REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Brussels Mint Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Brussels Mint Cookies

Pepperidge Farm has a whole line of lesser known cookies that most of you probably can’t name. To see if I’m right, I made a list of four possible Pepperidge Farm cookies below. One is real. Guess which one it is without using the internet.

  • Madagascar
  • Rochester
  • Verona
  • Montenegro

Okay, now you can use the internet to check your answer.

While you may have had trouble determining which one is a real Pepperidge Farm cookie name, the one everyone can name is the Milano. It has to be the most popular of all gazillion PeFa cookies (I’m trying to make PeFa a thing because I’m tired of typing Pepperidge Farm). But right now, I’m about to say something that might be blasphemous. It’s not their best cookie. That, my friends, goes to the Brussels.

For those of you not familiar with the original Brussels, the Pepperidge Farm website describes them as “lace-thin, crisp cookies embrace a layer of smooth, luxurious, dark chocolate.” Perhaps a better description, using fewer adjectives, would be calling it a thin sandwich cookie.

Granted, the first time I’ve ever tried a Brussels was when I tasted these Limited Edition Brussels Mint Cookies. But it took just one cookie to know they’re better. Sure, they look like Milano cookies that got run over by a steamroller before being baked, but they have a satisfying crunch that makes the crispiness of the Milano seem quaint.

Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Brussels Mint Cookies 2

The mint version out for the holidays has the same thin crunchy wafers and layer of dark chocolate as the original, but it also has a blanket of mint creme. At this point, with the combination of chocolate and mint, you’re probably thinking these might taste like Girl Scouts Thin Mints, and they do. They don’t make my mouth as minty, but, dare I say, because of that thunderous crunch, they’re better than Thin Mints.

Yup, I said it. These are awesome and kick Thin Mints butt!

You don’t control my wallet anymore, Girl Scouts.

Oh wait. These are limited edition.

I’m sorry, Girl Scouts. I’ll take four boxes of Thin Mints.

(Nutrition Facts – 3 cookies – 190 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 6.25 oz
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: I think they’re better than Thin Mints. I think Brussels are better than Milano cookies. Wonderful crunch. Supporting Girl Scouts even though the prices for the cookies seem to be increasing while the size seems to be shrinking.
Cons: Limited Edition. Trying to make PeFa a thing. Not supporting Girl Scouts.

REVIEW: Hostess Limited Edition White Peppermint Twinkies

Hostess Limited Edition White Peppermint Twinkies

It’s mid-November. Even though our nation’s turkeys still await their presidential pardons (if they’re lucky) and ‘ducken-ings (if they’re not), grocery store shelves have chosen to completely ignore Thanksgiving and just put out their merriest wares. I kind of wish seasonal snacks would go from “Monster Mash” to “Potato Mash” instead of jumping straight to “Assorted Non-Denominational Red & Green Mish-Mash,” but it’s hard to stay mad when a box of sprinkled white fudge cylinders sits in front of me.

I’m going to try my best to review Hostess’s new White Peppermint Twinkies, but be warned: my favorite radio station is already playing Christmas tunes, and I get distracted easily.

Hostess Limited Edition White Peppermint Twinkies 2

I’m dreaming…of a white Twinkie
Just like the Ghostbusters ones from not long ago
But this one’s red sprinkles glisten
And it’s so fun to listen
As they crunch like feet on snow

The white fudge on every White Peppermint Twinkie is reminiscent of this summer’s marshmallowy Twinkies: a nearly cloying white chocolate that’s blended with confectioner’s sugar and a hint of vanilla. But this new stuff also feels fudgier, oiler, and more buttery, almost like freshly iced sugar cookies. These Twinkies must’ve been made by the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man’s loving grandma.

The icing on this icing’s cake is the sprinkles. They don’t bring any noticeable bursts of sugar, but these Twinkies don’t need more sugar—I’m already writing this at 120bpm. The sprinkles do provide a neat crunchiness that contrasts all the creamier elements, which is much needed: if I wanted to eat a tube of pure mush, I’d rather suck down a roll of Pillsbury Holiday Shapes cookie dough like it’s a reindeer-stamped popsicle.

Peppermint bark! this Hostess angel cake brings
“Glory to its clear wrapping!
Light on bite and mercifully mild
Mint and chocolate, reconciled”

You’ll notice I didn’t mention the peppermint taste yet. That’s because there isn’t a lot of it. Like custardy peppermint bark, White Peppermint Twinkies only have a mellow undercurrent of candy cane flavor. It won’t prickle your taste buds, freshen your breath, or produce a tracheal chill when you breathe inwards, but this peppermint pulse is still a refreshing complement for the chocolate: just imagine a gelatinous, doughy Thin Mint with an inverted color scheme.

Hostess Limited Edition White Peppermint Twinkies 3

I’ll try the sponge cake,
(But baby, it’s dry inside)
the cream for old times’ sake
(But baby, it’s bland inside)

It’s not all winter wonderlands and tubular Girl Scout cookies, though. At the heart of every fudge-slathered Yule log lies a ho-hum combo of cake and cream. The cake layer seems more aerated and floury than usual, leaving me to wonder whether Hostess ran out of golden Twinkie sponge cake and started coating rolled Wonder Bread in white chocolate instead.

The cream filling is up to Hostess standards, but that’s the problem. It just tastes like sugared whipped cream, without a unique twinge of mint, fudge, or Christmas magic. I bit in expecting a delightful Twinkie stocking stuffer, but it turns out that the stocking was the most fun part.

Fros-ted white chocolate
Could lead to a jolly happy whole
But boring cream and cake that blows
Make this a Twinkie without soul

I wanted to adore White Peppermint Twinkies, but I merely like them. Like a holiday light show on a house without a tree inside, these cakes’ Scrooged-up innards betray their exciting exterior. I recommend buying these Twinkies for an early Christmas spirit sugar rush or as mantle decorations, but don’t expect to remember them fondly (or at all) come Groundhog’s Day.

Now if we could just get some Mashed Potato Twinkies.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cake – 160 calories, 8 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 135 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 18 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.29
Size: 13 oz box/9 Twinkies
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Albino sugar cookie ectoplasm. Peppermint that tastes like smooth jazz. The oddly satisfying goodness of a crunchy Twinkie. Daydreaming about Maple-Glazed Yam Twinkies.
Cons: Stuffing plain ol’ year-round cream into the most wonderful time of the year. More like, “fallen angel food cake,” am I right? Not enough mint to please Candy Cane Forest dwellers. Thanksgiving: always the bridesmaid, never the snack food aisle bride.

REVIEW: Hostess Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Twinkies

Hostess Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Twinkies

Is that photo on the Hostess Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Twinkies box supposed to be appetizing?

My goodness, it’s like watching meat come out of a meat grinder. Or a pig being born. Or Vienna sausage being made. It’s like staring at potted meat. Don’t know what potted meat is? For all that is holy, DON’T LOOK IT UP!

The thing is, in real life, the filling doesn’t quite look like mangled flesh. It has a very light pink hue with red specks. But it’s so light that in some lighting situations it looks grey. So I guess this is one of those cases where what it actually looks like is better looking than what’s on the packaging, but barely.

The filling is supposed to remind you of pumpkin pie. When I closed my eyes, I’m reminded of POTTED MEAT! That image on the box has burned itself onto my brain. Now I feel as if I should go stare at Spam to get the image of potted meat out of my head.

Hostess Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Twinkies 2

Of the spices you’d find in pumpkin pie, the only one listed in the ingredients is cinnamon. Of course, there’s natural and artificial flavoring that fill in for the other spices, but I’m glad Hostess spent a little scratch to include real cinnamon. But even with real cinnamon, it doesn’t have have a pumpkin spice flavor that pops. It doesn’t have a flavor that makes me say, “Hey honey, you know that whole tradition of eating pumpkin pie at Thankgiving? Let’s forget that and replace them with these Twinkies.”

But if you were celebrating National Cinnamon Day (a day that, surprisingly, with all the fake food holidays, doesn’t exist) these Twinkies would be an awesome way to get your Cinna-on.

One last thing about the flavor, there’s an artificial sweetener aftertaste even though there aren’t any listed in the ingredients. It reminded me of the taste in my mouth after eating a pumpkin spice-flavored light yogurt.

As for the “golden sponge cake,” it tasted like a regular Twinkie, but something seemed different about its texture. Maybe they weren’t as spongy as I remember. Maybe I got a bad batch. Maybe the box I bought was around since last year. Or maybe Twinkie the Kid is cutting corners so that he has extra money to buy whatever drug he smokes/snorts/shoots that makes him so damn happy all the damn time. I don’t know. Although its texture was different, the cake had that same Twinkies greasiness that we all know and love not to get on our hands because it will get all over our smartphone screens.

Overall, Hostess’ Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Twinkies are okay if you’re into cinnamon or light pumpkin spice yogurts, but eating them won’t be a yearly tradition for me.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cakes – 260 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 350 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 28 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Hostess Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Twinkies
Purchased Price: $2.97
Size: 10 cakes
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Cinnamon-y. Looks better in real life than on the packaging.
Cons: Pumpkin spice flavor doesn’t pop; it’s almost all cinnamon. Sponge cake had a weird texture; not as spongy. Artificial sweetener aftertaste. Image of creme on the box looks unappetizing. Getting Twinkies grease on our phone screens. Potted meat haunting me.

REVIEW: Keebler Limited Batch Peppermint Fudge Stripes Cookies

Keebler Limited Batch Peppermint Fudge Stripes Cookies

Candy Canes and Cookies.

It has a cute ring to it, doesn’t it? Like the title of a baking blog, or a children’s Christmas story, or even a specialty store that sells holiday-themed socks. But eaten together?

Sure, we’ve had Candy Cane Oreo Cookies, but a part of me has always felt the confection world should never be combined with the creaming method world. It’s sort of like fish and cheese. Conventional wisdom tells us these things just don’t “go” together, and far be it for drumming up iconoclasm once Christmas comes around.

Keebler Limited Batch Peppermint Fudge Stripes Cookies change all that. It really shouldn’t be a surprise; I mean, these are cookies baked by magical elves. Yes, they may live in a tree owned by Kellogg’s, but I like to think of the Keebler elves as cousins to Santa’s elves, except more proficient in cookie making than toy making.

And let me tell you something: The Keebler elves nail the cookie thing here, just like how Santa’s elves nailed my 1997 request for a Nintendo Gameboy. The familiar shortbread cookie base is crunchy, buttery, and not overpoweringly sweet; small bursts of red nonpareils lend a sweet sugar cookie vibe, while the white fudge coating further adds to the frosting-like texture of the cookie.

Keebler Limited Batch Peppermint Fudge Stripes Cookies 2

Keebler Limited Batch Peppermint Fudge Stripes Cookies 4

As for the peppermint taste, it’s right where it needs to be. The danger with peppermint anything is that the floral, light taste of mint overwhelms the taste buds and makes you feel like you’re eating a Tic-Tac. Thankfully, that is not the case with these cookies. The peppermint taste is there, but it’s not that rush of winter freshness that comes from binging on a box of candy canes (pro tip: not good). Instead, the floral taste gives a cool relief to the frosting-like white fudge, which has a rich vanilla sweetness.

Keebler Limited Batch Peppermint Fudge Stripes Cookies 3

While Keebler’s elves are clearly taking a page from Santa’s elves in the design of a Christmas themed cookie, what they haven’t managed to do is perfect a flawless packaging and delivery system. The same nonresealable package that plagues Fudge Stripes houses the limited edition cookie, while the white fudge coating had melted by the time I opened the package. The ensuing peppermint white fudge, while lickable and probably awesome on cupcakes, was stickier and harder to wash off my paws than the sugar coating of a half-eaten candy cane.

You gotta give it to the Keebler elves. After years of offering plain Fudge Stripes (which are delicious) they’ve tinkered their treehouse production facilities and expanded into pumpkin spice, birthday cake, cookies & creme, and now peppermint. I’m not saying these would be a great cookie to leave out for Santa, but yeah, with the frosted shortbread cookie vibe, crunchy vanilla, and peppermint sweetness, I am kind of saying that.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories from fat, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 4 grams of sat fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of sugar, 0 grams of fiber, and less than 1 gram of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.00
Size: 11.5 oz
Purchased at: United Supermarkets
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Fresh and floral peppermint taste that doesn’t linger on your tongue like a candy cane. Crunchy shortbread cookie with rich white fudge and crunchy vanilla flavor. Would make a solid seasonal ice cream sandwich base.
Cons: Keebler’s absolute reluctance to embrace resealable packaging. White fudge coating can melt and be messy. Limited appeal for non-peppermint lovers. The politics of elf family trees.

REVIEW: Nestle Nesquik Protein Plus Vanilla Milk

Nestle Nesquik Protein Plus Vanilla Milk

Protein. We need it for body stuff.

Yeah, I don’t know what body stuff exactly. I have an English degree and got C’s in every class that ends with -ology or -ience.

What I do know is that protein is big. A big money maker. Everywhere you look in the grocery store, companies are putting the stuff into everything they possibly can. And I guess Nesquik Protein Plus Milk, is Nestle’s way to get a little bit of that sweet, sweet protein drink money.

Some of you might be thinking, regular Nesquik is milk so it already has protein. That’s true, but it just has more. According to the bottle, Nesquik Protein Plus has “10% more of the daily value for protein per 8 fl oz than regular Nesquik.” A cup of it has 13 grams of protein, while regular Nesquik has 8 grams.

Wait.

I got C’s in every class that ends with -athematics, but I’m pretty sure the difference between 13 grams and 8 grams is more than 10 percent.

Anyway, this protein enhanced milk gets its protein from the milk and an ingredient called milk protein concentrate. What’s milk protein concentrate? Again, C’s in every class that ends with -ology or -ience.

Nesquik has always been a brand that targets kids. But Nesquik Protein Plus is for adults, or as the bottle says, “For Adults Young At Heart.” But from afar, it looks like any Nesquik bottle. So other adults are going to look at you and think to themselves, “Oh my God, how can you drink that? You’re not lactose intolerant?”

As for its flavor, well, if you’ve had regular vanilla Nesquik milk, you will know what this tastes like. It’s sweet, creamy, it’s better tasting than a vanilla protein powder shake, and I enjoyed drinking it. The added protein doesn’t affect its flavor.

Yes, it does have a good amount of sugar in it (22 grams per serving). But the bottle does say it has “28% less sugar than the leading Protein Enhanced Flavored Milk.” So, there’s that. Although, as we’ve learned earlier, this bottle isn’t good at stating accurate percentages.

But if you want to consume a lot of protein, be young at heart, and satisfy your sweet tooth, this milk is a tasty way to do it.

Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: 14 fl oz
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (8 ounces) 170 calories, 25 calories from fat, 2.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 450 milligrams of potassium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 22 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein.