REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Save Our Swirled Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s Save Our Swirled Ice Cream

Usually when I go get a pint of Ben & Jerry’s it’s because I’m in a state of hunger or self-loathing. Either way, it always makes me feel better. But when I saw the new flavor, Save Our Swirled, I felt horrible and wasn’t sure the ice cream could make me feel better. The container is so bleak, showing a cow on a melting piece of ice, wearing an SOS sweater, holding a sign, which reads, “if it’s melted, it’s ruined.”

That’s messed up! I was already in self-loathing mode, and now I have to think about global warming and sweater cows falling into the cold arctic waters and there’s nothing I can do to stop it! Well, I could stop throwing Styrofoam burning parties, but damn those are always a great time.

If they keep going in this direction the next new flavor may as well be called “Swirled War 3,” and the cow on the container will be standing in some post-apocalyptic scene similar to Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” wearing a tattered sweater, holding a sign that says, “This is the end!”

The thoughts of Swirled War 3 and ceasing my infamous Styrofoam burning parties made me sob uncontrollably in Wegmans. So, it was just like every other trip to Wegmans. But the sobbing stopped once the ice cream eating began.

Ben & Jerry’s Save Our Swirled Ice Cream 2

A light, airy raspberry ice cream makes up for the base of Save Our Swirled. It had a different flavor than recent raspberry ice creams, like the one in That’s My Jam. It’s not too strong but at the same time it isn’t too weak either. It’s the Goldilocks of raspberry ice creams.

Complementing the raspberry ice cream is a raspberry swirl. It’s unlike the raspberry jam that was in the aforementioned That’s My Jam, and more like a raspberry… goo? Whatever the proper term is, it has a stronger raspberry flavor than the ice cream, and when you get them both in one bite it’s a ras-gasm.

Ben & Jerry’s Save Our Swirled Ice Cream 3

Also joining the mix is a marshmallow swirl, which I personally didn’t think was going to get along with two flavors of raspberry but it does, and it excels.

Lastly, and absolutely least, are the chocolate and white chocolate fudge cones. At first I thought these were fudge covered waffle cones, but they are simply half chocolate/white chocolate ice cream cone-shaped chocolate. They are tasty, but for me personally they were too constant throughout the pint. And when you consider the fact the ice cream is called “Save Our Swirled,” wouldn’t you think ice cream cones are kind of irrelevant?

If Ben and Jerry want to get their point through, the fudge cones should be fudge melting polar ice caps. Then when people eat the ice cream and really look at what they’re eating they may think, “Oh my god, what have I done! I’m devouring the world!” and change their Styrofoam burning party ways.

See, when I saw the ice cream cones I just thought of a hot, carefree summer day, where I don’t think about saving our swirled, er, I mean world. But if I saw a fudge melting polar ice cap I would actually be concerned.

I know Ben and Jerry run an ice cream company, but ice cream isn’t the answer to everything. If it was, I’d be a happy billionaire who lived in a mega tower and hang glided to work everyday. But alas, I’m just a poor salaryman who eats way too much ice cream.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 250 calories, 110 calories from fat, 12 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 50 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 27 grams of sugars, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Save Our Swirled Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Wegmans
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Raspberry ice cream is delicious. Swirls blend really well together. Styrofoam burning parties. Hang gliding off a mega tower.
Cons: Too many fudge cones. Sobbing in Wegmans. Swirled War 3. Helpless sweater cows.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Buttah Cookie Core Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's Peanut Buttah Core Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s first wave of Core ice creams consisted of ice cream surrounding a core of ooey, gooey stuff that was sort of like eating a sundae straight out of the pint.

The idea was pure genius and highly successful, if you ask my freezer, which currently contains three pints of the stuff. If you ask my freezer, also inquire as to what’s in the Ziploc in the back of it, because I forgot to label it before I threw it in there and now I’m scared because I think it’s been in there for some years and I should probably just throw it away.

Now they’ve come out with three different Cookie Core varieties. The Boom Chocolatta version sounded like way too much chocolate for my taste, and I still don’t really understand what Speculoos are, so I figured my best bet would be to try Peanut Buttah Cookie Core.

Ben & Jerry’s describes it as “Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Crunchy Peanut Butter Sugar Bits, Peanut Butter Cookies & a Peanut Butter Cookie Core”. This raised Peanut Buttah above just “default flavor” status, because just reading that description probably made those with peanut allergies reach for their EpiPen.

Speaking of EpiPens, have you ever seen the commercial that advertises them? “Ask your doctor about EpiPen today!” What person with a severe allergy doesn’t already know about EpiPens? I imagine someone watching the commercial and saying to themselves, “Wait, you mean I don’t have to take an ambulance ride to the emergency room with my throat closed up every time I accidentally eat something that came in contact with shellfish? This is amazing, and I’m going to get a new doctor since I should have heard about this years ago!”

Sorry, I just had to share that. It’s been bugging me for a while now.

I’ve always considered the gold standard of peanut butter cookies to be my mom’s, who always baked them at Christmas time. Since you probably haven’t tried my mom’s homemade cookies, I give second place to Grandma’s brand, which has the bonus of being available year-round but doesn’t make the kitchen smell awesome.

All other peanut butter cookies pale in comparison, and I hate the taste of artificial peanut butter flavoring, so I approached Peanut Buttah Cookie Core with caution. I also wondered why we had to go with the unnecessarily dorky “Buttah”.

Ben & Jerry's Peanut Buttah Core Ice Cream Open

The only weak explanation is the description on the carton: “For p.b. fans & cookie spread-heads who want it all, here’s a flavor that delivers it, from the creamy to the crunchy to the peanutty core of crushed-cookie stuff that spreads like buttah (and tastes even bettah).” I feel like New Yorkers are going to be insulted by this mockery of their accents. Then again, they do love insults. Eeeey!

I’m happy to report that every bite of Peanut Buttah Cookie Core is the essence of all that is good about peanut butter cookies. The ice cream alone tastes like it, but I dare you to catch a bite that doesn’t contain some evenly-dispersed chunks of delicious peanut butter cookie.

The same goes for the “crunchy peanut butter sugar bits”, that strike me as more grainy than crunchy. “Grainy” doesn’t usually sound like a positive descriptor for food, but in this case it’s representative of the sugar bits that are big enough to crunch and add an extra layer of texture to the ice cream.

Ben & Jerry's Peanut Buttah Core Ice Cream Top

As for the core, it’s like the distilled essence of a peanut butter cookie. Smooth yet crunchy, cookie yet buttery, it is rich, delicious and everything that a Cookie Core should be.

I only have two complaints about Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Buttah Cookie Core Ice Cream. The first is that it comes off as having only one note of flavor. Trust me, if you love peanut butter cookies, you’ll love this ice cream. And the various textures come through in each bite. But it lacks the mishmash of flavors that Ben & Jerry’s is so well-known for.

The second is that it’s so rich. With all that peanut butter cookie going on, after just a few spoonfuls I felt like I’d already overindulged. This may not be a problem for some, but to me, I could only eat it in small doses.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup — 320 calories, 190 calories from fat, 21 grams of total fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 20 grams of sugar, 6 grams of protein, 8% vitamin A, 10% calcium, 2% iron.)

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Buttah Cookie Core Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Absolute peanut butter cookie taste. EpiPens saving lives. Plentiful peanut butter cookie chunks. Wonderful blend of textures.
Cons: Bit of a one-trick pony. Mystery freezer items. Too rich for prolonged consumption. Insulting New Yorkers. Peanut allergies.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s The Tonight Dough Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's The Tonight Dough Ice Cream

You may think it’s harmless, generous even, to share this pint with your friends.


It seduces and, thus, accumulates a distressing number of amorous relationships. Give a bite here, share a bite there, and suddenly you have callers all over you, ringing you at 2 in the morning to explain their dreams and tugging your arm to elope with them in Vegas. Go through all this and then where will you be?

In Divorce Court. That’s where.

You’ll have to deal with all that paperwork, the taxes, Judge Mallory. Take it from me: avoid Divorce Court. Don’t share. Save the whole pint for your awesome self. Here’s why:

Ben & Jerry's The Tonight Dough Ice Cream-behold, horizons of dough ahead

Creamy and smooth with a melt slower than Blue Bunny, but not as creamy as a small-batch Gelato Fiasco, the ice cream stands up to the Ben and Jerry standard I’ve come to know: mild, sweet, and inoffensive, if a bit bland. The caramel portion is milky and sweet with the tang of cooked sugar coming in at the end while the milk chocolate portion leans strongly toward the milk with a dry, cocoa-forward finish.

For those looking for dynamically punchy bases, the ice cream alone is not something you’d hoard in your underground nuclear bunker. But then the mix-ins arrive and explain everything: the base is but the palate cleanser. The humble binder of goods. The tabula rasa for a dairy-inspired art installation worthy of the MoMA.

Ben & Jerry's The Tonight Dough Ice Cream gobs and swirls

And it all starts with the cookie dough chunks. There are gobs of them. Everywhere. Gobs of salty-sweet-and-gritty peanut butter dough. Gobs of familiar, sugar-forward chocolate chip dough. Big gobs. Little gobs. Standard gobs. But mainly big gobs. I eat the gobs. You should, too.

Then there’s the cookie swirl: a thick ribbon of gritty dark chocolate wafers so delightful, it may sully forth magical woodland creatures to Twitter about you. With its taste of Oreos and firm integration of bitter-laced sugar throughout the pint, this is the slightly liquefied embodiment of childhood nostalgia. Aside from a snowplow that harnesses the energy of three Hadron Colliders, I can’t think of anything I’d like more.

Ben & Jerry's The Tonight Dough Ice Cream empty bowl of sadness

And after all that’s over, the bowl’s empty, and it was worth it to not share. It was creamy with a mild base that allowed for those excellent mix-ins to shine like so many sequins on a WWE Wrestler at a European discotheque. Sure, the base is mild and the whole thing is composed of already-existing mix-ins, but these elements are combined in a such a way that allows the Whole to be elevated to a new level: gritty, sugary, chewy, melty, salty, bitter, chocolate-y, and peanut buttery. All the elements of the food pyramid.

If you find the chocolate/caramel base too mild, maybe finish it off with some caramel or fudge. If you miss Fallon’s old iteration, perhaps top it off with potato chip chunkies. Or just scoop-scoop it into your bowl and never look back. I know I didn’t.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 310 calories, 140 calories from fat, 16 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 26 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Item: Ben & Jerry’s The Tonight Dough Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $5.19
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Food Emporium
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Creamy. Chocolate-y. Peanut-butter-y. Balance of bitter, salty, and sweet. Gobs of cookie dough. The pint is all yours. WWE wrestlers decked out for the disco. Hadron-Collider-powered snowplow.
Cons: Caramel and chocolate bases are mild. No potato chip clusters. Divorce Court. Deluded lovers you don’t love who explain their dreams to you at 2 in the morning.

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.