REVIEW: Girl Scout S’mores Sandwich Cookies

Girl Scout S'mores Sandwich Cookies

Call me the s’more connoisseur.

I’ve bought s’mores in stores from shore to shore. Famous to obscure, I’ve explored the s’more tour.

More or less, I’ve put s’mores to the test, and yes, my rhymes ARE poor and in jest. This I confess as you snore unimpressed, I’ll shut up and give you a score and ingest.

You know who I hate? Me.

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You know who I appreciate? Those hard working Girl Scouts. They really know how to get my money, especially when they camp outside of supermarkets. Who would dare say no to America’s second most intimidating Green Berets?

To celebrate 100 years of annoying office colleagues shoving order forms in your face, the Girl Scouts have blessed the world with a new cookie flavor – S’mores.

Unbeknownst to me, there are actually two new S’mores cookies available in select areas. The chocolate covered graham variety wasn’t available when I was pressured into spending twenty dollars, so I went with the sandwich cookie.

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Girl Scout S’mores are described as “a crunchy graham sandwich cookie with creamy chocolate and marshmallowy filling,” so it tackles the three main ingredients of a standard s’more. Does it taste like a standard s’more? Ehhhhh.

The graham actually tasted more along the lines of a thin shortbread to me. Shortbread is probably my least favorite Girl Scout cookie, so I was bummed to be reminded of it.

The smell and taste instantly put me in mind of generic supermarket sandwich cookies. You know the ones that they toss on the top shelf that are two bucks cheaper than Oreo? The cookies there to make Hydrox feel better about itself? Those. They aren’t the worst snack on Earth, but Oreo cookies are at eye level for a reason.

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The marshmallow cream may have had actual marshmallow flavor, but really just tasted like standard white cookie cream. If you’re jonesing for a cheap Golden Oreo with a little bit of chocolate cream thrown in the mix, these are for you. Sadly, the chocolate is also pretty generic.

S’mores are obviously best when hot, so I nuked one of these in the microwave for 25 seconds. The chocolate got nice and melty, and the cookie softened a tad, but that’s about it. The box gives no indication they’re meant to be heated or anything, I just figured I’d give it a try.

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As a whole I wasn’t blown away. It seems that most of the time brands try to emulate a s’more they never really hit the bullseye. Kellogg’s Smorez cereal is pretty good, Oreo made a decent s’mores cookie, and Chips Ahoy tried their best, but it’s never the same as making a messy homemade s’more over a flame.

My fellow s’more connoisseurs will probably be pretty disappointed. Not quite as disappointed as they’d be if I started busting out my bootleg Dr. Seuss rhymes again, but disappointed nonetheless.

I can’t tell you NOT to try these, but you might want to just stick to the old reliables next time Heather from Accounting chases you around with a Girl Scout Cookie order form. Man, she’s pushy. Other people have daughters too, Heather!

Thin Mints are a classic. Samoas are too. Girl Scout S’mores rank near the bottom of the product line. If the chocolate covered graham variety is available to you, spend your Abe Lincoln on those instead and let me know how they are.

Look, the sandwich cookies aren’t awful. They’ll do in a pinch, but compared to other Girl Scout staples they might as well be called “B’ores.” (™ Vin at The Impulsive Buy.)

(Nutrition Facts – 2 Cookies – 150 calories, 7 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of sugar (includes 10 grams of added sugar), and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $5.00
Size: 8.5 oz. box
Purchased at: My Buddy’s House (You know where to get them.)
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Girl Scouts branching out more. A decent albeit unremarkable interpretation of a s’more. 100 years of cookies. Young businesswomen.
Cons: Tastes like a boring Golden Oreo. Marshmallow doesn’t really shine. No heated option. Pushy adult cookie peddlers. My whimsical rhyme schemes.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Strawberry Nut M&M’s

Limited Edition Strawberry Nut M&M's

One of 2016’s biggest snack breakthroughs was the expansion of the Peanut M&M’s line. America voted between three new flavors, with Coffee Nut coming away the victor.

Coffee Nut got my vote, but really enjoyed Honey Nut, and even found Chili Nut to be a decent and novel idea. Coffee Nut has now become a candy rack mainstay, and it looks like Mars isn’t stopping there. Say hello to Strawberry Nut M&M’s.

I found it at my local Rite Aid. I was in there with intentions of buying a greeting card, which is the most tedious shopping experience known to man, so finding a new Peanut M&M’s flavor was a very pleasant surprise.

The store sold only a “Share Size” bag, which reminded me of my crippling loneliness. Hello darkness, my old friend.

I asked the first woman I saw if she would like to split the bag with me and she proceeded to mace me.

Once the sting wore off, I tore the glossy paper bag open and met a waft of that familiar stale, almost peppery chocolate scent you always get from M&M’s. This time, however, there was a nice underlying strawberry smell.

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I’m always fascinated by the color selection when a new M&M’s flavor comes out. With Strawberry Nut you get red for the outside of the strawberry, pink for the inside, and green for the stem. Way to sneak in there, Green. I’m not sure anyone would have felt bad if the stem and leaf of the strawberry weren’t represented in color form, but who knows, people complain about everything these days – present company included. On to the taste!

I’m torn of what I thought of the strawberry flavor here. On one hand, it wasn’t very powerful, so while tossing back a few at a time, it started to taste like I was eating normal Peanut M&M’s. On the other hand, if they did go overboard with the strawberry, it would have been way too sweet and artificial tasting. I guess I’ll never know. I found the strawberry to be quite subtle. It was noticeable, but don’t expect too much.

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I did some surgery on a piece with my teeth to isolate the chocolate because I thought the shell and peanut were masking the strawberry flavor, but even that wasn’t all that strawberry-ey(?).

Still, the flavor was nice. That’s the best I can tell ya. If these were in the running last year, I would have ranked them 3rd, just ahead of Chili Nut. I probably wanted more strawberry, but I love Peanut M&M’s, so it’s hard to complain when something tastes like slightly different Peanut M&M’s.

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So, while these weren’t a grand slam, I commend the fine people at Mars. I appreciate them branching out the peanut line, as Peanut M&M’s are FAR superior than regular ones. Instead of giving us twenty regular M&M’s flavors a year, keep pushing this peanut line.

It’s also great to see Mars dive more and more into the fruit world. I know they made Cherry M&M’s, so here’s hoping Cherry Nut isn’t too far off. As a lover of those chocolate oranges, I’d be all for an Orange Nut. (don’t say “go nuts,” don’t say “go nuts.”) Go Bananas!

Oh, Banana Nut!

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 pack (46 g) – 240 calories, 110 calories from fat, 13 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 3.27 oz. bag
Purchased at: Rite Aid
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: The more Peanut M&M’s the better. Strawberry isn’t crazy powerful, but it’s there. M&M fruit flavors. A potential sign of more flavors to come? Gimmie Banana Nut!
Cons: I probably would have picked these third in the new flavor contest. No one to share your Share Size bag with. Limited Edition. Greeting cards are awful. Macing is no laughing matter.

REVIEW: Hostess CupCakes Ice Cream

Hostess CupCakes Ice Cream

There are few better values in the snack world than Hostess CupCakes. One buck gets you two spongy delights topped with a sheet of chocolate plastic and that oh so beautiful white curl of icing. Name a more recognizable cupcake in the world. I’ll wait.

You’re stumped. I know you’re stumped, because as far as store bought cupcakes go, Hostess has by far the most iconic. I’ve been eating those bad boys since I was crawling.

These days, I’m a huge fan of the orange variety, but I’ll never say a bad word about the classic chocolate version. Especially now that Hostess has decided to release them in ice cream form.

The ice cream flavor is described as “chocolate cake,” but it’s really just a fancier way of saying “chocolate.” This is chocolate ice cream through and through. You’d never think “cake” if you just ate it by itself. That being said, it’s creamy and stacks up fine to other chocolate ice creams I’ve had.

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The ice cream is lined with white frosting swirls and chunks of cupcake, and this is where the overall product shined. But also really let me down.

The cake pieces were fine, when I actually found them. I’d say I got a nice chunk of cake one out of every three spoonfuls, but that’s just not enough.

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They also tasted more like brownie bites than cake. I could imagine some people will be bummed about that, but I actually loved it. A hard chewy bite of frozen brownie is a texture all its own and they’re something I personally like to top my ice cream with. Still, I’m sure a lot of people are gonna be disappointed they aren’t more “cakey.”

The frosting swirls were also way too sporadic – probably even more so than the cake pieces. Normally I’d chalk this up to a small sample size, but I’ve eaten half the carton so far and the problem has persisted with each bowl.

It’s a shame because the three parts of this ice cream really did taste authentic to its namesake. When I actually got a chunk of cake and a ribbon of frosting on my spoon, I was essentially eating a frozen Hostess CupCake.

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I know the cupcakes they’re mimicking here are chocolate, but I almost wish they reversed it and made the base ice cream a frosting-like flavor with chocolate swirls and chunks of cake. They could have at least used a chocolate ice cream mixed with a frosting ice cream to really pound the flavors home. The Twinkies Ice Cream uses a cream based ice cream, why couldn’t this?

So I guess what I’m getting at is that Hostess CupCake Ice Cream is really good if you wanna work for it. You could poke around the container in order to get cake and frosting in each spoonful, but you shouldn’t HAVE to do that. Call me lazy if you’d like, but they skimped on the best stuff and that was a big mistake.

If you like chocolate ice cream with a few brownie bites, that’s pretty much what you’re getting here. I guess the added bonus of tasting a Hostess CupCake every few scoops is nice, but not when the ice cream itself is named after said cupcakes.

In the end, it’s still not bad, but kind of a tease. I found myself thinking I’d rather spend four bucks on eight CupCakes than the ice cream. Actually, if you pick this up, grab some of the CupCakes too and just have them a la mode.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup (65g) – 180 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 4 grams sat fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 20 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.09
Size: 1.5 qts
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: When all three flavors mix it tastes just like a Hostess CupCake. Hostess branching out into the ice cream world. Brownie Bites as a topping. Orange Hostess CupCakes. The iconic icing curl.
Cons: Needs more icing ribbons and cake pieces. Chocolate cake ice cream tastes like normal chocolate ice cream. Wish they used an icing-flavored ice cream. Having to work for your flavors.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Chocolate Shamrock Shake

McDonald's Chocolate Shamrock Shake

It’s that time of the year again, lads and lasses. St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner.

You know what that means. It’s time to drink! Drink like you’ve never drank before. Drunk like you’ve never dronk before! Just dance a lil’ jig and drink!

Drink what? Jameson? Guinness? Come on, guys! This is a family site. Drink McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes!

Unless you got beat with the stupid shillelagh, or have been living under the Blarney Stone, a Shamrock Shake is a mixture of reduced fat (lol) vanilla ice cream, mint flavored “Shamrock” syrup and green sugar crystals. The result is a light green minty spin on a standard McDonald’s vanilla shake, and like the weed it borrows its name from, we’re lucky to have it.

From this point forward, I’ll try to keep this review short of stereotypical Irish things. Leprechaun. The Boston Celtics. Corn beef. Sully. Murph. Go Sox! Ok, starting now.

This year marks the expansion of the famous Shamrock Shake line. Not only is the original back, but McDonald’s has released four new drinks under their McCafe label. With shakes, fraps and hot cocoa choices to choose from, I opted for the Chocolate Shamrock Shake.

I can’t remember the last time I had a chocolate shake. It’s been ages. I guess I’ve just been subconsciously holding out for McDonalds to get frisky and cross pollinate their chocolate shake with my all time favorite item they offer, the Shamrock Shake. Seriously, I’m a Shamrock Shake junkie. If a group of nutjobs traveled the country for this like they did for the McRib, I’d consider abandoning my life and hitching a ride.

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Like I mentioned above, the shake had the familiar green pastel like color, with a couple of brown blotches. It looked nothing like the press release photo that had the two colors perfectly halved in a cup, but what fast food ever looks like the press release photo?

Chocolate and mint were noticeable on the nose, even though the shake itself was buried under a mountain of “whipped topping.” I always forget to ask for no “whipped topping.” Don’t get me wrong, I like phony whipped cream, but sometimes it’s completely unnecessary. I don’t need a maraschino cherry either. I always let it sink, and forcefully suck it into my straw when I somehow forget it’s there. I’d suggest just skipping the toppings and letting the mint and chocolate shine.

Speaking of mint and chocolate, whenever something has those flavor profiles, reviewers seem to default to, “Ummm, It tasted like Andes Mints.” Well, in this case, I’m gonna default as well. This shake instantly put me in mind of those after dinner mints. The familiar – in no way overpowering – cool mintiness of the Shamrock was the more powerful of the two flavors, but the chocolate definitely added a perfect new element.

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As I chugged on, the colors melted together into a delicious camouflage. Well, they would have if I gave them much of a chance to melt. I drank it so quick, I considered calling Guinness, not Guinness as in “Irish stout,” but Guinness as in “Book of World Records.” Ripley’s won’t return my phone calls. Long story.

The last few sips actually flip-flopped and were stronger on the chocolate, but I’m not complaining. When, and it’s only a question of when, I get this again, I’ll opt out of the whipped topping, and give it a few spoon swirls just to make sure the flavors are distributed properly.

You have until March 24th to give this a try. Get shakin’.

(Nutrition Facts – 16 ounces – 610 calories, 150 calories from fat, 17 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 78 grams of carbohydrates, 84 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: Medium (15 oz.)
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Delicious harmony of mint and chocolate. February and March are the best McDonald’s months of the year. No brain freeze. McRib disciples. A happy and healthy St. Patrick’s Day.
Cons: Whipped Topping and plastic cherry are unnecessary. Could’ve probably been blended a bit better. Limited availability. McDonald’s suddenly giving all new drinks the fancy “McCafe” moniker. Sat fats. 84 grams of sugar!

REVIEW: Limited Edition Girl Scouts Thin Mints Cereal

Limited Edition Girl Scouts Thin Mints Cereal

One hundred years.

The Girl Scouts of America have been selling cookies since 1917. That’s how long in the making this was.

Now that Girl Scout Cookie season is upon us, our favorite pint-sized peddlers have teamed up with General Mills to stock shelves with a breakfast cereal representative of their famous baked goods. It’s about time.

The famous flavors of Girl Scout Cookies have managed to find their way into everything from ice cream to chocolate bars over the years, and starting now, you can officially have Thin Mints and Samoas in a bowl for breakfast without feeling awful about yourself.

I picked up a box of Thin Mints at Target, opting to pass on the Caramel Crunch (Samoas) variety, because the idea of having a mint flavored cereal intrigued me much more.

They certainly smell the part, which took a second to adjust to. I don’t think I’d ever even heard of a breakfast cereal with mint in it until that moment. I can’t think of one off the top of my head. Either way, the cereal smells just like the cookie.

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As far as aesthetics, they aren’t the best looking cereal. My brother’s dog eats food pellets that look exactly like these little dark discs, so that image was tough to shake at first. For a more palatable example, If Cookie Crisp ever borrowed a marketing ploy from the Cap’n, these would be “Oops, All Chocolate Chips Cookie Crisp.”

The cereal pieces have an outer crispy area encapsulating a center that tasted like it was on a fast track to sogsville the second I poured the milk in. Each bite had a typical crunch but soon turned gluey, and clung to my teeth more than I expected.

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All in all, they taste like less chocolately Cocoa Puffs with a cool little mint kick on the finish. The mint flavor fades as the cereal pieces start to scratch your mouth up, but there was still a constant cooling reminder that you’re eating a mint cereal. That being said, these aren’t exactly Altoids. Don’t forget to brush your teeth after breakfast, ya sickos.

I tried these as a dry snack, too. I had a couple handfuls out of the box, and the chocolate was more pronounced. The pieces are coated in a powdery layer of flavor that must have faded immediately when the milk was poured on. The mint also powers through more on the dry pieces. I guess it was intentional that the extra powder layer was included to improve the milk at the end of the bowl.

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I’ve gone on record about my feelings of cereal milk. I don’t even want it half of the time. Part of me finds it mildly disgusting – a tepid, gross colored pool of cereal backwash – but the other part of me feels guilty pouring half a cup of milk down the drain.

But Thin Mints has some pretty damn good cereal milk. You can’t really go wrong with minty chocolate milk, can ya?

So, this is a decent first effort by General Mills. I still plan to try the Samoas cereal, but expect them to be a less impressive transition to a cereal box. As a lover of Reese’s Puffs, I really hope they tackle Tagalongs next.

These cereals are a limited edition, so act quick. I’m not positive if proceeds benefit the Girl Scouts, but I imagine they do. Either way, I always take some solace knowing I’m contributing to a good cause when I house an entire box of Girl Scout Cookies.

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 Cup – 120 calories, 3 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 12 grams of other carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 9 grams of sugars, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 11 oz. box
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: They smell like the real thing. Basically a Cocoa Puffs/Cookie Crisp hybrid. Mint in a cereal. Tasty cereal milk. Hopefully a good sign of what’s to come. 100 years of Girl Scout Cookies.
Cons: Sogged up quickly. Mint fades as you go. What the heck are “other carbohydrates?” Little burger looking cereal pieces. No fun games on the back of the box, just some kind of environmental message.