REVIEW: Hostess Limited Edition Cherry Chocodile Twinkies

Hostess Limited Edition Cherry Flavored Chocodile Twinkies

Dear Hostess,

I would like to commend your recent decision to revive Chocodiles, those chocolate-coated, cream-filled sponge cakes. Their reappearance was honestly the most surprising comeback of something dead since Hologram Tupac did a little dance at Coachella. Kids these days, am I right?

But alas, all is not right with the world. Though our precious chocolate-covered Twinkies have returned, the beloved mascot of Chocodile snack cakes, Chauncey Chocodile, remains missing. Many years ago, you chose to remove his image from both Chocodiles boxes and the Hostess website, and he hasn’t been seen since. Without a goofy, spectacles-wearing, anthropomorphic crocodile encouraging the American youth to consume sugary treats, we are lost.

Where is Chauncey? Is he locked away in some Hostess factory basement, surviving on a diet of Zingers and stale fruit pies? Is his disappearance a result of witness protection, having seen countless victims fall to the gun-slinging Twinkie the Kid? Rumors have spread that Chauncey’s been spotted smuggling Ho Hos into North Korea alongside Captain Cupcake and King Ding Dong, but I have my doubts — everybody knows Kim Jong Un prefers Little Debbie products.

Hoping to discover a clue related to his disappearance, I recently purchased a package of Limited Edition Cherry Chocodile Twinkies. To my disappointment, I found no hostage letters inside. The box only held nine chocolate-covered sponge cakes filled with cherry-flavored cream.

Though my quest for answers will not be smothered by snack foods made with hydrogenated oil and xanthan gum, I decided to eat the cakes anyway.

Chauncey’s catchphrase was “it takes a while to eat a Chocodile,” but I’m afraid I have to disagree. Each cake is a meager 1.45 ounces, whereas the original Chocodiles were 2 ounces. Even so, I can’t decry the portion size. The snack cakes are so sugary sweet that 1.45 ounces is plenty.

Hostess Limited Edition Cherry Flavored Chocodile Twinkies 3

I expected the cherry flavor to be exaggerated, with a cough syrup-like sharpness, but it was surprisingly subtle. Each bite contained an ample amount of the cherry filling, which offers a creaminess reminding me of cherry-flavored buttercream. The fruity filling feels natural alongside the chocolate and sponge cake flavors of a traditional Chocodile.

Cherry and chocolate is one flavor pairing that just works, and Cherry Chocodiles are no exception to the rule. Chauncey would be impressed.

Hostess Limited Edition Cherry Flavored Chocodile Twinkies 2

My only complaint is that the chocolate feels low quality. As a previous review mentioned, the Chocodile chocolate glaze is somewhat waxy. After consuming just a single Chocodile, I felt the chocolate clinging to the back of my throat in a disagreeable fashion. Hostess, once you take care of this Chauncey Chocodile issue, you should probably get to work on improving your chocolate.

Ah, crap. I’ve digressed a bit. Anyway, back to my main point.

I beseech you, Hostess. Prove to the public you have nothing to hide and disclose the whereabouts of Chauncey Chocodile. It’s time for his visage to once again adorn the boxes of Chocodiles lining the aisles of my local gas station convenience store.

Sincerely,

A concerned citizen

PS – I expect to see a hologram Chauncey take the stage with Dre and Snoop at the next Coachella. Just sayin’.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cake – 160 calories, 70 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 18 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Hostess Limited Edition Cherry Chocodile Twinkies
Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 9 cakes
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Ample filling in each bite. Subtle, creamy cherry flavor. Cherry and chocolate pairing works. Hologram Tupac.
Cons: Waxy chocolate clings to back of throat. The unexplained disappearance of a Hostess mascot.

REVIEW: Limited Time Only Cinnamon Sugar Pringles Tortillas

Limited Time Only Cinnamon Sugar Pringles Tortillas

Like a mannequin in New Era Caps or the former major league outfielder Matt Stairs, Julius Pringle might well be called a man of many hats. Between bacon and sriracha, reduced fat and diarrhea-inducing “Fat Free” crisps, he lays claim to a snack food empire with more flavor variations than a Coke Freestyle machine. And while he’s re-released his seasonal Pecan Pie Pringles in time for the holidays, he’s also donned a sombrero just in time to wish you and I a Feliz Navidad.

I speak, of course, of the new Cinnamon Sugar Pringles Tortillas. The flavor coincides with the annual need to turn savory into sweet this time each year, joining fellow new limited edition Pringles flavor, milk chocolate, on grocery store shelves.

Limited Time Only Cinnamon Sugar Pringles Tortillas 5

Also consistent with the season: the shoddy packaging, which, much like the millions of gifts shipped in oversized containers and without proper padding, tends to leaves the Pringles battered and broken. It’s mitigated somewhat by the more sturdy nature of the tortilla base compared to regular Pringles, but it’s still annoying. Although not as annoying as waking up Christmas morning to a cracked HDTV.

If you’ve ever had the Tortilla Pringles before you know the crisps enjoy a mild corn flavor with an enjoyable but none-too-bold toasted flavor. There’s an earthy note of black beans and a moderate crunch and saltiness, but overall, it’s a crisp that’s not going to offend anyone.

To pick back up on the holiday theme, it’s the kind of crisp that talks about the weather at parties, perhaps munching on a sugar cookie in the corner while smiling pleasantly and staying as far away from the eggnog as possible. God forbid it might sing along to a Bing Crosby song, it instead hums an ambiguous classical note in the background.

Limited Time Only Cinnamon Sugar Pringles Tortillas 3

The addition of cinnamon sugar really doesn’t deviate too much from this philosophy. Coating only the “underside” of each crisp, the cinnamon sugar is pretty tame. With no notes of toasted, caramelized sweetness it’s as one-note as cinnamon sugar comes, and feels detached from the corn crisp beneath. It’s kind of a shame, really, because for a brief moment there’s a nice salty-sweet combination that feels natural amongst the tortilla base.

The excitement dissipates quickly though, and like a kid at Christmas who’s just opened up a buttload of wrapped gifts only to find clothes, the anticipation is replaced by a functional reality. In other words? Prepared to have some kind of salsa on hand.

For some reason I thought the Pringles Tortillas Cinnamon Sugar would taste like churros, or at the very least open a new front in the ever chic line of salty-sweet combinations. It manages to hint at the latter, but completely falls short of the former. If nothing else it just provides an adequate and mildly enjoyable corn chip for your holiday get-togethers filled with weather conversations and reduced fat sugar cookies.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz./about 14 crisps – 150 calories, 80 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 110 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 3 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Item: Limited Time Only Cinnamon Sugar Pringles Tortillas
Purchased Price: $1.50
Size: 6.42 oz. can
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Enjoyable lightly toasted corn flavor with earthy aftertaste. Lickable cinnamon-sugar coating. Functional tortilla chip not the least bit off-putting.
Cons: Cinnamon sugar coating is only surface deep. Not as salty or bold a corn flavor as Fritos. Chips shatter easily. Aftertaste is kind boring. Christmas morning with twelve new turtlenecks.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Lay’s Wavy Dark Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

Limited Edition Lay's Wavy Dark Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

If you look at the Limited Edition Lay’s Wavy Dark Chocolate Covered Potato Chips, you might think this review is easy to write. The dark chocolate and potato chips combination looks like a slam dunk, and I could write an entire review using these seven words:

“These are awesome. Go get some…NOW!”

And then after hitting “Publish,” I pick up my keyboard, drop it onto the floor, make an explosion motion with my hands as I say “BOOM”, and walk away from my desk bobbing my head to a beat in my mind and with each hand held up high with the number one sign.

Since this review is already much longer than those seven words, you’ve probably assumed that I don’t think these dark chocolate covered potato chips are awesome. They aren’t, but they’re good. Not very good, just good.

Last year, I wrote the following about the Limited Edition Lay’s Wavy Milk Chocolate Covered Potato Chips:

“Salt plays a huge part in what makes potato chips so addictive, but my taste buds didn’t regularly register any. And for those times I did, it wasn’t as potent as I hoped it would be. I think I can get a more pronounced saltiness on my tongue if I ran in place for 20 seconds and then licked myself.”

Limited Edition Lay's Wavy Dark Chocolate Covered Potato Chips Closeup

Well, I’m happy to say lack of salt wasn’t an issue with the new Limited Edition Lay’s Wavy Dark Chocolate Covered Potato Chips. According to the computer generated picture on the front of its packaging, it’s got what slugs hate. Salt. There weren’t large grains of sea salt on mine, but most times it tasted like there were. Actually, there were times when when these chocolate covered Lay’s Wavy chips were disturbingly salty, like waves in the ocean.

Another issue I had with the milk chocolate version of the chips was how the flavor of the potato chip got lost in the chocolate. I thought the salt might help the potato chip flavor pop a little bit more, but it didn’t. Although, the salt did help the dark chocolate pop a little bit more.

Just like last year’s milk chocolate covered chips, these come in a 5-ounce bag. If you’re wondering how many chips that equals to, here’s a photo.

Limited Edition Lay's Wavy Dark Chocolate Covered Potato Chips Contents

For most of the chips, the decent tasting dark chocolate covers only one side, which was the case with last year’s chips. It’s a thick layer of chocolate, which gives each chip a nice heft. Even with that thick layer, the potato chip underneath still lets out a hearty crunch.

I know it reads like I’m super down on these Limited Edition Lay’s Wavy Dark Chocolate Covered Potato Chips, but I really did like them. They are tasty and I love the crunch, but they don’t blow my mind because those bursts of salt were a bit weird to me and the balance between potato chip and chocolate leans way too heavily on the chocolate side.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz/about 3 chips – 160 calories, 90 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Limited Edition Lay’s Wavy Dark Chocolate Covered Potato Chips
Purchased Price: $3.99*
Size: 5 oz. bag
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Good. It’s potato chips in frickin’ chocolate. Lay’s decided to make a dark chocolate version. This time I could taste salt. Salt helps dark chocolate pop more. Chips still have a hearty crunch.
Cons: Not awesome. At times, the chips were disturbingly salty. Potato chip flavor is hardly noticeable. Nutrition facts are for only three chips. Not something I would eat as often as regular potato chips. Some might think $3.99 is pricey for what you get.

*Desperate to buy these, I had to get them from eBay. I paid $26 for three bags. No, $26 is not a typo. The $3.99 is the retail price that the person who sold me the chips probably paid.

REVIEW: Limited Time Only Milk Chocolate Pringles

Limited Time Only Milk Chocolate Pringles

It’s that time of year again!

It’s that time when 90 percent of the children who ask for a pony for Christmas don’t get one, the Today Show has segments about the most popular and the most dangerous toys this holiday season, and when Pringles comes out with a new limited edition sweet Pringles flavor.

This year, Julius Pringles is pushing Limited Time Only Milk Chocolate Pringles.

For those of you who have been living a sheltered life for the past few years, this whole sweet Pringles thing started back in 2012 when Pumpkin Pie Spice, White Chocolate Peppermint, and Cinnamon & Sugar Pringles were released.

Last year, White Chocolate and Pecan Pie Pringles popped up on store shelves here in the U.S. and Mint Choc Pringles in the U.K. With Milk Chocolate Pringles now available, I predict we’ll see Sea Salt Caramel Pringles in 2015.

After peeling back the foil top of the Pringles can, I took a whiff. It smells like I was a mile downwind from a Color Run that used only brown Nesquik and the course went around a potato chip factory.

Limited Time Only Milk Chocolate Pringles Closeup

The sweet seasoning, which is brown in color and made with cocoa, makes each crisp look like it was used as a Swiffer cloth. But I don’t believe there’s enough flavoring on each potato crisp, because it doesn’t equate to a noticeable milk chocolate flavor. I had to French kiss several Limited Time Only Milk Chocolate Pringles at one time to get a decent milk chocolate flavor. Actually, I wouldn’t even call it “milk chocolate.” If they called this flavor Hot Cocoa, that would be more believable.

Also, whatever chocolate flavor there is doesn’t last very long. And once it’s gone, all that’s left is the underlying dry potato crisp. You might think, “Hey, if it’s a dry potato crisp, then it must taste like a regular Pringle.” Oh no, my soon to be disappointed friend, the flavor that remains is not like regular Pringles. There’s not much salt to hide the potato crisp’s naked flavor. It’s not gross, but I imagine it’s what a very low sodium Diet Pringles would taste like.

Overall, Milk Chocolate Pringles is my least favorite of all the sweet Pringles flavors I’ve tried. Instead of milk chocolate-flavored Pringles, I wish the Kellogg Company used all the processed food technology they have at their disposal to make milk chocolate-covered Pringles.

Of course, there might be problems, like potato crisps sticking together because of melted chocolate or me reaching 300 percent of my daily saturated fat in one day because I might eat the entire can in a 30 minute session. But I say it’s worth the risk.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz. – 150 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 95 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Limited Time Only Milk Chocolate Pringles
Purchased Price: $3.99*
Size: 5.96 oz.
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Tolerable. Learning the mustached one is Julius Pringles. Getting a pony.
Cons: More hot cocoa than milk chocolate. Faint cocoa aroma. Chocolate flavor disappears quickly. Cocoa powder looks like dirt on a Pringle. Not chocolate-covered Pringles.

* I had to buy this off of eBay because it hasn’t show up here on this rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. If you find them in stores, you’ll probably pay $1-$2.

REVIEW: Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Speculoos Cookie Butter Cups

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Speculoos Cookie Butter Cups

Ever since buying this tub, I’ve woken up to a THWUMB, THWUMB, THWUMB outside my window. Upon investigating, I find nothing at the window. I am convinced it is a) a very stupid pigeon, b) the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe, or c) a telepathic message from Professor X that states, “Margaret…you’re a Mutant. You must join the X-Men!” No matter which, it’s clear this thing eats cookie butter cups and wants them bad, but can’t quite figure out the whole “opening the window” thing (hence why it is not a breed of hyper-intelligent monkey or particularly creepy human).

But it makes perfect sense for this creature to try to get in every morning to obtain this little tub of aluminum-studded cups. Let me tell you why.

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Speculoos Cookie Butter Cups TJ Cookie Butter cup escapes from foil

Sparing us from frippery of fluted cups, Trader Joe’s delivers a simple, complete concept right out of the golden foil. The size of a mini Reese’s Cup but with a firmer, darker outer shell, these start off with a striking visual impression, a sensation that swiftly carries over to the taste.

This is not a hyper-sugared confection that coats your tongue, no glucose-ridden lozenge that burns as it courses down as if the Almighty were ripping out your trachea. No, this is just quality semisweet chocolate, dark, bitter, and smooth like a 1965 Clint Eastwood riding out into the vengeance-ridden dusk.

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Speculoos Cookie Butter Cups Cookie Butter Cup insides!!

Stuffed into each nub is a generous helping of cookie butter paste. Smooth, but slightly crumbly, that inner spread tastes of the named pulverized Speculoos cookies, highlighting the oat-cinnamon streusel notes. This filling, coupled with the woodsy, coffee-wisped chocolate, pushes this candy to the top, the cream of the crop, the Chrome Viking Refrigerators of confectionary-dom.

Just one problemo: there are only 28. Sure, it’s a pretty good number, but for $4.99, I do wish there were a few more. Desperate to hold on for as long as possible, I tried to ration them out. Like today: I’ll only have 2 cups…or maybe 3…or 4…

(2 hours later, upon emptying tub)

Sugar is GOOD!!! I feel I could pick up a lawnmower and fling it across a baseball field! I am invincible! I am unstoppable! I AM a Mutant!

(1 hour later, upon going to Home Depot and looking at lawnmowers)

I overestimated myself. I am not a Mutant. I am not even an Animorph. I am more like the lanky, awkward teenager hired to stand outside the store dressed in a paper mache koala suit. Nothing near a Mutant. Just a mortal, attempting to down a bag of sugar, chocolate, and crumbled cookies.

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Speculoos Cookie Butter Cups Cookie Butter Cup sculpture

But maybe that’s okay. It certainly doesn’t make these cookie butter cups any less delicious. With such quality semisweet chocolate and a good ratio of cookie butter stuffed in each, who needs to be a mutated superhero? Maybe I could become one if I were to share these with that creature that rattles at my window, but me? Share these? I think I would rather be trampled by a fleet of rabid pigeons.*

*Not sure if pigeons can contract rabies.

(Nutrition Facts – 3 pieces – 180 calories, 120 calories from fat, 13 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 20 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 14 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Speculoos Cookie Butter Cups
Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 11 oz. tub
Purchased at: Trader Joe’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Smooth chocolate. Crumbly insides. Streusel-like filling. Nice balance of sugary insides to bittersweet outsides. Provides you with enough energy to throw a lawnmower. Messages from Professor X.
Cons: Those sensitive to dark chocolate may be sad. Runs out quickly. I am not a Mutant. Rabid pigeons.