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REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Hazed & Confused Core Ice Cream

Written by | April 3, 2014

Topics: 10 Rating, Ben & Jerry's, Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's Hazed & Confused Core Ice Cream

Well, it was horrible. Unapologetically awful.

Look, I considered phrasing it more gently, and maybe trying to focus on at least one positive, but the truth is that there is nothing redeemable about Ben & Jerry’s new Hazed & Confused Core Ice Cream. If you see it at your local supermarket, find somewhere else to shop, permanently. If you stumble upon an advertisement for it while reading one of those savings catalogs from CVS that got sent to your house, do yourself a solid and change your address. Whatever you do, just stay as far away from Hazed & Confused as possible.

Look, I know I am a junk food reviewer and all, but I gotta be honest. Considering how this is legitimately going to be a 0/10, you might as well stop reading right here. Trust me, if this wasn’t my job, I wouldn’t still be lingering on the dreadful, unappealing taste of Hazed & Confused Ice Cream. Seriously, this isn’t a joke, it’s all right, just move along with your day.

Ben & Jerry's Hazed & Confused Core Ice Cream Top

Now it’s time to get down to the dirty stuff. The first thing I hated about Hazed & Confused was how absolutely terrible it looked. I mean come on Ben & Jerry’s you can at least try to make it look appeali… yo, you still there? If you’re still reading this now, you’re welcome.

You see, I have a plan, a beautiful plan, to scare away everyone I know from the divine taste of Ben & Jerry’s Hazed & Confused. Why then am I letting you in on my secret? Well, the truth is–my fellow co-conspirators–that Hazed & Confused is downright amazing. It’s not even a flavor as much as it is an interstellar experience. It is as close as you or I will ever get to the moon. Indulging in it is the kind of transformative, mind-blowing experience that if left unshared would likely build up in my psyche and manifest itself in some weird psychological issues down the road. It’s that crazy good. And, before you question the infallible logic of my plan itself, let me tell you why.

Ben & Jerry's Hazed & Confused Core Ice Cream Spoon

First reason, two words: Nutella. Oh, that’s only one word you say? That’s because you didn’t let me finish. Nutella-Tube. Thats right folks, smack dab in the middle of Ben & Jerry’s consistently fantastic ice cream is a cylindrical mass of fucking Nutella. Except hold the phone, this isn’t even really Nutella; it’s better. Imagine the lovechild created if everyone’s favorite hazelnut spread got freaky with a can of Betty Crocker dark chocolate frosting. Just sit there and think about that.

But, like any 8th grade orchestra, having one standout simply isn’t enough (even if he can play the whole Pirates of the Caribbean theme on cello). Surrounding the decadence of its titular Core, Hazed & Confused brings it with a back-to-back punch of their signature chocolate ice cream and their new-kid-on-the-block hazelnut. Combined with the added touch of ubiquitous fudge chips the two rich flavors provide a nice give and take of extra chocolaty or extra hazlenutty flavor, making each spoonful unique. What is so great about Hazed & Confused is that it all just seems to work.

Also, I don’t know whose idea it was to name this ice cream Hazed & Confused, but the likely nod to the 1993 cult classic Dazed and Confused perhaps sheds a little light onto how Ben & Jerry’s comes up with the inspiration for such wacky and delicious ice cream concoctions. Going on the list with previous flavors such as Cherry Garcia (named after Grateful Dead front man Jerry Garcia) and Half Baked (for obvious reasons)–if the company’s signature tie-dye t-shirts weren’t a dead give away–Hazed & Confused provides further evidence that Ben and Jerry might have been more than a little familiar with the ol’ devil’s lettuce, and the munchies that inevitably ensue. Maybe this will make you feel better about getting stoned and eating an entire tub, who knows.

I am going to end with a quick exam. I just need everyone to look down at their hands. They’re empty, right? Now wait two hours and then look again. If you aren’t clutching a frosty pint of Hazed and Confused in one hand, and a giant-ass spoon in the other, you failed. Get to it.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 280 calories, 140 calories from fat, 16 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 25 grams of sugar, 5 grams of protein, 8% vitamin A, 10% calcium, and 10% iron.)

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Hazed & Confused Core Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 10 out of 10
Pros: The definition of a 10/10 product. The hazelnut core is maybe the best thing I have tasted in, like, 5 years. It’s Ben & Jerry’s so the ice cream itself is top notch. I would likely buy a store’s worth if I had the money.
Cons: Other people somewhere are probably enjoying it right now and I am just on this computer. I wish eating an entire tub wasn’t a 200% daily value hit of saturated fat.

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REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream

Written by | March 10, 2014

Topics: 7 Rating, Ben & Jerry's, Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream

I had the most emotional experience a few years ago when my parents took me up to the northeast to drop me off at college. It was heart wrenching. Painful. Soul crushing. Never have so many tears been shed.

We took a tour of the Ben and Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard.

Here, I witnessed all the good things in life I would never be able to know. Dozens of incredible ice creams who all died too young. Rainforest Crunch? Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road? Why did we turn our backs on remarkable ingredients like cashew-brazil nut buttercrunch and peanut butter cookie dough? So Pistachio Pistachio could keep its spot in the freezers? I couldn’t handle it. The world wasn’t the same without these. The inimitable lost ice creams needed to be revived.

The new line of “core” flavors is actually a resurrection of sorts. The concept first appeared back in 2002, and Karamel Sutra has been on shelves since. However, I can’t say this was the resurrection I was hoping for. For the most part, all of the new flavors are just recycling components already found in other pints. There’s very little ingredient innovation going on here. These pints are basically the same as when Taco Bell announces some new rehashing of tortilla, ground beef, and cheese.

Ben & Jerry's Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream Lid

That being said, there’s nothing that prevents a rehashing from tasting good. Their Salted Caramel Core flavor, a sweet cream ice cream base with blonde brownies and a salted caramel core, seemed to me to be one of the best combinations they could make with their current arsenal. That is, unless they develop an ice cream with a cookie dough core. Flavor gurus, take note.

I was most excited about writing this review for the sole purpose of doing this:

Ben & Jerry's Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream Core Middle

This cross-section is a work of art. I believe in the industry this is what they refer to as “core-core porn.” Regardless of the practicality of the core, I will admit that this is beautiful. So if you’re the kind of person who regularly likes to take out your aggression on a pint with a 10 inch blade, this might be the flavor for you.

The biggest issue at hand here is core mixing: how to get that center pocket distributed into every bite. I feared that I would run into the same issue that I do with cupcakes, where you get a few really great bites of heavy frosting and then are left with a lot of dry mediocre cake.

Ben & Jerry's Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream SPOON

By the time I started eating, the ice cream and caramel were soft enough that I could mix them together on my spoon fairly easily and avoided that problem. However, I’m usually an impatient ice cream consumer who ends up chiseling at a frozen pint, and I can’t see this set up working for me on a normal basis. I also don’t see how this would work well in their fudge core flavors, because while cold caramel still has a certain malleability, cold fudge seems impossible to distribute.

Ben & Jerry's Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream Core Again

The best thing this pint has going for it is that it’s safe from the chunk diggers in your household. The blondie pieces are prevalent, but much smaller than those in Rockin’ Blondies, so they’re impossible to extract on their own. And while it’s technically possible to hollow out the pint and eat nothing but caramel, I can’t see that being a pleasant experience unless you like to lick salt rocks to pass the time. I thought the salted caramel paired well with the sweet cream base, but it’s not a component that can stand alone.

All in all, is this ice cream good? Yes, very. Does it deserve the hype it’s been getting? Probably not. The core does nothing that a great swirl couldn’t, and there’s nothing special about a salted caramel flavor anymore. If Ben and Jerry’s wants to rehash old components, at least bring back the stuff you can’t get from anyone else. Give me cashew-brazil nut buttercrunch, then we’ll talk.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 270 calories, 130 calories from fat, 14 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 28 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Co-op Food Stores
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Good flavor combination. Gooey caramel. Lots of mix-ins. Chunk digger prevention. Playing with knives.
Cons: Rehashing old ingredients. The horrors of the Flavor Graveyard. Trans fat. Dry cupcakes. Being too impatient to let ice cream soften. Making you work for caramel distribution. Oatmeal Cookie Chunk didn’t deserve to die for this.

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REVIEW Ben & Jerry’s Limited Batch Ron Burgundy’s Scotchy Scotch Scotch Ice Cream

Written by | November 7, 2013

Topics: 7 Rating, Ben & Jerry's, Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's Limited Batch Ron Burgundy's Scotchy Scotch Scotch Ice Cream

The first Anchorman movie – technically, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy – came out the summer of 2004. The world was a very different place back then.

Steve Carell was still a correspondent on The Daily Show. Adam McKay and Will Ferrell were just beginning their comedic partnership. And I was constantly saying, “I love scotch, scotchy, scotch, scotch, here it goes down, down into my belly” despite having consumed alcohol just one single time in my life. (Bacardi 151 in my friend Josh’s basement before a Sweet 16 party. I couldn’t believe alcohol tasted that awful and swore that I’d never touch the stuff again.)

Things have certainly evolved since then. Steve Carell is a bona fide movie star. The McKay/Ferrell team has created Ricky Bobby, the Funny or Die website, and that video of the adorable little girl cursing out Will Ferrell. Single malt scotches are now my drink of choice – I’m writing this review with a bottle of Glenlivet 15 year on my desk.

One thing that hasn’t changed: I still routinely say “scotchy scotch scotch” whenever I drink anything out of a whiskey glass. More generally, I’ve probably never gone a week without quoting Anchorman at any point in the last decade, and, for a certain demographic, phrases like “I’m in a glass case of emotion” and “60% of the time, it works every time” are now among the most recognizable idioms in the American lexicon. (Full disclosure: I just spent 30 minutes deciding which Anchorman quotes to use in the previous sentence. I imagine that’s what picking your favorite child is like, if all your children were hilarious, perfectly delivered, and always extended you invitations to the pants party.)

Ben & Jerry's Limited Batch Ron Burgundy's Scotchy Scotch Scotch Ice Cream Top

All of which is to say, we are long overdue for a new Anchorman movie. With Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues coming out soon, I am absolutely willing to support any and all Anchorman-related promotional tie-ins, especially if they callback my favorite quote and incorporate my favorite liquor. (I’m also planning to test drive a Dodge Durango this weekend.) Last night I purchased a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Ron Burgundy’s Scotchy Scotch Scotch ice cream with great excitement.

In preparation for eating some scotch-flavored ice cream, I had created a whole list of moderately pompous scotch-related adjectives to use in this review. (In my mind, that ice cream’s late palate was going to be complex and peaty, with an oaky yet balanced finish.) Alas, Scotchy Scotch Scotch actually has no scotch flavoring; rather, it’s butterscotch ice cream with butterscotch swirl. I got over my initial disappointment and tried a couple scoops anyway.

Ben & Jerry's Limited Batch Ron Burgundy's Scotchy Scotch Scotch Ice Cream Bowl

Scotchy Scotch Scotch is very tasty in small servings but likely too rich to be enjoyable in larger doses. The butterscotch ice cream base was extremely creamy, sweet, and flavorful. That base by itself would have already done butterscotch proud, but then I got a taste of the crunchy ribbons of candy and, boy, that escalated quickly.

The experience was almost nostalgia-inducing, given how much the ice cream tasted like a Werther’s Original butterscotch. I really liked the textural contrast between the cream and the butterscotch candy bits, but altogether it was relentlessly sweet. I could’ve used some saltiness or sourness to add a little balance, à la Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby or Cherry Garcia.

I wouldn’t recommend you buy a whole pint, but if you happen to be near a Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop, you should definitely drop by and try a scoop of Ron Burgundy’s Scotchy Scotch Scotch. In small servings, it’ll take you to Pleasure Town. (Yes, I really had to drop in one last Anchorman quote. Don’t act like you’re not impressed.)

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 280 calories, 150 calories from fat, 17 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 27 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Limited Batch Ron Burgundy’s Scotchy Scotch Scotch Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $6.50
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Ice cream base was flavorful, sweet, and creamy. Crunchy candy swirl provides great textural contrast. Tastes just like a butterscotch hard candy. Single malt scotch. Those Dodge Durango commercials. Anchorman 2 is coming soon!
Cons: Relentlessly sweet. Could’ve used some saltiness or sourness. Not actually scotch flavored. Scotch-related pomposity. Picking your favorite child. Bacardi 151. Using Anchorman quotes way too frequently.

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REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Rockin’ Blondies Ice Cream

Written by | September 18, 2013

Topics: 7 Rating, Ben & Jerry's, Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's Rockin' Blondies Ice Cream

Rockin’ Blondies…I can think of a few. One rather iconic one in particular.

I’m talking about the Ben & Jerry’s cow, of course. She is rockin’ out on this carton of Ben & Jerry’s Rockin’ Blondies Ice Cream. Those amps are totally turned up to 11. She is ready to rock anytime, anyplace, anywhere, anyday.

Okay, so she’s not exactly a towhead, but this ice cream is blonde through and through. The carton describes it as “Buttery Brown Sugar Ice Cream with Blonde Brownies and Butterscotch Toffee Flakes.”

In case you’re not familiar with blonde brownies, they have a flavor profile that is rich with brown sugar, butterscotch, and a hint of vanilla. The buttery flavor is a counterpart to their chocolate brownie brethren, and this ice cream promises to embody that through and through.

We shall see how B&J delivers that. One way or another, I’m gonna eat it eat it eat it eat it.

With so much going on in Rockin’ Blondies, I was afraid that it might be too rich. I was happy to find that this was not the case. The ice cream base was a lovely buttery cream, but unfortunately the taste of brown sugar was almost nonexistent.

I actually appreciated the subtlety of the brown sugar in the ice cream, because there was so much more going on.

I was not disappointed by the butterscotch toffee flakes, although I’d call them “chunks” more than “flakes”. They added a great crunch to the mix, and the rich sweetness of the butterscotch and the buttery toffee worked great together. I could taste both of the flavors distinctly, but they also made a great team.

I’m starting to think they should have called this “Rockin’ Butters” instead, because I keep wanting to describe everything as “buttery”. I feel like this may have been a missed South Park promo opportunity.

Ben & Jerry's Rockin' Blondies Ice Cream Closeup

The part of Rockin’ Blondies I was looking forward to the most was the blonde brownies. I don’t know if it was just my carton or what, but the ratio of butterscotch toffee flakes to blonde brownies was about 5 to 1. You could say the brownies gave me the slip.

When I did get a good chunk of brownie, I loved it. They had a great chewy consistency and delivered that distinctive brown sugar and butterscotch taste with a hint of vanilla. They worked great with the ice cream and were a delight. And I got maybe four chunks of them, total.

This is where I would insert a frowny-face emoticon, if I were to do such things.

It’s hard to pin down a score on Ben & Jerry’s Rockin’ Blondies Ice Cream. On the one hand, some key components, like the brown sugar in the ice cream and the blonde brownies, were too sparse.

On the other hand, the buttery ice cream was excellent, as were the butterscotch toffee flakes, and I did love the few pieces of blonde brownies I got. It was sweet without being too rich. I finished the whole pint in quite a short amount of time. Iu just felt like Ben & Jerry’s was teasing me like an over-bleached hairdo on an 80′s rock band singer.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 250 calories, 140 calories from fat, 15 grams of total fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 23 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein, 10% vitamin A, and 10% calcium.)

Other Ben & Jerry’s Rockin’ Blondies reviews:
On Second Scoop

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Rockin’ Blondies Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Target (Exclusive)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Butterscotch Toffee Flakes had rich flavor and were plentiful. Utilizing my knowledge of rocker chick lyrics. Ice cream base was buttery and just the right amount of sweet. Seeing the B&J’s cow rock out. Blonde brownies I did get were spot-on.
Cons: Not nearly enough blonde brownies. Having the urge to use an emoticon in a review. Brown sugar in the ice cream was barely there. 45 percent of your daily saturated fat per serving.

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REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Jam Session Ice Cream

Written by | August 26, 2013

Topics: 9 Rating, Ben & Jerry's, Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Jam Session Ice Cream

Peanut butter and jelly is the quintessential childhood favorite – a sandwich loved by all.

I love it, you love it, Jay-Z loves it. There’s no denying it: the peanut butter and jelly sandwich is more popular than a Princess Leia slave cosplayer at a Star Wars convention. Despite the sandwich’s apparent fame and esteem, surprisingly few people are aware of its origins. How exactly did PB&J come to be?

Late one night, fruit preserve salesman Barnabas B. Goobersworth broke into the laboratory of George Washington Carver. When Goobersworth refused to leave, the situation escalated. What began as a chase around the laboratory developed into a full-fledged food fight, with Goobersworth slinging jelly and Carver tossing peanut butter. After the fiasco, the laboratory was a complete mess. Unfortunately, Carver had forgotten to purchase paper towels at the local Walmart. As a result, he was forced to clean up the peanut butter and jelly debris using a loaf of white bread. The rest is history.

Okay, maybe that never happened, but sometimes history needs to be spiced up a bit. Contrary to popular belief, Napoleon wasn’t that short, Marco Polo didn’t actually bring back pasta from China, and John F. Kennedy never called himself a jelly donut. Shocking, right?

In fact, it seems George Washington Carver wasn’t even the first man to create peanut butter. Marcellus Gilmore Edson of Montreal, Quebec patented a technique to manufacture peanut paste way back in 1884, only twenty years after Carver was born. Those dang Canucks beat us again!

In 1998, ice cream behemoth Ben & Jerry’s decided to produce a Peanut Butter and Jelly flavor. It lasted but a single year on the market and now resides in the Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard in Waterbury, Vermont.

Nevertheless, Ben & Jerry’s is giving a peanut butter and fruit spread ice cream another go. Peanut Butter Jam Session features peanut butter ice cream with raspberry and crunchy peanut butter swirls. I picked up a carton at Target, where the flavor is being sold exclusively.

Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Jam Session Ice Cream Top

In appearance, Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Jam Session is a creamy, white color tinged with the swirls of light brown peanut butter and red raspberry. The ice cream carries the heavy scent of peanuts, but any presence of raspberry remains undetectable to the nose.

The white ice cream base provides a creamy, nutty flavor and houses the peanut butter and raspberry swirls. The swirls exquisitely complement the ice cream, providing for a delicate balance of sweet and nutty flavors that serve to tantalize the taste buds. Neither flavor manages to overwhelm the other.

The raspberry swirl offers a modest fruity quality to offset the creamy nuttiness of the peanut butter ice cream. The light berry taste pleases the palate with its sweet and toothsome tartness while not crossing over to achingly saccharine.

Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Jam Session Ice Cream Cup

However, the true star of this ice cream is the “crunchy” peanut butter swirl. When I first tasted Peanut Butter Jam Session, I expected my taste buds to be hit with an all too familiar artificial peanut butter flavor — the kind frequently found in snacks such as Reese’s Cups and peanut butter Ritz Bits. Surprisingly, the peanut butter swirl presents a natural nutty taste without seeming too bold.

Texturally, the swirl is spot-on: the globs of crunchy peanut butter scattered throughout the ice cream introduce a slightly grainy consistency similar to chunky peanut butter. After consuming a bowl of Peanut Butter Jam Session, you will actually feel like you’ve recently eaten peanut butter.

In the past, I’ve experienced numerous Ben & Jerry’s varieties where the flavors contributed by the add-ins become drowned out by the richness of the ice cream base. Fortunately, the assortment of flavors housed inside a pint of Peanut Butter Jam Session can be experienced without hindrance, as no single flavor outdoes the others. The ice cream’s balance of nutty and sweet flavors has been executed with remarkable finesse, and I highly urge peanut butter fans to rush to their nearest Target to pick up a carton. I would happily purchase this flavor again.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 270 calories, 160 calories from fat, 18 grams of total fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 110 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 19 grams of sugars, and 6 grams of protein.)

Other Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Jam Session reviews:
On Second Scoop

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Jam Session Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $3.84
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Flavor swirls complement each other well. Balanced nuttiness and sweetness. Princess Leia slave cosplayers.
Cons: Goobersworth. Food fights in laboratories.

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