Author Archives | Margaret

Margaret - who has written 50 posts on The Impulsive Buy.

REVIEW: Chewy Chips Ahoy! Mocha Chunk Ice Cream Creations

Written by | March 20, 2014

Topics: 5 Rating, Chips Ahoy!, Cookies

Chewy Chips Ahoy! Mocha Chunk Ice Cream Creations

1941: a time of crisis. A time of panic. A time when there was a shortage of All Good Things (flour, butter, sugar, joy). This resulted in a dusty cookie landscape worthy of a B-grade cult horror film. Bakeries left abandoned. Milk glasses untouched. Girl Scout cookies restricted to two boxes per buyer. TWO BOXES.

This all got me thinking: what if this were to happen today? What would I do? How would I survive? Would I be forced to resort to my savage pre-historic instincts? To wrestle, all deranged and googly-eyed, elbowing my way through crowds just to have my pick between Trefoils, Samoas, and Tagalongs???

Struck by a sudden, infinite panic of cookie loss (and without a noble Girl Scout in sight), I sped to my local Target, where I promptly swiped not one but all FOUR new Chips Ahoy! flavors. Basking in my flour/sugar variety, I pulled from the stash the sole cookie that would fill the empty dinosaur in my heart. The dinosaur that craves chocolate and coffee.

Chewy Chips Ahoy! Mocha Chunk Ice Cream Creations A Very Hungry Dinosaur

A very hungry dinosaur.

Straight from the plastic container, these cookies already promise the quelling of said hunger. A single waft from a freshly opened pack and you enter a wonderland filled with sensory bombardment. Circles! Chips! Dips and dots of chocolate-coffee stuff! Yes, I imagine the smell of these cookies could wipe away the Melancholies from my sad, sad neighbor who never cuts her grass.

But then I tried the dough.

You know that moment in Willy Wonka where Gene Wilder bites his crispy flower cup and sings a sorrowful little ditty? That’s exactly how I felt upon tasting these: the smell of everything I hoped for, now deflated, shuffled in the mix of a poof of very bland dough. It was not brown sugary. Not regular sugary. Not even artificially-sweetened, fake-sugared sugary. Nay, this dough tasted like air. Albeit, slightly soft, soft, chewy, chewy air, but air nonetheless.

Chewy Chips Ahoy! Mocha Chunk Ice Cream Creations Chewy chocolatey hotel coffee

Thankfully, there are a few good chips scattered about. The milk chocolate bits are fudgy and milky sweet, adding little pops of hyper-sugary sweetness. Rarer were the mocha chips, which resembled more of a hyper-milked, hotel-room coffee and veered toward overpowering in their Hampton Inn coffee flavor. It was like hoping for a Furi steel blade and getting an off-brand butter knife.

So, yes, I would’ve dug a sharper coffee note and maybe even a crispier, shortbread cookie, but, at the end of the day, these piddly preferences don’t make these morsels any less easy to eat. Indeed, I could eat these on a train. On a plane. On a boat. With a billy goat.

Or as they were destined to be served.

Chewy Chips Ahoy! Mocha Chunk Ice Cream Creations Untitled Cookie Tower #2

I call this “Untitled Cookie Tower #2.”

While somewhat “meh” on their own, these cookies delivered on their most standard promise: to be chewy, gluten-filled two-bite mocha-chipped mini cakes. I’m not quite sure why the dough demands to be so hum-drum, why there aren’t more chips or darker coffee flavors, or how a cookie inspired by a beverage qualifies it as a Ice Cream Creation, but what’s in a name? At the end of the day, my inner dinosaur is satisfied. Perhaps not frolicking in the daisies, but satisfied. That’ll do, Chips Ahoy, that’ll do.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugars, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Chewy Chips Ahoy! Mocha Chunk Ice Cream Creations
Purchased Price: $2.54
Size: 9.5 oz.
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Soft, soft, chewy, chewy. Tasty chocolate-y chips. Pops of coffee-caramel-ish chips. Smell cures the Melancholies. Reason to create “Untitled Cookie Tower #2.”
Cons: Overall feeling is “Meh.” Bland dough. Weak coffee flavor. The Unofficial 1941 Cookie Crisis. Sad neighbors who never cut their grass. Watching Gene Wilder crunch his coffee cup and get all hum-drum. Angry, unfed tyrannosaurus rex of the soul.

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REVIEW: Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Bar

Written by | February 24, 2014

Topics: 8 Rating, Candy, Snickers

Snickers Rockin' Nut Road Bar

STOP! Put your hand down. Just…put it down. That’s right. I know you want the regular Snickers. It’s tempting. Chocolate shell, gooey caramel, chunky peanuts. I get it. It’s enough to turn the most depressed, calloused pick-ax-yielder into a skipping, self-expressive frolicker who makes dainty floral arrangements. The magic that is chocolate, caramel, and peanut-y goo knows no bounds.

At the same time, such magic can become slightly dulled, jaded by the soft familiarity of repetition and safety. No shame in going the safe route with a Snickers, but if you’re looking to add a little depth to your chocolate, a little vanilla to your nougat, a little metaphorical fabric softener to what may otherwise be a stiff Snickers routine, then may I present to you a source of salvation in the form of a 1.73-ounce bar.

Snickers Rockin' Nut Road Bar Gooey fluffy goo yum

Watch as it draws you in like a hungry piñata craving candy for its belly.

Immediately upon opening the wrapper, one can tell this is the stuff of alchemy, the product of some wizard and his highly skilled protégé. Just look at that semisweet chocolate. That gooey caramel. Heck, if you crunch at just the right angle, you can hear the magical wizard dust talking to you, which, now that I think on it, brings up an abundance of questions: When did wizard dust gain the evolutionary skills to perform linguistic communication? And how did said talking dust particles survive being compressed into a bar? Are they indestructible? Does this mean they will outlast the human species?? How can I leave behind a positive legacy before I rot and decay and get replaced by magical wizard dust??!

After getting all anxious about my mortality, I realize I never would’ve contemplated looking for more ways to act positively today had it not been for eating this bar, so thank you, Snickers, for sponsoring this brief philosophical tangent.

Snickers Rockin' Nut Road Bar Yum yum yum

The Snickers’ dashing good looks graciously transfer themselves over to the flavor. The crispy, semisweet chocolate shell holds a sweet, gritty melt with a hint of coffee, making for an experience that reminds me of Dove Dark Chocolate squares without the inspirational quotes. The original malt nougat has been replaced with a fluff of starch-white vanilla fluff. The taste is outright sweet with hints of vanilla extract popping through each bite, adding a surprising sparkle to the darker chocolate much like a firework. But without a fuse. Or fire hazards. Or charcoal-enhanced lighting patterns in the sky. Okay, so maybe nothing like a firework.

The caramel is the only element that seems to have directly transferred itself from the original, and it is a welcome element, indeed. Thankfully, it remains the sweet, stringy goo of the original, making for an excellent canal upon which to hold nubbins of nuts, and like a good pair of cufflinks, those nuts add the perfect finishing touch. In this case, the peanuts have been replaced by almonds, which are fresh and slightly toasted, add a hint of woodsy saltiness alongside the signature crunch called forth for any Snickers experience. The power of these disparate elements unite to form a mishmash that is Rocky Road Ice Cream in candy bar form, a combination so good that it’s… it’s…

(Wants to say something in French, but realizes she doesn’t speak French)…

C’est manifique?! Oui! Bonjour!

Snickers Rockin' Nut Road Bar Satisfies indeed

If candy bars were Las Vegas entertainers, Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road would be David Copperfield: blending the whacky pops and sparkles of a sugary sweet, slightly buttery caramel with crunchy almond nibbles and a semisweet chocolate to make something pretty spectacular. Add to that a fluffy, marshmallow-like nougat and you’ve got all of these sleight of hands and daft illusions that make for a unique, successful endgame. Look out, David Copperfield. You’ve got some competition.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – 230 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, less than 2 grams of dietary fiber, 26 grams of sugars, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Bar
Purchased Price: $1.29
Size: 1.73 ounces
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Crunchy outer shell. Chocolate similar to Dove dark chocolate. Marshmallow nougat. Pops of sweet vanilla. Crunchy, toasty almond halves. Rocky Road in candy bar form. Reasons to fill hungry piñatas. David Copperfield’s got competition.
Cons: Limited time only. Some may not like artificial vanilla. Slivered almonds not as chunky as peanuts. Sad, calloused pick-ax-wielders. Talking wizard dust that plan to take over the world.

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REVIEW: Kellogg’s Birthday Edition Flavor Flashback Frosted Chocolate Vanilla Creme Pop-Tarts

Written by | February 14, 2014

Topics: 6 Rating, Pop-Tarts

Kellogg's Birthday Edition Flavor Flashback Frosted Chocolate Vanilla Creme Pop-Tarts

Much that makes this world excellent is breaching the big 5-0 this year: Lucky Charms, The Giving Tree, the Civil Rights Act, Dr. Strangelove. Even my beloved Pop-Tarts are whipping out their walkers and hauling their rectangular, toastified hineys Over The Hill, and, in what can only be described as a birthday party for the public, Pop-Tarts is blessing us with a flavor that’s existed only in the history books since its 2009 extinction: Chocolate Vanilla Crème.

Kellogg's Birthday Edition Flavor Flashback Frosted Chocolate Vanilla Creme Pop-Tarts Fresh out of the wrapper

Right out of the wrapper, the smell of Cocoa Puffs poofs into the kitchen, knocking my nose around with smells of cocoa cereal and sweet, sweet sugar. There’s no trace of vanilla scooting into my nose just yet, but I’ve yet to crack open the gooey insides. Quick, get thee to a toaster!

Post-toast, the crust retains that certain crunch of a crackle that I so love to find in my Pop-Tarts, bursting open to reveal a layer of white goo that holds all the smell and consistency of marshmallow fluff.

And while the crust delivers on texture, it’s a bit dulled on the flavor spectrum. More mild than Cookies n’ Crème, less chocolatey than a Teddy Graham, the initial wafts of cocoa only transfer the lightest hints of a Tootsie-Roll-like cocoa powder into the actual taste, landing with all the sadness of a deflated red balloon from a French film.

Kellogg's Birthday Edition Flavor Flashback Frosted Chocolate Vanilla Creme Pop-Tarts marshmallowy innards

What reins supreme is the gooey frosting center, which retains the taste and texture of a fluffified Betty Crocker Icing. The volume of his poofy innard feels scant, becoming peculiarly crusty if toasted for too long, but it delivers a powerful punch of a sugar rush with a tinge of artificial vanilla to bring some flavor to the faintly flavored crust.

Despite the wonky balance in flavor, when the forces of both elements combine, the whole Flashback Flavor tastes a bit like the birthday cake you might find at your friendly neighborhood grocer, and who’s to judge if you’re a lover grocery store birthday cake? Nary a soul! Lift up your weary head, Birthday Cake Lover, for your cake, too, should be celebrated in all its glorious, unquestioned sugary sweetness. In fact, if you or your significant other has a hankering for grocery store cake but is worried about frosting-coated fingers, consider picking up a box of these for Valentine’s Day. Nothing says, “I love you” like a new version of a formerly extinct toaster pastry.

I have a theory that, with every year we age, we get 1 percent more awesome. If that’s true, Pop-Tarts are 50 percent awesome this year. Classic flavors, like Strawberry and Brown Sugar Cinnamon, coupled with some of the newer flavors, like Pumpkin Pie and Peanut Butter, prove that Pop-Tarts’ 50 percent awesomeness has been attained. Unfortunately, this particular flavor fell just a smidge short from its tasty kin for me. While its sugary sweetness covered me to ride on a 6-day Sugar Rush, the crust was a bit flat on flavor and the filling, while fluffy, fell on the sword of too little vanilla flavor.

Kellogg's Birthday Edition Flavor Flashback Frosted Chocolate Vanilla Creme Pop-Tarts Part of this birthday balanced breakfast

At the same time, while these may not amaze, I have to remember: these particular Pop-Tarts weren’t built to amaze. They were built to remind. To harken back to a Pop-Tart of yore, and, on that note, they deliver. For those nostalgic for the ol’ Chocolate Vanilla Crème or looking for a good eBay item to sell, definitely stock up now. For others searching for a powerful chocolate vanilla experience, these fall short, reminding that Pop-Tarts may be 50 percent awesome, but they still have 50 percent more room to grow.

So Happy 50th, Pop-Tarts. Thank you for bringing me your pastries. Please continue to do so for another 50. I’ll continue to eat them by the box-full.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 toaster pastry – 200 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 20 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Kellogg’s Birthday Edition Flavor Flashback Frosted Chocolate Vanilla Creme Pop-Tarts
Purchased Price: $1.98
Size: 8 pastries
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Crispy crust. Marshmallowy sugar innards. Smells like Cocoa Puffs. Betty Crocker icing. The Giving Tree. Pop-Tarts are officially 50 percent awesome. Celebration for grocery store cake.
Cons: Not as chocolatey as they smell. More sugary than vanilla-y. Innards get cooked away when in the toaster too long. Toaster pastry extinction. Popped balloons of sorrow.

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REVIEW: Stride Sour Patch Kids Gum (Lime and Redberry)

Written by | January 21, 2014

Topics: 2 Rating, 5 Rating, Gum, Stride

Stride Sour Patch Kids Gum

Over the years, I’ve collected questions for the Sour Patch Kids: What makes a Sour Patch Kid? How do you become so perfectly sour, then sweet? Must you always come in gummy form? Why do you all look like oblong gingerbread men? Are you there, Sour Patch? It’s me, Margaret.

Despite the many unknowns they present, I love those little Sour Patches, munching their gummy innards down until my mouth is raw and I’m left clutching my stomach in sheer, unadulterated sweet/sour bliss. Until recently, I could only enjoy this Sour Patch sensation in gummy form, its sour-sugary grit flitting away in the 15 seconds it takes to dissolve. Way too short. Give me your sour! Your sweet! Put it all in a glycerin gum base! Well, it looks like Sour Patch did just that, cobbling together two new gum flavors that recently struck their territory at my local Target.

The gum has the typical dimension of a piece of regular Stride, which is about the length of a large paperclip. They strike their cubist pose in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle green and what can only be a super intelligent shade of neon red. Seeing as I admire super intelligent inanimate objects, let’s start with the Redberry, shall we?

Stride Sour Patch Kids Gum Super Intelligent Shade of Red

Sourness brings out my primal competitor. You eat one Warhead. I’ll eat 5. You down 4 Cry Babies. I’ll take 10. A box of Lemonheads is nothing for my resilient tongue. Knowing that Sour Patch Kids are usually medium on the scale of sourness, I went in hoping for a mellow, but still sparky sour experience, but, alas, came out disappointed. Perhaps there’s a sparky jolt of citric acid somewhere in there, but, overall, these pieces feel about as mild as a jellybean, but how does it deliver on the fruit end of things?

While I can’t confirm it, I hypothesize this Redberry is the closest we’ll ever come to a snozberry: there’s a strong kick of maraschino cherry zing, a little sweetness of strawberry, and an echo of raspberry tartness at the tail end. It’s unashamedly “red” flavor with a slightly metallic aftertaste, but, on the whole, it tasted like Cherry ICEE concentrate. A good first showing. If you ever wished cherry Life Savers and strawberry Starbursts had a tectonic collision, this is the gum for you.

Stride Sour Patch Kids Gum Ninja Turtle Green

Avoiding the trend to mutate green-colored candies into green apple flavor (lookin’ at you, Skittles), Sour Patch left their green lime-flavored and, for better or worse, the little citrus fruit is given its due, starting with a peculiar “household cleaner” flavor that is so often found in limes. It’s shockingly astringent at first before mellowing out into a tangy, but still somewhat bitter citrus profile. The bitterness got the best of me. I tried to keep chewing to see if it might open up into lime’s more sugary qualities, but, alas, the household cleaner taste took over and it ended up tasting like gnawing on a Pledge-soaked rubber tire.

However, not all is lost! One of the many joys involved in Sour Patch consumption is combining the gummy flavors together, which got me thinking: what would happen if I combined the two flavors of gum TOGETHER?

Struck by an acute case of Curiosity, I did just that.

Stride Sour Patch Kids Gum The power of their flavors combine!

Chewed together, the flavor’s about as crazy as a 3rd grade diorama, starting off with a shock of bitter sourness from the lime that lasts for a good two minutes until it mellows into a zingy maraschino-cherry with a hint of citrus. Together, they seem to balance one another out, whistling a tune that tastes quite similar to Sonic’s Cherry Limeade if your soda maker tossed in some extra bitter limes.

Fortunately, the flavor and soft chew of Stride lasts for a good 22 minutes of jaw entertainment so you can chew on your Cherry Limeade for an entire episode of Parks and Recreation if you want. Not bad. Not bad at all.

History is marked with times in which inspiration translates into a new and altogether unique phenomenon: floppy disks inspired USB drives. Hamlet inspired The Lion King. Popcorn inspired popcorn ice cream. And now Sour Patch gummies have become chewy, slightly sour gum.

While a bit too bitter and not as puckeringly sour as one could hope, Stride’s Sour Patch Kids gum delivers an okay showing. Their fruit flavor profiles are spot on, if a little too strong, and they’re even sugar-free, which is great if you have plaque concerns, braces, or are looking to expand your intake of sucralose. I don’t necessarily seeing myself buying them again, but if you like strong cherry flavors, the Redberry’s worth the try. The lime is a little too household cleaner-y for me, but, hey, if that’s your thing, no judgments. You ask me, it’s still better than green apple Skittles. Not that I’m holding a grudge or anything.*

*I’m definitely holding a grudge.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 piece – less than 5 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 gram of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugars, and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Stride Sour Patch Kids Gum (Lime and Redberry)
Purchased Price: 99 cents each (on sale)
Size: 1 pack/16 pieces
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 2 out of 10 (Lime)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Redberry)
Pros: Redberry tastes like Cherry ICEE concentrate. Lime eventually takes on more citrus juiciness. Together, they taste like a Cherry Limeade. Sugar-free. Chew time lasts for full half-hour TV show. 3rd grade dioramas.
Cons: Bitter metallic aftertaste. Sourness is mild. Lime started off tasting like a Pledge-soaked rubber tire. My grudge against green apple Skittles. Overused reference to Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

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REVIEW: Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups

Written by | January 13, 2014

Topics: 7 Rating, Candy, Nestle

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups

It was snowing. I didn’t have salt. I didn’t have a shovel. I didn’t have bread or milk or flashlights. I had no viable source of human sustenance.

Thumping down to the nearest grocery with skin drier than the Mona Lisa, I ignored the frantic grabs for batteries and Solo cups and reached for the pile of Reese’s when it appeared. There. In the distance: Butterfinger. In square form.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups The Duel of Geometric Candy

Two geometric patterns. Two philosophies. I knew what I had to do.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups Reese's v Butterfinger

Right out of the wrapper, the visual difference is immediate with the Reese’s holding its signature round, flat frame, while Butterfinger goes square and sans-fluted cup, its chocolate daring to look a darker brown. Despite geometric differences, both specimens glisten in fresh, chocolate-y glaze and clock in at a little more than 1.5 ounces, which is perfect for making scale models of UFO invasions should you have an upcoming project in World Domination.

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups Innards

There are about 4,180 recorded species of frogs. On a good day, the flavor of a Butterfinger is just as diverse: peanut butter, chocolate, salt, toffee, molasses, and…is that cornflakes? Yes. Yes, it is. And it all comes together in those crispety, crunchety, peanut buttery chunks that get stuck in your teeth. You either like that stuff ripping away at your molars or you don’t.

I love the Butterfinger taste, but can’t handle the teeth-stickage. For those of you who are similarly hoping to fill the Butterfinger rumble in your stomach while also looking to save on Butterfinger-related dentistry work, these cups hold promise: the smooth-ish peanut-butter/Butterfinger filling is strong in Butterfinger flavor, but better avoids the plaque-building pitfalls of the bar. The peanut-butter-ish filling puts all the trademark toffee, molassas, corn flakey flavors in a smoother medium. Similar to the Reese’s filling, it’s a dense concoction with a crumbly and dry quality that contrasts the fudgy exterior.

That outer chocolate shell is slightly thicker than Reese’s, but holds a fudgy texture that matches up toe-to-toe with its competitor. This is a super sweet, milky chocolate and incredibly smooth. Unfortunately, while the sweetness and smooth-ivity is high, the actual chocolate flavor is a bit dim on its own.

Despite minor chocolate pitfalls, it looks like we’ve got a solid new confection in the ring. While it doesn’t surpass my Reese’s, it does offer up that molasses, corn syrup, peanut-buttery love in a tasty, affordable format. If you have the slightest a pocket of fondness for Bart Simpson’s favorite candy, I’d say pick one up. It may be sweet enough to distract you into spontaneously jaywalking across a side street, but just be sure to look both ways before you start eating and you should have a good candy/jaywalking experience.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 package/2 cups – 230 calories, 130 calories from fat, 14 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 22 grams of sugars, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups
Purchased Price: 50 cents (on sale)
Size: 2 cups
Purchased at: Kroger
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Crumbly Butterfinger filling. Contrasts in texture. Low teeth-stickage ratio. No fluted cups. Makes good eating during an ice storm. Pondering the diversity of frog species.
Cons: May be too sweet for some. Encourages Butterfinger-induced dentistry work. Jaywalking. World domination. Walking in a winter vortex.

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