REVIEW: Salted Caramel Oreo Thins

Salted Caramel Oreo Thins

I prefer Oreo Thins to Oreos.

Sure, you can’t beat a classic Oreo, I’ve just never been able to eat many in one sitting. Regardless of flavor, I’m done after about four. I can polish off an entire sleeve of Oreo Thins without even realizing it. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s true.

Listen, I can hear your outrage from here. “Vin likes Thins more than Oreos?! This is outrageous. Wait, who the heck is Vin?”

I get it. I know people still have some problems with Oreo Thins. They convey an unattainable image to young Oreos. They’re a false portrayal of what society thinks an Oreo should look like. Every new Oreo Thins flavor that hits shelves feels like a slight to Double Stuff Oreos the world over, but hey, I like what I like.

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Speaking of new flavors, remember like a decade ago when you never even knew salted caramel was a thing? Can you believe we once lived in a world where “sweet and salty” wasn’t a super mainstream flavor profile? Now even the world’s most famous cookie is dipping itself into the salted caramel pool.

The new Salted Caramel Oreo Thins have that distinct Golden Oreo cookie smell with just a spritz of eau de stale caramel.

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There isn’t much crème per cookie, but I imagine you know the drill with Thins at this point. I personally prefer the Thins ratio to a normal Oreo.

Honestly, the caramel flavor in these cookies isn’t all that strong. It’s more of a “yeah, I guess that’s caramel” than anything, but it still tastes good. I wouldn’t get my hopes up expecting a big blast of caramel flavor.

As for the salt? It’s there, but not overpowering. I did get a couple salt crystal crunches from time to time, which are always appreciated. I could be crazy but the cookie might have a little more saltiness to it than normal. Don’t quote me on that though, I haven’t had a Golden Oreo in a bit.

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Caramel is a delicious flavor in general, but it’s also very dependent on texture. Sure, I get annoyed when a chewy, sticky piece of caramel sticks in my molar, but that’s also part of the charm. The caramel “crème” in these cookies doesn’t hold a candle to a good piece of actual caramel. You might as well call it “car-mull” crème like one of those weirdos who say “car-mull.”

I’m sure people will complain about the lack of normal sized Salted Caramel Oreos. Let me tell you something – they wouldn’t be good. This is the perfect ratio of crème to cookie. A double serving of this crème would be gross even with more cookie to counter it. They knew what they were doing.

So, these aren’t bad. Salted caramel doesn’t necessarily lend itself to a crème consistency, but these go down easy.

I hope Nabisco continues to drop exclusive flavors on its Thins line, because that’s a line I want to walk.

(Nutrition Facts – 4 cookies – 150 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 10.1 oz. package
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Solid caramel-ish flavor with a touch of salt. Golden Oreo thins are much better than the normal size. They go down easy. Oreo’s most recent packaging update. The “sweet and salty” boom.
Cons: Somehow not sweet or salty enough at the same time. Golden don’t beat the original chocolate cookie and never will. The different pronunciations of “caramel.” The cream vs. crème battle wages on. That corny final line.

REVIEW: 7-Eleven Caramel Bar Made with Twix Donut

7 Eleven Caramel Bar Made with Twix Donut

I open my review with a quote from pop culture’s most famous convenience store proprietor, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon:

“You’ve clearly taken items from the candy rack and placed them on top of the donut in an attempt to pass them off as sprinkles. A Mounds bar is not a sprinkle! A Twizzler is not a sprinkle! A Jolly Rancher is not a sprinkle, sir. Perhaps in Shangri-la they are, but not here!”

So, is a Twix bar a sprinkle? Did 7-Eleven break the convenience code, or do they use a different rulebook than the Kwik-E-Mart?

I guess a better question is do you care?

You don’t care. You just wanna know if a donut sprinkled with Twix pieces is good. I’ll kill the suspense right here. Yes. Of course a donut covered in Twix pieces is good.

Do you like heavy donuts? Your entire enjoyment of the 7-Eleven Caramel Bar made with Twix Donut might hinge on that question. This donut was almost as big a mouthful as that name.

I personally like really dense donuts, so this was right up my alley. If you wanna know what the texture was like, think of two chocolate frosted Dunkin’ Donuts violently mashed together. This is a heavy piece of pastry. The fact it’s oblong and hole-less definitely added to that density.

Sticking to that comparison, this basically tastes like a chocolate frosted Dunkin’ Donut with caramel added (Note to Dunkin’ Donuts: Sell those.)

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The caramel is painted on top like a standard icing, and definitely tasted authentic to a Twix. I will say that it did get a bit overshadowed due to the chocolate drizzle and candy pieces that were caked on top as well as the dense dough, but it was still tasty.

The Twix bits, which looked like pretzel pieces on first glance, did their job just fine. I probably could have even used more of them. The Homer Simpson approach of just tossing an intact bar atop the donut may have worked better. Instead of chopping Twix up, I would have liked five or six mini Twix on top – one per bite.

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I thought for sure there would be some kind of caramel or chocolate filling, but I cut it open and was proven wrong. That may have been overkill, but I can imagine some people yearning for a little something to cut the dough.

The donut had a pleasant scent, but everything in a 7-Eleven bakery cabinet smells the same over time.

I would recommend the 7-Eleven Caramel Bar made with Twix Donut for sure. I’d also recommend picking up a Twix and chasing each donut bite to really hammer home the Twix experience. Why not? You’ve been good all week.

This is a winner for 7-Eleven in my eye, but it might be too heavy and too skimpy on the Twix pieces for some people. Still, if you’re stopping in for a morning coffee, this beast will hold you over ’til lunch.

Thank you, come again.

(Nutrition Facts – Not available.)

Purchased Price: $1.69
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: I really like dense, chewy donuts. Fresh. Tasty combination. Can’t go wrong with Twix. Your brain reading that quote in Apu’s voice. There’s a Simpsons reference for everything.
Cons: Caramel gets masked a bit. Not enough Twix pieces. Oblong donuts. Could have come up with a better name. Nutritional facts not available on website.

REVIEW: Flavor of Texas BBQ PayDay Bar

Flavor of Texas BBQ PayDay Bar

This bar I bite fills me with fright!

*clap clap clap clap*

Deep in the heart of Texas!

I guess it’s more like right on the coast of Jersey, where I was finally able to track one of these Frankenstein monsters down.

What in the holy hell is this thing? BBQ peanuts and caramel? Not since Lay’s Cappuccino Potato Chips have I been so fearfully intrigued by a new snack concoction.

The Flavor of Texas BBQ PayDay is one of Hershey’s new Flavors of America candy bars. Calling this “candy” is definitely a bit of a stretch. Then again, PayDay was probably never at the top of your “candy” crave list anyway, now was it?

When was the last time you bought one? It’s been a while for me. I feel like I haven’t bought one since the limited honey roasted version was on shelves. Regular PayDays are fine, but what’s the point of getting one when you can just get a Snickers or something? Very rarely will I NOT want chocolate.

Honey roasted peanuts will get me to buy anything though. They are criminally underutilized. Will I feel the same about BBQ peanuts? That’s the question of the day.

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Aesthetically, PayDay is one of the least appetizing candy bars to look at. I won’t go into detail why, but you can use your imagination. This one looks just like a normal one caked in Doritos dust.

The bar smelled like a sweet BBQ sauce, but that was expected. BBQ based products usually hit the mark in the olfactory department.

To start I plucked a few peanuts off and ate them solo. They ticked all the BBQ sauce boxes you’d want them to – nice smoky flavor, not too spicy, not too salty, and a bit tang. I’d eat a bag of these.

So, the BBQ element was on point, now was time to bite the proverbial bullet.

It was weird, but I already knew it would be. “Weird” is not always a bad thing.

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The caramel bar isn’t overly sweet, so there wasn’t the Civil War battle of opposing flavors in my mouth that I anticipated. The BBQ flavor was more prominent on the peanuts alone. When mixed with the sweet caramel element this tasted a little like molasses I guess? I had trouble pinpointing it exactly. I guess this was like a sweet BBQ sauce with a molasses or maple syrup mixed in for sweetness. I think that was what they were going for, and they definitely succeeded.

While the overall flavor was solid, this was a textural treat more than anything. The peanuts were as fresh as I could’ve hoped for, and had a good overall bite to them. I’ve always appreciated the center of a PayDay being closer to nougat than regular caramel, so it’s never too sticky. They married perfectly.

Texas BBQ PayDay is a weird and ambitious effort from Hershey’s. I won’t pretend I’m aching to try it again, but I’d recommend giving it a shot. Maybe there’s a brave soul out there who might want to melt chocolate over this bad boy and really go for broke. I imagine that’d be a major test for the taste buds, but hey if this ain’t bad, that may be great.

So yeah, if you want to try a funky unorthodox snack, this is probably for you. If not, there are five other Flavors of America available from Hershey’s. Hit the road.

(Nutrition Facts – 230 calories, 100 calories from fat, 12 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: 83 cents
Size: 1.85 oz. bar
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Texture was perfection. Not too salty, spicy, or sweet. Ambitious. The price was right. I dig the Flavors of America line.
Cons: Maybe a little too ambitious? Chocolate or Honey Roasted PayDays not being a year round candy options. No famous BBQ sauce brand tie-in as far as I can tell.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Frozen Coffee

Dunkin Donuts Frozen Coffee

I just downed 196 milligrams of caffeine and I am fuh-lying, baby!

Sick of pink Frappuccinos named after mythical beasts? Well, Dunkin’ has a new Frozen Coffee ready to speed up your hearts.

They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, but when it comes to popular frozen coffee drinks, imitation is the highest form of fattery.

That’s a little corny wordplay to kickstart your morning, folks. I apologize. Blame it on the caffeine.

I’m not normally a frozen coffee guy, but every now and then I switch it up. That must have been Dunkin’ Donuts’ thought process when they decided to revamp the Coffee Coolatta into their new Frozen Coffee.

Their new coffee is blended with 100 percent Arabica extract, your choice of dairy, and ice. I’m no expert, but that certainly sounds like the recipe for frozen coffee.

I won’t pretend “Arabica” coffee extract moves my needle. I don’t know the difference. I actually thought it said “abra cadabra” extract at first and was pumped. I thought there was gonna be some Jack and the Beanstalk magic in my future.

But alas, as I made my order, the girl at the counter seemed overwhelmed. She had yet to make a Frozen Coffee. I was her trial run. Thankfully a nice manager came over and fired her on the spot! Nah, she showed her the ropes.

I hadn’t ordered a Coolatta in a while, but I seem to recall them having ice that was never chopped fine enough for my liking. The ice was always gritty, along the lines of a Slush Puppy, not fine like a normal Slurpee.

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Frozen Coffee definitely improved on the Coolatta in that area. After a few sips that were straight liquid, the coffee got to the right temperature and I got slushy sips that were on par with a Frappuccino.

The taste was kinda bitter, not gonna lie. It took a few sips to adjust, and for the strong coffee flavor to really kick in. Keep in mind, I didn’t order an additional flavor shot. I wanted to review the standard Frozen Coffee before mixing in one of Dunkin’s ever growing flavor swirl options.

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As I sipped on, it tasted like those bottled Starbucks Frappuccino drinks but with blended ice. I guess that’s technically a plain Frappuccino? It’s been a while. This didn’t sway far from a slushier version of regular coffee with a few tablespoons of sugar.

I wasn’t offered a milk option, but rest assured I would have gone with boring skim. It’s the Diet Coke to my Triple Cheeseburger and large fry combo. I just assume they used whole milk.

The whipped cream sunk to the bottom, and while I’ve been on the record in the past about my love/hate for whipped “topping,” it was a pretty good sugar fix to end on.

All in all, it’s not bad, but I seem to remember regular Coolattas being better. Again, remember, you can customize the flavor. I have little doubt Dunkin’s Frozen Coffee would be significantly better with mocha, hazelnut, French vanilla or, well, basically any flavor. Order a flavor swirl.

I don’t see this replacing my usual iced coffee order, and it’s probably not gonna compete with a Frappuccino if I want a super sugary coffee slush, but I’ll probably mix a few in over the summer.

The Dunkin’ Frozen Coffee feels like a drink that will grow on me if I have it more, but for now, it was just okay. I’ll be curious to see what Coolatta loyalists have to say about it.

(Nutrition Facts – small – 420 calories, 18 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 64 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 61 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein, and 196 mg of caffeine.)

Purchased Price: $3.29
Size: Small
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Tastes like it’s supposed to – like a blended, sugary regular coffee. Customizable. Whipped cream paired well. Big caffeine boost.
Cons: Bitter at first. Not really breaking any molds. “Coffee Coolatta” was a considerably better name. Pretty big for a small, “Fattery” not being a real word. No magic beans.

REVIEW: Thomas’ Limited Edition Bacon Buttermilk Pancake English Muffins

Thomas Limited Edition Bacon Buttermilk Pancake English Muffins

Where does the noble English muffin rank on the breakfast bread hierarchy?

They’re not better than bagels. They definitely can’t compete with a good biscuit. If you wanna get frisky and involve waffles or griddle cakes, forget about it. So what are they better than? Toast? I’d argue some types of toasted bread are better too.

Point is, in order for me to pick the English muffin, it really has to stand out. That’s where our old friend Thomas comes in. Thomas, you cheeky bloke, you’ve gone and done it again.

Cheers to your newest concoction – Bacon Buttermilk Pancake.

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Thomas’ Limited Edition Bacon Buttermilk Pancake English Muffins are only on shelves for six weeks, so by the time you say “Thomas’ Limited Edition Bacon Buttermilk Pancake English Muffins” you’ve already wasted critical time.

While this sounds exciting on paper, it’s my job to tell all you nook-heads and cranniacs whether or not you should add these to your grocery lists while you can.

I’m torn.

My first English muffin was also torn. Could be that I’m just a moron (checks out), but I always have a problem cutting an English muffin into nice equal halves. Why aren’t these fork split, Thomas? But I digress…

I don’t like to over-toast my muffins, so I went with a medium setting. A faint bacon and buttery maple smell wafted out. That was a highlight.

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Once toasted, I used salted butter, but made sure to take a bite of the bare muffin first.

I didn’t really know what I tasted.

The part of the name I paid the least mind to actually came through the most. There is a pancakey mouth feel to the breading, that I assume was from the buttermilk. The texture seems slightly different from a normal English muffin. The nooks and crannies are the same, but the bottom of the muffin seems less coarse, and a bit more – brace yourselves for impact – moist. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, that seedy farina stuff is still all over the bottom of the muffin, and still gets everywhere.

I assumed the maple would be the strongest element, and while it was probably the most prominent flavor, it’s still barely there, and kinda stale.

The ingredients list real maple syrup, but it didn’t taste authentic to me.

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There are little bacon bits, but don’t get too excited because they are “soy-based” “bacon.” I ate one of those separately and got a tiny smoked bacon kick, but there were so few that the flavor got lost overall.

Needless to say, these didn’t knock me over. I would have appreciated it if the fine chaps at Thomas went balls to the wall and dropped a flavor bomb on us, but they kept it subtle. Don’t expect McGriddle cake flavor here. If you make an egg sandwich on one of these muffins, I’m not sure you’d even notice the maple and bacon flavors.

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I will say this; the best part may have been the aftertaste. How often is that the case with a food? After eating it, I was left with a strong buttery flavor, which I believe was from the muffin itself and not the butter I added. It was reminiscent of that scooped glob of whipped butter you get on a short stack at your favorite breakfast spot. I guess that’s the pancake element, which I feel was the most successful part, shockingly.

Like I said, I’m torn. Everyone’s taste buds are different, so I guess give ‘em a shot. You’ve got six weeks. Eat now or forever hold your peace.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 muffin – 160 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 360 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: 6-pack
Purchased at: ShopRite
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Pancakey mouth feel. Slight maple flavor. Great aftertaste. Not much different from a regular Thomas English muffin. Gone in 6 weeks(?)
Cons: Not much flavor overall. Bacon is a no show. Better on paper. Cutting an English muffin is apparently rocket science. Farina on bottom gets everywhere. Gone in 6 weeks(?) “Ewwww, he said moist!!!”