REVIEW: Nestle Toll House Cookie of the Year Butterfinger Baking Bits Cookies

Nestle Toll House Cookie of the Year Butterfinger Baking Bits Cookies

Hi, everyone.

I’m here to accept this Cookie of the Year award on behalf of Nestle Toll House Cookie of the Year Butterfinger Baking Bits Cookies. They couldn’t be here because…well, because I ate all of them.

First off, I’d just like to congratulate and thank the other nominees. I’m not really sure who any of you are, because this award is entirely made up by Nestle Toll House, but you all did a great job this year and should feel really proud. Except for you, Swedish Fish Oreos. You were not nominated for this fake award and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

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Next, I want to thank “break and bake” technology. Thanks to you, making sugary, fattening cookies is SO much easier! No more worrying about whether I have enough flour on hand or if the eggs have expired…I can just open the package, break the premade dough along its perforations, and 10-11 minutes later I have some perfectly baked cookies. And another 10-11 minutes later, I have a stomach ache from inhaling those perfectly baked cookies.

The sugar cookie dough is really what made this whole thing possible. It’s sweet and buttery, with just a hint of floury goodness. Its performance doesn’t take any risks, but it doesn’t have to. It’s the same sugar cookie flavor we know and love from Nestle Toll House–a real classic.

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The Butterfinger Baking Bits did a pretty good job in the starring role, too. Their stick-to-your-teeth presence is definitely noticeable, and shows their peanut buttery range through a dynamic sweet and salty combination. As enjoyable as that peanut butter element aspect is, I really wish there had been more of it from start to finish. It just popped up here and there, upstaged by the fantastic sugar cookie dough. But those occasional cameos are really satisfying when they do happen.

I’ve got to say, I’m a little surprised that the milk chocolate took such a minor role in this whole project. When it’s there, it’s creamy and sweet, but I was hoping for a lot more of it. When I think of Butterfingers, I think of a crispy peanut butter center enveloped in a creamy milk chocolate coating. This cookie nailed the peanut butter part, but didn’t quite reach its full milk chocolate potential. With a better peanut butter-to-chocolate ratio, I have no doubt this cookie would go down as one of the all-time greats.

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Having said that, Nestle Toll House Cookie of the Year Butterfinger Baking Bits Cookies wouldn’t have won this award without good reason (okay, actually, they did). The sugar cookie dough does an incredible job carrying the cookie, and the Butterfinger Baking Bits mimic the inside of a Butterfinger candy bar quite well. The milk chocolate flavor is a bit underwhelming, but hey, not everybody can be the star of the show. Let’s all raise a glass of milk to the 2016 Cookie of the Year: Nestle Toll House Cookie of the Year Butterfinger Baking Bits Cookies.

Thank you for allowing me the honor of devouring them.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cookie – 80 calories, 30 calories from fat, 3.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protei.)

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 16 oz (makes 24 cookies)
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Sugary and rich sugar cookie dough. Peanut butter flavor shines through sweet and salty buddy cop duo. Baking Bits stick to your teeth just like an actual Butterfinger. Giving acceptance speeches just for eating cookies.
Cons: Totally made-up award. Milk chocolate flavor could have been better. Swedish Fish Oreos.

REVIEW: Chips Ahoy Thins Original Cookies

Chips Ahoy Thins Original

Nutter Butter Thins.

Ginger Snap Thins.

Nilla Thins.

belVita Thins.

Teddy Graham Thins.

Famous Chocolate Wafer Thins.

Pinwheel Thins.

Oh, hello there!

I’m just going through a list of Nabisco cookies that have yet to be thin-ified by Mondelez International.

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After the success of Oreo Thins, which I’ve said are better than regular Oreo cookies on numerous occasions to random people in the cookie aisle who didn’t ask for my opinion, Nabisco has given the thin treatment to the beloved(?) Chips Ahoy. They appear to be slightly more than half as thin as the original, but they aren’t as thin as those chip-like cookies out there.

Oh. Why is there’s a question mark in parentheses? Because I’ve been told by numerous people in person and on the internet that the mass produced snack is a sad excuse for a chocolate chip cookie. For the record, I do not feel this way.

But here’s a better use of a question mark: Are Chips Ahoy Thins better than regular Chips Ahoy cookies, much like I believe Oreo Thins are greater than regular Oreo cookies?

Yes(?)

Why is there a question mark there? Well, why is there an exclamation point after Chips Ahoy? It’s unnecessary and it makes you think there’s more to it than there really is, but there isn’t.

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The flavor of Chips Ahoy Thins isn’t exactly like the regular variety, but in no way will it make you think of anything other than Chips Ahoy. I think the chocolatey chips are a little more pronounced since there’s less of the cookie part and that’s about it. As someone who enjoys Chips Ahoy, I think they taste fine and if I was Santa Claus (Maybe I am. HO! HO! HO!) I’d enjoy these with a glass of milk.

But what makes these better in my mind is their molar-satisfying, head-rattling crunch. They have a more gratifying crunch than a regular Chips Ahoy, but they’re not as crispy as the previously mentioned cookie chips. Their combination of flavor and texture make them hard to stop eating. I want to eat these like I do potato chips, which is the same thing I experienced with Oreo Thins.

Basically, Chips Ahoy Thins are a different experience of something you know and love, if you love Chips Ahoy. I imagine it’s like discovered in unattempted part of the Kama Sutra or watching Game of Thrones in a different language.

(Nutrition Facts – 4 cookies – 150 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 50 milligrams of sodium, 30 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 7 oz.
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Tastes like Chips Ahoy, but maybe a little more chocolatey. Gratifying crunch. Combination of flavor and texture makes it hard to stop eating. Game of Thrones. Kama Sutra.
Cons: Just a thinner version of Chips Ahoy. Using weird question mark references in a review. Too easy to a dozen in one sitting. Giving snack opinions to strangers in a store.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Choco Chip Oreo Cookies

Limited Edition Choco Chip Oreo Cookies

Sometime during the 1920s, amidst the green oak pines of St. Lambert Country Club in Quebec, a wealthy hotel mogul by the name of David Mulligan tightened his knickers, squared up to the tee, drew his driver back, and proceeded to hit a golf ball directly into a sand trap—on an adjacent hole.

“Shiitake mushroom!” he exclaimed, realizing there were ladies nearby and wishing to abstain from obscenities. “I do believe I shall need a correction shot for that one!”

“Another one!?!” his friend, Rupert T. Bosworth Esquire III bellowed. “My, you take so many correction shots they ought to just call them mulligans!”

And so the common term for a do-over was born.

Food companies don’t often get mulligans —- at least not as many as the U.S. golfers admit to taking. But then again, companies don’t really deserve second chances, if you ask me. If you’re paying people to engineer delicious, they damn well better engineer delicious the first time around. That or they need a really good reason to try a flavor again.

In the case of Cookie Dough Oreo Cookies, I’m glad Oreo took a mulligan. It’s not that the 2014 limited edition cookie was bad, but rather that it should have been called “Caramel Latte” Oreos. Such was the intensity of the coffee flavor. But when it came to pure, unadulterated, E. coli-be-damned cookie dough madness, well, Cookie Dough Oreo left a lot to be desired.

The new Limited Edition Choco Chip Oreo leave far less to be desired. This is a cookie that blurs the line between sandwich cookie and chocolate chip cookie like no other, capturing the very best of packaged chocolate chip cookie flavor without forcing you to stop in front of the Chips Ahoy! display and ponder the question chewy or original?

Limited Edition Choco Chip Oreo Cookies 3

The “choco chip” cookie base, an entirely new conception for Oreo, is crunchy and balanced, with notes of brown sugar and tiny bursts of chocolate. It’s not the greatest representation of a chocolate chip cookie we’ve ever seen in packaged form, but it has a sort of dippable appeal that I’d compare to a chocolate chip Teddy Graham or those old Nabisco Chips Ahoy! 100-calorie pack cookie thins.

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Speaking of dippable –- yeah, that’s where the creme center comes in. Where traditional Oreo creme is a bit stiff and grainy, the choco chip cookie creme has a frosting-like smoothness and viscosity to go along with a strong burst of sweetness and an aftertaste of molasses and brown sugar. On its own it’s a bit too sweet, but taken in a complete bite with the crunchy wafer, it’s like chomping down on a cookie dough stuffed cookie.

There’s no coffee flavors, and unlike the sometimes disjointed bite of the Cookie Dough Oreo, where the chocolate wafer and coffee creme competed, the flavor of the Choco Chip Oreo is pure chocolate chip cookie. The only downside is predictable: there’s only so much buttery and eggy richness that can be stuffed inside a shelf-stable 14-ounce cookie.

Choco Chip Oreo Cookies aren’t a hole in one, but I’m okay with that. Sometimes you just gotta admire a straight drive down the fairway, and be content with very good. I mean, it could be worse. You could be eating coffee-flavored cookies out of a sand trap or something. So thank you, Mr. Mulligan, for sucking at golf. This Oreo redo is for you.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 0 gram of dietary fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 10.7 oz package
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Chocolate chip cookie dough meets Duncan Hines frosting. Much more authentic chocolate chip cookie flavor than Cookie Dough Oreo. Second chances in the cookie aisle.
Cons: A bit too sweet. Both the wafer and filling lack eggy and buttery richness. What the fudge is “choco” anyway?

REVIEW: Hershey’s Crème Filled Mini Éclairs

Hershey's Cre?me Filled Mini E?clairs

An éclair looks like a chocolate bar donut and sounds like some kind of frou frou French gizmo. I can practically hear my high school French teacher scolding: “Don’t you dare forget that accent aigu above the eh (how “e” is pronounced in French)!” But, if you’ve tried to make éclairs, you’ll quickly realize that this classic French pastry deserves to be embellished with that dang accent because of how complicated it is to make.

So what business does Hershey’s have with éclairs? Hershey’s Crème Filled Mini Éclairs of course! Yep, sounds odd to me too. But I taste-tested these with an open mind. After trying these babies, Hershey’s can make all the frozen ready-to-eat desserts they want!

Instead of instant gratification, I had to thaw the mini éclairs for two hours in the fridge or 30 minutes at room temperature. I jokingly complain, but I’ll take a 30-minute thaw time over four-hour éclairs-from-scratch time any day. Unfortunately, my first red flag was that there was freezer burn; little ice crystals were hugging each of the mini éclairs. But, there’s no way to tell if the freezer burn was user error. So, I’ll give Hershey’s the benefit of the doubt – maybe I didn’t get the box into the freezer quickly enough from Walmart. The packaging does warn not to refreeze!

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Either way, because of the freezer burn, the mini éclairs didn’t look great thawed. The ice crystals melted down and made the chocolate look like it was balmy with sweat. Yum, sweaty chocolate. Surprisingly, the overall structural integrity of the oblong choux pastry remained intact. I expected the pastry itself to collapse after the freezer burn thawed out.

Hershey's Cre?me Filled Mini E?clairs 3

I got through each mini éclair in three swift bites. The crème inside was very luscious and did not have an oily mouthfeel. Paired with the Hershey’s chocolate glaze, it was like I was eating creamy, milk chocolate goodness. The combination was also not sickeningly sweet; I’m not a fan of desserts that are cloyingly sweet. The glaze reminded me of the outside of a Dairy Queen Dipped Cone. And, like a dipped cone, the chocolate wrapped each choux pastry perfectly and the ratio was perfect – just enough for the amount of pastry.

The chocolate glaze was the choux pastry’s saving grace because the pastry itself wasn’t great. Could I tell the éclair had been frozen? If I didn’t personally thaw them, I might not have been able to. But, there was something about the pastry texture that clearly wasn’t fresh. It’s like fresh bagels vs. the day-old bagel pile – it tastes about the same but it’s missing that fresh dough elasticity and spring.

I could totally see myself bringing Hershey’s Crème Filled Mini Éclairs for a potluck and shamelessly taking credit for making them. But, Hershey’s must think we’re all ants because these mini éclairs are teeny-tiny! This is ‘MURRICAA!! However, Hershey’s is staying true to the essence of an éclair with this mini innovation. After all, éclairs were named after lightning because people eat ‘em (especially me) lightning quick!

(Nutrition Facts – 5 éclairs – 270 calories, 160 calories from fat, 18 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 90 milligrams of cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.52
Size: 10.58 oz box/about 20 pieces
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: 30-minute thaw time over four-hour éclairs-from-scratch time. Luscious crème. Creamy, milk chocolate goodness like a Dairy Queen Dipped Cone.
Cons: Freezer burn. Sweaty chocolate. Choux pastry = day old bagel pile. Éclairs for ants.

REVIEW: Nabisco Red Velvet Chips Ahoy Cookies

Nabisco Red Velvet Chips Ahoy Cookies

Wouldn’t life be more fun if humans were stuffed with sugary white crème?

Doctors would use frosting bags instead of syringes. Getting a paper cut could help you ice that last cupcake. Donating blood would be as easy as pushing down on your nose like a whipped cream nozzle. What a good ol’ gooey world it would be.

Hey, I see you groaning out there. Why don’t you try writing an entertaining introduction to yet another processed snack cookie?

Today’s Instagram-able and instantly grab-able treat is Red Velvet Chips Ahoy!, a new flavor from Nabisco’s cookie brand that loves pissing off autocorrect by requiring exclamation points in the middle of sentences.

Look Chips Ahoy!, just because you’ll never live up to big brother Oreo’s legacy doesn’t mean you have to take it out on us.

Speaking of brothers, Red Velvet Chips Ahoy! debuted alongside S’mores Chips Ahoy!. But while S’mores is the extroverted cookie that goes to bonfires, Red Velvet is the basement-dwelling “womanizer” who tries to act classy while lamenting to his body pillow.

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Like any such basement “gentleman,” these cookies are super oily, more than a little buttery, and have a belly full of cream cheese. Slick and crumbly to the touch, my moist cookie practically melted under the weight of my gaze, let alone my teeth.

With one cookie down, I can already say these taste a lot like real red velvet cake. Well, maybe not “As Seen And Drooled Over on the Food Network” real, but definitely “As Purchased from the Walmart Bakery” real red velvet cake.

The maroon dough has a great fluffy, sweetened cocoa base inside of its squishy exterior, and there are persistent pulses of browned butter throughout.

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I’m not sure if the cream cheese chips and crème core are supposed to taste the same, but as I crammed entire cookies into my mouth like they were plastic pizza disks into that retro Ninja Turtles toy we all owned, they certainly had the same flavor. The crème and chips are quite buttery, creamy, and buttercream frosting-y, with a slightly off-putting — but no less authentic — granulated texture.

As for red velvet cake’s signature, slightly sour tang, it can be tasted in these Red Velvet Chips Ahoy! cookies, but not if you nibble on ‘em slowly. To get “astronaut beverage” levels of biting tang, you have to cram entire cookies into your mouth like they’re obscure Ninja Turtles metaphors crammed into my reviews.

Red Velvet Chips Ahoy! cookies really do taste like 1-2 bite sized versions of grocery store red velvet cakes —- the kind you buy on clearance because they already have “Happy 74th Birthday Clarence” sloppily iced onto them. Though these cookies have a more tactile cookie “crust” than a real cake, they share all the buttery ups and gritty downs of the real thing.

They even have the faint chemical aftertaste from the food dye. While this artificialness may be off-putting to some, I’ve tasted eau de Red 40 in so many red velvet cakes that it’s become a welcome part of the red velvet experience.

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These pleasant, yet shamelessly processed cookies would nonetheless work as a welcome snack at a summer picnic or a dessert pizza at an action figure birthday party.

And if that last picture didn’t clue you in:, let me tell you: I am not a S’mores Chips Ahoy! in real life.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 65 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.59
Size: 9.6 oz
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Grocery store-grade red velvet authenticity. Moist and spongy cookie “crust.” The underrated joy of buttery saturated fat. Lifesaving cookie crème transfusions.
Cons: Mostly unwanted dye aftertaste. The necessary evil of gritty cream. Secretly being a basement-loving cookie in real life. Accidentally spilling cookies on my floor while checking nutrition facts.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Bacon Mozzarella Burger

Wendy’s Bacon Mozzarella Burger

Listen close, boys and girls: today’s secret word is “twang.”

Yep, “twang:” everyone’s favorite flavor descriptor that’s fun to overuse and hard to explain, but easily recognizable when you taste it. And every time I use it in my review of Wendy’s new Bacon Mozzarella Burger, I want you to scream as loud as you can like it’s Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.

My apologies to any librarians reading this.

There’s a lot going on in this sandwich, and as the kind of easily overwhelmed person who can’t even decide which grocery aisle to go down first, it helps for me to quickly break it down into parts. So after fixing my hair in the bun’s reflective gloss and becoming That Guy Publically Pointing A Camera At His Hamburger™, I started dissecting.

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Let’s start with that Brioche bun: it has a hyper garlicky and buttery glaze on top of a fragile and well-browned shell that hides fluffy, doughy innards. It’s addictively lick-able, but make sure you don’t touch your camera lens after handling it, unless you like having your review photos look like something out of a hazy movie desert scene.

The festive leafy greens on my Bacon Mozzarella Burger ranged from “fresh, and crisp” to “dark and damp clumps that belong in an amateur production of Little Shop of Horrors.” However, every leaf does a good job of absorbing the addictive twanginess (AHHH!) of the Parmesan Garlic sauce.

And speaking of Parmesan Garlic sauce: Parmesan Garlic sauce! It’s easily the best part of this sandwich, as it combines a buttery base with a biting garlic twang and nostril-tickling notes of nutty cheese that’s been carefully aged in the remote hills of Italy by a wise hermit.

The combo of cheesy and creamy really did remind me of Italian restaurant Alfredo sauce. When doused in this sauce, the burger’s raw red onions deliver a welcome two-pronged bite effect. That’s right: this twang’s got fangs.

The beef burger itself is impressive, too. It tastes freshly browned and salted without being dry, while its core is juicy without being messy. I just wish the bacon and cheese had as much flavor. The Applewood Smoked Bacon tasted of neither apples nor fresh cedar planks, and it had little charcoal-smoked twang.

The mozzarella, meanwhile, was smooth but practically tasteless—it’s a boring cheese choice that really puts the sleepy “zz” in mozzarella.

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It doesn’t matter too much, though. Just like in nature and in many other multi-ingredient burgers, when eaten as a whole, the Bacon Mozzarella Burger’s strongly flavored ingredients swallow many of the weaker ones. In this case, the bun, burger, and Parmesan Garlic sauce dominate with a tasty trio of buttered garlic beef.

It’s like an Olive Garden meal (with breadsticks) in squeezable sandwich form and on a drive-thru budget. Though my single burger rang up at $5.99, the suggested price is $4.69. At that dollar figure, I’d highly recommend this “Taste of Fast Food Italy Burger.”

Even though some ingredients underwhelmed, the rest were impressive enough that you’d think Wendy brought them back from a study abroad trip in Italy that she won’t shut up about for the next five years.

Now I think I need to stop licking butter off my camera and get out of this restaurant before the secret Wendy’s police hauls me off kicking, screaming, and babbling about twangy Italian cheese hermits.

(Nutrition Facts – Single burger – 620 calories, 330 calories from fat, 37 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 120 milligrams of cholesterol, 1430 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 37 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: Single
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Italian-American fusion you can eat at 70mph. Buttery Brioche worth ruining technology over. Parmesan cave gurus. Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody Twang Chung tonight.
Cons: MozzZzzZZarella. Having to go to Home Depot for properly woody bacon. Burger price variability. Limp spinach swamp monsters. Eternally being “That Guy.”