REVIEW: Hostess Bakeshop CupCake Cookies

Hostess Bakeshop CupCake Cookies

Everyone has a soulmate snack cake. The one sugary, refined, packaged, and questionably delicious baked good that, despite what logic, fortune cookies, retrogrades of mercury, physician advice, and foreboding messages written in your toast imply, you adore. From SnoBalls to Zingers, Cosmic Brownies to Donettes, we all are star-crossed and bound to one.

And, while I may have had a few flings with a Star Crunch — and maybe a Zebra Cake or two — okay, I love them all. But today my heart’s matched to the Hostess CupCake. Who can resist the oddly fudgy cake? The sugary icing floof? The chocolatey ganache with eight sugary squiggles you can gobble right off the top??

And now they come in cookie form, which, as we well know this is the equivalent of the muffin top of the pastry world, doused in fudge and oozing with icing. I’m hungry just typing that. Let’s dive in!

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Texture-wise, this cookie’s a winner. It’s more cake-like than crispity-crunchity and deftly walks the line between being both fudgy and more fluffy-wuffy than a bunny sleeping on a TempurPedic in a field of dandelions. That fluffy-wuffiness (using scientific terms today) serves the cookie well as it contrasts with the smooth, crisp coating and sugary squiggle.

And the smell only makes everything better. Right out of the package, aromas of chocolate burst out like 15,000 ponies cascading into a Roman Coliseum. It smells of sugar! And cocoa! And that bizarre nutty-coffee sweetness that comes at the end of Dove dark chocolate! (Is there a name for this? Professional Linguist turned Chocolate Connoisseur: please help!)

That said, this top-notch smell doesn’t fully carry over when it comes to flavor. In fact, the cake tastes of very little: mainly flour, but also a hint of cocoa and Maxwell instant coffee. The chocolate coating helps things out by the hair of its chinny chin-chin.

It’s sugar-forward and tastes like Hershey’s milk chocolate while the sugary squiggle tastes of sugar… and maybe a hint of marshmallow? And while I was bummed to discover there was no fluffy icing filling inside (cue the sad tubas!), the coating itself is definitely a step up from that in the typical Hostess CupCake… although I’m pretty sure you could wax a car with that stuff.

Hostess Bakeshop CupCake Cookies 3

All in all, these buggers end up tasting like those soft-baked Snackwell’s chocolate cookies: a not-so-exciting cake with a sugary, semi-chocolatey icing. While they were tasty enough, I found myself dreaming nostalgically of that fluffy white filling in a regular Hostess CupCake. Without it, the cake lacks pizazz.

If you give these a whirl, I encourage smooshing two cookies together with ice cream and/or questionably emulsified (but impossibly delicious) whipped topping to mimic the effect. Without that? These will be but mediocre, and you deserve better than mediocre, dear reader! Do not settle for bland cookies. Otherwise, there will be sadness, the ship will be down, the Titanic will be sunk, and you will be floating on a makeshift raft made out of a door as you talk nonsense to your frozen lover while Celine Dion sings over flute music in the moonlight, and no matter how long you say, “I’ll never let go,” you gotta let go.

So I’m letting go of you, Hostess CupCake Cookies. Or at least not buying you again without a Costco-sized vat of whipped topping. I may have built you up as lofty dreams in my head, but, as Celine Dion prophesized in 1998, “my heart will go on and ooooon.”

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cookie – 110 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 11 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 1 pack/10 cookies
Purchased at: Von’s
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Fudgy, fluffy cookie texture. Chocolatey icing. Squiggles! 15,000 ponies cascading into a Roman Coliseum.
Cons: No fluffy filling. Chocolatey smell doesn’t fully carry over in flavor. Not-so-exciting cake flavor of flour and cheap coffee. May have Celine Dion song stuck in head for the rest of the day.

REVIEW: Mrs. Freshley’s Chocolate Cake Crisps

Mrs Freshley s Chocolate Cake Crisps

To me, Cake Crisps are just another way to say “cookies.” They look like cookies. They crunch like cookies. They are something Cookie Monster will call “sometimes food,” but stuff his face with it EVERY time no one is looking at his googly eyes.

But the thing is, they may look like cookies, they may crunch like cookies, and they may cause Cookie Monster to dump crumbs on the head of his puppeteer, but Mrs. Freshley’s Chocolate Cake Crisps smell and taste EXACTLY like chocolate cake.

Seriously.

Go crash kids birthday parties until you find one with chocolate cake, sing Happy Birthday with everyone else, grab your slice, come up with a cover so you can mingle with strangers, eat the cake, pop a Chocolate Cake Crisp into your mouth, compare it with cake, get a high five from the birthday boy or girl, and then slip out of the party with a balloon or two in your hands, or maybe the piñata.

Or go to a child’s first birthday party and swipe the kid’s smash cake. What’s are smash cakes? They’ve been around for years, but they’re something I just learned about. Go Google it and see all the parents who have to explain to their children why as one-year-olds they get to make a huge mess they don’t have to clean up, but as eight-year-olds they can’t.

Once you do all that, you’ll find out that these Cake Crisps are like concentrated cake.

Mrs Freshley s Chocolate Cake Crisps 2

Each one is about the same size as a Thin Mint and they look like the love child of a Nilla Wafer and a chocolate Oreo wafer. And did I mention they smell AND taste exactly like chocolate cake? My goodness, they are wonderful. They also made me wish I had Duncan Hines or Pillsbury frosting to dip them in.

The bag was hard to put down, until I read the nutrition facts which said eating the entire package would give me 45 percent of my daily saturated fat. I also thought it was odd that about three-fourths into chewing on one, the cake flavor disappears. It’s super weird. It’s like you’re eating cake in a dream, but you wake up in the middle of eating it and realize you’ve been chewing on a pillow. And when the cake flavor disappears, I noticed, on occasion, smalls bursts of saltiness. That’s not a pleasant way to end something that tastes really good at first.

But with that said, I think Mrs. Freshley’s Chocolate Cake Crisps are worth a try and I think Cookie Monster would agree.

Disclosure: I received free Mrs. Freshley’s Chocolate Cake Crisps samples from the PR firm that represents them. No money was exchanged for the review and being given free samples did not influence my review in any way.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 ounces – 310 calories, 18 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 6 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 2 oz. package
Purchased at: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Smells and tastes like chocolate cake. Looks like cookies. Crunches like cookies. Cookie Monster would probably approve.
Cons: Flavor disappears 3/4ths into chewing one. Sometimes there are small bursts of salt. Crashing kids birthday parties. Crumbs on a puppeteer’s head.

REVIEW: Girl Scout S’mores Sandwich Cookies

Girl Scout S'mores Sandwich Cookies

Call me the s’more connoisseur.

I’ve bought s’mores in stores from shore to shore. Famous to obscure, I’ve explored the s’more tour.

More or less, I’ve put s’mores to the test, and yes, my rhymes ARE poor and in jest. This I confess as you snore unimpressed, I’ll shut up and give you a score and ingest.

You know who I hate? Me.

Girl Scout S'mores Sandwich Cookies 2

You know who I appreciate? Those hard working Girl Scouts. They really know how to get my money, especially when they camp outside of supermarkets. Who would dare say no to America’s second most intimidating Green Berets?

To celebrate 100 years of annoying office colleagues shoving order forms in your face, the Girl Scouts have blessed the world with a new cookie flavor – S’mores.

Unbeknownst to me, there are actually two new S’mores cookies available in select areas. The chocolate covered graham variety wasn’t available when I was pressured into spending twenty dollars, so I went with the sandwich cookie.

Girl Scout S'mores Sandwich Cookies 3

Girl Scout S’mores are described as “a crunchy graham sandwich cookie with creamy chocolate and marshmallowy filling,” so it tackles the three main ingredients of a standard s’more. Does it taste like a standard s’more? Ehhhhh.

The graham actually tasted more along the lines of a thin shortbread to me. Shortbread is probably my least favorite Girl Scout cookie, so I was bummed to be reminded of it.

The smell and taste instantly put me in mind of generic supermarket sandwich cookies. You know the ones that they toss on the top shelf that are two bucks cheaper than Oreo? The cookies there to make Hydrox feel better about itself? Those. They aren’t the worst snack on Earth, but Oreo cookies are at eye level for a reason.

Girl Scout S'mores Sandwich Cookies 4

The marshmallow cream may have had actual marshmallow flavor, but really just tasted like standard white cookie cream. If you’re jonesing for a cheap Golden Oreo with a little bit of chocolate cream thrown in the mix, these are for you. Sadly, the chocolate is also pretty generic.

S’mores are obviously best when hot, so I nuked one of these in the microwave for 25 seconds. The chocolate got nice and melty, and the cookie softened a tad, but that’s about it. The box gives no indication they’re meant to be heated or anything, I just figured I’d give it a try.

Girl Scout S'mores Sandwich Cookies 5

As a whole I wasn’t blown away. It seems that most of the time brands try to emulate a s’more they never really hit the bullseye. Kellogg’s Smorez cereal is pretty good, Oreo made a decent s’mores cookie, and Chips Ahoy tried their best, but it’s never the same as making a messy homemade s’more over a flame.

My fellow s’more connoisseurs will probably be pretty disappointed. Not quite as disappointed as they’d be if I started busting out my bootleg Dr. Seuss rhymes again, but disappointed nonetheless.

I can’t tell you NOT to try these, but you might want to just stick to the old reliables next time Heather from Accounting chases you around with a Girl Scout Cookie order form. Man, she’s pushy. Other people have daughters too, Heather!

Thin Mints are a classic. Samoas are too. Girl Scout S’mores rank near the bottom of the product line. If the chocolate covered graham variety is available to you, spend your Abe Lincoln on those instead and let me know how they are.

Look, the sandwich cookies aren’t awful. They’ll do in a pinch, but compared to other Girl Scout staples they might as well be called “B’ores.” (™ Vin at The Impulsive Buy.)

(Nutrition Facts – 2 Cookies – 150 calories, 7 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of sugar (includes 10 grams of added sugar), and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $5.00
Size: 8.5 oz. box
Purchased at: My Buddy’s House (You know where to get them.)
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Girl Scouts branching out more. A decent albeit unremarkable interpretation of a s’more. 100 years of cookies. Young businesswomen.
Cons: Tastes like a boring Golden Oreo. Marshmallow doesn’t really shine. No heated option. Pushy adult cookie peddlers. My whimsical rhyme schemes.

REVIEW: Keebler Limited Batch Lemon Cream Pie Fudge Stripes

Keebler Limited Batch Lemon Cream Pie Fudge Stripes

The three essential steps to enjoying Keebler’s new Lemon Cream Pie Fudge Stripes:

  • Do not decapitate any woodland humanoids.
  • Buy a bouquet of flowers for our country’s dying circus industry.
  • Have a questionable taste in Starburst.

See what I did there? I opened this review with a deviously BuzzFeedian listicle that practically begs you to read the whole thing for comprehension.

Though I’m sure you were going to read anyway, because this latest elven attack in the Great Oreo–Fudge Stripe War is a doozy. Sure, Oreo has been churning out countless milk-dunked slam dunks, and Ernie the Keebler Elf probably doesn’t even know what a slam dunk is. But that hasn’t stopped him from firing back with new disc-shaped Fudge Stripes faster than a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toy fires plastic pizzas.

Case in point: these new Lemon Cream Pie Fudge Stripes. Coming hot off the heels of Cinnamon Roll Fudge Stripes and just before Keebler’s upcoming Strawberry Cheesecake Fudge Stripes, Lemon Cream Pie hopes to beat over milk’s favorite cookie aisle behemoth with odd specificity. See, Oreo has had Lemon and Lemon Twist varieties, but it’s never put its money where its pie-hole is.

But enough talk: let’s put some Fudge Stripes where my pie hole is.

Keebler Limited Batch Lemon Cream Pie Fudge Stripes 2

In my eagerness, I totally guillotined poor Ernie getting my Fudge Stripes open. This ultimately worked against me, as I now have no way of storing my rapidly staling cookies. Good thing I could eat the whole package in a sitting, because these are seriously good.

The delightful shortbread base may look like cross-sectioned lasagna noodles, but it tastes like the brown butter-smacked lovechild of a Nilla Wafer and a Barnum’s Animal Cracker. And given that the real Barnum’s circus just closed down, those crackers need to procreate if we want to preserve their nostalgic legacy.

All school lunch classics aside, these Fudges Stripes’ airy crumble, cozy lattice print, and pleasant twist of oily sweetened flour remind me of every cookie I ever bought from a church bake sale. And I’ll say “amen” to that.

Keebler Limited Batch Lemon Cream Pie Fudge Stripes 3

As for the lemon, it’s far more subtly sweet than sinisterly citrusy. Meanwhile, the pristinely white dip and drizzle has all the hyper-sugared, slightly fatty vanilla sweetness of half-and-half mixed with marshmallow fluff. Taken together, the whole cookie tastes a lot like the Turkish Delights my 3rd grade teacher made while we read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which is fitting, because I’d happily betray Narnia for these Fudge Stripes, just like Edmund.

Though perhaps “Yellow Starburst smothered in whipped cream” is a more fitting analogy, because your love of Yellow Starburst will be a good litmus test to determine if you’ll enjoy Lemon Cream Pie Fudge Stripes. Yellow is tied for my favorite alongside Pink, so I loved these cookies. But since I’ve been fiendishly mocked and pelted with hard candy morsels since childhood for this opinion, I know there are many Red Starburst diehards out there who will sour on these Stripes.

Keebler Limited Batch Lemon Cream Pie Fudge Stripes 4

Ignoring the haters, I think these Fudge Stripes have more than earned their stripes. They’re light, accurate to their namesake pie, and have a crispy-creamy combo that’s irresistibly snack-able. They’re not memorable enough to topple any Oreo Empires, but I can’t think of a Fudge Stripe that could.

Can’t the two sides just sign a peace treaty and produce Oreo cookies with Fudge Stripes instead of wafers?

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 11.5 oz. package
Purchased at: Meijer
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Church-approved cracker-wafer marriage. A Yellow Starburst Sundae that Pinterest probably has a recipe for. Bisected pasta dinners. Cookies > Aslan.
Cons: Divisive, bully-angering candy flavor. Nabisco’s unchallenged cookie aisle monopoly. Out of touch—and now lobotomized—elder Elves. Cookie-bait headlines.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Peeps Oreo Cookies

Limited Edition Peeps Oreo Cookies

Goodbye red velvet and strange emoticon hearts!

Hello hoppy bunnies and pastel pallets!

As if there weren’t more Peeps flavors popping up than a rabbit’s litter in heat, this year Nabisco is gifting us the collaboration I’m not sure anyone anticipated or wanted – Limited Edition Peeps Oreo. This spring offering combines the Golden Oreo cookie with a fluorescent pink marshmallow Peeps flavored creme that unfortunately has no head you can rip off to begin your snacking.

Limited Edition Peeps Oreo Cookies 2

The package exudes a very “Golden” aroma, with a strong vanilla, buttercream kind of sweetness that reminds me of a super intensified Nilla Wafer. It smells more like a cookie than a marshmallow, with no notable Peep perfume mingling in the wash of creaminess. They’re also very visually appealing – the spring colors and golden yellow glow simply look tasty.

Limited Edition Peeps Oreo Cookies 3

The cookie is essentially a very sweet Golden Oreo, not too different from the Candy Corn flavor, which for me always tasted like a white frosted cupcake. What sets this one apart is a gritty sugar crystal crunch in the pink Peep creme that emulates the sparkly outside of the iconic marshmallow chick. This is the element I was most hoping Nabisco would incorporate into this mash up and they nailed it. It isn’t too intensely tough, but the creme adds a nice, smaller crunch to the bite of the big crumbly cookie.

Limited Edition Peeps Oreo Cookies 4

The problem is that the Peeps Oreo doesn’t really remind me at all of a Peep. What they share in common is that they are a big blast of sugar; but the cookie is completely devoid of any of the marshmallow nuances that contribute to Peeps’ notoriously fluffy flavor. After eating two or three in a row, a strange artificial tang developed on my tongue and left a little bit of a filmy feeling in my mouth, but surprisingly it still wasn’t as unpleasant as some other weird food dyed flavors I’ve encountered over the years.

If you’re a diehard Peeps fan who simply can’t get enough cute marshmallows in your life, then definitely give this a try for the novelty texture in the creme. If you’re looking for the next greatest limited Oreo flavor, or a worthy follow up to the beloved Marshmallow Crispy version, you can probably skip over these and instead make a melted masterpiece by exploding a Peep in the microwave and stuffing it inside of two Golden Oreo wafers, which might be just a tad more fun.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 10.7 oz.
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Fun spring colors with pretty poppin’ pink. Gritty sugar-laced creme filling. Buttercream frosting sweetness. Classic golden Oreo sparkle.
Cons: Doesn’t really taste like Peeps. Slight artificial frosting tang buildup during snack-age.