REVIEW: Dairy Queen Reese’s Extreme Blizzard

Dairy Queen Reese s Extreme Blizzard

I think Tony Hawk deserves an apology.

When I was a teenager, Tony Hawk—one of the greatest skateboarders of all-time—was practically synonymous with the word “extreme.” He flipped around halfpipes and grinded on rails with ease. Heck, the guy even risked his own health to land a two-and-a-half spin jump, perhaps the most extreme skateboarding trick ever performed.

And for what? To have Dairy Queen soil the word “extreme” with its new ice cream creation?! Look, DQ, “extreme” is a title that’s earned, not just a word that you can slap on something that’s been stuffed with candy. By that measure, the following things would also be “extreme”: a piñata, an Easter basket, and me after stress eating fun size Kit Kats while binge-watching House of Cards.

Dairy Queen Reese s Extreme Blizzard 2

Undue title aside, the new Dairy Queen Reese’s Extreme Blizzard has caught my eye like a well-executed 360 kickflip. It’s the Blizzard of the Month for April, and it features Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Reese’s Pieces, mixed with peanut butter and chocolaty topping in DQ’s signature vanilla soft serve.

Dairy Queen Reese s Extreme Blizzard 3

Locating a couple of spoonfuls without any candy pieces wasn’t an easy task, but I wanted to see if the peanut butter and chocolaty toppings really had any effect on the flavor of the vanilla soft serve. To my surprise, they actually do. In my experience, many standard Blizzard flavors seem to have the same decent (but rather boring) vanilla base. That’s not the case here. The ice cream is heavy on the peanut butter, sweet and fairly salty, and then finishes with a noticeable cocoa flavor.

I would love to comment on the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but I got maybe one-fourth of a peanut butter cup in my entire small Blizzard. I’m unsure if there were truly that few cups put in the Blizzard in the first place, or if there had been more but the blending process obliterated many of them.

Either way, the lack of Reese’s Cups in my Reese’s Extreme Blizzard left me extremely disappointed. (See what I did there?) Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are known for their perfect balance of chocolate and peanut butter, and that flavor balance was sorely lacking in this Blizzard.

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On the other hand, there are a ton of Reese’s Pieces throughout the Reese’s Extreme Blizzard. Some are whole and virtually frozen solid, others are a bit more ground up and provide a lighter crunch. The Reese’s Pieces do provide a bit more sweetness, but on the whole their peanut butter flavor is pretty redundant with the richness of the ice cream.

All in all, I’d say the Reese’s Extreme Blizzard is basically just a Reese’s Pieces Blizzard with an extra squirt of peanut butter topping. It’s an enjoyable treat, but it falls well short of “extreme” in my eyes.

I’m sorry, Tony.

(Nutrition Facts – Small Blizzard – 730 calories, 270 calories from fat, 30 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 340 milligrams of sodium, 88 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 85 grams of sugar, 17 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.89
Size: Small
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Strong peanut butter flavor. Lots of Reese’s Pieces for added crunch. Tony Hawk, extreme skateboarding legend.
Cons: One-fourth of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Candy’s flavor was redundant with ice cream. Me, extreme stress eating legend.

REVIEW: Hostess Chocodile Fudge Covered Twinkies (2017)

Hostess Chocodile Fudge Covered Twinkies  2017

The following conversations were taped on a recorded line, for quality assurance purposes.

August 2014

Hostess Operator: Hostess Bakery, how may I help you?

Me: Howdy, can I speak to Twinkie the Kid?

Hostess Operator: Twinkie the who?

Me: Twinkie the Kid — you know, oblong yellow guy, rosy dimples, wears a cowboy hat, a fierce opponents of pantalones.

Hostess Operator: Oh, so you want to order of Twinkies? Which flavor? May I suggest our Chocodile Twinkies? I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Me: That’s the absolute last thing I want. Have you tried those things? I’ve had M&M’s that are bigger, and definitely more chocolaty. What’s the shell made out of anyway? I’m fairly sure the black crayons I ate in preschool had a better texture than whatever y’all are pumping into those.

Hostess Operator: I’m sorry you’re disappointed, sir.

Me: Well I’m sorry you’re sorry I’m disappointed.

Hostess Operator: What does that even mean?

Me: No idea. Can I just talk to The Kid?

Hostess Operator: I’m sorry, sir, but he’s currently at 73rd Annual Prepackaged Snack Cake Convention. We’ll pass on your comments.

MeBu—

Hostess Operator: Goodbye!

April 2017

Hostess Operator: Hostess Bakery, how may I direct your call?

Me: Hey, yeah, can I speak to Twinkie the Kid? I’ve got an urgent question.

Hostess Operator: Twinkie the who?

Me: Really, were going to do this again?

Hostess Operator: Oh, I remember you! You’re the one who said he’d rather eat crayons than our Chocodile Twinkies.

Me: Technically, I’d rather eat neither, but sure, we can go with that. But speaking about those Chocodile Fudge Covered Twinkies.

Hostess Operator: Still crap?

Me: No, much better. Actually, they’re really kind of good, although I admit that box with the melted chocolate being drizzled over the Twinkie is a tad bit deceptive.

Hostess Operator: Call it advertising liberty.

Hostess Chocodile Fudge Covered Twinkies  2017 2

Me: Sure. But like I said, pretty good. The chocolate shell actually tastes like chocolate. Now I’m not talking fancy chocolate you’d buy for your wife on Valentine’s Day, but definitely the kind of chocolate you pick up at the dollar store and put in your 4-year-olds Easter basket.

Hostess Operator: So you’re saying it doesn’t taste like wax?

Me: Oh yeah, not at all. I mean it’s still incredibly sweet. But since they’re bigger, one or two definitely kills a snack cake craving.

Hostess Operator: And the Twinkie cake and crème?

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Me: Oh yeah, I almost forgot. That’s really the best part; since the shell doesn’t ruin the essence of the Twinkie, it actually serves as a kind of shield that helps preserves the fluffy cake inside. And let me tell you, when you can line up fluffy cake, crispy chocolate shell, and Twinkie crème, and do it all without any funky aftertastes or waxy crayon texture, then you’ve got a product I’ll keep buying.

Hostess Operator: Sounds like you won’t need to be talking to Twinkie the Kid after all.

Me: Oh, no. I still need to ask him why he never wears pants.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cake – 210 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 0 gram of dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 8-pack
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Preservation of Twinkie “essence.” Improved texture and taste in the chocolate (excuse me: ‘fudge’) shell. Bigger than the 2014 Chocodiles.
Cons: Not exactly Ghirardelli. The proverbial cloying taste of Twinkie shell. Awesome source of saturated fat. Horrible customer service.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Peanut Butter Delight Croissant Donut and Chocolate Pretzel Donut

Dunkin Donuts Peanut Butter Delight Croissant Donut and Chocolate Pretzel Donut

Gee, I wonder how they got the peanut butter inside??

Dunkin Donuts Peanut Butter Delight Croissant Donut and Chocolate Pretzel Donut 2

Sorry to dive straight in, but I must address the appearance of this specimen I purchased because I’ve been obsessing over it since my first horrified glance. With messy holes on top and peanut butter smears, this Croissant Donut looks like I caught it mid-hangover after a night of serious debauchery. 

But, since these are locally-made items, there’s a good chance yours will be a well-rested, finishing-school graduate that keeps its holes underneath. Hence, I won’t ding it points-wise.

Back to our regularly scheduled review. 

Chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, pretzels – I love all these things, so I had very high expectations for both these doughnuts. I did not try the coffee pairings – I despise coffee. Let me break these guys down separately because they’re rather different creatures.

Peanut Butter Delight Croissant Donut

This isn’t really a Croissant Donut. It’s light and fluffy with large air pockets, but it’s missing a critical component: layers. Croissants and croissant donuts are made with laminated dough – many thin sheets of pastry with butter between. One should be able to pull a proper croissant donut apart layer by layer – this was not the case here.

Dunkin Donuts Peanut Butter Delight Croissant Donut and Chocolate Pretzel Donut 3

It wasn’t a bad donut, just mis-named. The taste and texture of the donut itself, sugar glaze and chocolate drizzle were lovely. This isn’t the peanut butter bomb I expected, however. A peanutty scent only became apparent when I sniffed closely. The frosting filling was just a hair on the sweet side for me. Straight-up PB inside would’ve been better – letting the glaze and chocolate drizzle sweeten it.

Chocolate Pretzel Donut

Dunkin Donuts Peanut Butter Delight Croissant Donut and Chocolate Pretzel Donut 4

The aroma of this was almost indistinguishable from DD’s regular chocolate cake doughnut (which I love). Mine seemed very light on caramel drizzle – I wonder if more would change the smell. 

The texture was also similar to the base model – moist, velvety cake. While the pretzel bits were a little soft, I liked that — it added a small crunch without stabbing the roof of my mouth with pretzel shards.

Dunkin Donuts Peanut Butter Delight Croissant Donut and Chocolate Pretzel Donut 5

Again, the predominant taste was the basic DD glazed chocolate cake. Caramel flavor was very subtle, presumably due to the sparse drizzle. There wasn’t much (if any) salt on the pretzels or donut, which was disappointing. The only thing that differentiated these from Dunkin’s regular chocolate cake donuts was the taste and texture of the pretzel bits. But as a fan of the original, that’s OK with me.

While they’re both perfectly enjoyable donuts, they fell short of great.

Dunkin Donuts Peanut Butter Delight Croissant Donut and Chocolate Pretzel Donut 6

(Nutrition Facts – Peanut Butter Delight Croissant Donut 410 calories, 190 calories from fat, 21 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 360 milligrams of sodium, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 25 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. Chocolate Pretzel Donut – 400 calories, 200 calories from fat, 23 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 530 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.00 for two
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10 (PB Delight)
Pros: Nice airy donut base, glaze and chocolate drizzle.
Cons: Might look like it was baked by a one-eyed raccoon. Like my hair – needs layers! PB frosting filling goes to 11 on the sweet scale.
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Chocolate Pretzel)
Pros: Good (familiar) chocolate cake base, non-dangerous pretzel shards.
Cons: Needs salt! (In fairness, I say this about almost every food I eat.) More caramel, please.

REVIEW: Mrs. Freshley’s Chocolate Cake Crisps

Mrs Freshley s Chocolate Cake Crisps

To me, Cake Crisps are just another way to say “cookies.” They look like cookies. They crunch like cookies. They are something Cookie Monster will call “sometimes food,” but stuff his face with it EVERY time no one is looking at his googly eyes.

But the thing is, they may look like cookies, they may crunch like cookies, and they may cause Cookie Monster to dump crumbs on the head of his puppeteer, but Mrs. Freshley’s Chocolate Cake Crisps smell and taste EXACTLY like chocolate cake.

Seriously.

Go crash kids birthday parties until you find one with chocolate cake, sing Happy Birthday with everyone else, grab your slice, come up with a cover so you can mingle with strangers, eat the cake, pop a Chocolate Cake Crisp into your mouth, compare it with cake, get a high five from the birthday boy or girl, and then slip out of the party with a balloon or two in your hands, or maybe the piñata.

Or go to a child’s first birthday party and swipe the kid’s smash cake. What’s are smash cakes? They’ve been around for years, but they’re something I just learned about. Go Google it and see all the parents who have to explain to their children why as one-year-olds they get to make a huge mess they don’t have to clean up, but as eight-year-olds they can’t.

Once you do all that, you’ll find out that these Cake Crisps are like concentrated cake.

Mrs Freshley s Chocolate Cake Crisps 2

Each one is about the same size as a Thin Mint and they look like the love child of a Nilla Wafer and a chocolate Oreo wafer. And did I mention they smell AND taste exactly like chocolate cake? My goodness, they are wonderful. They also made me wish I had Duncan Hines or Pillsbury frosting to dip them in.

The bag was hard to put down, until I read the nutrition facts which said eating the entire package would give me 45 percent of my daily saturated fat. I also thought it was odd that about three-fourths into chewing on one, the cake flavor disappears. It’s super weird. It’s like you’re eating cake in a dream, but you wake up in the middle of eating it and realize you’ve been chewing on a pillow. And when the cake flavor disappears, I noticed, on occasion, smalls bursts of saltiness. That’s not a pleasant way to end something that tastes really good at first.

But with that said, I think Mrs. Freshley’s Chocolate Cake Crisps are worth a try and I think Cookie Monster would agree.

Disclosure: I received free Mrs. Freshley’s Chocolate Cake Crisps samples from the PR firm that represents them. No money was exchanged for the review and being given free samples did not influence my review in any way.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 ounces – 310 calories, 18 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 6 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 2 oz. package
Purchased at: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Smells and tastes like chocolate cake. Looks like cookies. Crunches like cookies. Cookie Monster would probably approve.
Cons: Flavor disappears 3/4ths into chewing one. Sometimes there are small bursts of salt. Crashing kids birthday parties. Crumbs on a puppeteer’s head.

REVIEW: Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1 Cake Mixes (Confetti Cake and Chocolate Lover’s Cake)

Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1 Funtastic Confetti Cake Mix

It goes without saying that the internet has given us many beautiful things. Memes, for instance, provide a necessary distraction from work, school, or the ads at the beginning of YouTube videos. Likewise, I’m not sure if I could survive a day without having my lame Baltimore Orioles spring training observations liked by random strangers.

But all these things pale in comparison to the internet’s greatest gift: the proliferation of mug cake popularity.

I used to be firmly against the mug cake. For starters, they’re just not practical. I like my cake after exceptionally large dinners with my belt loosened and eaten while sipping coffee. From what, may I ask, do I drink coffee from if I’m eating cake in my coffee mug? The cake pan?

And then there’s the issue of measuring out ingredients and having things like flour, eggs, and oil on hand. Frankly, I’m lucky if I have leftover McGriddles in my fridge. The odds of having all those ingredients in my apartment are worse than maneuvering a modified YT 1300 light freighter through an asteroid field.

That said, Duncan Hines new Perfect Size for 1 Cake Mixes are doing a lot to change my thinking, thanks largely to a dummy approach that involves nothing more than a few tablespoons of water and a mug. Thankfully, I do, in fact, own a sink.

The new mug cake packets come in 18 flavors, which, let me be honest, is more cake than anyone really needs. So it made sense to start with the essentials: A birthday cake flavor and something chocolaty.

Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1 Funtastic Confetti Cake Mix 2

The Confetti Cake is surprisingly good —- much better than your standard Pillsbury Doughboy Funfetti, if you ask me. I got notes of a strong vanilla and buttercream element throughout the cake, which was light and fluffy yet still moist. The little bursts of sprinkled sweetness provide a great touch, especially when you consider that you don’t have to eat them at a ten-year-old’s birthday party. My only complaint is that there’s a slight aftertaste and grittiness of uncooked flour.

Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1 Decadent Chocolate Lover s Cake Mix

Weary of the uncooked flour, I upped the cooking time by a whopping ten seconds on the Chocolate Lover’s Cake, which I imagine was inspired by all the past cake’s on Pinterest which were made for somebody’s DH. That, or the marketing folks ate it and proclaimed it to taste like the love child of a chocolate chip muffin and chocolate angel food cake. In this they were spot on. There’s a lightness and airy structure to the crumb, but there’s definitely a moist, rich element that explodes with little morsels of semisweet chocolate. This cake was excellent, even sans frosting.

Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1 Decadent Chocolate Lover s Cake Mix 2

Certainly, my mug cakes weren’t Pinterest quality in appearance, but I can live with that. In fact, since the Perfect Size for 1 Cakes only take about a minute to make, I plan on ditching cake porn altogether and investing even more quality time with memes while, as they say, having my cake and eating it too.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 pouch – Confetti Cake – 270 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 370 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 30 grams of sugar, and 3 gram of protein. Chocolate Lover’s – 300 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 380 milligrams of sodium, 53 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 32 grams of sugar, and 4 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.50 each
Size: 4-pack
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Confetti)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Chocolate Lover’s)
Pros: Incredibly easy to make, even for the most kitchen averse people. Moist yet fluffy cake element combines best of muffin, poke cake, and angel cake worlds. More time for memes.
Cons: Varieties do not include chocolate eclair or pumpkin cheesecake. Undercooked cake has gritty texture and aftertaste. Will explode if you add to much water.