REVIEW: Limited Edition Jif Whips Maple Brown Sugar

Limited Edition Jif Whips Maple Brown Sugar

Most people know maple syrup as a sticky substance coveted by Canadians, the official currency of Vermont, and something that Kanye West sips when somebody orders pancakes. Though nothing can quite take the place of that precious Acer saccharum sap, Jif envisions a world where hungry citizens never have to resort to dousing their pancakes in syrup to receive their daily dose of maple flavor.

New Limited Edition Jif Whips Maple Brown Sugar blends the traditional flavor of peanut butter with hints of brown sugar and maple, all in a whipped peanut butter form. In contrast to its non-whipped counterpart, whipped peanut butter is considerably more light and airy. As a result, it spreads effortlessly onto both white bread and body parts.

Even the packaging of Jif Whips Maple Brown Sugar helps make the peanut butter experience a bit less painful. No longer will you find yourself struggling to scrape the last bits of peanut butter from the bottom of a glass jar — the wide plastic tub provides easy access to the whipped peanut butter from all angles. It’s the work of German engineers, I’m sure.

Limited Edition Jif Whips Maple Brown Sugar 2

Peeling off the lid, we discover that Jif Whips Maple Brown Sugar shares the same off-putting, scatalogical appearance with the last Jif Whips I reviewed. Only this time, the nut butter more closely resembles what I find in my backyard when the neighbor kids feed tan crayons to my dog. In other words, Jif Whips Maple Brown Sugar looks like a big ol’ pile of pale brown shadoobie.

Jif Whips Maple Brown Sugar’s scent is pungent, a mixture of peanut butter and maple aromas — as if Mrs. Buttersworth decided to play with Mr. Peanut, if ya know what I mean.

Limited Edition Jif Whips Maple Brown Sugar 3

In comparison to this scent, the flavor of Jif Whips Maple Brown Sugar seems less intense. Initially, the taste is nutty and sweet, like any typical peanut butter mixed with a touch of maple syrup. I was expecting the maple flavor to seem either exaggerated or artificial, but fortunately, it was neither. A spoonful of this legume spread culminates with a hint of molasses, alluding to the advertised brown sugar flavor. On the tongue, the whipped peanut butter feels somewhat less viscous than traditional peanut butter, but coats the throat identically.

I’m not a huge fan of maple flavor — I tend to resist it outside of maple syrup. Even so, I have to admit that Jif Whips Maple Brown Sugar is pretty dang good. This whipped peanut butter would pair nicely with ice cream, crackers, cookies, babies, and countless additional snack foods. It even tastes great in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, as maple complements the fruity flavor of jelly surprisingly well. All things considered, I highly recommend Jif Whips Maple Brown Sugar. Disregarding the defecatory appearance, this is one flavored peanut butter worthy of praise.

Jif, you’ve made me a fan of your crazy, new-fangled peanut butter. I realize now that when a problem comes along, I must whip it.

Before the cream sets out too long, I must whip it.

When something’s goin’ wrong, I must whip it.

Whip it. Whip it good.

Limited Edition Jif Whips Maple Brown Sugar 4

(Nutrition Facts – 2 Tbsp (24 grams) – 140 calories, 100 calories from fat, 12 grams of total fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 95 milligrams of sodium, 6 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Item: Limited Edition Jif Whips Maple Brown Sugar
Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 15 ounces
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Easier to spread than traditional peanut butter. Balanced maple flavor. Devo references.
Cons: Resembles tan dog feces. Body parts covered in peanut butter.

REVIEW: Pizza Hut Ultimate Hershey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie

Pizza Hut Ultimate Hershey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie

Since I received the news that my fantasy baseball team was mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, I’ve been beating myself up a little bit. I mean, me, a three-time champion in the seven-year existence of The Super Best Friend’s League, missing the playoffs? That’s something that sad losers do, not Trevor. I honestly think it may be one of the first signs of the apocalypse. Now maybe, just maybe it isn’t end of the world-related, but just to be safe I’d keep an eye out for rivers running red with blood, swarms of locusts, The Four Horsemen, and seven angels with trumpets.

With the recent hardship and possible apocalypse looming, I was in need of a pick-me-up. I sought it in the form of Pizza Hut’s Ultimate Hershey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Now being in the ultimate state of depression I was in, my dumbass forgot to buy milk before ordering the cookie. When I got it back to my apartment, I didn’t want to lose out on the just-from-the-oven taste of the cookie, so I settled for no milk. This joins drafting Tampa Bay Rays Outfielders Wil Myers and Desmond Jennings on my recent list of regrets.

Pizza Hut Ultimate Hershey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie 2

The first thing I notice about the Ultimate Cookie when I open the box is that it’s just a cookie cake without frosting. I’m not sure why I was expecting it to be a giant cookie. Pizza Hut should really put “cake” at the end of the title to avoid confusion. I was really hoping for a giant cookie, the kind that Paul Bunyan would eat. But alas, it was cut into eight pieces, thus becoming a cake and not one cookie.

The best part about this dish is the heavy amount of Hershey’s chocolate. It’s made with semi-sweet chocolate chips and they were melty and delicious, kind of like Hershey’s chocolate in a s’more.

The cookie was good, but I wanted a lot more. My mother makes my brother and I cookie cakes for our birthdays every year, so my standards are a bit inflated, but I was still a bit disappointed. It didn’t have enough of that salty-sweet that I look for in a cookie cake. But I guess that’s why it’s not called a cookie cake.

It’s a tasty cookie, but it will dry out your mouth. You won’t die if you order the cookie and don’t have any milk on hand but at the same time you will miss out on a lot of the experience.

Pizza Hut Ultimate Hershey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie 3

I ate four of the eight slices while it was still fresh and after a full day had passed I went back to see how it held up to the test of time. I had put it in plastic wrap and in the cupboard and it really was not worth keeping. The cookie’s flavor is dependent on it being warm. It’s not like when you make a batch of your favorite chocolate chip cookies and they will still be good for a few days. It makes you realize how average the cookie part is and that without melty chocolate chips, it’s really nothing special.

I really wish there was a frosting on it. It’s just a cookie cake somebody forgot to finish decorating. It’s like they got three-quarters of the way there and said, “Ah, good enough.” It’s not essential for the taste or anything, though it would be better, but it’s really confusing looking at a frosting-less cookie cake.

This giant cookie is decent, but like your friend who only wears jeans and a t-shirt whenever you go out, it needs something more to reach it’s true potential.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 slice – 180 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 110 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Pizza Hut Ultimate Hershey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie
Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Pizza Hut
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Loads of chocolatey goodness. Winning three fantasy baseball championships in first seven years of your league’s existence.
Cons: Cookie is a tad dry. Doesn’t taste great the next day. Forgetting to buy milk before eating a giant cookie. Having a bad fantasy baseball season and unintentionally setting the wheels of the apocalypse in motion.

REVIEW: Lay’s Kettle Cooked Tzatziki Potato Chips (Canada)

Lay’s Kettle Cooked Tzatziki Potato Chips (Canada)

The whole theme of the Do Us A Flavour contest seems to be off-kilter flavours that you wouldn’t otherwise see — going through the various participating countries, this year there’s stuff like Chip Shop Chicken Curry, Cappuccino, and Cinnamon Bun.

Tzatziki chips sound a bit odd at first, but really, condiments and dips are a bedrock of classic chip flavours: e.g. BBQ, ketchup, ranch, and this flavour’s closest cousin, sour cream and onion.

Still, I can’t say that I’d ever tried a tzatziki-flavoured chip, so I was kind of excited to try it.

The first thing that hit me when I opened the bag: the smell. Resting somewhere in the scent spectrum between old cauliflower and a moderately ripe sweat sock, it wasn’t an aroma that filled me with a ton of confidence.

Thankfully, I can say with a great deal of confidence that it is much, much better than it smells.

It’s actually surprisingly good. Like the Do Us A Flavour variety I just reviewed, Cinnamon Bun, it does a really great job of replicating the taste of the thing it’s supposed to be. Unlike that one, however, this is a flavour that you’d actually want on a potato chip.

It starts with an addictive tart, lemony yogurt flavour, with the dill and cucumber coming through a few moments after you start eating it. It ends with a lingering punch of garlic that really drives home the tzatziki flavour.

Lay’s Kettle Cooked Tzatziki Potato Chips (Canada) Closeup

It tastes, in a lot of ways, like a kicked up sour cream and onion, but with the flavours intensified and broadened. I’ve never been a huge fan of that flavour, but this one I liked a fair deal.

It’s not subtle, however. What’s the exact opposite of subtle? Because that’s what these chips are. It’s an intense, face-punch of flavour, so don’t expect to taste anything else for the next little while. In fact, even removing the smell from my fingers was challenging; I had to wash pretty thoroughly with soap two or three times before my hands smelled normal.

Tzatziki is the only one of the four Canadian Do Us A Flavour varieties that’s made with kettle chips, which was a wise choice by Lay’s. The thinner, more delicate regular chips would get completely steamrolled by the aggressive tzatziki taste. The kettle chips, however, do a pretty decent job of standing up to the other flavours.

Ultimately, though the chips are probably a bit too intense to be something you’d want to add to your regular snacking rotation, it’s pretty darn good if you’re in the mood. If you like tzatziki and you like chips, then it’s not even a question. You’ll like these chips.

(Nutrition Facts – 50 grams/per 28 chips – 260 calories, 15 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 340 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fibre, 1 gram of sugar, 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Lay’s Kettle Cooked Tzatziki Potato Chips (Canada)
Purchased Price: $3.69 CAN
Size: 180 gram bag
Purchased at: Longos
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Captures the tzatziki flavour perfectly. Addictive. Kettle chips hold up well to the very aggressive flavour.
Cons: Getting punched in the face with flavour. Lingering aftertaste. Sweat sock aroma.

REVIEW: Hostess Chocodile Twinkies

Hostess Chocodile Twinkies

I am an animal.

An animal with all the habits, flaws, and self-imposed delusions that accompany being a carbon-constructed mammal with opposable thumbs, and thus I found myself appreciating all these animal traits as I put those opposable thumbs in my special lunchtime skill: ripping open the cellophane wrapper of a snack cake.

I’ve eaten enough Ding-Dongs, Yodels, and other snack-cakes-with-onomatopoeic-names to fill the pages of a small comic book series. Needless to say, I was celebratory in discovering that Hostess’s former West Coast exclusive, the Chocodile, had been reintroduced and expanded its horizons, migrating to shelves around all around this fine country. If you, like me, find yourself clawing for the Zingers and Sno-balls, shaking the vending machine for that last pack of Zebra Cakes, that one Oatmeal Crème Pie, come, fellow snacker, and we shall delve into plastic-wrapped horizons.

Hostess Chocodile Twinkies Chocodile in its natural habitat

I can think of 12 good reasons why a miniature oblong cake is better than a cupcake. One is that you are now equipped with a contextually sensible way to use “oblong” in a sentence. Another is that the cake specimen has equal frosting distribution. In a cupcake, there’s often a glob of frosting, pillowing at the top. Even worse, sometimes, you even have to play favorites: do I want the cupcake with the sprinkles or the one with the fancy frosting ribbon on top? Then, you have to fight for the one you want before someone else gets it (“Get away! That’s my frosting ribbon!”).

Here, not so much. Every cake is the same. Not only do you get a glaze of chocolatey something enveloping your cake in an even layer, but you also get crème filling all the way through. There’s no overwhelming decision-making. No “perfect ratio.” No, “Should I go for the middle first, or save the middle bite for last while sacrificing my fingers as they’re trying to work around the edges so I can save the pile of frosting?” None of that. It’s equally massive poofs of frosting. All day. All the time.

Needless to say, I’m excited. Just crackling open that thin plastic wrapper is enough to take me back to the days of elementary school cafeterias and Chuck E. Cheese Birthday cakes.

Hostess Chocodile Twinkies Chocodile doppelganger

And the first few bites were pretty good, but as I continued, the magic descended at madcap speed. It was the chocolate that started it all. Tasting of burnt cocoa and stubby crayons, that shiny mahogany glaze seems as though it might be better suited melted down and repurposed as a wax celebrity at Madame Tussaud’s. There was perhaps a hint of cocoa in there, but, on the whole, it had all the excitement of candle drippings, old raisins, and Sad.

The saving grace came in the crème filling. Like the classic Twinkie, this crème is poofy and tastes of Betty Crocker frosting that’s been pummeled into a Marshmallow Fluff machine. Or Marshmallow Fluff that’s been pummeled into a Betty Crocker frosting machine. Either way, there’s definitely sugar in celebratory abundance. While made of questionable ingredients, I could scoop this with my paw and eat it like a Pooh bear.

But not even those sweet hydrogenated poofs can save the cake. While I enjoy traditional Twinkies for their spongy, slightly oily character and fake vanilla-y flavor, this thing was like eating a loofa. A dry, unflavored loofa. The crème gave it the sugar it needed to upgrade its taste to that of a stale, dry doughnette, but, overall, that Loofa Cake combined with a raisin-wood-wax coating? No bueno.

Hostess Chocodile Twinkies Quick Batman, get some milk for that loofa cake!

I wish I could glorify these Chocodiles. I love weird finger cakes. Snarfing a double-snack-pack is my special lunchtime skill. I may have ordered a case of expired Twinkies 8 months after Hostess shut down (Moldy Twinkies, people. Moldy. Twinkies.). So I’d really like to give these a sparkling grade. But I just can’t. Sure, the crème was good, but…loofa cake. Waxy coating. To say it lived up to its Hostess brethren would be a lie. Lies are no good for you. No good for me. However, let me take note that these are not inedible, and, in fact, are far better than other experiences I could imagine in my life, such as perpetual B.O. or death by toilet paper.

So if you like loofa cake, stale doughnettes, and things that are marginally better than death by 2-ply, go for it. Otherwise, I’d approach with a wary step.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cake – 170 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 18 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Hostess Chocodile Twinkies
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 9 cakes
Purchased at: Met Foods
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Even frosting distribution. Good crème-to-cake ratio. Poofy, sugary crème. Wrapper is excellent way to exercise your opposable thumbs. Better than death by toilet paper.
Cons: Loofa Cake. Waxy-woodsy coating. The fight for the frosting ribbon. Madame Tussaud’s. Wrestling matches with vending machines. Elementary school cafeterias.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Jalapeño Double

McDonald's Jalapeno Double

If you’re looking for a hot, cheap date, I recommend sitting under a phoenix dactylifera during an African summer. But if you’re looking for a hot, cheap burger, I’d recommend McDonald’s Jalapeno Double.

For two dollars, you get two beef patties, a slice of white cheddar cheese, pickled jalapeno slices, jalapeno crisps, buttermilk ranch sauce, a regular bun, a paper bag, and napkins. Although, through my experience, there’s a 10 percent chance you won’t get napkins.

My McDonald’s Jalapeno Double was topped with seven pickled jalapeno slices. I took that as a sign that I was going to get lucky and taste something good or Ray Kroc was smiling down at me…hoping I burn my mouth for all the negative McDonald’s reviews I’ve written.

Fortunately for me, it was the former.

While my burger had a nacho’s worth of pickled jalapenos, I can’t say there were a lot of jalapeno crisps. What are jalapeno crisps? That’s a good question. You should be a journalist. Looking at their appearance and ingredients (jalapeno peppers, enriched flour, sunflower oil and/or safflower oil and/or canola oil, and salt), which I didn’t include to increase this review’s word count, I assume they’re jalapeno bits that have been coated with flour and then deep fried to near oblivion.

McDonald's Jalapeno Double Topless

The jalapeno crisps provide very little jalapeno flavor. I think they’re really there to give the burger a bit of crunchiness, which they also don’t go a good job of because there’s so few of them. However, the pickled jalapeno slices completely make up for jalapeño crisps’ lack of flavor and crunch.

As for the burger’s heat, the pickled peppers made my burger hole warm, but not uncomfortably so. Or, if you want to use a scale of heat that uses McDonald’s products as references, then it’s spicier than their Hot Mustard Sauce, but not as hot as their habanero sauces.

Perhaps the reason why, with seven jalapeño slices, the burger isn’t burning my mouth is the buttermilk ranch sauce. It has that familiar ranch salad dressing flavor many of us use to make vegetables tolerable, but the flavor goes in and out like a radio signal through a series of tunnels. I found that weird because there’s enough ranch sauce on the burger to make a McNugget jealous.

Speaking of the McNugget’s Creamy Ranch Sauce, it’s not the same sauce on this burger. To prove it and to definitely inflate this review’s word count, I’ve listed the ingredients below.

The McNugget’s Creamy Ranch Sauce is made up of soybean oil, water, cultured lowfat buttermilk, distilled vinegar, sugar, egg yolks, sea salt, garlic juice, xanthan gum, salt, lactic acid, spices, modified guar gum, onion powder, natural flavor, potassium sorbate, autolyzed torula yeast extract, parsley, and calcium disodium EDTA.

The burger’s buttermilk ranch sauce has soybean oil, cultured buttermilk, water, sour cream, egg yolks, distilled vinegar, maltodextrin, salt, dextrose, modified food starch, soy sauce, dried onion, garlic powder, lactic acid, natural and artificial flavors, shallots, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, calcium disodium EDTA, xanthan gum, spice, phosphoric acid, sodium acid sulfate, propylene glycol alginate, and autolyzed yeast extract.

Like the ranch sauce, the cheese shows itself every so often and seems to help temper the jalapeños. I wish McDonald’s offered a pepper jack cheese, because that would’ve been a nice addition here.

McDonald's Jalapeno Double Wrapper

The McDonald’s Jalapeno Double tastes like a McDouble with jalapenos, and that’s fine and disappointing at the same time. It’s fine because it’s a tasty combination and it’s only two bucks. It’s disappointing because they added ranch sauce and jalapeño crisps to make it more than just a McDouble with jalapeños, but those ingredients don’t do a good job at it. They seem unnecessary, like listing the ingredients for the jalapeño crisps and the two ranch sauces in this review.

(Nutrition Facts – 430 calories, 23 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 1030 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, and 22 grams of protein.)

Item: McDonald’s Jalapeño Double
Purchased Price: $2.00
Size: N/A
Purchased at: McDonald’s
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: A spicy McDouble. Worth the two dollars. Strong jalapeño flavor with a warm heat. Crunchy jalapeño slices. Cheese is a great glue that keeps the beef patties together.
Cons: Listing ingredients to add to a review’s word count. Ranch sauce doesn’t stick out. Jalapeño crisps didn’t add much flavor or crunch. Ray Kroc haunting me.