REVIEW: Krispy Kreme Carrot Cake Doughnut

Krispy Kreme Carrot Cake Doughnut

Advice to my 3-year-old self from the future:

1) Don’t put Barbie in the microwave.
2) Alistair Cookie is your mentor. Watch him. Glean from him many morals.
3) Remember: Play-Doh hamburgers are not actual hamburgers, even when you dip them in Ranch dressing.

Somewhere down this list, I’d probably put, “Try, just try, to eat your carrots.” While I always liked my broccoli, it’s the carrots that gave me grief as a kid. They’re sweet, but stringy. Woodsy, but super “orange-y.” Absolutely mushy when overcooked, but slap me sideways when done right. I hate them. But I love them.

So I’m celebrating my love/hate relationship. And celebrations demand sugar and sugar demands cake and cake demands to be deep-fried. That’s the scientific chain of events, right?

Well, that’s what Krispy Kreme thinks with their newest iteration on deep-fried toroids, all gussied up to resemble carrot cake.

Krispy Kreme Carrot Cake Doughnut Deep fried cake of vegetables

Devotees of the dense cake doughnut, celebrate: this dough is a solid cake specimen, sturdy enough for the deepest dip in your tea/coffee/milkshake. While perhaps a smidge dry, it’s chock full of a cinnamon-sugar-honey sweetness accompanied by specks of raisin nibs and carrot shreds that give it a little zing. Said carrot and raisin nibbles may not be abundant in number, but are present enough to add their trademark sweetness without making the doughnut taste like Old McDonald’s Farm.

And the frosting. It’s everywhere. On the doughnut. On my fingers. On my elbows (how did it get there?). I love it. The film of cream-cheesish frosting/glaze on top is a smidge tangy, but mostly adds a sugary sweetness that rounds out the out-of-season (but still delicious) blend of fall spices. There’s even a sheen of regular sugar glaze beneath the cream cheese icing for extra sweetness. All this melted sugar leaves a slight film of oil and glaze on your hands, but, so long as you have some napkins and don’t wear neatly pressed white linen gloves all the time, this shouldn’t be a problem.*

*I just realized: Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny will both have this problem. Take off your gloves, guys!

What’s better is, as you make your way to the center, you uncover the crispy little bit in the middle of the doughnut’s ring. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that ring where the doughnut hole was carved out. It’s crunchy, sweet, gooped with frosting, just on the cusp of being burnt. My favorite. This is why I spend them dolla dolla bills.

Krispy Kreme Carrot Cake Doughnut Yes, that is a mug from the Museum of the History of Tow Trucks

In an unofficial endorsement of the food pyramid, Krispy Kreme is providing you with a prime opportunity to overachieve in your life by consuming both fruit (raisins) and vegetables (carrots) via cake.

Unless my taste buds are undergoing some sort of reverse trauma from a hyperglycemic fit, the end result was tasty: the cake was cinnamon-y, the carrots were present without being stringy or overbearingly “orange-y,” the cinnamon and nutmeg gave some subtle spice, there was deep-frying going on, a few raisins splattered here and there added chewiness, and the tangy frosting added some cheesy zing. I may have even detected a hint of citrus zest in there? Oh, Krispy, you sneaky, conniving, brilliant conglomeration. Not a perfect ‘nut, but pretty good.

(Nutrition Facts – 340 calories, 130 calories from fat, 14 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 310 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 35 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Krispy Kreme Carrot Cake Doughnut
Purchased Price: $1.10
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Krispy Kreme
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Solid cinnamon cakey goodness. Deep-fried. Cream cheese icing. Sugary glaze. Chewy raisin bits. Good for dipping. Fulfilling fruit/vegetable requirement via cake. Morals gleaned from Alistair Cookie.
Cons: Cake gets a little oily. Could maybe use more carrots/raisins. Crestfallen pineapple lovers. Reflecting on the foolishness of my three-year-old self. Consequences of putting Barbie in the microwave.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch Ice Cream

Sometimes you have one of those days. You drop your toothbrush in the toilet. You eat shell in your scrambled eggs. You get attacked by three nefarious pigeons while walking to the pharmacy and break your sunglasses.

Such was the day I was having when I walked into a Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop, half-blind from my sunglasses-less eyes. Craving something to promote my tooth decay, Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch Ice Cream seemed like my Golden Ticket.

Sweet cream. Chocolate ice cream. Caramel clusters. Fudge almonds. Marshmallow swirl. Sounds like a mish-mosh put together by especially creative carnies with ingredients that would make the Grinch’s hearts grow to the strength of 10 Grinches (plus 2). How will its tastes settle on a non-Grinch? Only one way to find out…

Ben & Jerry’s Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch Ice Cream Must find all the clusters!

Gilly (played by Kristen Wiig) is known as the rambunctious rally-rouser in the Saturday Night Live classroom, having created all sorts of semi-violent mischief, including walloping buckets of Chunky Monkey ice cream at the teacher. That same degree of mischief is evidenced here by the multitude of kooky ingredients pummeled into this frozen dairy concoction.

Let’s start with the two bases: the swirl of sweet cream and chocolate ice creams is distinct. The sweet cream portion reminds me of milk that’s been artfully infused with Frosted Flakes while the chocolate tastes light and sugary, much similar to a Hershey’s bar. It’s perhaps not the best chocolate you’ve had in your life, but definitely lovable. When the two mix together, that chocolate flavor takes over while a tinge of hyper sweetness comes at the back end from the sweet cream, making for a very, very light milk chocolate base. It’s dense and creamy, even if perhaps a bit subtle for my inner chocolate fiend.

Ben & Jerry’s Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch Ice Cream The Cluster Cave

But what I’m really here for are the mix-ins. Just look at that rocky terrain obstructing the creaminess. Clusters! Fudgy almonds! Those fudge almonds add a deeper dimension in the universe of chocolates, touting more of a semisweet profile than the base, while the almonds contribute their thudding crunch more than any notable flavor. And, oh yes, the marshmallow swirl: it’s goopy, in that humble marshmallow fluff way, although its one-note, straight-up-sugar flavor comes across tame against the subtly cocoa-y base, a shame as the marshmallow swirl in Phish Food ranks up there in my personal Ultimate Favorite Ice Cream Experiences of All Time Ever.

But, meanwhile, the clusters. Man, those clusters. Those chunky, sweet caramel little crunches add more than all the heart, stars, horseshoes, clovers, and blue moons combined. Chunky. Lightly burnt sugar. A tad sticky. Part of this balanced breakfast. But there aren’t enough of them! Must find all the chunkies! Must eat a whole bowl! Someone must turn these chunkies into a granola. Immediately.

My dad always told me good things come to those who persevere. But sometimes, persevering isn’t easy. Sometimes you have to wait. In a line. For 32 minutes. With a screaming three-year-old. And a tall man’s sweaty armpit in your nose. But the key is to never lose sight of the goal, for the goal will be your reward.

In this case, I was rewarded with some high-quality ice cream and, while it was good, I don’t think I’d go back for Gilly’s. The ingredients were all high quality, yet they mixed together in an altogether subtle way. It almost represents the wackadoodle character of Gilly. It had the kooky ingredients, yet the delivery was muddled. Perhaps more of those amazing clusters, some richer chocolate in the base, maybe a hint of something gritty, like a graham cracker or cookie, and BOOM. It’d be Gilly madness all up in here.

But just because it’s not for me doesn’t mean it can’t be for you. If you like crunchy, caramel things, almonds, and subtle milk chocolate ice cream, this is worth persevering for. It’s really a good ice cream. Don’t be ashamed of your flavor preferences! Find the chunkies! Eat them all! Persevere!

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 250 calories, 130 calories from fat, 14 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 23 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $3.75
Size: 1 scoop
Purchased at: Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop (Rockefeller Center)
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Crunchies! Lovable chocolate base. Thuddy almonds. Slow melting. Fudge coating adds different dimension of chocolate. Creative carnies.
Cons: Needs more clusters. Milk chocolate base may be too subtle for some. Marshmallow gets lost in sweet cream. Dropping your toothbrush in the toilet. Getting attacked by three nefarious pigeons.

REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Coffee Shop Banana Nut Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Banana Nut Cookie

Disco and bananas: these are my two cravings when summer rolls around. Not hammocks. Not reruns of Seinfeld (a year-round craving). Not ice cream. Well, yeah, ice cream. But also bananas.

So it was with great delight that I spotted these Pepperidge Farm Coffee Shop Banana Nut Cookies while bobbing my head to the tune of “Dancing Queen.” It felt like destiny.

Pepperidge Farm Banana Nut Cookie Her Majesty, Queen Fluted Cup

Having just come off of an immensely satisfactory sugar rush triggered by Pepperidge Farm’s Cinnamon Bun Cookies, my hopes were set high. Like 40,000 feet above sea level. Up with the goats. And the yodelers.

And when I popped open the bag, the smell didn’t let that hope down: wafts of bananas, sugar, and maybe some subtle honey-flour-preservative dust, echoed into every pocket of memory that involves banana bread, a jar of peanut butter, Saturday mornings, and Reading Rainbow.

But the taste couldn’t quite sustain the same level of nostalgia-induced delusion. Sure, the cookie was soft without being spongy, cakey without being dry, and the taste wasn’t half bad: there was definitely some sugar, maybe a dash of vanilla extract, yet, while the whole “banana” part existed, it felt dulled out like a wafty ghost in the back of my throat. I do not appreciate having banana ghosts in my throat.

Thankfully, the hunks and chunks of walnuts brought me back down to Earth, providing soft, crunchy nubbins with hints of bitterness to contrast the half-hearted-bananainess of the cookie. The whole experience wasn’t bad, but it’s just not enough to satisfy my Inner Banana Monkey. And my Inner Banana Monkey wants bananas. Must. Have. Bananas!

Pepperidge Farm Banana Nut Cookie Good canvases

No joke: these cookies are NOT the most innovative fare. They don’t involve liquid nitrogen. They don’t provide you with a magical wizard who will pay for your car insurance. Heck, they don’t even have chocolate chips. However, it is this very trait of boringness that makes them a spectacular base for other, more creative projects. One chomp and I found myself living in a perpetual, five-step cycle: 1) Eat cookie, 2) Allow visions of peanut butter and banana cookie sandwiches to flood brain, 3) Make peanut butter and banana cookie sandwich, 4) Chomp, 5) Repeat process as often as possible.

If you, too, find yourself undergoing a similar pattern, you may come to the realization that there are so many options: Crumble them on your parfait! Smoosh them with Nutella! Make a Breakfast Sundae! You, fine reader, are surely more creative than me. Expand. Grow. YOU CAN DO BETTER.

Pepperidge Farm Banana Nut Cookie Peanut Butter Sandwich that goes in belly

Whether you’re feeling like a bum or undergoing a temporary bout of psychosis, cookies are good, and these Pepperidge Farm Coffee Shop Banana Nut Cookies exemplify a solid, if somewhat boring, reflection of said philosophy: nice texture, soft-ish nuts, mild taste, and peanut butter sandwich cookies good enough to get you down at the discotheque.

Plus, bananas have potassium, right? So no shin splints. And that’s okay for today, but count this as a first strike in mediocrity, Pepperidge. You’ve got two more to go. Two more.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cookie – 130 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 135 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Pepperidge Farm Coffee Shop Banana Nut Cookies
Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 8.6 oz.
Purchased at: Met Foods
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Strong banana smell. Soft chew. Walnut bits add texture. Good base for creative dessert escapades. Could prevent shin splints. Magical Wizards that pay your car insurance. Reading Rainbow. Goats on the mountaintops.
Cons: Below moderate banana taste. Boring by itself. Walnut pieces are teensy weensy. Absence of chocolate chips. Ghosts of bananas in your throat. Nostalgia-induced delusion. Bad disco. Unfulfilled Inner Banana Monkey.

REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Coffee Shop Cinnamon Bun Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Coffee Shop Cinnamon Bun Cookies

Like a phantom Girl Scout here to haunt me, Pepperidge Farm cookies make themselves available year-round in an increasingly baffling number of varieties, rendering me (the consumer) into a primal mental state of chaos and delight I like to call, “The Paint Swatch Effect”: the mental state that unfolds when one is bombarded with an infinite amount of choices, be it paint samples, Oreo cookies, or high capacity power drills.

When under the spell of the Paint Swatch Effect, one tends to undergo a spontaneous craving to try as many new things as possible, conducting an inner dialogue that goes to the tune of, “So many options! Everywhere! Must try them all! ALL!!”

It’s a nutso, frightening, wonderful way to live.

Which was perhaps why I stood, once again, under the shadow of Milano planks and Xtra Cheddar Goldfishies by the Pepperidge Farm display. But I was not after the square Cheesmen Shortbread, nor those dashing Milano Melts. Nay. My eyes were locked on the newest stud, the sole snagger of my heart.

Pepperidge Farm Coffee Shop Cinnamon Bun Cookies Breakfast- The Sequel

Breakfast will never be the same.

Like a traumatic childhood experience or a very good buddy movie, finding a spectacular packaged cookie is a rare, fleeting moment. To find one that can also gracefully glide across your palate in the wee hours of the morning? Mark it in the History books for that is a moment that should be treated with respect as it brands its gooey, cakey, fudgy-wudginess into the nostalgia of your taste buds. Eating this bag of cookies qualifies as one of those Historical Moments.

Pepperidge Farm Coffee Shop Cinnamon Bun Cookies C is for cookies and cookies is plural

At first snag, the cookie feels light and nimble as though it could morph into a back-flip-twisting, baton-twirling Rhythmic Grand Prix gymnast at any moment, yet, once bitten into, the texture holds a dense, doughy crumb that’s delightfully more fudgy than some of the other Soft Baked specimens I’ve experienced. Not too fluffy nor styrofoamy, the end result sits in you like a brick. A tasty, tasty brick made of carbohydrates, sugar, and questionable vegetable oils that, when put in the microwave, it becomes a goopy, melty, warm brick. Where are the architects to build me a house out of such materials?

Pepperidge Farm Coffee Shop Cinnamon Bun Cookies A utopian abode made of cookies

And that’s just the beginning: the top, with its layer of brown-beige speckles, looks like a pastry-itized reinterpretation of a 1934 Oklahoma landscape after a Dust Bowl storm. If that dust storm was made of cinnamon sugar. Said sugar not only brings sweetness and a sandy texture, but also tows a comfy warmth from the cinnamon without going into the Hot Tamale realm.

Bringing the cinnamon experience even further are little crunchy cinnamon chippies mixed in the dough that are dense with cinnamon and crispity enough to put Snap, Crackle, and Pop to shame. And those white “confection” chips? While I have no clue what they’re made of, they melt like butta. A slight zing of artificial vanilla and sugar is all it takes to knock it home as the chip melts away into goopy sweetness. When all the elements combine, you have sugar, cinnamon, goo. The whole experience is as comfortable as lounging on a couch playing Super Nintendo in bunny pajamas. The ones with the footies.

Pepperidge Farm Coffee Shop Cinnamon Bun Cookies chippies and crispities

Across from the U.N. Headquarters in New York rests a tiny shop that states itself as the, “United Nations Plaza Dental Care Facility.” I imagine that, if each of the world leaders were given a bag of these cookies, the number of cavities elicited from the consumption of said cookies would result in enough cavities to pay the shop’s rent for the next 15 years. A steep price to pay for a little cookie…

Or is it?

I dare say, if I were a world leader, it’d be worth it. The offer of dense doughy cookie? Of cinnamon, sugar dust with sugar-frosting fudgy nubbins? All pre-made and wrapped in a little baggie just for me? Put a microwave in the room, set one in there for 5 seconds, and you get a warm, gooey circle of world peace. Who doesn’t want a warm, gooey circle of world peace? Isn’t that what the United Nations is all about? I dare say it is! Maybe, to bring peace, you just need a little sugar. And a toothbrush so you don’t have to visit the Dental Care Facility.

So, world leaders, bring your toothbrushes and we’ll provide your bag of cookies! Pepperidge Farm has a new offering and it may just be good enough to unite us all.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cookie – 130 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, Less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Pepperidge Farm Coffee Shop Cinnamon Bun Cookies
Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 1 bag/8 cookies
Purchased at: Met Foods
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Great reason to have cookies for breakfast. Soft chew. Fudgier than some other Soft Baked specimens. Thick cinnamon sugar crusting. Melty confection chips scattered in good ratio. Crispity cinnamon chippies. May result in world peace. Super Nintendo. Bunny pajamas with the footies.
Cons: Lots of funky oils. Still not as good as homemade. What are white confection chips really made of? And why are they so good? 1934 Oklahoma dust storms. Phantom Girl Scouts.

REVIEW: Nabisco Oreo Creme Filled Chewy Chips Ahoy Cookies

Nabisco Oreo Creme Filled Chewy Chips Ahoy Cookies

“My Country, ’Tis of Thee!!”

Few things inspire my vocal chords to spontaneously burst into patriotic hymn, let alone one warbled in aisle 4 of the Nashville Harris Teeter. But there I was. Thinking I was just going to pick up some ground chuck to throw on the grill, maybe a few marshmallows and graham crackers and…

(Keeps walking.
Registers what she just saw.)

“Sweet Land of Liberty!”

(Double-take.
Stops.
Walks backwards.
Picks up red package.)

In what can only be described as the overdue scandal of all time, space, and alternate universes (universi?) of parallel dimensions, Chewy Chips Ahoy and Oreo-crème have finally come upfront about the not-so-backstage affair that everyone already knew (and secretly hoped) was going on. Well, if these cookies have anything to do with it, it looks like a good day for an affair!

Nabisco Oreo Creme Filled Chewy Chips Ahoy Cookies Looks like a regular Chewy Chips Ahoy, don't it?

Straight out of the package, the cookie masquerades as any other Chewy might, sporting the tux-and-tails of a squishy, brown-tinted dough with mini milk chocolate chips scattered all about. Filled with flour, corn syrup, and artificial caramel color, that dough has that special plain simplicity that, when combined with that special eau du preservatives, keeps the chew of these cookies soft, cakey, and pliant, allowing it to serve as the prime canvas for the grainy, supersweet, dairy chocolate chips. Sound like any other Chewy Chips Ahoy? You bet. But, like a good pair of cuff links or the internal processor of C-3PO, it’s the hidden details that make the difference.

Nabisco Oreo Creme Filled Chewy Chips Ahoy Cookies My Country Tis of Thee!

Behold the stratosphere of Oreo Crème!

The interior of these cookies elicits a state of fear and awe not dissimilar to the sensation of running into Judge Judy on the streets of Paris. The anxiety of the forthcoming sugar coma combined with the craving for the crumbly, semi-solid mass that is Oreo filling is overwhelming. Sure, the frosting’s spread a little thinner than a Double Stuf and maybe it’s a little creamier texture-wise, but just take another look:

Nabisco Oreo Creme Filled Chewy Chips Ahoy Cookies Pile o' Creme

Indeed, the Oreo filling is crammed in such a little cookie and operating at its peak performance, holding the familiar heightened sweetness I know so well. And when that creamy hyper-sweetness combines with chocolatey chippers and cakey dough? Such beauty. Such conflict. Such contrast. And, as Judge Judy’s taught us all, there’s a certain respect to be had for the laws of contrast.

Nabisco Oreo Creme Filled Chewy Chips Ahoy Cookies Prescription for Despondency

I’ve been dwelling on the side of despondency lately. Godzilla was a bust. My socks never get dry at the Laundromat. Many of the Jelly Belly flavors don’t taste good together. So much deep sorrow. How to hold it together?

These Oreo Crème-filled Chips Ahoy. That’s how. These cookies single-handedly amended my deep sorrow better than Hello Kitty Band-Aids on a papercut. Think of what they do to a cup of coffee, a carton of milk, that dripping bowl of ice cream, reminding me that summer is [kinda] here.

Is it freshly baked? Can the cookie be twisted and separated like an Oreo? Does it come with a side of frosting to dip your Oreo-filled cookie in more Oreo filling?? No, no, and no, but that’s not what this cookie’s meant to be. It’s meant to be a sliver of Oreo-crème inside a Chewy Chips Ahoy, and boy does it make me happy.

If you think you like Chewy cookies, you should get these. If you think you don’t like Chewy cookies, you should get these. They’re good. Not mind-blowing, but definitely good. Taste them. Upon consumption, you shall realize there’s nothing to be despondent about. There’s even something worth singing a patriotic hymn in aisle 7 about.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 150 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Nabisco Oreo Creme Filled Chewy Chips Ahoy Cookies
Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 9.6 oz.
Purchased at: Harris Teeter
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Soft, cakey chew. Mini milk chocolatey chippers. Hyper sweetness from frosting. Hello Kitty Band-Aids. Makes you happy. C-3PO. Running into Judge Judy on the streets of Paris.
Cons: Frosting inside is a bit thin. Cannot twist and separate cookie from frosting. Not fresh out of the oven. Doesn’t come with a dipping tray of Oreo frosting. Papercuts. Not knowing the plural form of “universe.” Socks never getting dry at the Laundromat.