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. 

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Peeps Donut

Dunkin' Donuts Peeps Donut Peep Donut

7:30 in the morning and fresh from the dusty, diesel-packed streets of the Bowery, I swung into the Dunkin’ Donuts, dodging the heating lamps of hash browns and the baskets of 99 cent danishes. I sought neither the jelly-puffed munchkin nor the swirls in the Butter Pecan Latte. Nay, I came for one thing and one thing alone: a torus-shaped chunk of fried dough topped with an artificially colored marshmallow.

Dunkin' Donuts Peeps Donut Smooshed Peep face

Is it a chicken? A warbler? An artist’s interpretation of a Saffron Finch? Much like the Hero’s Journey to the center of the Tootsie Roll, the world may never know what the true breed the Peep “chickadee” is (then again, I’m not a very good ethnographer). What I do know is that each little plop of Dunkin’s dough is topped with one of these aviary escapees, not to mention being doused in a glaze of sugar and artificial colors, which reminds me of Fruity Pebbles, which reminds me of Childhood Joy. So it stands to conclude that this doughnut is made out of Joy, right?

Dunkin' Donuts Peeps Donut Sawdust cake

The doughnut comes out with all the vibrancy of a Lisa Frank commercial and its 21 grams of sugar gives an equally vibrant kick in the pants. As hoped for, the anticipated sugar glaze hits first, tasting of little more than the joy of refined, gritty sugary-ness with a hint of vanilla extract. It’s layered on moderately thick and there’s a little crunch as you bite into the softened glaze as it softens and dissolves into a gritty, sweet mess (the best mess there is). This fructose-laden rainbow-brick-road paves the way as you chomp towards the epicenter that is the Peep. You have the option to eat your Peep as you choose. Just remember: that special feeling that comes with chomping the head of a Peep? No one can take that away from you.

Dunkin' Donuts Peeps Donut One day, this Peep's ghost will seek vengeance on me

The speed bump in the sugary journey came as I bit into the piece of yeast dough. Dry. Pasty. Stiff. This was not Joy. “Did I come in on a bad morning?” I asked myself. “Is the fryer on the fritz? Has a ill-willed goblin from the 7th dimension taken over the Dunkin’ Donut kitchen? BAH! How do I handle ill-willed goblins? What do they have against doughnuts? And how will I be able to attain a mass-marketed piece of adequately fried dough in light of my incapacity to handle a species I’ve yet to understand?”

These questions were left unanswered as I gnawed my way to the center of the dry piece of bread, each bite bringing only more disappointment. Sure, I always hope for a sugary, dense cake, but even a slightly fresh, modestly moist cake will do. I’ve even been known to take day-old doughnuts and plop them in the microwave to give ‘em a little kick in the fluff. But this? This was overcooked, even cottony, tasting more like stale Wonder Bread. Wonder Bread tossed in sawdust. Combined with the Peep and it was like chomping a slightly stretchy piece of sugar-coated Styrofoam, the little crumbs of dried out cake spewing dried-out shrapnel every which way. Perhaps a slightly denser cake doughnut may have stood the test better? I don’t know, but I fear this one just didn’t cut it for me.

Thankfully, I had a hot chocolate at the ready because what goes better with a bird-shaped marshmallow than a frothy beverage of molten cocoa? I would suggest you consider doing the same: grab yourself a coffee, a Cookie Dough Coolata, whatever joe suits your fancy. While dry on its own, the pastry makes excellent dunking material (this is Dunkin’ after all). The beverage adds a bitter, sharp bite to the sugar onslaught while filling in the nooks of hardened dough with a little bit of moisture and caffeine. You will be happy. Your Peep will be happy. The goblins of the 7th dimension will be happy.

Dunkin' Donuts Peeps Donut Peep protects its territory

Have a sweet tooth? Or ten? Do all of them crave straight sugar laced with sugar that tastes of sugar on a dry piece of bread? If you answered yes to all of the above, the Peeps doughnut is here for you. While I admire the seasonal charm, the colors threaten to blind your sensitive eyeballs and the dry cake is just blee-blah-bloo. In the future, I’ll steer clear of this one, but again…seasonal. It’s a good idea, DD, but I spoke to the Easter bunny this weekend and he told me he’s looking for a Girl Scout Cookie doughnut to deliver next year. So how ‘bout it Dunkin’: Will you heed the bunny’s call?

(Nutrition Facts – 310 calories, 130 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 340 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 21 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Peeps Donut
Purchased Price: $1.09
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Corn syrup! Fructose! Bright colors! Slight crunch from the glaze. Poofy marshmallow. Stretchy marshmallow. Marshmallow dunked in hot chocolate. Childhood Joy.
Cons: Bright colors may result in blindness. Dry dough. Stale Wonder Bread tossed in sawdust. Still wondering: how many licks to the center of a Tootsie Pop? Goblins of the 7th dimension. Me not being a good ethnographer.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Eggs Benedict Breakfast Sandwich

Dunkin Donuts Eggs Benedict Breakfast Sandwich

11:32 a.m.

The Weinstein Company

Pitch meeting

Harvey: Let’s hear it.

Kevin: Okay, so the Chronologizer draws historically evil people from the universe and gives them a chance for redemption. They are put on a time-traveling super team with state-of-the-art technology and zoom around righting the wrongs that are being perpetuated by the destructive Future Lord. The fabric of time-space is on the line. And here’s the kicker: They’re called the Benedicts. And they’re all named Benedict.

There’s Benedict Arnold, revolutionary war leader and defector—a hand wringing traitor. His two-faced attempt to surrender as a general revealed him to be a sniveling backstabber. Then there’s Pope Benedict XVI. A Hitler Youth as a child, Benedict later in life became the leader of a Catholic Church that attempted to whitewash evidence of rampant pedophilia. And Benedict Cumberbatch.

Harvey: Okay, this one…

Kevin: Just look into his eyes.

Harvey: But…

Kevin: Just look into his eyes. Everyone sees it. He’s Khan! He’s Smaug! This guy is some reptile half-breed for sure. He’s gonna play villains for the next twenty years of his career. He’s evil. Just look into his eyes.

Harvey: And what is this over here?

Kevin: This, my dear man, is the Dunkin’ Donuts Eggs Benedict Breakfast Sandwich. I had one the other day.

Harvey: It’s evil?

Dunkin Donuts Eggs Benedict Breakfast Sandwich 2

Kevin: Let me finish. It looks innocuous, like a regular breakfast sandwich that you’d get at McDonald’s or Burger King or, hell, Dunkin’ Donuts. But at first bite, the English muffin is kinda tough and dry, not soft and chewy like a McMuffin.

The texture wouldn’t be a complete deal breaker, but they put so much “hollandaise flavored spread” (that’s what they call it, since it’s not real hollandaise) on the sandwich it’s like squeezing two pieces of plywood together with cookie dough in the middle. It gets all over the place. The amount of sauce they slop on is like Dunkin’ Donuts is passively angry with us. It’s not even a great sauce. The texture is a little like a cross between old mayonnaise and Elmer’s glue. It’s got a creamy taste with a lemony finish (and contains zero eggs), and tries to emulate a real hollandaise with a laboratory mix of butter and cheese. Instead of coming off as zesty, though, the goopy sauce tastes sour.

The actual eggs in the sandwich are decent, with a nice separation of orange-y egg yolk and egg white that makes me think it’s not completely processed. The black forest ham is lost in the shuffle—the sauce is too strong and it overpowers the sandwich. It all ends up tasting like what would happen if a chef described Eggs Benedict to an alien and then it tried to make it once. It’s not spit-out-of-mouth disgusting. It’s more like an I-wouldn’t-buy-this-again snorefest.

Harvey: A so-so Eggs Benedict.

Kevin: Yeah, that’s about right.

Harvey: How is that evil?

Kevin: Okay. If mediocrity is the mother of boredom, and boredom is the mother of evil, then…boom. That’s a Kierkegaard quote, I think. You don’t want to argue with that guy.

Harvey: Let me get this straight. Benedict Arnold, Pope Benedict XVI, Benedict Cumberbatch, and a Dunkin’ Donuts Eggs Benedict Sandwich travel through time to save the universe and redeem themselves in the process.

Kevin: Yeah. Arnold is like the munitions guy, the Pope is the loose cannon, Cumberbatch is the disguise guy and the sandwich is the muscle. Oh, and they are assembled by Terry Benedict, Andy Garcia’s fictional casino mogul from Ocean’s 11. Terry is like their Bosley.

Harvey: Do you have anyone currently tied to this project?

Kevin: Yeah, we have interest from Clooney to play the Pope, and the sad dude from The Office who was in love with Erin to play Benedict Cumberbatch. We were thinking we could go a different direction and get Idris Elba to play Arnold. We’re in talks.

Harvey: Can you get an Egg McMuffin to play the Dunkin’ Donuts sandwich?

Kevin: It would take a few hours in the prosthetics chair every morning, but I think we can do that.

Harvey: All right, then. Congratulations. I think we’re eyeing a 2016 release. Let’s make a movie.

(Nutrition Facts – 300 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 90 grams of cholesterol, 790 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein.)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Eggs Benedict Breakfast Sandwich
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Not outwardly disgusting. Eggs possess a nice texture.
Cons: Hollandaise flavored spread all over your lap, sour-y and not fresh tasting. A one-note sandwich—it just tastes like sauce. English muffin is a bit tough.