Like the illustrious Meryl Streep at the Academy Awards, Hot Pockets on a junk food blog need no introduction. If you’ve never kept a stash of Hot Pockets because they were the only food your kid would eat or because you were too tired to cook or wait for delivery, then you a) are a liar or b) need to tell me your life secrets.
Tongue burns aside, Hot Pockets has done a lot for us over the years, providing shoppers with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options, and now with the Sweet Treats line, it’s moving to desserts.
Why hasn’t the brand thought of this before? Turns out it has. This time, it’s ditched the icing and purchased stock in cinnamon, offering two varieties: Cinnamon Roll and Apple Cinnamon. Each package includes four servings (“sticks”) that measure about two by five inches in size and, after one minute in the microwave, amount to several bites if you want to be a dainty eater.
Cinnamon Roll was first on my menu, and immediately noticeable was the thorough sprinkling of ground cinnamon over the stick’s crust. Except for the cinnamon, the crust was similar to what you would expect from a savory Hot Pocket: a stiff, bready vessel that can be held in your hand and still contain filling without falling apart. While the cinnamon flavor was apparent, I detected almost no sweetness or other accompanying flavor from the crust itself.
Described on the package as a “sweet cream cheese filling,” the contents tasted primarily of (surprise!) warm cinnamon, margarine, and a tinge of underwhelming sweetness. In the microwave, the filling suffered from a little spillage, as Hot Pocket fillings tend to, but in this case, it helped to moisten and flavor the crust’s exterior.
The inside of the stick was under-filled with an oddly-textured mixture that, when scraped out with a fork, could be best described as thick blobs of cinnamon-flavored paste. Only one bite yielded a tang reminiscent of cream cheese but with none of the sweetness promised, and I might not have noticed the taste at all if I hadn’t been searching for it. And as someone who could eat cream cheese/cream cheese icing out of a plastic bag on the highway, I promise I was searching.
So did this Sweet Treat remind me of a cinnamon roll? Not really. While the cinnamon and margarine flavors worked well together, the treat’s lack of pillowy dough and a sweet, creamy component stopped it from achieving middle-of-the-cinnamon-roll-level greatness.
After the disappointment of Cinnamon Roll, how did Apple Cinnamon fare? Utilizing the same crust, Apple Cinnamon was much less aggressively seasoned, instead balancing the cinnamon and sugar to provide the crust with some extra sweetness and a little bit of crunch.
Inside contained a well-balanced mixture of diced apples, thickened sweet goo, and a hint of cinnamon that let the apple flavor shine. While Apple Cinnamon too could have used more filling, the presence of the fruit made the filling feel more ample and satisfying than Cinnamon Roll’s. I would buy this one again as an apple pie substitute in a pinch.
Despite their varying levels of success, Hot Pockets Sweet Treats suffer from a lack of both identity (are they desserts? sweet breakfast options? holiday cinnamon novelties?) and creativity in flavors. With varied crusts and fillings (think peaches in a flaky pie crust or chocolate hazelnut cream in a croissant), Hot Pockets Sweet Treats could have the potential to make a trip to the microwave a little more exciting.
Purchased Price: $2.79 each
Size: 10 oz. box/4 sticks per box
Purchased at: Giant Eagle
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Cinnamon Roll), 6 out of 10 (Apple Cinnamon)
Nutrition Facts: (1 stick) Cinnamon Roll – 230 calories, 10 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 14 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein. Apple Cinnamon – 160 calories, 4 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 95 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.