REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Peanut Butter Delight Croissant Donut and Chocolate Pretzel Donut

Dunkin Donuts Peanut Butter Delight Croissant Donut and Chocolate Pretzel Donut

Gee, I wonder how they got the peanut butter inside??

Dunkin Donuts Peanut Butter Delight Croissant Donut and Chocolate Pretzel Donut 2

Sorry to dive straight in, but I must address the appearance of this specimen I purchased because I’ve been obsessing over it since my first horrified glance. With messy holes on top and peanut butter smears, this Croissant Donut looks like I caught it mid-hangover after a night of serious debauchery. 

But, since these are locally-made items, there’s a good chance yours will be a well-rested, finishing-school graduate that keeps its holes underneath. Hence, I won’t ding it points-wise.

Back to our regularly scheduled review. 

Chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, pretzels – I love all these things, so I had very high expectations for both these doughnuts. I did not try the coffee pairings – I despise coffee. Let me break these guys down separately because they’re rather different creatures.

Peanut Butter Delight Croissant Donut

This isn’t really a Croissant Donut. It’s light and fluffy with large air pockets, but it’s missing a critical component: layers. Croissants and croissant donuts are made with laminated dough – many thin sheets of pastry with butter between. One should be able to pull a proper croissant donut apart layer by layer – this was not the case here.

Dunkin Donuts Peanut Butter Delight Croissant Donut and Chocolate Pretzel Donut 3

It wasn’t a bad donut, just mis-named. The taste and texture of the donut itself, sugar glaze and chocolate drizzle were lovely. This isn’t the peanut butter bomb I expected, however. A peanutty scent only became apparent when I sniffed closely. The frosting filling was just a hair on the sweet side for me. Straight-up PB inside would’ve been better – letting the glaze and chocolate drizzle sweeten it.

Chocolate Pretzel Donut

Dunkin Donuts Peanut Butter Delight Croissant Donut and Chocolate Pretzel Donut 4

The aroma of this was almost indistinguishable from DD’s regular chocolate cake doughnut (which I love). Mine seemed very light on caramel drizzle – I wonder if more would change the smell. 

The texture was also similar to the base model – moist, velvety cake. While the pretzel bits were a little soft, I liked that — it added a small crunch without stabbing the roof of my mouth with pretzel shards.

Dunkin Donuts Peanut Butter Delight Croissant Donut and Chocolate Pretzel Donut 5

Again, the predominant taste was the basic DD glazed chocolate cake. Caramel flavor was very subtle, presumably due to the sparse drizzle. There wasn’t much (if any) salt on the pretzels or donut, which was disappointing. The only thing that differentiated these from Dunkin’s regular chocolate cake donuts was the taste and texture of the pretzel bits. But as a fan of the original, that’s OK with me.

While they’re both perfectly enjoyable donuts, they fell short of great.

Dunkin Donuts Peanut Butter Delight Croissant Donut and Chocolate Pretzel Donut 6

(Nutrition Facts – Peanut Butter Delight Croissant Donut 410 calories, 190 calories from fat, 21 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 360 milligrams of sodium, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 25 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. Chocolate Pretzel Donut – 400 calories, 200 calories from fat, 23 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 530 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.00 for two
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10 (PB Delight)
Pros: Nice airy donut base, glaze and chocolate drizzle.
Cons: Might look like it was baked by a one-eyed raccoon. Like my hair – needs layers! PB frosting filling goes to 11 on the sweet scale.
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Chocolate Pretzel)
Pros: Good (familiar) chocolate cake base, non-dangerous pretzel shards.
Cons: Needs salt! (In fairness, I say this about almost every food I eat.) More caramel, please.

REVIEW: Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Creme Pudding

Hershey s Cookies  N Creme Pudding

If there was a Nobel Prize for food flavors, whoever invented Cookies & Crème (Cream if you prefer) should’ve been awarded one.

Sometime in the early/mid 80s, my mother and young self slid into a booth at Friendly’s for our weekly lunch and ice cream out. I spied a new flavor: Cookies & Creme. “What’s that?” I asked the waitress. “Vanilla and Oreos” she said. EXCUSE ME? OREO ICE CREAM? My tiny cookie-obsessed mind was blown. “This is the best thing ever!” I chanted after every spoonful. Ever since, it’s been my flavor magnetic north.

As fan of Jell-O Oreo Cookies ‘n Creme pudding mix, Jell-O Oreo Pudding cups, and Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme candy bars, it was a no-brainer that I would try Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme pudding cups.

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The appearance wasn’t exactly exciting for a cookie fanatic. All I saw were microscopic specks mixed into the white pudding. Maybe all the cookie bits were inside. Way inside.

Hershey s Cookies  N Creme Pudding 3

Under the foil, there was a faint whiff of cookies, but still no bits. What the hells bells was going on here? I dug around with a spoon, hoping to rile up some hidden chunks. Didn’t happen. C&C fans know that the enjoyment of any given product is dependent on the mass of cookie in relation to the overall mass. See chart 1:

Hershey s Cookies  N Creme Pudding 4

(Note this chart only goes to 70% – beyond that you risk under-creaming.)

Taste-wise, this pudding wasn’t bad. It’s reminiscent of Hershey’s candy bar of the same name – heavy sweet vanilla with a shadow of cookie. But it was missing something – cookie balls!

Hershey s Cookies  N Creme Pudding 5

The greatest part of the candy bars are the little crunchy balls. They goose the flavor and impart much-needed texture. They’re completely absent in the pudding, and it’s a real shame. It needs them. It’s just a smooth white mass that left a slightly greasy film on my tongue.

I liked this pudding, but not enough to buy again. Jell-O’s Oreo puddings were closer to the mark for me – less sweetness, less vanilla, more cookie.

This under-cookied pudding was screaming to be repurposed, so I made mini-icebox cakes out of it. Drop dollops of pudding between Oreo cookies. (I ate the fillings out of mine!) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

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The moisture from the pudding soaks into the cookies, making something like a cold cakey milk-dunked Oreo.

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(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 110 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 17 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 4-pack
Purchased at: Key Food
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Like a melted version of its namesake candy bar (If you like that candy bar).
Cons: A severe, drought-like lack of cookie bits or varied texture of any kind. Greasy tongue slime trail.

REVIEW: Cow Candy Pinkie Pie Strawberry Jack Cheese and Prime Punch Jack Cheese

Cow Candy Jack Cheeses

This is a review, but it’s also a cry for help. When I saw Cow Candy’s Strawberry and Fruit Punch-flavored cheeses listed in Spotted on Shelves, my gut said “Yeah, I’m having those.”

I’m so addicted to the rush of novelty flavors that even when I read about something that couldn’t possibly be delicious, I’m still compelled to track it down. Fruit-flavored cookies are one thing, but cheese? What is wrong with me? How long until I’m buying cotton-candy-flavored beef filets?

Like a true junkie, I went into this with full faith that these cheese sticks, sporting colors more appropriate for children’s spring t-shirts, would take me to snack heaven for just a moment.

Cow Candy Jack Cheeses 2

I looked past the blank yet somehow judgmental faces of the children’s cartoon characters and opened the packages. The red stick, emblazoned with Transformer Optimus Prime, was a smooth block. The My Little Pony-themed Strawberry Pinkie Pie had a pock-marked exterior. I wondered if this was a refrigeration error or if the flavors affected the textures in different ways.

Cow Candy Jack Cheeses 3

The strawberry stick gave off a tangy artificial strawberry scent – Frankenberry cereal mixed with a trace of shoe funk. The fruit punch smelled like candy-induced vomit.

When I bit into the strawberry, it crumbled, strangely, into tiny spheres. The Fruit Punch cheese behaved more like what I expected – a rubbery snap.

Cow Candy Jack Cheeses 4

Describing the taste of these cheese sticks is proving impossible, so I’ll tell you what they DON’T taste like – strawberry, fruit punch, or Jack cheese. Calling them salty/sweet feels wrong, as weren’t enough of either to do the term justice. If you removed everything good from cheese and fruit, this is what would be left. They’re just gross.

I powered my way through one of each flavor. Hours later, they still haunt me. It’s like I ate prop food not meant for consumption. They are by far the worst snack food I’ve ever encountered – my stomach is churning.

I’d intended to think up some cute way to use these cheese sticks in another snack/treat (shred them as a topping for sweet & savory mini pizzas?) but there’s really only one thing to do with them:

Cow Candy Jack Cheeses 5

All I can do now is try not to barf, and wonder when I’m going to find Jeff VanVonderen sitting on my couch telling me people love me like crazy but are worried about my novelty flavor addiction.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 stick – 80 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 4 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: 6 oz. bag
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 1 out of 10
Pros: Nice colors! That’s it.
Cons: Disgusting taste that resembles none of the flavors advertised. Odd texture in Strawberry version. They’re making me nauseous. Do not buy them for children you’re fond of.

REVIEW: Peeps Filled Delights Vanilla Caramel Brownie

Peeps Filled Delight Vanilla Caramel Brownie

In my experience, Peeps are a polarizing force in society. You either love them passionately or think they’re the most disgusting non-food ever created. Thankfully, I made it out of childhood with my sense of whimsy intact and fall squarely in the former camp. Every year, I buy two packages of yellow chicks shortly after Valentine’s Day, and three more from the clearance bins the day after Easter.

I’ve fallen in love with every novelty flavor and dipped version of Peeps that have hit shelves in recent years. Now Peeps with a filling? And there’s a caramel version? I am overcome with the vapors – fetch me my fainting couch!

Peeps Filled Delight Vanilla Caramel Brownie 2

This year’s novelty Peeps have been rebranded as “Delights.” Fitting. But because I was throwing flavors in my shopping cart in a sort of Peep-sterical fit, I didn’t at first notice the word “filled” above the Vanilla Caramel Brownie. More attention should be called to the fact that these are different than the dipped Peeps.

Peeps Filled Delight Vanilla Caramel Brownie 3

The aroma inside the bag was all glorious fudge brownie. A closer sniff of the Peeps themselves was equally brownie and vanilla marshmallow. They looked like the now-standard dipped Peep – sparkling sugar-studded chick, thin shell of chocolate on the bottom, and a smattering of errant crystals clinging to the chocolate. They felt so precious in their individual cubicles – these Peeps fly business class.

Peeps Filled Delight Vanilla Caramel Brownie 4

I expected the caramel filling to be a big central blob, like a jelly doughnut. Instead, it was laced throughout like a ribbon, hitting all the major geographical areas of the peep – including the furthest point of the tail. And yeah, I made the others watch while I split this guy up.

Peeps Filled Delight Vanilla Caramel Brownie 5

I popped a cross-section in my mouth to get the full flavor. The caramel was beautifully thick and stayed just on the right side of the line between real and fake-tasting. The vanilla marshmallow was the typical Peeps sweetness, and the chocolate was like a shot of rich hot chocolate.

Peeps Filled Delight Vanilla Caramel Brownie 6

Of course, I had to give them the head-first treatment. It’s the only real way to eat a Peep, amiright? In this case, the filling added a nice little squish, which tickled the 7-year-old in me.

These were my favorite (excluding the originals). I want more. If you love Peeps, definitely try them. If you’re a Peeps hater, these just might win you over.

(Nutrition Facts – 3 chicks – 180 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 27 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: 1.75 oz 3-pack
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 10 out of 10
Pros: Brownie-caramel-marshmallow-y goodness. Peeps finally have innards!
Cons: Easy to overlook the fact that they’re filled based on the packaging.

REVIEW: Vanilla Cupcake M&M’s

Vanilla Cupcake M&M’s

The trouble with vanilla cupcake flavor is — just what IS it? Is it simply a marketing ploy because vanilla is “too boring” on its own? What exactly is added to a vanilla item to make it taste like a cupcake? If you asked me what a vanilla cupcake tastes like, I’d say vanilla – in which case, does it need any additions to make it taste like a cupcake? It feels like I’m lost in a hall of mirrors.

Enter Vanilla Cupcake M&M’s. I hoped they would solve this existential crisis for me, since Hershey’s Cupcake Kisses fell short on that task.

Vanilla Cupcake M&M’s 2

The purple & polka dot theme of the packaging is attractive, but I’m not sure I would’ve chosen the Green M&M character for this bag. Cupcakes are fun and silly – the “sexy” M&M (insert eye roll here) vamping seems out of place here. Yellow’s goofy personality would be a better fit. And it would fill my head with J.K. Simmons’ voice saying “Beecher, want a vanilla cupcake?”

The aroma inside the bag was 80 percent vanilla, 20 percent…something else. Something I imagine is meant to remind one of frosting, but comes off as a chemical-y approximation.

Vanilla Cupcake M&M’s 3

The intense pastel hues of these M&M’s made my eyes very happy. They definitely belong in a cute bowl on display next to a bouquet of spring flowers.

Inside, these are the white chocolate/candy coating base we’ve seen in other recent flavor releases like White Cheesecake and Boo-terscotch.

Vanilla Cupcake M&M’s 4

If given a blind taste test of these M&M’s, I would swear they were vanilla milkshake flavored. I picked up on the strong vanilla flavor and I got the milky white chocolate, but the essence of “cupcake” evaded me. The frosting-esque smell didn’t carry over to the taste buds, either.

Vanilla Cupcake M&M’s 5

So did these M&Ms fail at capturing that certain cupcake je ne sais quoi? Or were they right on target, since they tasted like vanilla – exactly as a vanilla cupcake would? I DON’T KNOW!

What I do know is they were delicious and I promptly ate the entire bag. If you like white chocolate M&M’s – and can ponder vanilla cupcake philosophy better than I – give these a go.

(Nutrition Facts – 1.5 oz – 210 calories, 100 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 28 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.55 (on sale)
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Beautiful, happy spring colors. Strong vanilla milk flavor.
Cons: A vanilla cupcake this is not. (Or is it?? My head hurts.)