REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Spectacular Speculoos Cookie Core Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's Spectacular Speculoos Cookie Core Ice Cream

I have something to confess.

After reading what I’m guilty of, many of you will shake your head in disapproval. And some of you will become angry and say in a raised tone, “But children in Africa are starving.”

Well, here it goes. 

I’m a serial cookie butter waster. 

I’ve thrown out almost a dozen unopened and half eaten jars of Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter and Biscoff Spread. All the jars were gifts and I do enjoy cookie butter, but why did I neglect them?

I don’t know, the Cookie Monster, Mrs. Fields, Famous Amos, and Keebler Elves in my head won’t tell me.

If I have not finished a jar of cookie butter, will I be able to finish a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Spectacular Speculoos Cookie Core Ice Cream?

The frozen treat is a combination of dark caramel and vanilla ice creams with speculoos cookies and a speculoos cookie butter core. Because there’s a lot going on, you can’t blindly stab your spoon into it like you would with most ice cream. You have to have the finesse of an archeologist working his or her way around the small bones of a velociraptor’s hand, because your goal, should you buy this ice cream, is to get a bit of every ingredient onto your spoon.

Because this ice cream is a bit high maintenance, don’t bother with a bowl. Doing so will just make it harder to get the optimal spoonful. This ice cream (and I imagine every Cookie Core flavor) is best eaten straight from the container.

Ben & Jerry's Spectacular Speculoos Cookie Core Ice Cream Cookies

Now don’t waste your time trying the ingredients separately. I’ve already done that for you because I’m your junk food friend. The vanilla ice cream tastes like vanilla ice cream. The dark caramel has flavor that’s milder than the vanilla ice cream I guess it should’ve been called light caramel ice cream. The cookies are balls that may or may not be crunchy when you mash them with your molars. And the speculoos cookie butter core is pleasantly gritty and surprisingly soft straight from the freezer. But you shouldn’t eat the cookie butter by itself because it’s not as sweet as the cookie butters you can buy in stores.

Ben & Jerry's Spectacular Speculoos Cookie Core Ice Cream Core

However, the cookie butter flavor is magically enhanced with the dark caramel and vanilla ice creams. It’s not like eating Biscoff Spread straight from the jar, but it has those flavors and spices we all love, like cinnamon and brown sugar, that make it taste familiar. Actually, at times, its flavor also reminded me of pumpkin spice.

Sadly, the speculoos cookies don’t really intensify the cookie butter flavor. It’s the same with or without. The cookies do add texture when you’re able to get a crunchy cookie, which happens only half of the time. Another inconsistency is the flavor of the cookies. A noticeable amount had no flavor at all.

With all that said, Ben & Jerry’s Spectacular Speculoos Cookie Core Ice Cream is NOT spectacular. It is very good…if you get a little bit of the cookie butter, both ice creams, and a crunchy cookie on your spoon at the same time. But that won’t be a problem, because there’s enough of each.

It’s good enough that, unlike the jars of cookie butter I once owned, I see myself finishing this pint of Ben & Jerry’s Spectacular Speculoos Cookie Core Ice Cream.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 290 calories, 170 calories from fat, 19 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 21 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein, 8% vitamin A, 10% calcium, and 2% iron.)

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Spectacular Speculoos Cookie Core Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $3.75
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: It’s very good if you get all the parts of the ice cream on your spoon. Pleasant cinnamon and brown sugar flavors. Some cookies are crunchy. Cookie butter is soft, even straight from the freezer.
Cons: Not spectacular. Some cookies aren’t crunchy. Cookie butter core not good by itself. Dark caramel ice cream has a very light flavor. Some cookies have no flavor. Being a serial cookie butter waster.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Boom Chocolatta Cookie Core Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's Boom Chocolatta Cookie Core Ice Cream

Coffee is a wonderful thing. It makes mornings tolerable, goes great with donuts, and gives kopi luwak farmers a reason to sift through civet poop.

It’s also incredibly addictive. Sure, coffee might provide you with a much-needed energy boost, but before you know it, you’ll be poppin’ caffeine pills and belting out songs by The Pointer Sisters.

Nevertheless, I’m so excited to see what coffee can do when partnered with chocolate and caramel in Ben & Jerry’s Boom Chocolatta. Part of the new line of Cookie Core ice creams, this flavor features a chocolate cookie butter core surrounded by mocha and caramel ice creams, sprinkled with chocolate cookie bits and fudge flakes.

When I first heard the name “Boom Chocolatta,” I wasn’t sure what to expect. After all, it sounds a lot like an awful catchphrase I would have shamelessly overused in high school. I can just imagine signing everyone’s yearbooks with it. “Yo Derrick. Give ‘em hell at DeVry University. BOOM CHOCOLATTA.”

Ben & Jerry's Boom Chocolatta Cookie Core Ice Cream 2

Peeling back the lid reveals the two ice cream flavors conjoined by a precious cookie core. The mocha half possesses a bold coffee flavor with a more subtle hint of chocolate. In comparison, the caramel ice cream tastes tame. I had to really focus to detect its highly understated caramel flavor. When paired with the mocha, the caramel’s more reserved flavor brings balance to each spoonful.

The fudge flakes and chocolate cookie pieces mixed throughout add an occasional smidgen of chocolate flavor, but are negligible alongside the real star of the show: the chocolate cookie core.

Ben & Jerry's Boom Chocolatta Cookie Core Ice Cream 3

Lightly crunchy and deeply rich, the core offers a chocolate sweetness akin to finely crushed Oreo cookies, but with a darker chocolate flavor. In fact, when the core is eaten alone, it seems too rich, but this flaw fades beside the mocha and caramel ice creams. Texturally, the cookie core is far more solid than a jarred cookie butter and has a grainy consistency. It’s not as spreadable as a cookie butter, but it’s scoopable — even straight from the freezer. And trust me, you’ll be scooping this cookie butter harder than Scoop Doggy Dogg himself. He’s a rapper, right?

As I dug deeper and deeper into the carton, I was dismayed to discover the pint contained less cookie core than I had hoped. And why was it sitting at an awkward angle, offset from the center of the carton? My cookie core was nowhere near as glorious as the illustrations had implied. I’m sure Ben and Jerry could have been a little more generous with their cookie butter.

Ben & Jerry's Boom Chocolatta Cookie Core Ice Cream 4

Still, Boom Chocolatta is a favorable addition to Ben & Jerry’s line of Core ice creams. Sometimes, an entire pint of coffee ice cream is just too much coffee flavor, and that’s exactly why Boom Chocolatta excels: the caramel ice cream and cookie core add enough variety to keep things interesting down to the last spoonful, and no single bite feels repetitive. I just wish Ben & Jerry’s hadn’t been so stingy with the cookie core. It was a bit of a letdown — just like when I found out Sir Mix-a-Lot was never actually knighted.

I dunno, I thought Queen Elizabeth just really liked his song about butts. Gimme a break, okay?

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 290 calories, 160 calories from fat, 18 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 22 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Boom Chocolatta! Cookie Core Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Strongly flavored mocha ice cream. Rich cookie core complements both ice cream flavors. Saved By The Bell references.
Cons: Weakly flavored caramel ice cream. Not enough core. The fact that I mentioned Sir Mix-a-Lot in this review.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Limited Batch Peanut Butter Half Baked Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's Limited Batch Peanut Butter Half Baked

There are only a few combinations that can excite me as much as binge watching Netflix documentaries while lounging in my UGG slippers, and peanut butter and chocolate is one of them. It can be in the form of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (although I’m boycotting Hershey right now over this whole Cadbury ordeal), some kind of pastry, ice cream, anything really. Heck, I’d be happy smearing peanut butter from a jar onto a chocolate bar.

It’s hard to go wrong with PB and chocolate. It’s also hard to let it go. Whenever that last bite occurs and our time together comes to an end, I’m left alone, with a longing for more as Player’s “Baby Come Back” plays softly in my head.

Even though the loneliness and longing follows, I had to give Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Half Baked Ice Cream a try. It’s kind of an obvious twist on a classic that I’m honestly surprised is just now being done. But obviousness is trumped by deliciousness, which is the case here.

Ben & Jerry's Limited Batch Peanut Butter Half Baked Top

The vanilla ice cream and cookie dough in the original Half Baked are replaced by peanut butter ice cream and peanut butter cookie dough. And I’ll state right now that I’m not going to say one is better than the other, but since this is a Limited Batch I don’t think the ice cream gurus at Ben and Jerry’s will be taking the original Half Baked out behind the shed and putting it out of its misery.

Ben & Jerry's Limited Batch Peanut Butter Half Baked innards

Anyways, the peanut butter and chocolate ice creams blend together quite nicely – shocker. The peanut butter ice cream is a bit richer than it normally is in Ben and Jerry’s, and it packs a big flavor.

However, while the flavors blended well, I found the ice cream mix to be a bit inconsistent. I had two pints, and both times I found that there’s always some point in my and my spoon’s journey to the bottom of the container where the chocolate ice cream becomes the dominant presence, and peanut butter takes a backseat.

This was vexing, since it’s nice to have the consistent opportunity to get a bite that is equal parts PB and chocolate ice creams. Thankfully this problem doesn’t resonate with the brownie pieces and cookie dough globs. They are quite common throughout the pint, and if anybody is complaining there wasn’t enough… Well, then they’re a Greedy Greg.

Ben & Jerry's Limited Batch Peanut Butter Half Baked PB Cookie Dough

The peanut butter cookie dough is hands down the highlight of the ice cream. It tastes like those simple yet delicious peanut butter cookies we’ve all had at one point, and they are huge. And I mean HUGE. Like, huge where you’ll wonder if the cookie dough was injected with some kind of steroid. Though we know it’s not, since Ben and Jerry’s is all about fair trade, using eggs from cage-free chickens, and rBGH-free milk. But, in the offshoot chance there was a steroid injection, I’m not complaining.

The brownies are also good-sized as well. They have a rich, fudge-y flavor and are softer and chewier than I remember the original Half Baked ones to be.

I told myself not to get attached to this one, since, being a Limited Batch, it’s merely a fleeting affair, but damn it, we can only be so strong! I’ve allowed Peanut Butter Half Baked not only into my life, but into my soul, my very being. I’ve morphed into a modern Sméagol, with a pint of ice cream serving as The One Ring. I haven’t had a pint in a couple days now, and I’m feeling it. I break out in cold sweats, get all itchy, and punch people in random fits of anger.

Yep, time for a return trip to ice cream rehab.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 280 calories, 130 calories from fat, 14 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 110 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 25 grams of sugar, 5 grams of protein, 8% vitamin A, 10% calcium, and 8% iron.)

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Limited Batch Peanut Butter Half Baked Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Wegmans
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Ice creams blend well together. Brownie and peanut butter cookie dough are plentiful, and cookie dough pieces are HUGE. Watching Netflix documentaries while lounging in UGG slippers.
Cons: Chocolate ice cream can be dominating at times. Is a limited batch. Getting cold turkey symptoms from ice cream withdrawal. Hershey denying us Cadbury chocolate.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Limited Batch Candy Bar Pie Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s Limited Batch Candy Bar Pie Ice Cream

I’m not much of a crier. Aside from a few moments scattered throughout the TV series Lost and Tom Hanks losing Wilson to the ocean in Castaway, I pretty much have a heart of stone. But a little bit of that stone was chiseled away when I ate Ben & Jerry’s latest pint, Candy Bar Pie, and the tears came in waterfall fashion.

If you’re wondering why I was crying, it’s for two reasons. The first being the ice cream was just so damn perfect. Rich peanut butter ice cream loaded with nougat, chocolate flakes, and perhaps the greatest ice cream filler ever, pretzel swirls.

Yes, pretzel swirls are real, and they’re fantastic. More salty-sweet goodness than even the most experienced veteran could wrap their taste buds around. Those with lesser developed taste buds should only take small bites of the pretzel swirls at first, as it will be a lot for your buds to handle, and if you take too much too fast your head will most likely explode.

Ben & Jerry’s Limited Batch Candy Bar Pie Ice Cream Top

The nougat is pretty much like a Swiss chocolate sauce, which is just chocolate syrup and marshmallow sauce mixed together. When it blends with the peanut butter ice cream it tastes almost like a fluffernutter sandwich. Then you throw the pretzel swirl into the mix and you get even more great taste combos. This ice cream is much like a Take 5 candy bar; it has everything you could want and it tastes even better than it sounds.

I’ve been indulging on Ben & Jerry’s for three-quarters of my life, and honestly, I’m torn between this and the original Chubby Hubby (the one that had chocolate covered peanut butter-filled pretzels, where the one today is just has chocolate covered pretzels) for my favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor. I ate three pints of Candy Bar Pie in one week. I just couldn’t get enough. I was in love! Maybe there is still hope for my heart of stone?

No, there isn’t hope, because my love will be leaving me eventually, departing from her pint form and going back exclusively to Scoop Shops. See, it’s a limited batch, which means it will one day leave grocery stores, and subsequently my hopes and dreams will leave me.

I know it is originally a Scoop Shop flavor but can’t they keep it in a pint in stores? Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops aren’t all that common. Take Rochester, where I grew up. There is one Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop in the city. It isn’t at some centrally located spot either, so chances are you have a decent drive to it. I haven’t been to every major city but the ones I’ve been to have the same deal. And what about the rural areas? There are no Scoop Shops in the rural Midwest, I can tell you that with confidence.

Ben & Jerry’s Limited Batch Candy Bar Pie Ice Cream Closeup

There is usually good grocery store access in most places though. Whether it’s Wegmans, Piggly Wiggly, Hy-Vee, Publix or Stater Bros., it doesn’t matter. There’s usually something near you no matter your region. If Candy bar Pie stays in pints, it could potentially save people from a long drive to a Scoop Shop, and save people in rural areas who don’t have access to a Scoop Shop from losing access to the tasty treat altogether.

I mean, imagine if seasons of Lost and every good Tom Hanks movie were just taken off shelves a month after they were released. You’d be sad, angry, or most likely both when you went to go DVD shopping and the titles you wanted were gone forever. It wouldn’t just be a bummer… It would be a SUPER bummer. The worst kind!

Much awareness has been brought to ALS through these ice bucket challenges (which, let’s be honest, unless you’re the Wicked Witch of the West or the Human Torch, really isn’t much of a challenge), so I propose a Candy Bar Pie pint challenge.

The way it works is simple: You film yourself eating a full pint of Candy Bar Pie in one sitting, and then you challenge your friends to do the same thing. They have 24 hours to respond, and if they fail to do so they owe you 100 bucks. Once the oligarchic board of decision makers at Ben & Jerry’s sees how much everybody loves the flavor, they will sprout a collective conscience and make it a permanent pint. So get your pints, spoons and cameras ready, everyone. We’ve got work to do.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 300 calories, 160 calories from fat, 18 grams total fat, 8 grams saturated fat, 55 milligrams cholesterol, 210 milligrams sodium, 31 grams total carbohydrate, 1 gram dietary fiber, 22 grams sugar, and 5 grams protein.)

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Limited Batch Candy Bar Pie Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Wegmans
Rating: 10 out of 10
Pros: One of the best tasting Ben & Jerry’s concoctions ever. Pretzel swirls will make you believe in unicorns again. Raising Candy Bar Pie awareness. Saving yourself a few minutes of driving.
Cons: Limited batch oh why God why!? Evil oligarchies having control of flavor decisions. Having a heart of stone. Wilson being lost to the ocean.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch Ice Cream

Sometimes you have one of those days. You drop your toothbrush in the toilet. You eat shell in your scrambled eggs. You get attacked by three nefarious pigeons while walking to the pharmacy and break your sunglasses.

Such was the day I was having when I walked into a Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop, half-blind from my sunglasses-less eyes. Craving something to promote my tooth decay, Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch Ice Cream seemed like my Golden Ticket.

Sweet cream. Chocolate ice cream. Caramel clusters. Fudge almonds. Marshmallow swirl. Sounds like a mish-mosh put together by especially creative carnies with ingredients that would make the Grinch’s hearts grow to the strength of 10 Grinches (plus 2). How will its tastes settle on a non-Grinch? Only one way to find out…

Ben & Jerry’s Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch Ice Cream Must find all the clusters!

Gilly (played by Kristen Wiig) is known as the rambunctious rally-rouser in the Saturday Night Live classroom, having created all sorts of semi-violent mischief, including walloping buckets of Chunky Monkey ice cream at the teacher. That same degree of mischief is evidenced here by the multitude of kooky ingredients pummeled into this frozen dairy concoction.

Let’s start with the two bases: the swirl of sweet cream and chocolate ice creams is distinct. The sweet cream portion reminds me of milk that’s been artfully infused with Frosted Flakes while the chocolate tastes light and sugary, much similar to a Hershey’s bar. It’s perhaps not the best chocolate you’ve had in your life, but definitely lovable. When the two mix together, that chocolate flavor takes over while a tinge of hyper sweetness comes at the back end from the sweet cream, making for a very, very light milk chocolate base. It’s dense and creamy, even if perhaps a bit subtle for my inner chocolate fiend.

Ben & Jerry’s Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch Ice Cream The Cluster Cave

But what I’m really here for are the mix-ins. Just look at that rocky terrain obstructing the creaminess. Clusters! Fudgy almonds! Those fudge almonds add a deeper dimension in the universe of chocolates, touting more of a semisweet profile than the base, while the almonds contribute their thudding crunch more than any notable flavor. And, oh yes, the marshmallow swirl: it’s goopy, in that humble marshmallow fluff way, although its one-note, straight-up-sugar flavor comes across tame against the subtly cocoa-y base, a shame as the marshmallow swirl in Phish Food ranks up there in my personal Ultimate Favorite Ice Cream Experiences of All Time Ever.

But, meanwhile, the clusters. Man, those clusters. Those chunky, sweet caramel little crunches add more than all the heart, stars, horseshoes, clovers, and blue moons combined. Chunky. Lightly burnt sugar. A tad sticky. Part of this balanced breakfast. But there aren’t enough of them! Must find all the chunkies! Must eat a whole bowl! Someone must turn these chunkies into a granola. Immediately.

My dad always told me good things come to those who persevere. But sometimes, persevering isn’t easy. Sometimes you have to wait. In a line. For 32 minutes. With a screaming three-year-old. And a tall man’s sweaty armpit in your nose. But the key is to never lose sight of the goal, for the goal will be your reward.

In this case, I was rewarded with some high-quality ice cream and, while it was good, I don’t think I’d go back for Gilly’s. The ingredients were all high quality, yet they mixed together in an altogether subtle way. It almost represents the wackadoodle character of Gilly. It had the kooky ingredients, yet the delivery was muddled. Perhaps more of those amazing clusters, some richer chocolate in the base, maybe a hint of something gritty, like a graham cracker or cookie, and BOOM. It’d be Gilly madness all up in here.

But just because it’s not for me doesn’t mean it can’t be for you. If you like crunchy, caramel things, almonds, and subtle milk chocolate ice cream, this is worth persevering for. It’s really a good ice cream. Don’t be ashamed of your flavor preferences! Find the chunkies! Eat them all! Persevere!

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 250 calories, 130 calories from fat, 14 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 23 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $3.75
Size: 1 scoop
Purchased at: Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop (Rockefeller Center)
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Crunchies! Lovable chocolate base. Thuddy almonds. Slow melting. Fudge coating adds different dimension of chocolate. Creative carnies.
Cons: Needs more clusters. Milk chocolate base may be too subtle for some. Marshmallow gets lost in sweet cream. Dropping your toothbrush in the toilet. Getting attacked by three nefarious pigeons.