REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Banana Chocolate Milano Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Banana Chocolate Milano Cookies

As I sit here gazing out at mounds of dirty snow piled as far as the eye can see, I dream of a better place.

So disillusioned, I choose to believe a bite into Pepperidge Farm’s new Banana Chocolate Milano cookie will result in a reverse York Peppermint Patty effect and I will be whisked away to beautiful Milan, Italy.

Perhaps one single bite will send me to a tropical island, where I can pluck ripe bananas straight from a tree. We’ll soon find out.

It seems wild to call a cookie that is shelved right next to fish-shaped crackers aimed at children “decadent,” but that’s the word that comes to mind when I think of a Milano.

I’m of the opinion you can’t screw up a Milano. I’ve tried plenty of varieties and liked em all. I’m also a massive banana groupie (that doesn’t sound right) so I have no doubts these would be winners.

Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Banana Chocolate Milano Cookies 2

I don’t know what it is with Pepperidge Farm’s packaging, but I never seem to open it properly. After tearing the bag to shreds, I was hit with an unmistakable banana scent that perked me up. It reminded me of the smell when you walk into a bakery. I was now ready to be whisked away.

Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Banana Chocolate Milano Cookies 4

When I took the first bite into the wafer, nothing happened. The world isn’t fair.

It tasted as if the wafer had a bit of banana flavor baked in. But I couldn’t really tell if it was the banana filling bleeding through. I’m pleading ignorance here. I think it just tasted that way since it’s such an airy wafer. That’s one of the best parts about Milano, the crunchy, but not at all dense cookie.

I put it in my mouth and inhaled it like a total weirdo. Who does that? I essentially tried to smoke a cookie. I can tell you there is a nice banana…um, air when you try to smoke a cookie. Don’t smoke cookies, kids.

It wasn’t until I hit the center that the banana flavor come out in full force.

Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Banana Chocolate Milano Cookies 3

There’s a thin layer of banana filling with the familiar chocolate layer. It had a similar texture to the chocolate. The bag actually refers to it as “banana flavored chocolate.”

Here’s my question: Where has “banana flavored chocolate” been my entire life? This was a revelation for me. I mean, I’m sure plenty of products have used a similar substance before, but why wasn’t I aware of it? I feel like I’ve missed so much. “Banana flavored chocolate” is awesome. I want more of this banana chocolate concoction in my life.

The banana is strong but not overly so. I think banana bread is very dependent on texture, but these should remind you of that flavor. Few things top a nice fresh slice of banana bread, but these are a great attempt at imitating the flavor in cookie form, with the added bonus of chocolate mixed in.

After the initial tasting, I kept a few aside to have with my morning coffee, and it was naturally a delicious pairing. Banana Chocolate Milano Cookies are a home run. As far as I’m concerned, Pepperidge Farm still hasn’t made a bad Milano.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Banana Chocolate Milano Cookies
Purchased Price: $3.59
Size: 7 oz. (about 16 cookies)
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Banana flavored chocolate. Milano’s consistency. Airy wafer. Great for dipping. No artificial flavors or preservatives. A short reprieve from the winter blues.
Cons: No instant transportation properties in each bite. A rapidly growing cookie smoking habit. Fear of missing out on more banana flavored chocolate treats. Pain in the neck packaging. Limited edition.

REVIEW: Cadbury Oreo Creme Egg (Canada)

Cadbury Oreo Creme Egg

How did the Oreo Creme Egg not already exist? It just feels right, doesn’t it?

It feels like the last few years of Creme Egg varieties has been leading up to this moment. Now all we need is a Creme Egg-flavoured Oreo so that the whole world can fold in on itself, like two Ron Silvers touching each other in Timecop, but on a cosmic scale.

Before I go any further, I need to talk about how amazing the new Creme Egg packaging is. I think I can say without an ounce of hyperbole that it’s the greatest thing to happen to humanity since the invention of the printing press. Gone are the days of struggling to remove the foil wrapper in one clean piece, and having to contend with fiddly little half-stuck pieces of foil that make you want to hurl yourself head-first through a plate-glass window.

Instead, you just pull apart the seam on the two pieces of egg-shaped plastic and it pops open, effortlessly revealing the Creme Egg bounty within. The whole process takes less than one second, and it is glorious. Whoever invented that packaging deserves a vigorous round of high-fives, back-pats, and hearty handshakes.

But this isn’t a packaging blog (if it were, trust me, that packaging would score 10 out of 10. No… 100 out of 10. DON’T FIGHT IT, JUST LET IT HAPPEN), so I guess I should talk about the chocolate egg nestled within that magnificent package.

I had feared that they might take the lazy way out and take a regular Creme Egg, remove the orange food colouring, throw in some Oreo bits and call it a day. But the extent to which they have successfully Oreoified the Creme Egg is kind of breathtaking.

Cadbury Oreo Creme Egg 2

The egg itself, however, is unchanged, right down to the classic star-surrounded-by-circles exterior design. This is the egg’s biggest stumbling block. Not that it’s bad quality chocolate; it has a nice creamy melt and that distinctive Cadbury milk chocolate flavour. But it’s very sweet, and when combined with the even sweeter filling, it’s sugar overload. A dark chocolate version would be perfect, but since that doesn’t even exist for the standard Creme Egg, I think it’s wishful thinking.

Cadbury Oreo Creme Egg 3

The filling is pretty amazing, though. It’s completely different from the O.G. Creme Egg, with a frosting-like, less sticky consistency that’s impressively Oreo-y without being overbearing (it’s slightly lighter and creamier than actual Oreo filling). The crunchy bits of Oreo cookies interspersed throughout the filling add more flavour and texture than you’d imagine. They give the egg a cocoa-tinged flavour and satisfying amount of crunch while further cementing its Oreo pedigree.

Cadbury Oreo Creme Egg 4

The whole thing is still two or three notches more cloying than I’d like it to be, but it definitely has a mellower, less throat-burningly sweet flavour than the classic Creme Egg. I could easily see myself eating more of these, and I usually top out at one Creme Egg per year, thanks to its in-your-face sweetness.

(Nutrition Facts – Not available.)

Item: Cadbury Oreo Creme Egg
Purchased Price: $0.97 CAN
Size: 34 grams
Purchased at: Longo’s
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Nails the Oreo flavour. Crunchy cookie bits. Not as overbearingly sweet as a standard Creme Egg. The greatest packaging in the history of packaging. Timecop.
Cons: Still sweeter than it should be. Lack of a dark chocolate variety. PTSD-esque flashbacks of opening the old foil packaging.

REVIEW: Nabisco Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies

Nabisco Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies

Here’s a fun fact: a Cinnabon Classic Roll has 880 calories, 37 grams of fat, 17 grams of saturated fat, 820 milligrams of sodium, 127 grams of carbohydrates, 58 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein.

Here’s another fun fact: the amount trees needed to make the napkins used per year by those eating the messy Cinnabon Classic Roll equals to 197,000,000 square miles of rainforests.

Okay, that last “fun fact” is a complete lie and the entire surface of the Earth is 197,000,000 square miles, but, I swear, I use five or six napkins whenever I eat Cinnabon.

Cinnabon’s huge Classic Rolls are yummy, but they have the nutritional content of a meal and make my hands sticky enough that I wonder if I could climb walls with them. But what if you want cinnamon bun flavor without the huge amount of calories and mess?

Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies might work.

Nabisco Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies 2

The new variety is the first with a cinnamon flavored cookie, which looks like a Golden Oreo wafer that’s spent some time in a tanning salon. There are red specks baked throughout the cookie, but, even though the sweet spice is listed as an ingredient, I’m not sure if they’re cinnamon, just red specks to give it the appearance of cinnamon, or if my cookies have the measles. Whatever they are, they make the cookie taste similar to Cinnamon Teddy Grahams.

Nabisco Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies 3

As for the creme, it looks like plain ol’ Oreo stuff, but softer. So if you’re one of those people who likes to twist off a wafer and lick the creme, it probably won’t come off clean. The creme’s flavor is also a bit like what’s on a plain ol’ Oreo, but lighter, not as sweet, and with maybe a tinge of cinnamon.

When I lick the creme, all I think about are glazed donuts. Mmm…donuts. I was hoping these had the cream cheese-flavored creme found in the Red Velvet Oreo, but the creme is still great.

The cookie as a whole tastes Holy Cow Awesome and I think it does a great job at getting the right balance between cinnamon and frosting. They also smell wonderful. Although if you’re a Cinnabon employee, they probably smell like work.

But if you want to make them slightly more Holy Cow Awesome, heat one up for 10 seconds in the microwave oven. (Hat tip to the anonymous commenter who suggested that.) The creme gets a little gooey and it’s warm like an actual cinnamon bun.

With new Oreo flavors there’s usually a “Limited Edition” printed on the package, but that’s not the case with these. They’re a new regular flavor, like original Oreo, Cool Mint, Peanut Butter, and Birthday Cake, which I’m glad about because I would hate to have to send angry, profanity-filled emails to Nabisco demanding they bring them back if these delicious cookies were limited edition.

I’ve tried two dozen Oreo flavors over the past few years. Most of them are good to great, and a few are mediocre. But none of them are horrible. And none have been unbelievably spectacular…until now.

I think the Cinnamon Bun Oreo stands above all the flavors. Not only does it have the flavor, but just the little things like those red specks in the wafer and the use of softer creme to emulate a cinnamon bun’s frosting make eating the cookie more of an experience. These are my new favorite Oreo cookies and I think you’ll love them too.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 150 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 15 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, less than 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Nabisco Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies
Purchased Price: $3.50
Size: 12.2 oz.
Purchased at: Times Supermarket
Rating: 10 out of 10
Pros: Unbelievably spectacular. Flavor does remind me of a cinnamon bun. Not a limited edition. Tastes slightly better when warmed up. Red specks in wafer and softer creme are a nice touch.
Cons: The nutritional numbers for a Cinnabon Classic Roll. Softer creme makes it harder to cleanly twist off wafer.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Hot Cocoa Chips Ahoy Cookies

Limited Edition Hot Cocoa Chips Ahoy

Every year Nabisco puts out the same uninspired winter products.

There’s Snowflake Ritz with the image of a snowflake on each cracker. While no two snowflakes are alike, the millions of Snowflake Ritz crackers are. There’s Holiday Wheat Thins, which could’ve been called Snowflake Wheat Thins if not for the other holiday shapes stamped into some of the crackers. Then there’s Winter Oreo Cookies that have a creme that tastes like a regular Oreo, but has enough red food coloring to make a Maraschino cherry think that’s a bit too much food coloring.

This year, Nabisco brought back those boring snacks, but they also introduced the Limited Edition Hot Cocoa Chips Ahoy Cookies.

The chocolate cookie features marshmallow-flavored chips, fudge chips, and a disc of hot cocoa-flavored goodness in the center. If you look at the beautifully Photoshopped cookie on the wrapper, it looks like it’s supposed to have a viscous goo center. Because the packaging says, “Heat for a treat,” I assumed sticking them in a microwave oven would achieve that gooey center. Unfortunately, the appliance has no effect on the center of these cookies.

Despite what Ron Popeil and George Foreman might say, the microwave oven is the greatest kitchen innovation in the past few decades. It’s a powerful radiation pulsing cooking machine that can boil water in under 90 seconds and make a Hot Pocket burst open in two minutes. But it appears the mighty microwave oven has met its match with these cookies.

There are instructions that say to warm them in pairs for 6-7 seconds. I tried that, but the centers remained completely solid. Then I microwaved another two cookies for 8 seconds. No gooey. Then just one at 9 seconds. Nothing. Then another one at 10 seconds. Still solid.

Limited Edition Hot Cocoa Chips Ahoy 3

Since time is endless and the amount of cookies in the packaging are not, I decided to up the intervals. 14 seconds. Nope. 20 seconds. Noooooo. 25 seconds. Noooooooooooo. Then I decided to heat up one for 30 seconds. Only the edges of the chocolate disc in the cookie melted. The rest of it was still solid.

While the chocolatey center didn’t turn into a pool of goo, microwaving beyond the 6-7 seconds did affect the rest of the cookie, making it crumble apart during any attempt to pick it up.

When eaten straight out of the package, these cookies are good. But when heated up, they’re damn good. Both ways have a hot cocoa flavor, but the flavor is amplified when the cookies have spent a few seconds in a microwave oven. I thought the marshmallow flavor was strictly with the white chips, but it tastes like the hot cocoa center also has a bit of marshmallow flavor. When heated up at the recommended time, the exterior of the cookies have a wonderful softness to them, and the center, while not melted, does give easily.

Limited Edition Hot Cocoa Chips Ahoy 2

There have been many new Chips Ahoy varieties over the past two years, but the only ones I’ve truly enjoyed were the Ice Cream Creations Root Beer Float and Limited Edition Chocolate Banana, both of which are no longer available. But I’m happy to say these cookies brought me as much joy as those did. They are wonderful…when warmed up.

Sure, I’m disappointed with the center not being gooey, but they’re tasty enough that I definitely would love to see them next holiday season with the Snowflake Ritz, Holiday Wheat Thins, and Winter Oreo Cookies.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 150 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat, 2 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, 75 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 14 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Limited Edition Hot Cocoa Chips Ahoy Cookies
Purchased Price: $3.50
Size: 10 oz.
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Wonderful flavor. Tastes like hot cocoa. Good when eaten straight from the package, but awesome after being heated up in the microwave. Soft exterior when microwaved. Much more exciting than Snowflake Ritz, Holiday Wheat Thins, and Winter Oreo Cookies.
Cons: Center doesn’t get gooey. Only available for a limited time. Not knowing if they’ll be back next year.

REVIEW: Leaf Hydrox Cookies (2015)

Leaf Hydrox Cookies (2015)

All over the Internet there are posts that lament and list discontinued snacks. Here are two examples:

44 Beloved Snacks You’ll Never Be Able To Eat Again

25 Foods You’ll Never Be Able To Eat Again

There are two issues with these lists. One, several products on them have come back (oops). Two, Hydrox cookies were not on either list. 

There are some of you out there pounding your desks and yelling, “Blasphemy! How dare they forget Hydrox!” But, to be fair, the people who wrote those lists might be too young to remember what Hydrox are.

For those young folks who have written a listicle with an inaccurate title, before Oreo there was Hydrox. They’re both chocolate sandwich cookies, but Hydrox made its debut four year earlier in 1908. Or, if you’re a hardcore Hydrox fan, let me rewrite that to say, Oreo totally ripped off the idea of Hydrox in 1912.

Leaf Hydrox Cookies (2015) 2

But Hydrox cookies are back, thanks to Leaf Brands and trademark law. You can listen to all about what happened in this NPR story. But if the soothing voices of NPR personalities make you fall asleep, here’s a short version of what happened. Kellogg’s owned the Hydrox trademark, but admitted they weren’t using it and had no plans to use it. According to trademark law, if that’s the case, someone can swipe up that trademark. And Leaf Brands did that.

Unfortunately, that trademark didn’t come with the Hydrox recipe. So like the Six Million Dollar Man, a reference those listicle writers also won’t get, it had to be rebuilt. So this new version might taste different than the original. But, to be honest, I don’t remember what it tastes like. I believe the lard in the original Oreo cookies I ate as a kid have blocked most of my memories of Hydrox.

Leaf Hydrox Cookies (2015) 3

To be honest, Hydrox and I had a rough first date. I didn’t like them at first. I thought the creme was bland and the wafers had bursts of saltiness. Also, it appeared my package was missing a cookie or two. But then we went on a second date, then a third, and then we were living together because I admitted to Hydrox that I love them. I’m going to chalk up my unfavorable first impressions to my taste buds being so used to Oreo cookies.

They’re less sweet than Oreo. I mean, they’re still sweet, but they demonstrate how hypersweet Oreo cookies are. And that hypersweetness comes from the Oreo creme. The difference between the two cremes are dramatic. The Hydrox creme is mellow like reggae and the Oreo creme is whatever noise kids are listening to these days. Get off my lawn, Oreo! 

The less sweet creme gives Hydrox a better balance with the chocolate wafers. As for the chocolate wafers, I think the Hydrox ones have a darker chocolate flavor and a lighter crunch than Oreo’s. They’re not necessarily better, just different.

But as a whole, I enjoyed Hydrox more than regular Oreo cookies. Their balanced flavor and moderate sweetness remind me a lot of Oreo Thins, which I prefer over regular Oreo cookies. Because with Oreo cookies I can eat two and have no desire to eat more. But with Hydrox and Oreo Thins, I just want to chain eat them.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 130 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 130 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Leaf Hydrox Cookies (2015)
Purchased Price: $6.10
Size: 13 ounces
Purchased at: Amazon
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: I want to chain eat them. Not as hypersweet as Oreo cookies. With creme being less sweet there a better balance of flavors between the creme and chocolate wafers. No high fructose corn syrup.
Cons: Not widely available yet (Available on Amazon and a few retailers). Some (or many) eaters might think it tastes bland compared to Oreo. My first impressions. My package looked like it was missing a cookie or two. Pricey if you’re buying it from Amazon.

REVIEW: Nabisco Limited Edition Toasted Coconut Oreo Cookies

Nabisco Limited Edition Toasted Coconut Oreo Cookies

I can picture it now. Nabisco marketers frantically running up and down supermarket aisles, whispering to themselves in a panic:

“Gotta find another cookie idea! What haven’t we tried yet? Coffee? Rutabaga? Could we cram some creme between two Doritos-flavored cookies for the Super Bowl?”

A worried mother protects her children from the sweating marketer. She tells him he’s gone “crazy in the coconut.” He cracks an inspired smile and steals away into the night.

And so, Toasted Coconut Oreo Cookies were born. Rejecting my own brilliant idea for “Back to School PB&J Oreo Cookies,” Nabisco avoided the low-hanging fruit and reached higher up the palm tree.

Nabisco Limited Edition Toasted Coconut Oreo Cookies 2

To mimic the taste of a coconut creme pie, these cookies use Oreo’s vanilla-flavored Golden cookies instead of the chocolate. I’m guessing this choice angered all the Mounds bar lovers of the world. All four of them.

Because single stuf Oreo cookies are now the MySpace of the cookie aisle, Toasted Coconut Oreo are stuffed with a double helping of white creme that is specked with darker gold shavings of “real toasted coconut.” This creates a complex filling that looks like a petri dish of e. coconut specimens.

The package lacks the traditional lift-n-peel opening, so like Tom Hanks and his coconut in Castaway, I first tried to open this by throwing it against a wall and smashing it with a rock. After finally struggling it open, my nose was assaulted by vanilla and sugar.

Uh-oh. Any fellow Oreo connoisseur knows this is a bad omen. My fears came true when I bit into a cookie. The powerful Nilla Wafer taste of the cookie stomps out the creme’s subtle coconut flavor like a Vanilla Godzilla.

Nabisco Limited Edition Toasted Coconut Oreo Cookies 3

The faint coconut taste that attempts a futile rebellion against its Orwellian cookie overlord doesn’t give the distinct, tropical, and nutty experience you’d get from a Mounds or coconut scented soap, either. It’s closer to the cloying, heavily sugared richness of sweetened, shredded baking coconut.

The “coconuttiest” part is the creme’s texture, as there is a noticeable gritty chewiness. But any intended “toasted” notes are completely obscured by the pure, unadulterated confectioner’s sugar sweetness of the creme.

But I thought maybe my personal coconut-o-meter was just broken. So I asked a few taste testers — and by “asked,” I mean, “aggressively shoved cookies into the face of” — and got these responses:

“I don’t get it…it’s just a cookie?”

“It’s only like coconut when you lick the creme.”

“It tastes like a really sweet piña colada Dum-Dum sucker.”

So perhaps these divisive Oreo cookies just require a more sophisticated palette to bring out the coconut. If I ever fulfill my dream of hosting a ritzy lecture series called “Oreos & Orators,” I’ll be sure to accompany the heated discourse on the social commentary of Robinson Crusoe with these thematically appropriate coconut confections.

Nabisco Limited Edition Toasted Coconut Oreo Cookies 4

Overall, they taste like a plain vanilla creme pie that a coconut just happened to sneeze on. I found it pleasant, but since it’s easier to sell a used Toyota to a manatee than to recommend coconut to coconut haters, regular Golden Oreos are probably a safer, crowd pleasing option.

Meanwhile, those who like coconut will be left wanting a more pronounced taste. This leaves Toasted Coconut Oreo Cookies suspended in limbo. And not the fun, luau kind of limbo, either. I think Hunter S. Thompson said it best when he called them “too weird to live, too rare to die.”

Wait, what do you mean he’s been dead for 10 years?

Guess I’m gonna need to book a new orator for next month.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 150 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 15 milligrams of potassium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.).)

Item: Limited Edition Toasted Coconut Oreo Cookies
Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 10.7 oz
Purchased at: Meijer
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: All the goodness of Golden Oreo Cookies. Fun creme texture. Cookie kaiju. The under-appreciated genius of PB&J Oreo Cookies.
Cons: Little reason to buy them over Golden Oreo. Only a ghost of coconut toast. Non-luau limbos. The inevitability of nacho cheese-flavored Oreo.