of every other candy corn I’ve ever had. Is it just me? While eating all three at once, strawberry shined through, but it still just ended up tasting like candy corn. Like wax that turns into a clump of wet granulated sugar.

These are decent at best. I wouldn’t skip brunch for them.

(Nutrition Facts – 19 pieces* – 140 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 28 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 15 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Standard fare candy corn. Brach’s trying to branch out more. The strawberry corns had “natural” flavors if you’re into that. These are still a solid candy bowl filler.
Cons: A stretch of the word “brunch.” There was considerably more French Toast than the other 2 flavors. Cold Pancakes. Leave the butter to real corn. These damn Ziploc packages. Only at Target. *The fact they couldn’t just calculate 20 pieces bothers me to no end

FAST FOOD NEWS: Arby’s Smokehouse Pork Belly Sandwich and Smoke Mountain Sandwich

Arby s Smokehouse Pork Belly Sandwich

Arby’s is known for their meats. And when you think the chain can’t add another, the chain adds another. Arby’s is now offering pork belly, which is featured in two new sandwiches — the Smokehouse Pork Belly Sandwich and Smoke Mountain Sandwich.

The Smokehouse Pork Belly Sandwich has hickory smoked pork belly that’s topped with smoked cheddar, BBQ sauce, crispy onions, and mayonnaise on a star cut bun. It has 860 calories, 61 grams of fat, 23 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 105 milligrams of cholesterol, 1540 milligrams of sodium, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 29 grams of protein.

Arby s Smoke Mountain Sandwich

The Smoke Mountain Sandwich combines all of Arby’s slow-smoked meats — pork belly, brisket, and turkey — into one sandwich. It also comes with crispy onions strings, smoked cheddar cheese, and BBQ sauce on a star cut bun. The mini meat mountain has 800 calories, 46 grams of fat, 18 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 135 milligrams of cholesterol, 1910 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 49 grams of protein.

If you’ve tried either, let us know what you think of it in the comments.

(Images via Arby’s website)

REVIEW: Hostess Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Twinkies

Hostess Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Twinkies

Life tip number one: Always write your name in big, bold letters on your cowboy hat.

Life tip number two: Never say no to cheesecake, especially when it involves pumpkin.

Ever since Hostess rose from the crumbling sponge cake edifice of its 2012 bankruptcy filing, the company has been churning out seasonal flavors with Pop-Tart like alacrity. You might just say that Twinkie the Kid (who’s actually a 55-year old man who apparently doesn’t believe in wearing shirts) is a Twinkie of many hats, except, well, Twinkie the Kid always wears a cowboy hat.

Well, Twinkie the Kid must be hiding a chef’s hat under his Stetson, because his new Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Twinkies might just be the pinnacle of artificial pumpkin spice cheesecake flavor.

I wrote this in an endearing manner; one only expects so much authenticity in a cheesecake-flavored product that contains hydrogenated beef tallow, yet for what the Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Twinkies lack in their simplicity of ingredients, they more than make up for in surprisingly unexpected guilty pleasure appeal.

The key to enjoying the flavor of the Twinkies, like the key to enjoying so many mass-produced bakery snacks, is to judge the flavor as a sum of the cake’s part. I won’t sugarcoat this, because the 18 grams of sugar in each Twinkie already do, but the white fudge coating is waxy and saccharine on its own. The Twinkie cake, is, well, a slightly dry sponge cake that could just last into eternity. And the cream? A cinnamon and nutmeg explosion spilled into equal parts sour cream and marshmallow fluff.

When I first ate the Twinkie in three distinct parts, I thought it was mediocre. But then, since I’m a complete glutton who absolutely loves pumpkin spice cheesecake, I stuffed a whole Twinkie in my mouth.

Hostess Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Twinkies 2

The flavor was unexpectedly if not unequivocally pumpkin spice, with a sweet, slightly tangy filling providing notes of cheesecake. The white fudge coating, commingling with the cakey and cream filled elements, suddenly provided both a textural contrast that mimicked a cheesecake crust, while also serving as a rich and sweet topping. I’m not saying it was a Cheesecake Factory experience par excellence, but as each Twinkie wrapper fell to the floor and crumbs of white fudge coating smeared onto my shirt, both the cheesecake and pumpkin spice flavor became more pronounced.

Which brings me to my major problem with Twinkie the Kid’s latest concoction: It’s hard to say no. Actually, it’s downright impossible, even though the cloying nature of the white fudge and the cinnamon heavy flavored cream tell your brain that this is not exactly the most authentic representation of pumpkin spice cheesecake you could buy.

But that’s the thing about both cheesecake and pumpkin spice: there’s a margin for error that doesn’t demand Philadelphia cream cheese, toasted nutmeg, or Saigon cinnamon. The flavor can be artificial; it can be overly sweet. Yet as long as it works within the constraints of the ingredients to conjure up the flavor of pumpkin spice cheesecake, it’s not something you’re going to say no to.

And judging by the how quickly I plowed through the nine snack cakes in my box of Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Twinkies, I won’t be saying no to buying these again.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 Cake – 170 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 6.0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 0 gram of dietary fiber, 18 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 9 cakes
Purchased at: Kroger
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Admirably complexity in the pumpkin spice flavored cream. Cream has a cheesecake tang and thicker viscosity than normal Twinkie cream. White Fudge coating binds the whole cake together with rich and sweet flavor. Doesn’t screw up one of the best flavors of fall.
Cons: The white fudge coating is almost uneatable when sampled alone. Exceptionally sweet. Made with the same great stuff that McDonald’s used to fry their fries in. Eating 720 calories in Twinkies and still feeling famished.

SPOTTED ON SHELVES – 9/22/2016

Here are some interesting new and limited edition products found on store shelves by us and your fellow readers. If you’ve tried any of the products, share your thoughts about them in the comments.

Tillamook Special Batch Pumpkin Cookie Butter Ice Cream
Tillamook Special Batch Pumpkin Cookie Butter Ice Cream

Tillamook Special Batch White Chocolate Peppermint Bark ice Cream
Tillamook Special Batch White Chocolate Peppermint Bark ice Cream

Mmm…seasonal regional ice cream. (Spotted by Carla at Fred Meyer.)

Trader Joe's Ghosts & Bats Crispy Potato Snacks
Trader Joe’s Ghosts & Bats Crispy Potato Snacks

Trader Joe's Grainless Granola and Sacha Inchi Seeds
Trader Joe’s Grainless Granola and Sacha Inchi Seeds

Thanks, Trader Joe’s! Now I know there are such things as grainless granola and sacha inchi seeds. (Spotted by Rachel C at Trader Joe’s.)

Kroger Whipped Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Spread
Kroger Whipped Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Spread

Kroger Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Spread
Kroger Cinnamon Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Spread

What are those black sticks that all the anthropomorphic foods are holding? Are they going to fight? A food fight between food? (Spotted by Amanda Y at Kroger.)

Nestle Fan Favorites Limited Edition Coffee-mate Spiced Latte
Nestle Fan Favorites Limited Edition Coffee-mate Spiced Latte

The spiced latte flavor is back! It doesn’t come back every year so cherish it while you can. I believe you can freeze the stuff. (Spotted by Amanda Y at Kroger.)

Little Secrets Spiced Pumpkin Pie Dark Chocolate Candies
Little Secrets Spiced Pumpkin Pie Dark Chocolate Candies

Hey Little Secrets! Here’s a little secret. I had no idea you existed until I saw this photo. (Spotted by Rachel C at Sprouts.)

Thank you to all the photo contributors! If you’re out shopping and see an interesting new product on the shelf, snap a picture of it, and send us an email (theimpulsivebuy@gmail.com) with where you found it and “Spotted” in the subject line. Or reply to us (@theimpulsivebuy) on Twitter with the photo, where you spotted it, and the hashtag #spotted. If you do so, you might see your picture in our next Spotted on Shelves post.

Also, if you’re wondering if we’ve already covered something, search our Flickr photos or use the search box on the right (or below if you’re on a mobile device) to find out.