REVIEW: Keebler Red Velvet Fudge Stripes Cookies

Keebler Red Velvet Fudge Stripes Cookies

Like Salted Caramel, Maple Bacon, and Sriracha, Red Velvet is a food trend which will not go away until it’s been flavorized into every edible object this side of gluten-free dog treats. While I’m quite positive this has driven some of you mad, I’m more than willing to accept and embrace this necessary step in flavor evolution.

Sneer all you want about how diet yogurts and Pop-Tarts can never match the mellow cocoa flavoring and rich cream cheese frosting of an actual slice of homemade Red Velvet Cake, but unless you possess a time machine allowing you to conveniently travel back to the 1930s or 1940s, I’m going to call you out as just another fan of the latest bastardization of the classic southern cake.

And you know what? I’m totally cool with that, just like I’m totally cool with the idea of the Keebler Elves adapting their classic Fudge Stripe cookies to Red Velvet. These are magical elves, after all, and there are far worse food trends they could be adapting for cookie construction.*

Keebler Red Velvet Fudge Stripes Cookies 2

At first glance, the fudge stripe template seems a curious choice to adapt Red Velvet to. Fudge is supposed to be dense, super chocolaty, and for lack of a better word, fudgy.

Meanwhile, even bastardized conceptions of Red Velvet carry a certain connotation of a light cake crumb and more restrained cocoa flavor. But when you think about it, good old Ernest J. Keebler’s reasoning checks out. Not nearly as iconic at E.L. Fudge yet distinct enough from your garden-variety Chips Deluxe, the Fudge Stripe begs for a makeover, or at the very least a new twist on the contrast of artificial chocolate glaze and crisp shortbread.

Keebler Red Velvet Fudge Stripes Cookies 3

If nothing else, the little men slaving away in those treehouse factories certainly craft an aesthetically pleasing product. Lined in a perfect row of red and white, as if drizzled with a cream cheese and buttercream fondant by skillful elfish hands, the cookies look appetizing enough to devour in one fell swoop. It’s a thought not completely unrealistic, if only for the obsolescent non-resealable packaging. Really, Ernest J.? You’ve created a magical factory in a tree capable of mass producing cookies yet you can’t prevent my cookies from going stale? Priorities man, priorities!

Keebler Red Velvet Fudge Stripes Cookies 4

The white coating is predictably waxy—the kind of artificial, “look that’s going to be your arteries!” stuff that we’ve been told to avoid, but still secretly love. At first, it’s slow to yield a distinct flavor, but after several licks and precise, tiny bites, the faux-glaze takes on a unique flavor. I’m reminded quite a bit of the yogurt coating of the raisins in one of my favorite cereals (Basic 4—completely underrated) but also pick up a hypersweet note of white chocolate and an element of cream cheese.

Beneath the glaze is the shortbread cocoa cookie. Crunchy with a superfine crumb, there’s both a distinct mellow cocoa element but also a deeper and richer chocolate flavor. You won’t mistake it for dark chocolate, but sure enough, the semisweet chocolate listed on the ingredient list makes itself known, giving each cookie an over-the-top chocolate flavor which pairs wonderfully with cream cheese glaze.

I have to admit though, there’s an odd acidity in these cookies which tempers the chocolate; a sensation which makes me almost pucker. Sharp to a point but still very sweet, there really is a distinct Red Velvet flavor that goes well beyond just mellow cocoa and red food coloring. Truth be told it’s sort of unexpected (who ever heard of a crunchy Red Velvet cake, for one thing!), yet somehow satisfyingly addictive. One might, when considering the hands which built it, even call it magical.

I wasn’t expecting to like the Keebler Red Velvet Fudge Stripes Cookies as much as I did. I know, I know. Who am I to doubt whatever source of supernatural craftsmanship guides the Keebler elves. Yet lulled to sleep by countless Red Velvet flavor imposters, my expectations were dimmed, so much so that when one of the most accurate representations of the flavor in mass produced form graced my lips, I was blown away. Red Velvet Oreos, you ask? I’m not holding my breath just yet, because as far as I’m concerned Ernest J. and the magical elves have crafted a near-perfect Red Velvet cookie.

*Kale, for instance.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 130 calories, 6 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 11 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Keebler Red Velvet Fudge Stripes Cookies
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 11.5 oz.
Purchased at: Mars Grocery Stores
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: ACTUALLY TASTES LIKE RED VELVET. Mellow cocoa crumb. Unexpected chocolate depth. Addictively complex cream cheese/buttercream/white chocolate glaze. Needed makeover for a classic cookie.
Cons: Possibility of Red Velvet flavored gluten-free dog treats. Seventeenth century cookie packaging. Will turn your arteries into waxy faux cream cheese filling.

REVIEW: Keebler Original S’mores Sandwich Cookies

Keebler S'mores Original Sandwich Cookies

I have no idea how anyone ever came up with the idea for s’mores. What exactly were graham crackers even good for before they were used as bread in a toasted marshmallow and melted chocolate sandwich?

From its name to its ingredients, s’mores remain a unique, simple campfire combination that’s as delicious as it is indicative of the summer season. Yet, many still attempt to reinvent this timeless snack, and Keebler’s new S’mores Sandwich Cookies are only the latest to provide their personal spin on the one treat that reminds us all of a flickering campfire and the chokingly potent smell of mosquito killer.

But hold on one second and allow me to preface this review by saying that I take my s’more very seriously, like very seriously. I have personally devised a three-tier system for determining a s’mores’ quality based on its preparation and presentation.

Tier One: S’mores made outside using the heat of a real fire. Maybe you are using a campfire from a weeklong camping trip with some of your top homies or a fire-pit in your parents’ backyard, either way this is the true way to enjoy this traditional snack.

Tier Two: S’mores made indoors. Yes, that’s right, there are people who use a microwave to make s’mores because 20 seconds is all you need to forgo that smokey campfire smell and a ceiling of dark sky and stars. At their best, these individuals are at least trying to capture the essence of a true s’more. However, more likely they just wanted a quick snack before watching late-night reruns of Seinfeld on TBS.

Tier Three: Anything pre-made and store bought.

Yeah, that’s right, I am a longtime believer that there are some things you shouldn’t mess with, and s’mores is one of them. However, the new Keebler S’mores Sandwich Cookies sure challenged my opinion.

Keebler S'mores Original Sandwich Cookies Innards

Although not in traditional s‘mores fashion (which we can safely say is a pretty clear message from these cookies), one of the best things about the Keebler cookie version is how unmessy it is. Far from the melty stringiness of an actual toasted marshmallow, the center of each of the Keebler cookies is somewhere between a Lucky Charms marshmallow and Oreo cream filling in consistency, and it breaks away very easily. Also, the two graham crackers are soft enough that they don’t snap, but not so soft that they to crumble away with each bite. The chocolate exterior also keeps everything together making enjoying them on the go even easier.

Keebler S'mores Original Sandwich Cookies Penny

If you are a fan of s’mores-flavored Pop-Tarts, then it is safe to say you will dig these Keebler cookies. While maybe not a perfect representation of a true s’more, the taste is pleasantly recognizable of the real deal much like the popular Pop-Tarts pastry. It is certainly one of the better s’mores-flavored snacks out there, and definitely worth at least a fun one-time purchase to get you in the summer mood.

However, the only disappointing thing is that each container has only ten smallish cookies separated on a plastic pull-out tray with a lot of wasted space. Yo Keebler, what gives? I know you all have the resources to cram, like, 24 E.L.Fudge cookies into the same sized package as well as all of those elves and their cooking utensils into that one tree, so please give us enough cookies to justify the almost four dollars I spent. Overall amount aside, I was also a bit surprised the nutrition facts revealed a serving size of one cookie—an eye opener when you consider that one cookie has 20 percent of your daily saturated fat.

But honestly, the bottom line still remains that if you are looking for a killer treat, you can’t go wrong with Keebler S’mores Sandwich Cookies. While not authentic s’mores, they definitely bring the A-game in summer flavor, with or without a campfire. Although, you just may want to save them until after swimsuit season.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cookie – 130 calories, 6 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Keebler Original S’mores Sandwich Cookies
Purchased Price: $3.50
Size: 7 oz.
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Not as messy as actual s’mores. The fact we live in a world where s’mores exist..
Cons: Cookies are kinda small and very unhealthy. Only ten in each container. No campfire smell.

QUICK REVIEW: Keebler Town House Mediterranean Herb Pita Oven Baked Crackers

Keebler Town House Mediterranean Herb Pita Oven Baked Crackers

Purchased Price: $3.50 (on sale)
Size: 9.5 oz.
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Pizza snack-like flavor. 0 grams of saturated fat. Great crunch. Oven baked. Keebler recommends you eat them with dip, but they have enough flavor by themselves. Leaves just enough seasoning on your fingers to make cleaning them enjoyable.
Cons: Googled “Mediterranean herbs” to find out what they are and none of them are listed in this cracker’s ingredients, so I’m not sure what the herby stuff on each cracker are. Maybe the box is supposed to say “Pizza” instead of “Pita.” Not made by elves with magic in a tree; they’re made by machines with ovens in a huge factory.

Keebler Town House Mediterranean Herb Pita Oven Baked Crackers Closeup

Nutrition Facts: 6 crackers – 70 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 130 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 1 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Keebler Wheatables Toasted Pecan Nut Crisps

Keebler Wheatables Toasted Pecan Nut Crisps

When I stumbled upon the newest addition to Keebler’s Wheatables line, my first thought was “Finally! Someone has tapped into the sorely neglected yet obviously lucrative grey squirrel market!” I’m serious. My brain operates in strange and fascinating ways. I am afraid of word association exercises and what horrors they might reveal about my psyche.

The Toasted Pecan Nut Crisps were strategically placed on the top row of shelves in the snack aisle. That’s a horrible position for attracting the bulk of the snacking population, but it’s prime squirrel territory, provided my local grocery store starts accepting tree-dwelling rodents as valid customers.

Keebler’s foray into the nut-gatherer segment of the population actually makes sense when you think about it. Of course the tree-dwelling elf company would be among the first to respond to the outcry of squirrels frustrated and bored with the usual range of stale mixed nuts offered up by their overly gregarious, primarily elderly suppliers. I think we can all agree that no self-respecting modern urban squirrel actually goes out foraging among the trees anymore.

Back at my alma mater we had squirrels on the main quad that survived solely on McDonald’s scraps and the adoration of the student body. It was damn near impossible to enjoy a Nature Valley bar in the shade of majestic maple tree on a warm spring day without the little guys circling like vultures, ever tighter, ever closer, chattering expectantly. San Diego’s omni-sunny, seasonless climate makes things all the worse by eliminating the need to hibernate and stockpile. It was only a matter of time before our local rodent friends evolved from hunter-gathering to lounging in little eucalyptus hammocks, munching on acorn-blasted goldfish and googling all sorts of disturbing variations of the phrase “huge savory nuts”.

At first whiff, the crisps smell like Honey Bunches of Oats with a twinge of maple syrup. Each one is rife with pecan flecks and salt crystals. I’m left with a fine nutty/salty dust coating my fingertips, making this a decent option for all those grading their snacks on the Doritos scale of puzzling powder-based messiness.

Keebler Wheatables Toasted Pecan Nut Crisps Naked

The flavor is buttery, with prominent pecan, and just a hint of salt. Think pecan French toast, only crispier, like a standard, non-amazing Wheatable. This threw my best friend into a state of existential confusion. She very much likes to categorize, organize, and keep things neat. The nut crisps shattered that careful order in just one bite.

They aren’t really crackers – too sweet. Their hexagonal shape disqualifies them from any special animal cracker exemptions. They certainly wouldn’t qualify as a cookie either, as they’re too flat and crispy. They’re far too nutritionally deficient to pass as breakfast in any but the most desperate of circumstances, yet every fabric of their being practically screams “GOOD MORNING!” from the moment one opens the box. Even the good elves of Keebler seem unable to decide what to make of this monster. The box tentatively labels them as crackers in tiny print below the giant “nut crisps” banner. So they’re crisp cracker snacks? I guess?

If you’re able to get past that philosophical quandary and dive into a box with no regard for labeling, the Nut Crisps are quite delicious and addictive snack… thingies. They apparently also come in almond, but as a former Midwesterner looking to regain some of the street cred I lost in the Popeye’s fiasco, I only bothered to hunt down the buttery goodness of pecans.

(Nutrition Facts – 16 crackers – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 3.5 grams polyunsaturated fat, 2 grams monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, 0% vitamin A, 0% calcium, 0% vitamin C, and 6% iron.)

Item: Keebler Wheatables Toasted Pecan Nut Crisps

Price: $3.59

Size: 8.5 ounces

Purchased at: Albertson’s

Rating: 9 out of 10

Pros: Addresses the plight of bored urban squirrels. Tastes like honey bunches of hexagons. Peh-cahns. Good random snack. The Doritos powdery coating scale. Brimming with sunshine and cheeriness.
Cons: Suffers from an identity crisis. Possibly promotes squirrel obesity. Pecan dust never goes away. Makes a very sad stand alone breakfast and an even sadder lunch. Pee-cans. Failing a word association test. Stale mixed nuts.