REVIEW: Baskin-Robbins Oreo Cheesecake Ice Cream

Baskin Robbins Oreo Cheesecake Ice Cream

The crafty cookie-obsessed churners at Baskin-Robbins entered the middle of 2017 facing a real dilemma. How the hell could they make another dessert-themed frozen dessert with the iconic Oreo?

It isn’t enough that the chain always stocks Cookies n’ Cream and now has Golden Oreo ’N Churro as a summer seasonal. Even last month’s All About Oreo couldn’t possibly quench America’s thirst for the beloved sandwiched “white stuff.” There needed to be another…layer.

After malted chocolate and cake batter and birthday cake and cereal and mint, there’s seemingly only one place to go – the decadent, heavy, cheesecake. One of the oldest desserts in history, which was allegedly served to athletes at the first Olympic Games, was destined to make sweet creamy magic with Nabisco’s #1 seller during the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. Baskin-Robbins’ Oreo Cheesecake combines Oreo cookie pieces, cheesecake pieces, and a chocolate cookie crumb ribbon in cheesecake flavored ice cream.

The base is immediately apparent with a distinct tanginess that jumps out from the first bite and doesn’t fade. It’s smooth, velvety, and delicious with a good balance of sweet and savory. Oddly, the tang reminds me a little bit more of Greek yogurt than cheesecake, as I don’t get any particular cheesiness coming through. But the point gets across and I don’t think I’m eating vanilla or sweet cream.

Baskin Robbins Oreo Cheesecake Ice Cream 2

The cheesiness goes up a notch with the actual cheesecake pieces. They’re like those small-to-medium sized ones you can find at build your own frozen yogurt shops. They’ve maintained their squishy-dense texture and give off a hint of graham cracker crust flavor that pops against the tangy ice cream base.

Baskin Robbins Oreo Cheesecake Ice Cream 3

I worried about the redundancy of the Oreo pieces and cookie crumb ribbon, but the two are distinct and interwoven very well throughout the scoop. The ribbon is more akin to what you find in typical cookies and cream flavors, with some good gritty texture and mellow bitter cocoa notes.

Baskin Robbins Oreo Cheesecake Ice Cream 4

Much more prominent are the bigger pieces of Oreo cookie, which have entire layers of creme filling intact. They’re a welcomed sweet element to temper the tang of the cheesecake. The wafer cookies soften and soak up the creamy goodness, and the sizes of the mix-ins are pretty big for Baskin-Robbins’ standards which makes the whole experience elevated and impressive for what I expect at a chain shop.

It’s a pretty simple recipe – Oreo and cheesecake. Baskin-Robbins could’ve been lazy with this one and made a cookies & cream ice cream with a cheesecake base, but they didn’t. By hitting each element from two different angles, this monthly special is one of the more enticing in recent memory. It’s worth scooping up to end the last full month of summer on a blissfully tangy sweet frozen note.

(Nutrition Facts – 4 oz. scoop – 300 calories, 150 calories from fat, 17 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 22 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 4 oz. scoop
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Tangy creamy cheesecake base. Ample cheesecake chunks. Big pieces of Oreo cookie with distinguishable creme.
Cons: Tang is a little closer to yogurt than cheesecake.

REVIEW: Baskin-Robbins All About Oreo Ice Cream

Baskin Robbins All About Oreo Ice Cream

July is National Ice Cream Month, and even more importantly, the third Sunday in July, this year the 16th, is National Ice Cream Day. Unlike the onslaught of hashtag holidays that have taken over the internet via social media sites (I’m lookin’ at you “National Cheese Brownie Day”), this food holiday is a real deal culinary celebration signed into public law by Ronald Reagan in 1984.

As the biggest scoop shop chain in the world, it’s only fitting that Baskin-Robbins take note of this momentous occasion and party hard, which apparently to them means pairing their creamy churned goodness with one of America’s other obsessions – Oreo cookies.

For the last five years BR has made July the month to highlight the iconic cookie with flavors that have gotten progressively more interesting from Oreo ’n Chocolate to Oreo ’n Cake Batter to last year’s smashing Oreo Birthday Cake. With seemingly nowhere else to go, 2017’s celebratory scoop is simply dubbed All About Oreo, which combines fudge-covered, peanut butter, and classic Oreo pieces with an Oreo frosting ribbon in chocolate malt ice cream.

The chocolate malt ice cream is dense and smooth, with a light brown color and a relatively light flavor to match it. I don’t get any of the malty funkiness that I expected from the base, and instead it tastes more like a heavy milk chocolate with no bitterness or strong cocoa notes to be found. It’s a fine ice cream as a foundation for fun mix-ins but isn’t really anything new or exciting.

Baskin Robbins All About Oreo Ice Cream 2

What is exciting though is the Oreo frosting ribbon, which is pretty well incorporated throughout the scoop and tastes exactly how I hoped it would – slightly gritty, creamy, and identical to the creme filling we all know and love. In the context of ice cream it reminds me a lot of buttercream, and anyway you want to interpret it it’s pure sweet fun indulgence. It works really well with the chocolate ice cream and stands against its milk chocolate-y presence.

Baskin Robbins All About Oreo Ice Cream 4

The mixture of Oreo cookies is also really effective, and the cookie pieces are of pretty good size and variety. The peanut butter Oreo cuts through with great nutty flavor, and the fudge-covered ones have a harder crunch and smooth milk chocolate exterior that create a pleasant textural contrast against the regular cookies which have softened in the cream. The Oreo wafer is noticeably darker and more bitter than the base which also adds another layer to the choco-heavy profile.

Baskin Robbins All About Oreo Ice Cream 5

This ice cream truly is all about the Oreo, for reasons both good and bad. While the base is pretty standard and veers on being boring, the cookies are the star of the show and the ribbon is something I would buy a tub of. It could be improved if the regular Oreo’s were subbed out with Golden ones to add another layer of pop, since they aren’t as special with the PB ones already in the mix, but if you love Oreo or milk chocolate this one is a mighty fine filler for your next cake cone.

(Nutrition Facts – 4 ounces – 310 calories, 170 calories from fat, 18 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 25 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: Single Scoop (4 oz.)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Perfectly executed Oreo frosting ribbon. All three cookies stand out. Solid textural contrast.
Cons: No malt flavor in the chocolate base. Could be improved with Golden Oreo.

REVIEW: Baskin-Robbins Oreo Milk ‘n Cereal Ice Cream

Baskin-Robbins Oreo Milk ‘n Cereal Ice Cream

Move your cursor away from the search box on Amazon.com. Stop trying to scroll through the listings of international breakfast foods. Do yourself a favor and cancel your vacation plans to South Korea.

Oreo O’s are dead.

The cereal does not exist anymore. Not here in the States, not in Seoul, not even in freaking Pyongyang. Why else do you think Kim Jong-un is shooting missiles into the ocean?

The magical elixir of milk that blends the sweet chocolaty taste of cookies and the crunchy wholesomeness of breakfast cereal is but a distant memory. In its place we have a few attempts at compromise, but who are we kidding? The stale abomination known as Cookie Crisp will never suffice, nor will a new limited edition Oreo creme which tastes like sixteen bowls of Fruity Pebbles.

But perhaps we have been looking in the wrong places. Instead of trying to find the soul of Oreo O’s in cereal or even cookies, perhaps the flavor explosion of sweet milk, chocolate, and corn cereal can be resurrected in ice cream form?

As our 1990s selves would have said: Well, DUH!

I have eaten a lot of off-the-wall Baskin-Robbins ice cream flavors in my day, but the new Oreo Milk ‘n Cereal flavor is my favorite, mostly because it captures the Oreo and cereal vibe that only my beloved Oreo O’s had been able to do. But if I thought the combination of Oreo chocolate wafers embedded into a crunchy corn cereal base was good, then Oreo Milk ‘n Cereal ice cream borrows a line from Tony the Tiger and is Gr-r-reat!

Baskin-Robbins Oreo Milk ‘n Cereal Ice Cream 2

The cereal milk flavored ice cream basically tastes like a sweeter, richer, and thicker version of a really good cookies and cream ice cream; one studded with so many crunchy Oreo pieces you’d have thought an entire package of Oreos went into a single scoop. This isn’t some store-brand cookies and cream. Big chunks of rounded, ridged edged Oreo wafers are packed with a bittersweet chocolate flavor that contrasts the sweet ice cream base and the slightly salty, chewy frosted flakes ribbon.

Baskin-Robbins Oreo Milk ‘n Cereal Ice Cream 3

What’s this, you say? The description reads frosted corn flake cereal pieces and a crunchy frosted corn flake cereal ribbon. Well that it does, but the description is as big a fib as telling you that you can still buy a box of Oreo O’s on Amazon.

Truth be told, I licked every nook and cranny of this cone, and the corn flake ribbon and frosted flake pieces are one and the same. The pieces have an odd texture that’s somewhere between the discontinued Frosted Flakes Gold, a northern style corn bread, and, I swear I’m not making this up, Corn Nuts. If that wasn’t complicated enough, there’s also notes of waffle cone and Cap’n Crunch, although I suspect the latter is due to toasting the clustered ribbon in coconut oil.

Long list of ingredients aside, It’s like having a corn cakes breakfast-flavored cereal, and it’s beyond delicious (note to Kellogg’s: Get on that).

I was actually a little skeptical that Oreo cookies and corn/frosted flakes would work together, but the result is a surprisingly harmonious ménage à trois, hearkening back to Oreo O’s while introducing another layer of crunchy corn sweetness and sweet creamy flavor. So do yourself a favor and wipe those tears from your keyboard, because you’ll soon be dripping melting ice cream (and tears of joy) all over the space bar.

(Nutrition Facts – 2.5 ounce scoop (small) – 200 calories, 180 calories from fat, 12 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 110 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 0 gram of dietary fiber, 16 gram of sugar, and 3 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.79
Size: Small Scoop
Purchased at: Baskin-Robbins
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Tastes like a combination of Oreo O’s, Frosted Flakes, pancakes, and Cap’n Crunch all in one lick. Sweet and rich cookies and cream vibe from the cereal milk base. Excellent contrast of crunchy and creamy.
Cons: Cereal element isn’t exactly as advertised and isn’t crispy in the way cereal is. Crying over spilled (cereal) milk.

REVIEW: Baskin-Robbins Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream

Baskin-Robbins Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream

Since the dawn of civilization cheesecake and pie have been wrestling in a titanic struggle of after-dinner supremacy. No flavor or ingredient has been off limits. From plump summer blueberries to decadent combinations of chocolate and peanut butter, the two desserts have been firing salvos at each other for years

Thanks to an urban chic food trend in embracing American comfort food, pie seems to have delivered most of the damage (calorically, of course) in recent years. It’s even become part of our lexicon, practically becoming synonymous with all things Americana and just damn yummy. That’s not to say cheesecake hasn’t had some good showings, but with fall dawning on us and Dairy Queen doing double-duty with seasonally themed Pumpkin Pie and Apple Pie Blizzards, it’s going to take more than a proverbial trip to The Cheesecake Factory to steal some of the glory.

Fortunately, Baskin-Robbins is fighting back, indulging my love for both pumpkin and cheesecake with September’s Flavor of the Month. With both a cream cheese ribbon and cheesecake ice cream base it covers almost enough dairy as a Wisconsin 4-H fair, adding gingersnap cookie pieces which promise to add a bit of crunch and crust to the pumpkin ice cream.

That’s right, pumpkin. Not “pumpkin flavored,” and not just orange color with some vague spice flavor, the ice cream base nails an authentic pumpkin taste buttressed by a wonderfully autumnal sweetness and cinnamon spice. Bordering on cloying but thankfully neither earthly nor artificial, its distinct brown sugar notes are balanced by the taste of fresh cream and milk. It’s that taste which keeps the base from the heavy connotation pumpkin pie sometimes conjures up, and despite what I’m sure is a veritable calorie overload thanks to no less than 11 different sweeteners in the recipe, a modest-sized cone isn’t enough to make you want to unbuckle your pants and watch Tony Romo throw six interceptions on Thanksgiving.

Baskin-Robbins Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream 2

The cheesecake flavor is really quite splendid, and I mean this in the most endearing way possible. Despite a fascistic ONE SCOOP FOR YOU policy instituted by my local Baskin-Robbins, a thorough probing (also known as licking) of the base reveals a well-integrated cream cheese ribbon with varying degrees of tang and richness.

There’s a smooth mouthfeel throughout, and no sign of the chalky or gritty “cheesecake” chunks that one sometimes finds in frozen yogurt shops. On two separate swipes on the tongue I caught a burst of tang, which illuminated my palette amidst the sweet cream high. It encompasses both a distinctive cheesecake vibe and indulgent cream cheese texture, and together the two elements of cultured dairy work magnificently.

Insofar as flavor is concerned, the gingersnap pieces aren’t bad—the distinct taste of ginger adds a great balancing depth to the sweetness of the ice cream—but the crushed snaps aren’t exactly crust worthy. With a soggy texture and almost no crunch to speak of, they’re actually kind of lost amidst the overly viscous ice cream, which seems especially prone to melting on even a modestly warm fall day.

Baskin-Robbins Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream 3

Actually, my biggest gripe was the deteriorating texture of the ice cream. While it starts off exceptionally creamy and smooth, it doesn’t hold up to the tongue and quickly melts, leaving one with less with the impression of pumpkin ice cream and more with the notion of chilled pumpkin bisque. It’s enough to make me kind of wish I was getting pie.

Is Baskin-Robbins’ Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream enough to deal a game-changing victory in the war between pie and cheesecake? Not quite, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious or seasonally appropriate. With a no-nonsense pumpkin flavor and distinctive cheesecake richness and tang, it definitely fires the first shots in this year’s fall flavor battle.

(Nutrition Facts – 4 oz scoop – 260 calories, 110 calories from fat, 12 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of sodium, 135 milligrams of cholesterol, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 27 grams of sugars, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Baskin-Robbins Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $3.39
Size: Regular Scoop
Purchased at: Baskin-Robbins
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Pumpkin cream cheese base has loads of cinnamon and brown sugar flavor. Avoids gritty fake cheesecake pieces. Gingersnap crumbs contribute good spice. Nice bursts of cheesecake tang. A solid showing by team cheesecake in the never-ending battle of desserts. Thank God I’m not a Cowboys fan.
Cons: Gingersnap pieces aren’t very crunchy and get lost amidst the ice cream base. Melts entirely too quickly. Feeling like Oliver Twist as the Baskin-Robbins employee haphazardly scoops my ice cream.

REVIEW: Baskin-Robbins Movie Theater Popcorn Ice Cream

Baskin-Robbins Movie Theater Popcorn Ice Cream

Lights! Camera! Popcorn! Ice Cream?

Wait a second there, Spielberg. I get that with the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, and Critics’ Choice awards packed into a two week span, January has become the de facto tie-in month for food branding to take a stroll down the red carpet. But you do realize, don’t you, that it’s January. As in, we just had a freaking polar vortex January. You’ve got to have something unique and unbelievably tasty to get me to put frozen stuff into my already frozen body in January.

Well, at the risk of also making January the de facto month for predictable food blogging puns, this year’s award for the best new ice cream flavor undoubtedly goes to Baskin-Robbins’ Movie Theater Popcorn Ice Cream.

I’ve got to give Baskin-Robbins credit. They do this whole “Flavor of the Month” and it’s usually something we’ve seen before – another Marvel comic book movie, if you will. A little chocolate here, some crushed up cookies there; sometimes, when they really go out on a limb, they might even add some fruit or fudge (edgy, I know.)

There’s nothing wrong with these flavors, but then again they’re hardly game-changing. Spider Man saves the world again but loses MJ? Bah! Seen it. Throw in the fact that my local Baskin-Robbins employees seem to take it as a personal insult when asked to walk the three steps from their station on the Dunkin’ Donuts side of the store to scoop ice cream on the Baskin-Robbins side, and it takes a lot for me to really get excited about their Flavor of the Month.

Baskin-Robbins Movie Theater Popcorn Ice Cream Closeup Ice Cram

This month has been different. Between my unbound love of all things salty and sweet and my own experiments making kettle corn ice cream at home, I was cautiously optimistic that the film-inspired flavor would deliver just the right balance of sweet, salty, crunchy, and creamy – the fantastic four of texture and flavor, if you will.

Baskin-Robbins Movie Theater Popcorn Ice Cream Yellow

The off-beat flavor not only delivered that elusive combination, it embodied it almost as well as Tom Hanks captured Richard Phillips in Captain Phillips. It all starts with the popcorn pieces, which, interestingly enough, are made from rice. Weird, right? Well, they don’t exactly look like perfectly popped and fluffy pieces of popcorn (actually, they have a stained gold color that familiar to those who drown their popcorn at the theater’s butter dispensers), but they sure have that buttery corn taste.

For you popcorn aficionados, consider these almost like little glazed nuggets of kettle corn, except with more butter. And more butter is always better, even in the case of ice cream. It’s almost toffee-like in its effect, providing a sweet crunch that stays remarkably brittle even in the extra creamy ice cream.

Baskin-Robbins Movie Theater Popcorn Ice Cream closeup

What’s more, there were no signs of ice crystals or other textural defects that sometimes come with larger mix-ins. About the size of a penny, the already salty-sweet popcorn flavored crisps get an extra shot of salty-sweet from the salted caramel swirl, which also adds an element of smooth dulce de leche-like viscosity to the ice cream. The whole flavor profile, with a depth of sweetness and hint of browned butter and salt, even elevates the lowly cake cone. Like a nominee for best supporting actress or actor, the cone actually takes on an element of – and I realize this sounds weird – pound cake flavor when eaten with the creamy, buttery ice cream base.

Granted, I like ice cream. But it takes a lot to get me to really, really, really like ice cream in January. But, as Brooklyn Nine-Nine pulled out a stunning surprise as the best new comedy at the Golden Globes (hilarious show, by the way), so Baskin Robbins’ Movie Theater Popcorn ice cream steals the show amidst over some otherwise worthy ice cream flavors. I just hope they bring it back in, shall we say, more conducive months for ice cream eating.

(Nutrition Facts – 2.5 oz scoop – 170 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 95 milligrams of sodium, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 0 gram of dietary fiber, 15 grams of sugars, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Baskin-Robbins Movie Theater Popcorn Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 2.5 oz Kid’s Scoop
Purchased at: Baskin-Robbins
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Crunchy, buttery, salty-sweet popcorn pieces have a toffee-like effect. Plentiful salted caramel swirl. Creamy, clean mouthfeel. Raising the mere cake cone to the herculean dessert height of pound cake.
Cons: Eating ice cream in January. Predictable film puns. Awesome source of saturated fat.