REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Oreo Cheesecake Square Donut

Dunkin’ Donuts Oreo Cheesecake Square Donut

When it comes to cheese and desserts, I have mixed feelings.

Cheese and pie? No thanks. The last time I tried a slice of apple pie topped with cheddar cheese, I began gagging like my neighbor’s cat when it swallowed a whole hot dog. (Come to think of it, we never did figure out how poor ol’ Sassy Boots fit that 6-inch frankfurter down his esophagus, but damn, that’s one talented cat.)

Cheese and cake? Cheesecake!? Yes, please! I love cheesecake, so when I heard about the new Oreo Cheesecake Square at Dunkin’ Donuts, I began drooling more than my neighbor’s cat does whenever someone starts grilling a pack of Oscar Mayer Wieners. (Sassy Boots really, really likes hot dogs. Don’t judge.)

Available through April, the Oreo Cheesecake Square donut is frosted with white icing, topped with Oreo cookie crumbles, and filled with a creamy cheesecake filling. To be clear, Dunkin’ Donuts products and Oreos have mingled in the past, and Dunkin’ certainly isn’t doing anything radical or original here. Both Oreo and cheesecake flavors are hard to dislike, making the Oreo Cheesecake Square an easy shot at a crowd-pleaser.

Like most filled donuts sold at Dunkin’ Donuts, the Oreo Cheesecake Square suffers from PCD: poor cream distribution. With the filling concentrated entirely in the middle of the donut, all four corners of my Oreo Cheesecake Square were as empty as a mosh pit at a Bee Gees concert. (Ever try thrashing to “How Deep Is Your Love?” Yeah, not possible.) These first few creamless bites melded the sugary white frosting with the chocolate Oreo crumbles into a traditional cookies ‘n cream flavor.

Frankly, I’m surprised a cookies ‘n cream donut has yet to join the regular menu at Dunkin’, and this donut presents a glimpse of what we’ve been missing. The duo of white frosting and Oreo crumbles seems a perfect fit for the fluffy yeast donut base.

Dunkin’ Donuts Oreo Cheesecake Square Donut 2

As I reached the center of the donut, I encountered the cheesecake cream. The filling’s most apparent trait is its cream cheese-like tang, which pushes to the forefront of each bite. The creamy, dairy flavor is more mild than in an actual cheesecake — this could be why the filling also feels less dense than an actual cheesecake. At times, the cream’s lukewarm temperature made me uncomfortable; I’m used to eating my cheesecake chilled, and I can’t help but feel this donut would be better after an hour in the refrigerator.

Though the filling inside of the Dunkin’ Donuts Oreo Cheesecake Square isn’t a perfect replication of cheesecake flavor, I enjoyed the creamy, chocolatey, and tangy characteristics of this donut. It’s just as tasty as the other donuts on the Dunkin’ menu, but because there’s nothing groundbreaking here, I can’t call it spectacular. In other words, it’s not worth a special trip to your local Dunkin’, but it certainly deserves a spot in your next dozen.

Ya know, maybe a little cheese in desserts isn’t so bad after all.

But definitely not with my Grandma Nadezhda’s Chocolate Head Cheese Surprise. Blech.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 Donut – 370 calories, 160 calories from fat, 18 grams of total fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 400 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 22 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Oreo Cheesecake Square Donut
Purchased Price: $1.04
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Frosting and Oreo crumbles blend into Cookies ‘n Cream flavor. Tangy cheesecake filling. Feels less dense than actual cheesecake. Thrashing at Bee Gees concerts.
Cons: Lukewarm cream makes me uncomfortable. Not tastier than other Dunkin’ donuts. Cats obsessed with hot dogs.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Croissant Donut

Dunkin' Donuts Croissant Donut 1

I remember the first time I heard the name Dominique Ansel and something called a Cronut.

Shortly after learning she he was not a member of an Eastern European figure skating team, I decided that the SoHo, New York pastry chef was a freaking genius. Aside from the fact his combination of flaky, buttery croissant and yeasty, sugary donut may have been the most effective joint American-French venture since the Revolutionary War, the Cronut struck me as the perfect marriage of taste and texture with kitchen science and dedicated craftsmanship. Sonnets, I suppose, will one day be written on the cultural significance of the Cronut—an amazing feat, really, considering its relative isolation in New York City.

Well, that is, until now. Okay, so technically calling this 24-layers of fried, buttery dough a “Cronut” is incorrect, and, if you want to go all chronological on me, even national grocery stores like Safeway have been making Cronut knockoffs for the better part of 2014. But let’s not forget this is Dunkin’ Donuts. We run on this stuff, America, and if there’s one chain that can bring even a hint of Ansel’s epic creation to every corner of small towns and overcrowded suburbs, it’s Dunkin’.

Dunkin' Donuts Croissant Donut 2

The Croissant Donut I received was far from a geometric wonder. It’s not quite hexagonal enough to suggest complete machine creation and it’s missing the characteristic rounded edges of a typical donut. I would settle on a shape somewhere between “askew” and “jacked up.” Nonetheless, it smelled of the trademark Dunkin’ glaze. And it’s served in an adorable little container, which exhibits a sense of uniqueness.

Dunkin' Donuts Croissant Donut 3

I’ve always struggled with counting, but after cutting into the faux Cronut, I’m fairly sure there weren’t 24 unique and verifiable layers of buttery dough. All that said, I wasn’t too disappointed, mostly because the taste was very enjoyable. Yes, I said it: enjoyable. Maybe not the purported earth-shattering taste of Ansel’s original Cronut, but certainly better than the multiple grocery store imitators I’ve tried.

The interior dough has a moist, but light texture, like an actual croissant. It also certainly tastes like one. The interior layers, while not distinctively laminated in true pastry fashion, still gave an excellent contrast to the crunchy and ridged fried exterior, which was altogether more substantial than a typical donut. I liked that there was some heft to the Croissant Donut, which was far less airy and collapsible than the otherwise pipsqueak-sized regular Dunkin’ glazed donuts.

With all that said, I can see how it probably wouldn’t impress those lucky enough to have an actual Cronut. The glaze flavor is a classic touch, but the single-flavor fails to capitalize on a host of sweet croissant fillings, while coming across as overpriced and, yes, mass-produced. There was a part of me which wanted more distinctiveness in the interior layers, wishing for a truly pick-apart dough which was layered with chocolate or marzipan or any number of fillings.

Still, there’s no use covering up the fact that I really enjoyed Dunkin’s take on Ansel’s now-iconic Cronut. While I do think the mass-produced version is a buck too expensive and could be improved by adding flavor variations, there is something to be said for simplicity and accessibility. No, I’m sure it’ll never compare to the original award-winning Cronut, but Dunkin’ Donut’s Croissant Donut exhibits a great balance in texture and flavor and gives us non-New Yorkers something new and exciting to run on.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 Croissant Donut – 300 calories, 120 calories from fat, 14 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 0 milligrams of potassium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 2 gram of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Croissant Donut
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Better than grocery store Cronut imitators. Moist interior dough has authentic buttery taste. Crunchy outside glaze provides great textural contrast. Feels and tastes more substantial than a regular donut. Available in suburbia without a long wait.
Cons: Interior lacks optimal flakiness. Generic glazed donut sweetness limits appeal. No guarantee of freshness. No way in hell it’s only 300 calories.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Pie Coolatta

Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Pie Coolatta

Binge watching Gilmore Girls, knowing all the lyrics to “Drunk in Love,” enjoying the last Adam Sandler film – everyone has their own guilty pleasure. Mine happens to be my sick addiction for anything claiming to taste like pumpkin pie.

Unlike the crumbly, goopy mess of its cherry and blueberry cousins, pumpkin pie has its shit together. It’s an October tradition that’s sweet, spiced, and confidently autumnal. It’s also, in case you haven’t noticed, everywhere. And that’s fine by me.

Just as ubiquitous, especially in the northeast where I call home, Dunkin’ Donuts may take the prize for pumping out the most pumpkin-flavored products per capita. Say what you want about Starbucks, but I can see another Dunkin’ out the window from the one I am currently sitting in as I typing this. Both are more than eager to dole out my fix of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice in whatever latte, coffee, donut, or muffin concoction they are currently pushing.

This fall, Dunkin’ Donuts introduced the Pumpkin Pie Coolatta, which I can only imagine was created by bored Dunkin’ executive sitting around a beach haphazardly pointing at things to get the pumpkin treatment. Pumpkin-lemonade no good? Then how about a friggin’ Pumpkin Slurpee!

In reality, Dunkin’ Donuts’ Pumpkin Pie Coolatta is not far from exactly that. Like the other Coolattas on the Dunkin’ menu, this one was icy and sweet…almost saccharine.

The difference is that the Pumpkin Pie Coolatta has small granules of graham cracker embedded in the drink, pumpkin puree, and, well, it’s also flavored like a traditional fall dessert, which I am pretty sure no other Coolatta can claim.

Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Pie Coolatta Closeup

But seriously, those graham cracker crumbles bring an unbelievable element to the drink. While they are small, their pie crust texture and flavor put the pie in pumpkin pie, as opposed to just reducing the flavor to the spices that dominate the filling of the dessert. The whipped cream also gives the whole concoction not only presentation points, but that real pumpkin pie feel. This is good because the actual pumpkin pie flavor leaves much to be desired, as the flavor leans closer to scented candle then to the authentic dessert itself.

But it’s far from terrible (don’t worry, I guzzled mine down like the sick addict that I am). Although I can’t imagine I will be ordering many more Pumpkin Pie Coolattas anytime soon since there are better pumpkin products to binge on. Like kindergarten, just because it was fun once does not necessarily mean that it needs to be repeated.

(Nutrition Facts – 16 ounces – 280 calories, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 310 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 44 grams of sugar, 5 grams of protein, 35% vitamin A, 20% calcium, and 2% iron.)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Pie Coolatta
Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: Small
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Graham cracker bits and whipped cream add to the pumpkin pie flavor. Contains pumpkin puree. Whipped cream gives a real pumpkin pie feel.
Cons: Tastes like it was made by Yankee Candle. Not being able to go back to kindergarten. I know all the lyrics to “Drunk in Love.”

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Jamoca Almond Fudge Iced Coffee

Dunkin’ Donuts Jamocha Almond Fudge Iced Coffee

I sometimes use the seasonal flavors at Dunkin’ Donuts as my only calendar.

Say what you want about a system of time based scientifically on the position of the Earth as it travels around the Sun, but I can tell when it’s spring when the heart-shaped donuts get replaced by the donuts with Peeps on them. It’s that simple—no equinoxes or solstices required.

This year though, accompanying those little marshmallow chicks plopped on top of donuts, Dunkin’ Donuts teamed up with corporate homie Baskin-Robbins to bring two new coffee and latte flavors based on popular ice cream flavors from the frozen treat chain: Cookie Dough and Jamoca Almond Fudge.

I immediately went for the Jamoca Almond Fudge, a flavor I used to get at a Baskin-Robbins in my hometown back when it peaked in the summer of ‘07. This was before more exciting and trendier places like Cold Stone Creamery distracted people and my old Baskin-Robbins was eventually replaced, with true poetic irony, by a FroYo joint.

But, having long since gotten over the pain of losing that beloved ice cream shop in a global conglomerate chain of over 6,500 locations, I never really got over the pain of losing that Jamoca Almond Fudge. I have always been a fan of nutty/chocolaty combos and I was hoping that the Dunkin’ version would do it justice, because Baskin-Robbins are often hard to come by.

Dunkin’ Donuts Jamocha Almond Fudge Iced Coffee 2

Before I get started though, I gotta ask you all for some help. What the hell is “Jamoca”? Wikipedia tells me that it’s a portmanteau of the words Java (coffee) and Mocha, but doesn’t that just seem repetitive? Doesn’t “mocha” already mean chocolate and coffee? Is it possible that somewhere along the lines of coffee that is flavored like ice cream that is flavored like coffee and fudge that is flavored like almonds some things could have gotten a little mixed up?

But who cares! By the first sip all my etymological confusion disappeared faster than that late Baskin-Robbins of my younger days. I had opted for the iced coffee variety because I wanted to stay true to the whole “ice cream” deal and I was instantly thrilled. The first thing I noticed was that killer almond flavor, a perfectly nutty taste that went great with the original coffee-tinted ice cream, but even better in a cup of actual coffee. Fans of Dunkin’ Donuts’ hazelnut coffees rejoice—this one’s for you!

While it might sound obvious—it’s in the name for God’s sake—I couldn’t get over how distinctly fudgy it tasted. Seriously! All too often I find that things boasting a fudge flavor often just mean chocolate, and while there are of course much worse things in the world, I was definitely digging a true fudge flavor coupled with a lack of deception.

When it comes down to it, Jamoca Almond Fudge is perhaps the perfect flavor to transition over to an iced coffee. It maintains all the chilly creaminess and flavor of the original ice cream with the added benefit a more powerful coffee taste. While it may not be as much of an experience as an actual ice cream cone, this one, unlike the original from Baskin-Robbins, is perfectly socially acceptable to enjoy at 7:00 a.m. without looking like your life is falling apart.

(Nutrition Facts – Medium – 170 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 41 grams of carbohydrates, 35 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Jamoca Almond Fudge Iced Coffee
Purchased Price: $2.39
Size: Medium/24 fl oz.
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Intensely satisfying flavor that really does Baskin-Robbins’ flavor justice. Corporate partnerships. The fact that I was literally sitting in a Dunkin’ Donuts looking out the window at another Dunkin’ Donuts a little ways down the road when I bought this.  
Cons: Ok, I only realized in retrospect that all three flavors come in latte and iced latte versions. (All the advertising I had seen made it appear that only buttery pecan comes in a latte variety. Whoops, I guess at the end of the day its all just a few squirts of flavored high-fructose corn syrup). Not socially acceptable to enjoy ice cream at 7:00 a.m.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Cookie Dough Iced Coffee

Dunkin’ Donuts Cookie Dough Iced Coffee

I remember when Cookie Monster was able to do whatever the hell he wanted. Cookies were a breakfast, cookies were a condiment, and if he wanted to sit in the greenroom scarfing down cookies like Joey Chestnut does hot dogs on the 4th of July, nobody was gonna kill his vibe. C was for cookie, and that was good enough for him.

Then after 40 years of letting him live like a free man, PBS had to get parental and alter his diet to reflect more moderate and healthy lifestyle choices. Through clenched teeth, the Cookie Monster was forced to declare that cookies were really just a “sometimes” food and that eggplant was cool too.

Now that The Man has killed his one pride and joy, I’m guessing you can find Cookie Monster spending every off the clock hour in a Dunkin’ Donuts, inhaling these Cookie Dough Iced Coffees to try to get back the feeling of his lost love.

These probably do not taste enough like cookie dough to completely fill the void, but they do taste close enough to temporarily soothe the heartbreak.

I was excited to try this new Baskin-Robbins inspired Dunkin’ Donuts product, not just because the two names fit easily into my accent that makes me drop the g’s at the end of my -ing verbs. I also was desperate to know what their interpretation of the cookie dough flavor would be. Earlier this year, the world brought us Cookie Dough Oreo cookies, and the overwhelming Internet consensus seemed to be that they tasted like coffee. So I was perplexed. Would this Cookie Dough Iced Coffee also taste like coffee? Would it taste like an Oreo?

No, but the people over at Dunkin’ have a better handle on the cookie dough flavor than the folks at Nabisco (although I would not have been disappointed had this tasted like an Oreo.) I can’t say that I would’ve immediately recognized this as cookie dough in a blind taste test. However, in my opinion the cookie dough experience is like 75 percent texture, so I don’t think I’d recognize anything as immediately having the flavor. When told that this is a Cookie Dough Iced Coffee, I have no trouble believing them.

Dunkin’ Donuts Cookie Dough Iced Coffee Top

The drink has a strong vanilla flavor, with a little bit of a chocolate aftertaste. It is very sweet, but I find that this is much more tolerable in cold coffee drinks than hot ones. You could probably ask for less syrup if you were inclined. I did not, since I also ordered it with skim milk, and already felt high maintenance enough for my local Dunkin’ Donuts that is tucked inside of a gas station.

Sadly, I do not live near a Baskin-Robbins, so I could not try the corresponding Cookie Dough Ice Cream and compare the two. I think you could probably do something great with the two together though. At one of my first jobs I learned that ice cream makes for an incredible coffee creamer, so I imagine that the combination of the coffee and the ice cream it was inspired by would be unreal. Your blood sugar would probably describe the spike it would get in the same way.

All in all, this is good, and I will probably order it again. It is not ice cream or actual cookie dough, but it is relatively close and is disguised as something acceptable to be having at 9 a.m. Stay strong, Cookie Monster, and keep drinking the iced coffees. They’ll never know the truth.

(Nutrition Facts – 16 oz with cream – 170 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 135 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 24 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Cookie Dough Iced Coffee
Purchased Price: $2.17
Size: 16 fl oz.
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Actually tastes reminiscent of cookie dough. Baskin-Robbins Dunkin’ Donuts is fun to say five times fast. Cold and sweet and refreshing. You can feel like you’re having cookie dough ice cream while everyone else thinks you’re a responsible adult. The Cookie Monster that didn’t answer to anyone. Caffeine boosts.
Cons: Potentially obnoxious coffee shop orders. Lack of Oreo flavored iced coffee. The plight of The Cookie Monster. Blood sugar spikes.