REVIEW: Keebler Limited Batch Cinnamon Roll Fudge Stripes Cookies

Keebler Limited Batch Cinnamon Roll Fudge Stripes Cookies

Those funny little tree dwelling elves at Keebler really caught my attention last year. After being pushed to the back of my junk food brain, they officially put Fudge Stripes back on the map with killer Birthday Cake and Peppermint flavors that stood up to all of the limited release cookies I had in 2016.

To the resounding excitement of cinna-sluts like myself all across the nation, they’re kicking off 2017 with a Cinnamon Roll rendition of their famous striped confections.

Keebler Limited Batch Cinnamon Roll Fudge Stripes Cookies 2

Immediately the rich robust smell of cinnamon and vanilla icing float out of the cool brown package. The aroma mimics that unmistakable head-turning scent that wafts out all Cinnabon’s in the finest shopping malls of America, resulting in the starry-eyed activation of the salivary glands.

The crunchy snap of the cookie is more pronounced than your average Fudge Stripe, which tends to occupy that space right between a soft and hard cookie. Leading the flavor is a soft cinnamon rush that is beautiful and balanced by the the thick and smooth vanilla glaze. It has a little bit less of a buttery taste than the usual Stripes’ shortbread base, and the dark tan cookie is speckled with brown giving an even and full cinnamon burst in every bite.

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The overall flavor is less sweet than their standard cookie but also not too aggressively spiced. For people who love cinnamon, like myself, there’s enough to satisfy, but not so much that they would turn someone off who may be more adverse to a strongly spiced cookie. Taste-wise the product they are most reminiscent of are cinnamon Teddy Grahams.

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Unlike an Oreo, there’s no real way to separate the baked base from the coating, but it’s pretty apparent that the cinnamon comes from the brown speckled cookie and the sweetness driven by the glaze. Surprisingly, the frosting flavor comes across much sweeter in the smell than it does on the tongue, which makes me feel like I could eat approximately 45 of these before any kind of “stop” registers in my brain.

For cookies that were baked inside of a tree, these are an impressive and satisfying take on one of Saturday morning’s greatest indulgences. Hopefully the Keebler clan can continue to channel their elfin voodoo and crank out a pancakes and syrup flavor so I will never have to cook breakfast again.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: 11.5 oz package
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Perfect cinnamon bun smell. Amazing cookie crunch. Balanced cinnamon and vanilla flavor. Potential to save breakfast cooking time in the future.
Cons: Could use some yeasty bread “roll” flavor.

REVIEW: Hostess Deep Fried Banana Twinkies

Hostess Deep Fried Banana Twinkies

Before I start, I have one simple request.

Every time you see the words “Deep Fried Banana Twinkies” in this review, read it in a sensual Barry White-esque voice. Pump some smooth bedroom music through your speaker to set the mood. If by the end you don’t want a box of Deep Fried Banana Twinkies, you might not be human. 

What? Oh come on, don’t make it weird. You’re making it weird.

You made it weird. Forget it. Read the words normally. It’s a free country.

Despite having one of just about everything under the sun fried, this was my first *flicks on romantic tune* Deep. Fried. Ba-na-na. Twinkie. Awww, yeahhhh. Okay, I’ll stop.

Hostess Deep Fried Banana Twinkies 2

I cooked said Twinkie in the oven (which is recommended) but you can also use a toaster oven, or deep fry them again. I’m not going to judge.

Out of the box the Twinkies look like potato croquettes. Maybe even a fat chicken tender. That sight messed with my mind a bit. I started to think I was all set to have a savory snack.

After a couple minutes, I made a cooking faux pas and opened the stove to get a whiff. I’d say there was almost a churro-like aroma. Nice.

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I took it out at the seven minute mark, which ended up being perfect. The cake was just hot enough to differ from a normal Twinkie, and the cream wasn’t like molten lava.

Deep Fried Banana Twinkies are breaded in a graham cracker coating, and maybe it was my mind playing games with me, but that portion almost tasted savory in the end. There was a serious lack of sweetness before the banana cream hit.

The familiar sponge cake is still underneath, and the overall texture was okay, if not a little doughy. I now understand why I’ve seen fried Twinkies smothered in syrup or powdered sugar at county fairs. It needed another sweet element. 

Hostess Deep Fried Banana Twinkies 4

I wondered if the warmth might ruin the taste of the banana cream, but it was just like a normal Banana Twinkie. Still, there wasn’t enough to overpower the graham and sponge cake’s lack of sweetness. Next time I eat one, I’ll probably drop a dollop of chocolate syrup on top.

Look, it sounds like I’m complaining, but the graham cracker did give the Twinkie a nice outer crisp. It just wasn’t particularly flavorful. It also had an odd aftertaste, but I actually think the fried sponge cake was the culprit there. 

Regular Deep Fried Twinkies have a funnel cake coating, and now I’m kinda bummed I didn’t get those. That just sounds better.

In the end, the outer fried portion wasn’t sweet enough, and probably too doughy, but once the cream hit, Deep Fried Banana Twinkies are still pretty good. They’re definitely worth a try.

I will say that the price is ridiculous, and as an Impatient American (I’m the Union President) I don’t love the idea of waiting for an oven to preheat, 6-8 minutes to cook, and two minute to cool off before eating a snack cake. Yeah, I enjoy a homemade cookie or brownie, but that’s a different mindset. You want a Twinkie? Open a box and eat a Twinkie. Who has time for this waiting nonsense?

If the graham coating was tastier and the price was lower, these could become a snack I regularly keep in the freezer, but for now I probably won’t go back unless they put out some crazy flavor concoctions in the future. Awwww yeahhhh, baby. 

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cake – 230 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 420 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $5.49
Size: 7 cakes/box
Purchased at: Shop Rite
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Banana Cream never fails. Nice outer crisp. Fried Fair Food Fare. Barry White voice. Potato Croquettes.
Cons: Graham cracker not flavorful enough. Expensive. Time consuming. “Dollop” is my least favorite word in the English language. Funnel Cake > Graham Cracker.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.