REVIEW: Arby’s Cookie Butter Shake

Arby s Cookie Butter Shake

Arby’s releases a brand new cookie butter shake the very same week Oreo debuts its cookie butter cookies? Hmmm, very interesting.

Was it a mere coincidence? Or something more nefarious, like the cookie butter gods strong-arming companies into spreading their flavor for world domination????!!!! Then again, the flavor has kind of been growing in popularity so maybe that’s just it too.

The drink has a vanilla base mixed in with a cookie butter syrup and it is topped off with whipped cream and Biscoff cookie crumbles. It is described by Arby’s to be indulgently sweet with cinnamon spice. Following the debut of the Oreos that I thought were fantastic this shake has a tough act to follow.

Arby s Cookie Butter Shake 2

It’s off to a good start with the toppings. Even though the whipped cream is your run of the mill type, it happens to be very creamy and goes great with the Biscoff cookie crumbles that shine on the first bite. Arby’s definitely didn’t cut corners with these as going with the well-known Biscoff brand was a great choice. They are crunchy, very buttery, and have a noticeable cinnamon spice flavor at the end. The texture pairs greatly with the soft and fluffy whipped cream. I just wish there were more!

After eating most of the topping, I was excited to dive into the rest of the shake to continue my cookie butter adventure. Unfortunately, though, it was a kind of a letdown. My shake was a bit thick so it was a struggle to get it up through the straw. When I was able to suck it up you can definitely taste the vanilla base but after that it varies a lot between each sip.

Arby s Cookie Butter Shake 3

I could occasionally pick up some cinnamon and spice, but very faintly. There was definitely a more overt buttery flavor and it was tasty, but a tad too sweet at times. It just needed a little bit more of the spice because all the other flavors related to cookie butter shined through.

For example, if a friend handed me this and said it was a brand new butterscotch milkshake, I would be like “yum!” Or if they said just kidding it’s in fact a new caramel shake I would be like “delicious!” Cookie butter just didn’t immediately come to mind when thinking about the flavor of the shake itself.

Don’t think for a second, though, that I didn’t enjoy the shake as I finished the entire thing. All 960 calories and, good heavens, 139 grams of sugar of it. Next time this is available I’ll probably get a small and use it to wash down the cookie butter cream that I am scraping off the Oreo cookies to really hedge my bets and get maximum flavor. Oh, and also to please those cookie butter gods who went to a lot of effort for these to come about.

(Nutrition Facts – Large – 960 calories, 30 grams of fat, 20 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 670 milligrams of sodium, 155 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 139 grams of sugar, and 23 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.19
Size: Large
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Legit cookie pieces. A pretty delicious milkshake overall. Cookie butter gods trying to take over the world.
Cons: Shake flavor that kinda tastes like cookie butter but also kinda tastes like it could be at least three other things. Playing second fiddle to Oreo cookies. Calories and sugar content that is better left unacknowledged.

REVIEW: CVS Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cough Drops

CVS Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cough Drops

A cough drop review? Don’t act like cough drop flavors don’t matter. You know you’ve felt the crushing disappointment of walking into the drug store in peak cold season with a scratchy throat to find all that’s left are the basic blue menthol Halls. Your brain runs through all the flavors you’d rather have: strawberry, cherry, citrus. Hell, I’d take honey before plain menthol.

I have to give CVS a slow clap for taking the bold (i.e. insane?) step of cashing in on the pumpkin spice trend via the cold relief aisle. Mentholated PS cough drops? My first reaction was “Whyyyyyyy?”  But I wanted to try them. I couldn’t wait to HATE them with the fire of a thousand Targaryen dragons.

CVS Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cough Drops 2

So imagine my surprise when I tasted Pumpkin Spice Cough Drops and found them – not bad at all!

It’s tough to describe the aroma inside the bag. It didn’t resemble pumpkin, spices or menthol. It was like asiago Band-Aids…but let’s not dwell on that because if you’re in the market for cough drops, your nostrils will be snot-blocked anyway and you’ll probably never actually smell them.

CVS Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cough Drops 3

When I popped one in my mouth, the first flavor to come screaming out of the gate was loud, obnoxious menthol. Yelling over everyone else and kicking chairs over. But once menthol quieted down, I started picking up on cinnamon just underneath. Not a hot fiery cinnamon, but a warm, fuzzy loved-up cinnamon. There was probably some nutmeg flavor there, too, but I’m bad at identifying nutmeg – it just ends up being in everything I describe as “autumn-y.”

I’m shocked to say this cough drop flavor works. I happen to be trying them in good health on an 80+ degree day, but I can imagine on a chilly fall or winter day when you feel like you swallowed a cheese grater, they’ll be a pretty decent option. They’re still sweet like most cough drops, but a not-unpleasant change from the usual fruit flavors. They’re not delicious, but they’re not the horror show I expected.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 drop – 10 calories.)

Purchased Price: $1.49
Size: 30-drop bag
Purchased at: CVS
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Not the worst thing I’ve ever tasted! The cinnamon/menthol combo works better than expected. (I know! I’m shocked too.)
Cons: Strange aroma – which will likely not be experienced when you have a cold and need cough drops. Do these cough drops make me look like a basic b***h?

REVIEW: Limited Edition Pumpkin Pie Rice Krispies Treats

Limited Edition Pumpkin Pie Rice Krispies Treats

“I’m not sure.”

Those three words have popped into my head a few times while eating Limited Edition Pumpkin Pie Rice Krispies Treats.

So far, I’ve eaten 13 of the 40 bars that are in the box, but I’m not sure my mass consumption is a full you-must-buy-these endorsement. First off, 40 treats is A LOT for one or two people. I’m at 14 (yes, I ate another one while typing this paragraph), and I’m getting kind of tired of them.

When I first gazed upon the rectangular treat, I thought it had an orange hue. But as I stared at it, I wondered if my eyes were playing tricks on me and that its wrapper is influencing its color. When I look at one in the light and away from any wrappers, it looks like a usual pale Rice Krispies Treat, but at the same time, I’m not sure about that because it also looks orangey. My eyes and brain are so confused.

Limited Edition Pumpkin Pie Rice Krispies Treats 2

Dried pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices are ingredients. There’s cinnamon. Yay! Ginger. Yay! Nutmeg. Yay! Allspice. Yay! Acetylated monoglycerides. I’m not sure what that is!

Those ingredients do give the treats an almost authentic pumpkin pie flavor, albeit a bit mild. I recently tried the Pumpkin Pie Kit Kat and they have a bold flavor. If those SHOUT pumpkin pie, these are more like a normal conversation in a quiet room. At first, I thought it was a bit too light because the flavor of a regular Rice Krispies Treat comes through with each bite. But after eating so many of them, I think snack Stockholm syndrome has kicked in and now it’s just right.

Limited Edition Pumpkin Pie Rice Krispies Treats 3

But the thing with the pie flavor is that I’m not sure where it’s coming from. I know the icing has it because when I take a bite with the white drizzle, my taste buds get that mild pumpkin pie flavor. But when I take a bite from its undercarriage, sans icing, I sometimes get spices and other times it tastes like I’m biting into a regular Rice Krispies Treat.

I have 25 left (yes, I ate another). They’re good, but not I’m-going-to-eat-all-40 good. Hopefully, next year they’re available in a less Costco-like size. But if you can pawn them off to your co-workers, friends, or kid’s classmates to gain brownie points, I mean, Rice Krispies Treats points, go ahead and buy a box, and then give the rest to others after you’ve eaten your share.

Thanks to Impulsive Buy reader Carla for sending a box to me!

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – 90 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 95 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, less than 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: N/A
Size: 40-pack
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Good, but not eat-all-40 good. Almost authentic pumpkin pie flavor. Made with real pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.
Cons: Only available in 40-pack. Not sure if it has an orange hue. Not sure if the pumpkin pie flavor also comes from the Rice Krispies.

QUICK REVIEW: Jamba Juice Pumpkin Protein Smoothie

Jamba Juice Pumpkin Protein Smoothie

The thought that popped into my head when I took my first sip of Jamba Juice’s Pumpkin Protein Smoothie was, “Is this is what French kissing a jack-o-lantern tastes like?”

While Jamba’s usual autumn smoothie, the Pumpkin Smash, tastes more like a pumpkin pie, this new one tastes more like actual smashed pumpkin put into a cup. It also looks like chunky tomato soup or what the Headless Horseman would puke after getting drunk about not being able to find his head again.

Both smoothies have the same “pumpkin spice blend” with pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg, but the vegetable flavor stands out more than the sweet spices in this protein-pumped version. A 16-ounce serving has six grams of fiber, and it tastes like it has six grams of fiber. I’m also thinking the added almond milk, chia seeds, and whey protein might play a role in making it taste a bit more vegetable-y. Totally not a word, but let’s make it one.

Jamba Juice Pumpkin Protein Smoothie 2

While the first sip was a turnoff, because I was expecting something that tastes more like a pie, I found myself enjoying it more and more with every following sip. Those later sucks from the straw had a sweet vegetable flavor that’s enhanced by the spices, especially the cinnamon. I definitely didn’t think pumpkin pie while drinking it, but I also definitely didn’t think about dumping it down my kitchen sink.

Think of Jamba Juice’s Pumpkin Protein Smoothie as the Diet Coke version of the Pumpkin Smash in terms of flavor. It’s not as good, there’s significantly less sugar, and there are folks who will think it’s gross, but there are people who will like it. And I am one of them. To be honest, it’s weird that something that was off-putting at first quickly became something that was on-putting. Totally not a word, but let’s make it one.

Purchased Price: I forgot
Size: 22 fl. oz.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (22 fl. oz.) 320 calories, 6 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 36 grams of sugar, and 23 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sweet Heat Skittles and Sweet Heat Starburst

Sweet Heat Skittles and Sweet Heat Starburst

Will “Sweet and Spicy” become the hot new snack trend? Brands have already had success in the “Sweet and Sour” and “Sweet and Salty” lanes, so why not give this a go? I mean, “Sweet and Spicy” isn’t exactly breaking new ground, but as far as the snack world goes we’ve been pretty limited, especially with candy.

So, are you guys as excited about new Sweet Heat Skittles and Starburst as I am?

Why wouldn’t you be? These are two candies that almost never disappoint, and foods flat out taste better when they rhyme. (Not fact checked.)

I don’t think I need to describe the textures of either candy, so I’m gonna jump right in and rapid fire through the varieties.

The Starburst have the color scheme of an original pack, while the Skittles have a pastel tint that reminded me of the “Smoothie Mix” a bit, and made for some color/flavor confusion.

Let me say that the heat is there on all of ‘em. It’s a slow burn. You can taste the fruit first and as you chew it kicks in. There aren’t different intensities. It’s not like some are mixed with certain peppers. With some, the full fruitiness came prior to the burn, while others blossomed after the spicy burst. But that could have been due to the lingering heat already in my mouth.

Sweet Heat Skittles

Skittles:

(Ranked by order of preference.)

Fiery Watermelon – Color is almost the same as Strawberry so I initially thought I didn’t get any in the bag. The delicious watermelon flavor here stuck out the most over the burn.

Flamin’ Orange – Tasted like standard orange Skittles, but spicy. No complaints.

Lemon Spark – These are regular lemon Skittles with heat. It’s great.

Sizzlin’ Strawberry – Ever have those half-mint/half-strawberry Ice Breakers? These had a similar artificial strawberry taste. I ate this first and realized they tasted better when I revisited them later. The fake strawberry didn’t hit as hard and thus didn’t taste as phony.*

Blazin’ Mango – Started hot and finished strong with mango, which I don’t really like. Not a huge mango guy.

Sweet Heat Starburst

Starburst:

Skittles are basically little bits of Starburst with a candy shell, so there isn’t that big a difference flavor-wise between the brands, obviously. Since Starbursts take longer to chew, I would say the heat is a tad more prominent here.

Sweet Heat Starburst 2

Flamin’ Orange – Tasted like a normal orange Starburst dipped in flavorless mild sauce. Excellent.

Fiery Watermelon – The best Skittle, so why would it be any different here? Well, it did have a bit of a cough drop vibe to it in this form. Still quite good.

Strawberry Mango – Neither fruit stood out. I don’t even think they mixed well, but again I’m not a mango guy. That Halls menthol cough drop sensation was here more so than the watermelon.

Pipin’ Pineapple – This had an intense, not quite ripe pineapple flavor. I thought it would work best with the heat, but it didn’t. It had a pretty awful aftertaste that the spiciness couldn’t even cover up.

In the end, they’re not excessively spicy. They’re not even Warheads candy-level, or Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, but there’s still a nice kick. It smolders for about ten minutes. If I could compare the level of spiciness to anything, it’s like you had something with hot sauce about an hour ago and your mouth is starting to get back to normal.

Some people will complain they aren’t hot enough, but I think they managed to get the heat level right. These are candies after all.

*I actually think the flavors improved slightly on the second go around. Once my mouth had settled on the kick, the fruit popped a bit more. I guess it takes time for the heat to open up the taste buds.

Sweet Heat Skittles and Sweet Heat Starburst 2

There are better varieties of each on the market, and I can’t even think of a time I’d want to eat these again, but they’re both good. If I had to pick, I’d say I prefer the Skittles.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 package – Skittles – 210 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 10 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 38 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein. Starburst – 240 calories, 40 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 33 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.00 each
Size:
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Skittles)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Starburst)
Pros: Creative. Not hot enough to ruin your day. Mostly tasty flavors. Starburst and Skittles having a near flawless record.
Cons: When the heck am I supposed to eat these over other variants? May not be as hot as some would hope. Cough drop taste. Shaky Strawberry flavor. Pineapple Starbursts were bad. Skittle color confusion. Not sure the sweet and spicy candy trend will have legs.