REVIEW: Post Honey Maid S’mores Cereal

Post Honey Maid S mores Cereal

I think everything is better with a brand name.

An Oreo Blizzard beats a chocolate sandwich cookie Blizzard ten times out of ten; a Lucky Charms milkshake kicks the crap out of a marshmallow cereal milkshake; and an Arby’s sandwich on a King’s Hawaiian bun is far superior to a sandwich on a sweet enriched roll that may or may not have come from a rock in the Pacific Ocean.

Don’t ask me about the logic behind this phenomenon. It might be proprietary recipe secrets. It might be social conditioning. It might just be that you’d have to be an idiot to roll out something called a “marshmallow cereal milkshake.”

Honey Maid S’more cereal follows much of the trend, which is surprising because it’s made by Post, which previously bought Mom’s Best, which owns Malt-O-Meal, which produces both a mediocre Cocoa Puffs imitator and a pathetic Golden Grahams doppelganger.

Oh, and by the way, a s’mores cereal.

I’ve never had the Malt-O-Meal cereal with the same name, but I have had many other Malt-O-Meal cereals and consider them hastily assembled Halloween costume versions of their General Mills, Kellogg’s, and Quaker counterparts. Knowing this, I was not expecting much from this s’mores cereal.

Post Honey Maid S mores Cereal 2

Sampling the pieces individually didn’t do much to change my outlook. The marshmallow pieces were okay but nothing special, like a 6-6 college football team that limps into a bowl game. Meanwhile, the chocolate cereal pieces (which look and taste like Malt-O-Meal’s Cocoa Puffs imitator Cocoa Roos) are about as dreadful as a chocolate cereal can be, with virtually no cocoa flavor and too much sweetness.

Post Honey Maid S mores Cereal 3

Eaten alone, the only redeeming element is the Honey Maid graham pieces, which have a deep graham flavor and light crunch that’s distinct from the glazed molasses sweetness of Golden Grahams.

But a funny thing happens when you shove a handful of the mix in your mouth. It starts to taste like s’mores, and out of nowhere a light cocoa flavor emerges in the background.

Post Honey Maid S mores Cereal 4

I attribute this 100 percent to a dusty coating that covers all the pieces. It’s not unlike the peanut butter coating that covers Reese’s Puffs, but instead of tasting like powdered chocolate peanut butter, it tastes like powdered S’mores. The coating is especially tasty in milk, which seems to coax more cocoa flavor out of the chocolate cereal pieces, and gives the graham pieces a delectable, milk-infused sogginess.

Even though the chocolate flavor is a letdown, Honey Maid S’mores is a slightly better than Smorz (which I gave a 6) but not as good as Krave S’mores (which I gave an 8). Is it because of the Honey Maid Graham Cracker pieces?

Well, it’s not because of some generic graham cracker pieces.

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup without milk – 120 calories, 25 calories from fat, 2.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 1 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.98
Size: 21 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Authentic honey graham flavor. Campfire coating binds flavors together with a deep burnt sugar taste with hints of cocoa. Very good in milk. Correct spelling of S’mores. Avoiding the tempting Hamilton Porter S’mores reference from The Sandlot.
Cons: Less cocoa flavor than a tootsie roll. Only adequate as a snacking cereal. The reasoning behind Cocoa Roos. Brand name food collusion.

REVIEW: Baskin-Robbins All About Oreo Ice Cream

Baskin Robbins All About Oreo Ice Cream

July is National Ice Cream Month, and even more importantly, the third Sunday in July, this year the 16th, is National Ice Cream Day. Unlike the onslaught of hashtag holidays that have taken over the internet via social media sites (I’m lookin’ at you “National Cheese Brownie Day”), this food holiday is a real deal culinary celebration signed into public law by Ronald Reagan in 1984.

As the biggest scoop shop chain in the world, it’s only fitting that Baskin-Robbins take note of this momentous occasion and party hard, which apparently to them means pairing their creamy churned goodness with one of America’s other obsessions – Oreo cookies.

For the last five years BR has made July the month to highlight the iconic cookie with flavors that have gotten progressively more interesting from Oreo ’n Chocolate to Oreo ’n Cake Batter to last year’s smashing Oreo Birthday Cake. With seemingly nowhere else to go, 2017’s celebratory scoop is simply dubbed All About Oreo, which combines fudge-covered, peanut butter, and classic Oreo pieces with an Oreo frosting ribbon in chocolate malt ice cream.

The chocolate malt ice cream is dense and smooth, with a light brown color and a relatively light flavor to match it. I don’t get any of the malty funkiness that I expected from the base, and instead it tastes more like a heavy milk chocolate with no bitterness or strong cocoa notes to be found. It’s a fine ice cream as a foundation for fun mix-ins but isn’t really anything new or exciting.

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What is exciting though is the Oreo frosting ribbon, which is pretty well incorporated throughout the scoop and tastes exactly how I hoped it would – slightly gritty, creamy, and identical to the creme filling we all know and love. In the context of ice cream it reminds me a lot of buttercream, and anyway you want to interpret it it’s pure sweet fun indulgence. It works really well with the chocolate ice cream and stands against its milk chocolate-y presence.

Baskin Robbins All About Oreo Ice Cream 4

The mixture of Oreo cookies is also really effective, and the cookie pieces are of pretty good size and variety. The peanut butter Oreo cuts through with great nutty flavor, and the fudge-covered ones have a harder crunch and smooth milk chocolate exterior that create a pleasant textural contrast against the regular cookies which have softened in the cream. The Oreo wafer is noticeably darker and more bitter than the base which also adds another layer to the choco-heavy profile.

Baskin Robbins All About Oreo Ice Cream 5

This ice cream truly is all about the Oreo, for reasons both good and bad. While the base is pretty standard and veers on being boring, the cookies are the star of the show and the ribbon is something I would buy a tub of. It could be improved if the regular Oreo’s were subbed out with Golden ones to add another layer of pop, since they aren’t as special with the PB ones already in the mix, but if you love Oreo or milk chocolate this one is a mighty fine filler for your next cake cone.

(Nutrition Facts – 4 ounces – 310 calories, 170 calories from fat, 18 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 25 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: Single Scoop (4 oz.)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Perfectly executed Oreo frosting ribbon. All three cookies stand out. Solid textural contrast.
Cons: No malt flavor in the chocolate base. Could be improved with Golden Oreo.

REVIEW: Domino’s Bread Twists (Garlic, Parmesan, and Cinnamon)

Domino s Bread Twists

Domino’s new bread twists have an interesting shape. They look like those cancer research ribbons people wear.

“Oh, good for you Domino’s, raising money for a good cause. And what cause will you be supporting? I can’t seem to find the organization on any of the news stories. Oh, there is none? Awwwkward!”

Anyway, while odd, the shape is a nice switch up from the standard small bite, knot, or very boring breadstick. There are two savory flavors to choose from, garlic and parmesan, and one sweet one, cinnamon. I couldn’t dare pick just one to try so I went with all three. Each order comes with a good number of twists and they aren’t uniform in appearance which gave me a good vibe of potentially being homemade.

On all three flavors the shining star was definitely the dough and the cooking method used to bake them. These two aspects worked together to make the exterior crispy and insides pleasantly soft. The weird shape actually made them more fun to eat and, as you probably have experienced with pretzels, there were different experiences when biting into either the center crossing, end pieces, or top bend.

Domino s Garlic Bread Twists

While the garlic ones were very buttery with a good amount of herbs and spices sprinkled on top, they were my least favorite. The garlic flavor was somewhat artificial. When I tried them with the marinara sauce, the garlic was completely overpowered so all I tasted was the dipping sauce.

Domino s Parmesan Bread Twists

The Parmesan Bread Twists were very similar to the garlic ones, just with a heaping amount of parmesan pieces on top. They started off tasting exactly like the garlic ones but then I got a blast of cheese at the end with the herbs and spices. These had multiple layers of flavor and, unlike the garlic ones, worked well with the marinara sauce provided, making them my favorite. It was like having a pizza party in my mouth.

Domino s Cinnamon Bread Twists

Finally, the only sweet one of the bunch was cinnamon. Cinnamon sugar is strewn about in strips atop the twists unevenly but this really allowed both the buttery bread and seasoning to shine separately. It also meant these weren’t a sugar bomb, until the mediocre sweet icing was added. When dipped, everything was too sweet to enjoy.

Domino’s Bread Twists are an odd product if you think about it. First, their shape makes me want to donate to some cause. Second, the garlic and parmesan varieties taste strikingly similar. Third, Domino’s already has parmesan bread on their menu, but in bite form. Fourth, Domino’s had cinnamon bread called Cinna Stix on their menu, albeit non-twisted.

While they may be odd, they are, for the most part, also pretty darn tasty. Just make sure to enjoy them hot and only sauce up the parmesan ones. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have one twist left that’s going on my lapel. I have to go to a fancy benefit for bread research.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 pieces – Garlic – 220 calories, 90 calories from fat, 11 grams of fat,4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 220 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein. Parmesan 230 calories, 100 calories from fat, 11 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 240 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein. Cinnamon – 2 pieces – 250 calories, 110 calories from fat, 12 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $5.99 each
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Garlic)
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Parmesan)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Cinnamon)
Pros: Breathtakingly good buttered browned bread. Unique shape that is surprisingly fun to eat. Parmesan twists plus marinara sauce = a pizza party in my mouth.
Cons: Strange shape that evokes cancer research. Garlic and Parmesan varieties taste similar. Marinara sauce overwhelms garlic flavor.

REVIEW: Apple Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal

Apple Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal

The best way to start your morning?

Cinnamon.

Naturally sweet and spicy, it helps boost brain function, improves blood circulation, and can even prevent cancer! A doctor also once told me that if I ate an apple every day I would never have to come back to his office, so, an apple caked in cinnamon must be the answer to all of life’s problems. Seemingly hearing my call for health help, General Mills has added Apple Cinnamon Toast Crunch to their Toast line of breakfast cereals.

Apple Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal 2

Tasting the cereal dry, the first thing that jumps out at me is this stuff does not have the big crystallized sugary pop of its father and cinna-GOAT, Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Although I could already tell this just from looking at them, the texture is exactly the same as the now buried Tiny Toast line – puffy and crunchy loaf slices with a relatively soft chew that is generally pleasant for a kiddy cereal.

The flavor is headlined by a solid authentic apple flavor that if I had to guess was modeled after a red delicious as it isn’t too tart or sweet, but definitely juicy. The cinnamon takes more of a backseat, with just a slightly spicy finish that gives a bit of a robust and rounded flavor without being too aggressive.

The two work really well together and are pretty seamless like fresh apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon. Despite being able to see some sparkly sugar on the surface of the toasts, I think more sweetness would have really helped give the cinnamon more sparkle and driven the overall flavor to new heights.

Apple Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal 3

Adding milk to the equation amplifies the apple and further subdues the cinnamon, adding in a new tart layer that more closely mimics a granny smith than the red delicious I initially tasted. The flavor switch here is kind of surprising, as I’m used to milk driving the sweetness or freshness of a cereal rather than actually changing the way my mouth interprets it. Unfortunately, it fades pretty quickly in the milk, as the liquid rips off the cereal dust and sogs up the pieces much faster than I would like.

Apple Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal 5

All in all this is an okay cereal, one that would be acceptable with a different namesake but doesn’t live up to the fame and glory of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It doesn’t pack the true berry flavor of Blueberry Tiny Toast (which is now Blueberry Toast Crunch, and one of my favorite new cereals of last year), and is just above its strawberry sibling for being an option that is suitable but not one I feel the need to buy again if not on sale.

It does, however, whoop Apple Jacks in the realm of solid apple flavor, and if that was a favorite of yours growing up, you may have found a new best Sunday morning friend.

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup – 120 calories, 25 calories from fat, 3 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 11.1 oz. box
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Bright juicy apple flavor. Fascinatingly transforms in milk. Better than Apple Jacks.
Cons: Needs more cinnamon sparkle. Needs more sugary sparkle. Gets soggy in milk real fast.

REVIEW: Coconut Oreo Thins

Coconut Oreo Thins

I guess the best way to describe Coconut Oreo Thins would be to copy a year old viral video.

C-C-C-C.

I have a cookie. I have a choco.

Uuh! Choco cookie!

I have a creme. I have a coconut.

Uuh! Coconut creme!

Choco cookie. Coconut creme.

Uuh! Coconut-creme-choco-cookie!

Coconut-flavored creme is not new in the vast Oreo universe. It was in the Coconut Delight Oreo Fudge Cremes, 2015’s Limited Edition Toasted Coconut Oreo, and in Oreo cookies overseas.

Coconut Oreo Thins 2

The new Coconut Oreo Thins look exactly like the original Oreo Thins. — two chocolate wafer with a thin ghost white creme layer between them. The big fat clue that tells you they aren’t regular Oreo Thins before you pop them into your mouth is their Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen-like coconut aroma. Just one whiff and my mind is whisked away to a far away destination about one mile from my house to the beaches of Waikiki and rows of tourists that radiate the aromas of SPF 30-50. Even though it reminds me of sunscreen, it’s an inviting scent.

Now I’m one of those people who likes the flavor of coconut, but doesn’t like its texture. So if you’re like me, there’s good news because there aren’t any coconut shreds, slices, specks, or scraps.

Now I’ve had a problem with Oreo Thins ever since they debuted in the U.S. about two years ago. They’re too easy to eat. The serving size is four cookies. But sometimes I eat six. Sometimes I eat eight. And sometimes I eat enough to get a stomachache.

That hasn’t been the case with these. But there’s an odd reason why.

With that first cookie, the semi-sweet chocolate wafers allow the sweet, artificial coconut flavor to hit my taste buds with just the right amount. It’s delightful.

BUT.

Coconut Oreo Thins 3

There’s something I notice when I eat a subsequent cookie right after the first. The coconut flavor that I experienced with the first cookie almost completely disappears. It’s as if my taste buds are numb to it or the chocolate wafers are cocoblocking it.

Eating four, six, eight, or enough to get a stomachache doesn’t improve things. However, if I allow my taste buds to reset for 30 minutes or so, the coconut flavor comes back with another cookie. But those I eat right after lose their coconuttiness. It’s a vicious cycle.

Of course, your results may vary. But it’s disappointing to me because these are cookies I don’t want to put down. They’re really good. But to experience the best flavor, I have to put them down and wait. So I guess my original problem of Oreo Thins being too easy to eat is solved, but now there’s another.

(Nutrition Facts – 4 cookies – 140 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 45 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.98
Size: 10.1 oz. package
Purchased at: Times Supermarket
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Great cookies. Right amount of coconut flavor with the first cookie. Smells nice. No coconut bits. Pikotaro.
Cons: Subsequent cookies don’t have as strong of a coconut flavor as the first when eating one after another. Having to let my taste buds reset in order to enjoy these cookies. Eating so many cookies that I get a stomachache.