REVIEW: Double Chocolate and Oatmeal Chips Ahoy Thins

Nabisco Double Chocolate Chips Ahoy Thins

If you find yourself standing in the cookie aisle because someone broke your heart, you’re stressed out, or “me want cookie” is thumping in your head with an EDM beat, you’re going to be faced with a wall of cookie choices.

Let me help you by figuring out if Double Chocolate or Oatmeal Chips Ahoy Thins will temporarily fill that hole in your heart, bring you down from pulling out your hair, or get the Cookie Monster voice loop out of your head.

As you probably know Nabisco offers Oatmeal Chewy Chips Ahoy and Choco Chunky Chips Ahoy, which appear to be the inspiration for these new thin cookies. To be honest, I haven’t had the oatmeal ones in years. In fact, it’s been such a long time that I forgot they have chocolate chips and not raisins (I know it’s CHIPS Ahoy and not RAISINS Ahoy).

Nabisco Oatmeal Chips Ahoy Thins

As I mentioned in my Chips Ahoy Thins review, I love their texture, and both new varieties have that distinctive crispiness. But while the Original Chips Ahoy Thins are uniform in shape and size, these new flavors aren’t. I don’t know if it’s a production error, but in the packages I purchased half are circular and the other half are oval.

Oatmeal and Double Chocolate Chips Ahoy Thins

The Double Chocolate had a pleasing deep chocolate flavor because of the one-two chocolatey punch of the chips and cookie. While I loved the original Chips Ahoy Thins, I have to say the amped up flavor of these made my taste buds prefer them slightly more. They’re so tasty that it’s been hard trying to limit myself to a single serving size of four cookies in one sitting. Actually, I’ve failed almost every time.

As for the Oatmeal flavor, they’re good, but not as enjoyable as the Double Chocolate (or any of the other Chips Ahoy Thins varieties). But you probably knew that because I’m going to say 95-98 percent of you will agree with the following: Chocolate chip cookies > oatmeal cookies.

Sure, they have rolled oats in them and there’s raisin paste. Who doesn’t love raisin paste? But the ground up oats kind of get in the way of the chocolate and the raisin paste doesn’t raise the flavor of the cookie. So, basically, if you’re dealing with crap, these are not the cookies to help you cope.

So after reading this review, if you still find yourself in front of a wall of cookies at the store, pull out the Double Chocolate Chips Ahoy Thins, take a deep breath, and say to yourself either, “you deserve someone better,” “everything is going to be all right,” or “STFU, Cookie Monster!”

(Nutrition Facts – 4 cookies – Double Chocolate – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 60 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein. Oatmeal – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 45 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.00 each
Size: 7 oz. package
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Double Chocolate)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Oatmeal)
Pros: Double Chocolate is wonderful and I’m having a hard time stuffing my mouth with them! Love the crispiness of them. Double Chocolate ones might help you if you dealing with crap. Hearing Cookie Monster say “me want cookie” a few times.
Cons: Just thinner versions of regular Chips Ahoy varieties. Oats get in the way of the chocolate. Raisin paste doesn’t raise the flavor of the cookie. Stress. Breaking up. Hearing Cookie Monster say “me want cookie” over and over for several minutes.

REVIEW: Hershey’s Cupcake Kisses

Hershey's Cupcake Kisses

In my mind, and in my heart, cake and Kisses fall in essentially the same category. Short, sweet, and simple reminders that life is worth living, and ideally consumed/received on a daily basis. It is under this umbrella of logic that I read the news of Hershey’s Cupcake Kisses and proceeded to die with anticipation.

For this Target-exclusive Valentine’s Day candy Hershey’s put a spin on their popular Cookies ‘n’ Creme flavor (also available as Kisses) and made a “white cookie cupcake” kiss with colored cookies and cupcake flavor. Opening the playful pink bag is like dunking your face into a Funfetti frosting wonderland, It is exactly what I wanted these Kisses to smell like.

Hershey's Cupcake Kisses 2

The initial bite is very sweet and smacks you in the face with vanilla frosting splendor. At first these Kisses taste exactly like hardened bits of Funfetti vanilla frosting with the cookie pieces in place of the festive sprinkles, and the white chocolate is the jarred faux-buttercream. Unfortunately there is a strange astringent aftertaste that dominates and leaves my mouth tasting unpleasant and artificial, almost like a cake made with too much baking soda.

Hershey's Cupcake Kisses 3

I thought it might be coming from the colored cookie pieces, which unlike in the cookies and cream version have no chocolate or specific flavor to them. I was able to isolate some of the cookies in my mouth and they tasted fine, like a slightly tame shortbread. After repeatedly trying more Kisses to shake the bitter essence, it kept coming and put a damper on the overall experience, but for some reason I kept wanting to eat them.

Hershey's Cupcake Kisses 4

There is a lore that pink or red frosting has a bitter strong flavor when compared to other dyes, likely due to the use of iodine, Red #3, or Red #40. Although not specifically listed in the ingredients, there could be an element of frosting-emulation at play here that is causing the strange aftertaste.

Whether that translates to a true cupcake experience or a failed element of execution is up to you, but it’s certainly there, and for me, ultimately distracting. Strange frosting flavors have never kept me from crushing cake in the past, and while these Kisses miss the mark of being perfect, I will still eat at least three servings of them (27 Kisses).

(Nutrition Facts – 9 pieces – 200 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 50 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 18 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 10 oz. package
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Funfetti frosting wonderland. Still oddly delicious. Foil covered in hearts. So many shades of pink.
Cons: Weird bitter aftertaste. Cake doesn’t have a crunch.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Double Stacked Tacos

Taco Bell Double Stacked Tacos

For being their titular item, I rarely find myself craving Taco Bell’s tacos. While I’m a lover of their items, the standard crunchy taco has always felt skimpy. A paltry line of beef, a cascade of limp lettuce, and a sprinkling of unmelted cheese – it’s forgettable.

So thankfully, the Bell has pumped them up for their latest iteration. Taco Bell’s Double Stack Tacos bulk up their classic standard tacos by wrapping the corn exterior with a flour tortilla, slathered in sauce and cheese. With an extra layer, each one is hefty – especially for a $1 item. Two of these could make a comfortable meal, something that can’t be said for the Bell’s un-enhanced tacos.

Taco Bell Cool Habanero Double Stacked Taco

First up is Cool Habanero. The taco is the same as you’d expect, but with a generous hit of sour cream. Around it is wrapped a flour tortilla with a spray of habanero sauce, alongside melted cheese. The intention is for the sour cream to counteract the spice, though the balance isn’t quite there. There’s more sour cream than habanero by a healthy margin, and the sauce isn’t all that potent. As a full bite, it came off blander than most Taco Bell items.

Taco Bell Nacho Crunch Double Stacked Taco

The Nacho Crunch Double Stack adds a layer of red tortilla strips to the basic taco, then surrounds it with a duet of nacho and shredded cheese. If you’ve lost count, that gives this one item three different forms of tortilla – and three total servings of cheese. Predictably, it tastes like tortilla and cheese.

The meat and lettuce are lost in this fatty carb bomb, smothered in gooey yellow. It’s puzzling why this option dodges the habanero sauce of the other two tacos, which would’ve given this a needed a kick of flavor.

Taco Bell Spicy Sweet Double Stacked Tacos

Most interesting of the trio is Spicy Sweet, featuring a sweet chili sauce unique to the item. The red sauce has a loose texture, saturated with chili flakes. It’s very sweet, but was applied conservatively across the meat. While the first bite was initially heavy on sugar, it was countered by the savory beef.

Once the habanero sauce broke through, all three flavors really clicked. The sweet chili sauce has a light heat of its own, and a bit of a fruit jam flavor. This tasty blend is spread a bit thin, though. Between the lettuce, corn tortilla, flour tortilla, and double helping of cheese – the serving of meat and sauces feels underwhelming.

Taco Bell Double Stacked Tacos

Overall, the Double Stacked Tacos are mostly notable for their price. The Nacho Crunch and Cool Habanero tacos are cheaper and bulkier than their counterparts – making them a solid pickup. Spicy Sweet is the real highlight though, and is definitely worth a try.

(Nutrition Facts – Cool Habanero – 350 calories, 180 calories from fat, 20 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 630 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein. Nacho Crunch – 380 calories, 170 calories from fat, 19 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 650 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein. Spicy Sweet – 340 calories, 160 calories from fat, 18 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 640 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.00 each
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Cool Habanero)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Nacho Crunch)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Spicy Sweet)
Pros: Very hearty for the price, while delivering classic Taco Bell flavor. Spicy Sweet variety is unique, and nails the sweet/savory/hot mix. Spices up otherwise boring tacos.
Cons: Cool Habanero needs more heat. Nacho Crunch should be Haberno Crunch. All three could use more meat.

REVIEW: Hostess Deep Fried Banana Twinkies

Hostess Deep Fried Banana Twinkies

Before I start, I have one simple request.

Every time you see the words “Deep Fried Banana Twinkies” in this review, read it in a sensual Barry White-esque voice. Pump some smooth bedroom music through your speaker to set the mood. If by the end you don’t want a box of Deep Fried Banana Twinkies, you might not be human. 

What? Oh come on, don’t make it weird. You’re making it weird.

You made it weird. Forget it. Read the words normally. It’s a free country.

Despite having one of just about everything under the sun fried, this was my first *flicks on romantic tune* Deep. Fried. Ba-na-na. Twinkie. Awww, yeahhhh. Okay, I’ll stop.

Hostess Deep Fried Banana Twinkies 2

I cooked said Twinkie in the oven (which is recommended) but you can also use a toaster oven, or deep fry them again. I’m not going to judge.

Out of the box the Twinkies look like potato croquettes. Maybe even a fat chicken tender. That sight messed with my mind a bit. I started to think I was all set to have a savory snack.

After a couple minutes, I made a cooking faux pas and opened the stove to get a whiff. I’d say there was almost a churro-like aroma. Nice.

Hostess Deep Fried Banana Twinkies 3

I took it out at the seven minute mark, which ended up being perfect. The cake was just hot enough to differ from a normal Twinkie, and the cream wasn’t like molten lava.

Deep Fried Banana Twinkies are breaded in a graham cracker coating, and maybe it was my mind playing games with me, but that portion almost tasted savory in the end. There was a serious lack of sweetness before the banana cream hit.

The familiar sponge cake is still underneath, and the overall texture was okay, if not a little doughy. I now understand why I’ve seen fried Twinkies smothered in syrup or powdered sugar at county fairs. It needed another sweet element. 

Hostess Deep Fried Banana Twinkies 4

I wondered if the warmth might ruin the taste of the banana cream, but it was just like a normal Banana Twinkie. Still, there wasn’t enough to overpower the graham and sponge cake’s lack of sweetness. Next time I eat one, I’ll probably drop a dollop of chocolate syrup on top.

Look, it sounds like I’m complaining, but the graham cracker did give the Twinkie a nice outer crisp. It just wasn’t particularly flavorful. It also had an odd aftertaste, but I actually think the fried sponge cake was the culprit there. 

Regular Deep Fried Twinkies have a funnel cake coating, and now I’m kinda bummed I didn’t get those. That just sounds better.

In the end, the outer fried portion wasn’t sweet enough, and probably too doughy, but once the cream hit, Deep Fried Banana Twinkies are still pretty good. They’re definitely worth a try.

I will say that the price is ridiculous, and as an Impatient American (I’m the Union President) I don’t love the idea of waiting for an oven to preheat, 6-8 minutes to cook, and two minute to cool off before eating a snack cake. Yeah, I enjoy a homemade cookie or brownie, but that’s a different mindset. You want a Twinkie? Open a box and eat a Twinkie. Who has time for this waiting nonsense?

If the graham coating was tastier and the price was lower, these could become a snack I regularly keep in the freezer, but for now I probably won’t go back unless they put out some crazy flavor concoctions in the future. Awwww yeahhhh, baby. 

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cake – 230 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 420 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $5.49
Size: 7 cakes/box
Purchased at: Shop Rite
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Banana Cream never fails. Nice outer crisp. Fried Fair Food Fare. Barry White voice. Potato Croquettes.
Cons: Graham cracker not flavorful enough. Expensive. Time consuming. “Dollop” is my least favorite word in the English language. Funnel Cake > Graham Cracker.

REVIEW: Ghirardelli Limited Edition Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie Squares

Ghirardelli Limited Edition Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie Squares

With some chocolate and mint candies it feels as if your mouth was assaulted by multiple candy canes or 9 out of the 10 dentists who recommend a particular toothpaste armed with the toothpaste they recommend. But that’s not the case with these Ghirardelli Limited Edition Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie Squares.

They have a mild peppermint flavor that doesn’t overpower the milk chocolate exterior or “brownie” filling. What’s with the quotation marks? I’ll get to that in a moment.

The filling has tiny crunchy bits and you might think it’s peppermint candy because everything about the packaging SCREAMS peppermint candy, but it’s not. Digging one out of my mouth reveals they’re mint chocolate cookie crumbs that look like part of a cavity all 10 of those dentists would remove from a mouth.

The milk chocolate is creamy and the filling is smooth, but with every square I’ve eaten I keep wondering when the ”brownie” flavor will show up. I’ve had enough brownies in my lifetime to know what they taste like and I don’t get an inkling of the baked good in these.

Ghirardelli Limited Edition Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie Squares 2

The squares have the right balance of milk chocolate and mint, the filling is smooth, and I love the crunchy cookie bits. But what excited me about these was the word “brownie” and I didn’t get any of it with flavor or texture.

For a minty chocolate candy, they’re really pleasing. And if the squares were used as tile in the bathroom of the witch in Hansel and Gretel, she would have to redo it after every time I came over because I would eat most of it.

But as I lay on her bathroom floor made from Ghirardelli Limited Edition Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie Squares, stuffing my face with the surface I’m lying on, I’ll be extremely disappointed they didn’t have brownie flavor or peppermint candy bits in them.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 square – 80 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 10 milligrams of sodium, 8 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: 5.1 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Wonderful mint and chocolate squares. Crunchy bits add a pleasant texture. Creamy milk chocolate. Brushing your teeth. Being able to leave the witch’s house in Hansel and Gretel without being eaten.
Cons: No brownie flavor. No peppermint candy bits. The witch in Hansel and Gretel sending me the bill for her bathroom repairs. Cavities.