REVIEW: Kashi Chocolate Almond Butter Soft-Baked Cookies

Kashi Chocolate Almond Butter Soft-Baked Cookies

Some mornings, I wake up and make a list of the things I could do to be a better person:

1. Learn to play the bagpipes.
2. Engineer a machine that cures allergies.
3. Prove that a Hadamard matrix exists for every positive multiple of 4.

Somewhere down that list, I eventually land on the inevitable, “Eat more whole grains.”

Ah, yes, whole grains: the former foundation of the food pyramid (prior to its 2000 re-fashioning) and topic pressed by nutritionists, early morning talk shows, and grandmoms alike, and, well, grandma knows best. While I still love my white bread and peanut butter sandwiches, no doubt more whole grains are gonna help me live longer, so, if I find a product that fulfills my grainy requirement in the form of a baked goodie, you can bet I’m on-board.

This is where Kashi cookies came into my life. Aisle 7. Tip top shelf. There it was. In shining bold letters.

Kashi Chocolate Almond Butter Soft-Baked Cookies Kashi cookies have whole grains

“Whole Grains”!

First, I would like to take a moment of appreciation for this packaging. Like a miniature treasure hunt, these cookies are housed in a package within a wrapper within a box and let’s face it: there is no replacement for the utter joy brought about by ripping open a box then ripping open another package. It builds that bubbling, anticipatory suspense… slowly…slowly… until…

Kashi Chocolate Almond Butter Soft-Baked Cookies Look at that Kashi packaging

Boom.

There it is. 8 little cookies all in a row.

Now, the gloves come off: it’s tasting time.

Well, slap me sideways and call me Cabbage McPhee. There are whole grains everywhere in this cookie. Inside each of these eight hockey-puck-shaped wonders is the dense, rocky road of Cookieland. Those classic “7 Kashi Grains” take up the majority of the cookie. The chew is a little too texturally challenging for my cookie preferences, but, if you’re a texture kid, pull out your adventure hat and hop in the Jeep Wrangler. This is an off-roadin’ cookie.

Kashi Chocolate Almond Butter Soft-Baked Cookies Oh, ye crumbly kashi cookie

This cookie’s flavors are much like a night of good jazz improv: all the components support one another. The nuttiness of those grains plays the bass beside the almond butter while the cocoa plays the saxophone, highlighting all that roasty-toasty swing (plus, who doesn’t want to play the saxophone?). It all comes together, with the chocolate being the main highlight and a hint of salty-sweet almonds at the end.

And did I mention there are chocolate chips? There are. And they’re especially soft. And especially good after microwaving the cookie for 5 seconds. Especially good.

Each cookie packs a double-punch of almonds with both almond butter in the cookie batter and whole almonds poking out from the jagged terrain of each crumbly offering. There were no noticeable almond butter swirls, but I was cool with that. The almonds echoed enough in the flavor that I trusted there was some almond butter in there doing its job.

While these rocked on taste combination, my particular box seemed to be suffering from a “Dry and Tough” disease. (Sad face) Although it wasn’t the soft chew I was hoping for, there was something I was rather fond of that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, so I ate another while listening to Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker in hopes that a holiday musical muse might descend from above and enlighten me. It was right in the middle of the “Waltz of the Snowflakes” that I realized (with a particularly dramatic gasp): these are cakey granola bars! In cylindrical hockey-puck form!

Talk about a way to energize the mid-day snack attack: whole grains, chocolate, and a recyclable box, which, after you dispose of said receptacle at your local recycling center, will give you good karma in days to come.

Within us all rests a desire to explore, and it seems the folks at Kashi channeled that urge into a cookie. While the multiple grains befuddled my child-like taste buds, I admire Kashi for what they’re doing. They like their 7 whole grains and, by gum, they’re not about to change them for anyone. There’s something admirable in embracing who/what you are and not being afraid to hide it, no matter what the cost.

At the same time, I do believe that these cookies could benefit from a tweak to the recipe that would allow them to transform from a tough granola-bar-like product into a softer cookie-like product, and I have faith that the good people at Kashi can and will do just that. In the words of that terrible 1990s parody of Star Trek, Galaxy Quest, “Never give up. Never Surrender.”

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cookie – 130 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 4 gram of dietary fiber, 7 grams of sugars, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Kashi Chocolate Almond Butter Soft-Baked Cookies
Purchased Price: $2.50 (on sale)
Size: 1 box/8 cookies
Purchased at: Harris Teeter
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Chunks of chocolate. Almonds and almond butter. Whole grains. Good karma from recycling. Learning to play the bagpipes.
Cons: Tough. Dry. A bit crumbly. References to poorly made 90s movies. The re-fashioned food pyramid. Not figuring out if a Hadamard matrix exists for every positive multiple of 4.

WHAT’S NEW – 3/2/2012

New products are released all the time and here are some we found on our most recent shopping trips. We may or may not review them, but we’d like to let you know what new items are popping up on store shelves.

V8 V-Fusion Sparkling

V8 continues to try and get us to consume fruits and vegetables in liquid form with their new V8 V-Fusion Sparking beverage. The lightly carbonated fruit juice comes in packs of four and in three flavors: Tangerine Raspberry, Black Cherry Pomegranate, and Strawberry Lemonade. One can has 60 calories, 0 fat, and provide one combined serving of vegetables and fruit. Drink What reviewed the Tangerine Raspberry and Black Cherry Pomegranate flavors.

Kashi Steam Meals

First, it was Lean Cuisine. Then, Weight Watcher Smart Ones. Now, Kashi is throwing their hat into into microwaveable bagged meal ring with their Steam Meals line. There are four varieties: Chicken Fettuccine, Roasted Garlic Chicken Farfalle, Sesame Chicken, and Spinach & Artichoke Pasta. The bagged entrees don’t contain any artificial ingredients, but do contain Kashi’s obligatory 7 Whole Grains.

Tostitos Artisan Recipes Baked Three Cheese Queso

Tostitos has expanded their Artisan Recipes tortilla chip line with a new flavor — Baked Three Cheese Queso. The three cheeses are Cheddar, Swiss, and Monterey Jack. The chips are made with 100 percent natural ingredients and are made using a 9 grain blend (take that Kashi and your 7 grains!). I didn’t see them during my trip to the store, but according to the Frito-Lay website, there’s another new Tostitos Artisan Recipes flavor — Toasted Southwestern Spices.

Egg-Land's Best Hard-Cooked Peeled Eggs

Finally, I saw these Egg-Land’s Best Hard-Cooked Peeled Eggs and thought to myself that these are perfect for those who don’t know how to boil water. But not only are they already hard-boiled, they’re also pre-peeled. This product has to be the easiest and cleanest way to eat an egg. Time to celebrate lazy egg eaters!

If you’re out shopping and see a new product on the shelf, snap a picture of it, email it to us at theimpulsivebuy@gmail.com, and you might see it in our next What’s New post.

REVIEW: Kashi Caribbean Carnival Pizza

You know that expression: “You can please some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time?” Well, Kashi should just stop making pizzas, because they are pleasing none of the people none of the time. Seriously, I really wanted to like this pizza. I’m normally a fan of everything Kashi – their frozen meals, crackers, granola bars, cereals, etcetera, etcetera. But in the past I have been let down by Kashi pizzas. Yet, I decided to give them one more chance to make amends when I saw the new delicious-sounding “Caribbean Carnival” Kashi pizza.

Spoiler alert: While I expected Kashi’s “Caribbean Carnival” pizza to invoke delightful imagery like friendly anthropomorphic parrots and jovial dark-skinned men wearing brightly colored beads in their hair; this pizza was neither “Caribbean” nor a carnival in my mouth. (Discuss!) Being a healthful eater, I normally resent when others disparage health food as tasting like cardboard – however, tasting like wonderful, delicious cardboard would probably be a lofty goal for this pizza.

Its promise of plantains, kale, fire-roasted red onions, mangoes and a “sweet and spicy Guava-infused jerk seasoned sauce” yielded a smattering of toppings lumped all in one corner of the pizza, which I meticulously picked apart and spread about before putting the pizza in the oven. Below all of that was some of the nastiest pizza crust known to mankind. I would like to know what think tank thought it would be a good idea to make a pizza crust out of ingredients like buckwheat and brown rice. Poor Antonio Pizzarelli, the inventor of the pizza pie*, would be spinning in his grave if he only knew. Normally the crust is one of my favorite parts of the pizza, and I couldn’t even get it down. Even the dog gave me the stinkface when I tried to pass it off, as if to say, “I’ll eat this because it’s technically contraband people food; but only begrudgingly so.”

The “toppings” provided little relief to the gritty taste bud-assault that was the crust. The pizza was covered mostly in kale and diced tomatoes, and I think I saw a few specs of yellow that was supposed to be mango. The best part of the pizza was undoubtedly the plantains — as I have expressed my enthusiasm for Kashi products featuring plantains in the past. But unfortunately the pizza only contained four slices of plantains and two bits of something that were probably the bodily remains of brave, fallen plantains who likely fought to the death against being put on this terrible pizza. And as for this alleged sweet and spicy Guava-infused jerk sauce…Well, I did detect some kind of flavor between the cheese and the crust, but I don’t think it tasted so much like jerk sauce as it did like “a funk.”

What separates Kashi’s Caribbean Carnival Pizza from your garden variety “fail” to an “epic fail,” is that it’s not even particularly healthy. One pizza, which is a reasonable-sized meal for most people, clocks in at over 800 whopping calories. You could probably eat two slices of real pizza for that and not feel let down like a kid who gets socks for Christmas.

* Look it up!

(Nutrition Facts – 1/3 pizza (120 grams) – 280 calories, 8 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 590 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, 14 grams of protein and 10% iron.)

(NOTE: Here’s another take on this pizza.)

Item: Kashi Caribbean Carnival Pizza
Price: $6.99 [sale price, reg. $7.99]
Size: 12.7 ounces
Purchased at: Shop Rite
Rating: 2 out of 10
Pros: The bites with plantain on them were almost not terrible. Pleasing all of the people all of the time. Friendly anthropomorphic parrots.
Cons: Pizza crust tasted like puppies crying. No mango. Not enough plantains. Eating this instead of real pizza. Horrible taste plus not great nutritional value plus outlandish price like getting raped in three orifices. Getting socks for Christmas.

REVIEW: Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake

I am generally a fan of Kashi products — being a lazy pseudo-hipster who likes to buy overpriced food that’s touted as healthy without having to go through all of the effort of visiting hippie food stores and co-ops to make my own healthy food. It’s what I like to refer to as “The American Way.” And when it comes to frozen meals I’ve found that Kashi tends to be the Cadillac of the frozen food aisle. Or rather, should I say the electric Cadillac-hybrid with a solar powered espresso maker in the dash.

Kashi’s Mayan Harvest Bake was really no exception. Perfect for autumn, the harvest bake (or, harvest microwave, technically) consisted of plantains, kale, sweet potatoes and black beans over a bed of Kashi’s trademark 7 grain pilaf, polenta and amaranth — whatever the hell amaranth is — covered in a spicy Ancho sauce. It’s like, seriously Kashi? Sweet potatoes, plantains and black beans? (Oh my!) Those are only some of my favorite things in the food universe. The only way I could have been more content eating this meal would be if Kashi accompanied it with a warm towel and back rub.

Oh! Oh! Oh! And did I even mention the pumpkin seeds? The glorious, glorious pumpkin seeds? Indeed, the meal came with a generous portion of pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top, which I picked off and ate separately because I am what I like to call a “food separatist.” Seriously though, name me another frozen meal out there that comes with actual pumpkin seeds. See? You can’t even do it.

Lucky for food separatist me, the mish-mash of a food bowl was layered in such a way that I was able to eat the plantains, which were plump and delectable despite somehow coming from a tray out of the microwave, apart from the sweet potatoes, which were charred on the edges in such a way that I assume the product had once been, in fact, baked. The Ancho sauce complimented the meal well, which was sweet, spicy and delicious, although while the plantains and sweet potatoes were flavorful enough on their own, some of the parts on the pilaf underneath didn’t get much sauce on it, making it taste a bit bland.

The Mayan Harvest Bake is one of Kashi’s vegan meals, which means it’s also ideal for lazy pseudo-hipster vegetarians. It’s also all natural, which means Kashi didn’t want to make us have to pay another dollar for it by making it say “organic.” It’s really considerate of them, if you think about it. The Harvest Bake is also a nutritional smorgasbord, touting an impressive nine grams of protein (for something that doesn’t contain any meat), eight grams of fiber and 400 milligrams of potassium from the plantains, which is basically just a fancy way of saying “banana.”

Unfortunately, for the steep price tag of over $5.00 a box, regularly priced, it would probably be more cost-efficient to get your potassium intake the old fashioned way by just eating actual bananas.

(Nutrition Facts – 10 ounces (1 package) – 340 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 380 milligrams of sodium, 58 grams of carbohydrates, 8 gram of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, 9 grams of protein and 20% iron.)

(NOTE: I Ate A Pie also reviewed it.)

Item: Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake
Price: 2 for $6.00 (sale price)
Size: 10 ounces
Purchased at: Fresh Grocer
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Delicious. Sweet potatoes. Black beans. Fancy bananas. Pumpkin seeds, bitches.
Cons: No warm towel or massage with meal. Goddamn expensive regularly priced. Not stocking up on more Mayan Harvest Bake while they were on sale.

NEWS: One of Kashi’s Latest Veggie Pizzas Fails To Keep It Real

Some of the things I think about when it comes to delicious pizza are how unhealthy they are, how greasy they are and what my face looked like when I was 13 years old, but health nutty companies like Kashi and Amy’s are making pizzas a little bit healthier by not topping theirs with meat products. That’s great, but the new Kashi Sicilian Veggie Pizza has gotten me worried because it doesn’t have cheese.

The Sicilian Veggie is a stone fired pizza covered with caramelized onions, grilled eggplant, fire roasted red peppers on top of a balsamic infused white bean tomato sauce. But, again, there’s no cheese.

According to my computer’s dictionary, a pizza is, “a dish of Italian origin consisting of a flat, round base of dough baked with a topping of tomato sauce and cheese, typically with added meat or vegetables.”

See what it said? Pizza has to have cheese. Because it’s in a dictionary, I believe it to be fact, and my computer’s dictionary doesn’t lie because it has a picture of Spencer Pratt under the definition for “asshole.”

So, technically, the Kashi Sicilian Veggie isn’t a pizza, but Kashi’s other new pizza is one. The Mexicali Black Bean Thin Crust has a whole grain crust topped with a spicy black bean and tomato sauce blend, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, fire roasted corn, tomatillos, poblano peppers and red peppers.

Now that’s a pizza.

One-third of the Sicilian Veggie has 200 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 530 milligrams of sodium, 120 milligrams of potassium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein. While a serving of the Mexicali Black Bean has 210 calories, 7 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 560 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber and 13 grams of protein. Both pizzas also contain 9 grams of whole grains and 340 milligrams of ALA Omega-3s per serving.