SPOTTED ON SHELVES: Hostess Limited Edition Red, White & Blue Twinkies

Hostess Limited Edition Red, White & Blue! Twinkies

Red and blue dots are the best Hostess could do to make them festive. How about put some popping candy in the cream or bake them into the cake to make it like fireworks are going off in our mouths. (Spotted by Josh C at Meijer.)

If you’re out shopping and see an interesting new product on the shelf, snap a picture of it, and send us an email (theimpulsivebuy@gmail.com) with where you found it and “Spotted” in the subject line. Or reply to us (@theimpulsivebuy) on Twitter with the photo, where you spotted it, and the hashtag #spotted. If you’ve tried the product, share your thoughts about it in the comments.

Also, if you’re wondering if we’ve already covered something, search our Flickr photos or use the search box on the right (or below if you’re on a mobile device) to find out.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Empower Mint Ice Cream

Ben & Jerrry's Empower Mint

What’s that old adage about pizza and sex? I think it’s something like, “Hey, both of these things are good, even when the quality is less than ideal.” Well, ice cream is sort of the same way. I mean, when was the last time you took a large spoonful of ice cream and immediately spit it out in disgust? Never, that’s when.

But that’s not to say that all ice cream is necessarily created equal, either.

Eschewing brick and mortar operations where your cone is packed by a surly teen, and the potentially terrifying experience that comes with purchasing something from a rusty truck piloted by an angry man of some vague, eastern European origin, one is left with the dizzying array of options from the local supermarket.

As a generally indecisive person, the ice cream aisle cripples me. So I just always go with what I know: Ben and Jerry’s. The two cordial hippies from Vermont really do make a fine ice cream. Really, it’s hard to find a bad entry in their catalogue. They’ve made an art-form — and a gajillion dollars —- out of something simple: quality ingredients melded together masterfully in interesting ways with complete disregard for the health of the partaker.

God bless them, I reckon, for giving the people what they want.

And EMPOWER mint (that’s how it’s spelled on the label, anyway) is no different. The packaging explains that it is “peppermint ice cream with fudge brownies and fudge swirls,” and brother, that packaging ain’t lying.

Ben & Jerrry's Empower Mint 2

Pulling the top off is like crashing your car into a candy cane factory and it only gets more insane from there. The base cream is exactly what you’d expect: an overPOWERing amount of mint (haha, get it?). And, as a fan of mint ice cream —- typically featuring chocolate chips, though -— I enjoyed this aspect. Your mileage may very.

Not too far beneath the surface, you’ll encounter something chewy and dense and absurdly chocolaty… this is the brownie. It sticks your teeth together and makes your heart hurt, and man, is that good brownie chunkage.

Interspersed between the mint and the brownie explosion are delectable teases of fudge ribbon. It tastes like hot fudge, only not hot and a little less pliable.

Ben & Jerrry's Empower Mint 3

Everything in this ice cream works together toward the greater good: giving the recipient a terrible stomachache after imbibing far too much. And maybe that’s the point? Freedom of choice? This ice cream carries some sort of political agenda, as many of B and J’s treats do. The label proclaims “Democracy is in your hands,” and that’s true enough, I guess.

If I had some sort of vote pertaining to his particular iteration, though, it might be: let’s add some kind of nut, dudes. Because, really, that’s my only complaint. Everything is smooth, creamy, and soft. Why not chuck in some chopped walnuts? The texture variation would provide a welcome break and, I mean, don’t all sane people like nuts on or in their brownies?

In the end, though, this is a minor quibble and EMPOWER mint is just fine on its own. Although it doesn’t seem like rocket science to combine mint ice cream and gigantic, pulsating hunks of brownie (oh, and the fudge swirls), I guess nobody had really done it before. Kudos, gents, enjoy your next million.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 270 calories, 140 calories from fat, 15 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 26 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: 2 for $7
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Delightful. The Full Minty. Super Brownied. Cures what ails you.
Cons: Richer than the people who make it. Holy fat, calories, etc. Could use some sort of crunch, maybe.

SPOTTED ON SHELVES – 5/20/2016

Here are some interesting new and limited edition products found on store shelves by us and your fellow readers. If you’ve tried any of the products, share your thoughts about them in the comments.

Keebler Town House Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella Flatbread Crisps
Keebler Town House Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella Flatbread Crisps

Keebler Town House Spinach, Artichoke & Feta Flatbread Crisps
Keebler Town House Spinach, Artichoke & Feta Flatbread Crisps

I know what it’s like to be inspired by pizza. Every time I eat three slices they inspire me to exercise. (Spotted by Chris B at Wegmans.)

Chobani Meze Dip (Three-Pepper Salsa and Roasted Red Pepper)
Chobani Meze Dip (Three-Pepper Salsa and Roasted Red Pepper)

Chobani Meze Dip (Smoked Onion & Parmesan and Chili LIme)
Chobani Meze Dip (Smoked Onion & Parmesan and Chili Lime)

I bet these would go great on some Keebler Town House Flatbread Crisps. (Spotted by Rachel T at Walmart.)

Now and Later Extreme Sour Soft Fruit Chews
Now and Later Extreme Sour Soft Fruit Chews

My fingers want to type Now & Later instead of Now and Later. The same goes for Mike and Ike. (Spotted by Liam at Target.)

Bantam Bagels
Bantam Bagels

The “As Seen on Shark Tank” label is the new “As Seen on TV” label. (Spotted by Cara at Safeway.)

Urban Pie Pizza Co. Pizzas (Mission District and Lake View)
Urban Pie Pizza Co. Pizzas (Mission District and Lake View)

Urban Pie Pizza Co. Pizzas (Little Italy and North End)
Urban Pie Pizza Co. Pizzas (Little Italy and North End)

Each pizza is inspired by particular community. Mission District (San Francisco) is topped with chicken sausage, uncured pepperoni, green peppers, onions, and black olives. Little Italy (New York City) is a blend of Romano, provolone, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses on a pesto based sauce with cherry tomatoes on top. North End (Boston) has a truffle Alfredo based sauce, topped with shiitake and crimini mushrooms, caramelized onion, rosemary and capers. Lake View (Chicago) features sun-dried tomatoes, chicken sausage, fire roasted yellow pepper and spinach over a three cheese bed of mozzarella, provolone and Gouda. (Spotted by Robbie at H-E-B.)

Thank you to all the photo contributors! If you’re out shopping and see an interesting new product on the shelf, snap a picture of it, and send us an email (theimpulsivebuy@gmail.com) with where you found it and “Spotted” in the subject line. Or reply to us (@theimpulsivebuy) on Twitter with the photo, where you spotted it, and the hashtag #spotted. If you do so, you might see your picture in our next Spotted on Shelves post.

Also, if you’re wondering if we’ve already covered something, search our Flickr photos or use the search box on the right (or below if you’re on a mobile device) to find out.

SPOTTED ON SHELVES: Kellogg’s Cocoa Krispies Treats

Kellogg's Cocoa Krispies Treats

I could’ve sworn Kellogg’s put out Cocoa Krispies Treats before, but I couldn’t find anything about them via Google. Am I going crazy? Am I in a different dimension? (Spotted by Francoise at ShopRite.)

If you’re out shopping and see an interesting new product on the shelf, snap a picture of it, and send us an email (theimpulsivebuy@gmail.com) with where you found it and “Spotted” in the subject line. Or reply to us (@theimpulsivebuy) on Twitter with the photo, where you spotted it, and the hashtag #spotted. If you’ve tried the product, share your thoughts about it in the comments.

Also, if you’re wondering if we’ve already covered something, search our Flickr photos or use the search box on the right (or below if you’re on a mobile device) to find out.

WAYSNACK MACHINE: Cinnamon SunChips

Cinnamon Sun Chips

Waysnack Machine is a series that looks back at discontinued junk food.

Did you know there were sweet SunChips?

The brand got out of its savory comfort zone years before Pringles got out of its savory comfort zone. Although not as often as Pringles, who has released a new sweet flavor every year since 2012.

Cinnamon SunChips came out in 2007 B.C.B. (Before Compostable Bag that made too much noise) and disappeared about a year or so later. I think I’ve seen it come back once. Or maybe it was a HFCS-induced dream. Or maybe I’m confusing it with the also discontinued Cinnamon Crunch SunChips.

Out of all the SunChips flavors I’ve tried (Disclosure: I haven’t tried all of them), the short-lived cinnamon one is my favorite. They were really good. The cinnamon and sugar that heavily seasoned each grainy chip made each one taste like a churro. There was even a little buttery flavor. Sure, while chewing, the sweet flavors eventually dissolved and the graininess of the SunChip came through, somewhat ruining the experience, but I still love them.

I’d really like them to come back, and a quick Google search shows that I’m not alone. But I don’t have high hopes because if my beloved Lightly Cinnamon Wheat Thins have taught me anything, it’s that cinnamon-flavored crunchy wheat snacks don’t sell well enough to become permanent or a recurring seasonal product.

Do you miss Cinnamon SunChips?

SPOTTED ON SHELVES: Reese’s Creme Puffs and Hershey’s Mini Eclairs

Reese's Creme Puffs

Hershey's Mini Eclairs

Oh. My. Goodness. (Spotted by Rachel C at Walmart.)

If you’re out shopping and see an interesting new product on the shelf, snap a picture of it, and send us an email (theimpulsivebuy@gmail.com) with where you found it and “Spotted” in the subject line. Or reply to us (@theimpulsivebuy) on Twitter with the photo, where you spotted it, and the hashtag #spotted. If you’ve tried the product, share your thoughts about it in the comments.

Also, if you’re wondering if we’ve already covered something, search our Flickr photos or use the search box on the right (or below if you’re on a mobile device) to find out.