REVIEW: ICEE Cherry and Blue Raspberry Creme Filled Cookies

ICEE Cookies Cherry Package

ICEE has launched a new line of sandwich cookies that are meant to evoke the flavors of its iconic frozen drinks. The press release states that “fans can enjoy the classic pop and fizz of their favorite carbonated beverage in a delicious crème filled cookie.” This intriguing concept seems to indicate that the crème contains pieces of popping candy. The cookies feature cherry or blue raspberry crème sandwiched between vanilla wafers.

I decided to try the cherry flavor first, as that would be the most familiar to me. In my youth, I always drank the cherry or cola-flavored ICEEs. I opened the package and my sense of smell was walloped by an intense artificial cherry aroma. It was shockingly potent.

ICEE Cookies Cherry Creme

I pulled a cookie out and twisted it apart, exposing the fluorescent crème. I jumped right in and pulled the crème off with my tongue. The flavor immediately reminded me of an actual cherry ICEE. It was saccharine, but not overbearing. It was an artificial cherry flavoring, but never veered into cough syrup territory. There were tiny crunchy bits integrated throughout the crème. I could feel a very mild sensation of effervescence, but it was much more understated than expected. It wasn’t exactly “fizzy.”

ICEE Cookies Logo

The cookies themselves had a faint vanilla flavor, but not nearly enough to be considered a “vanilla wafer.” They tasted closer to a nondescript shortbread, but it doesn’t particularly matter since they exist solely as a vessel for the crème. The cookie allowed the crème to take center stage.

ICEE Cookies Blue Raspberry Package

I then opened the blue raspberry package and was greeted with a softer yet still immediately familiar aroma. I employed the same approach and tried the crème on its own first. It was a standard blue raspberry flavor, but was noticeably sweeter, stronger, and more artificial tasting than the cherry. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had a blue raspberry ICEE, so I can’t speak to its accuracy. Oddly, the blue raspberry cookies seemed to have more popping candy in the crème, which helped to make them feel slightly fizzier. When eating a whole cookie, it felt like a somewhat disjointed experience. The crème filling was just too domineering.

ICEE Cookies Blue Raspberry Creme

For me, the cherry-flavored ICEE cookies feel like a more cohesive presentation. The vanilla-esque wafers work better with the cherry-flavored crème. I will be the first to admit that my judgment could be clouded by nostalgia, though. Had I consumed blue raspberry ICEEs by the bucketload as a child, perhaps I’d have a different opinion.

ICEE Cookies Bear

The ICEE cookies are a unique idea with an underwhelming execution. If the crème filling had more (or more effective) popping candy, these would be even better. An improved wafer would also elevate the experience. If you’re a big ICEE fan, then these may be worth your time for flavor alone. I would steer clear, though, if the only appeal is the popping candy in the crème.

Purchased Price: $3.28 each
Size: 13 oz. package
Purchased at: Fry’s
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Cherry), 6 out of 10 (Blue Raspberry)
Nutrition Facts: (2 cookies) 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Coca-Cola with Coffee Mocha

Coca Cola with Coffee Mocha Can

Coca-Cola with Coffee is a drink I’ve only had a few times, but it’s always been enjoyable. I tried the standard and vanilla versions, with my preference leaning towards the smooth character of the latter. Coke recently launched Coca-Cola with Coffee Mocha, and I was immediately interested. Chocolate seemed promising as a flavor that could integrate well with the combination. I eagerly sought out a few cans of the beverage.

I popped open the drink and gave it a deep whiff. The aroma of Coca-Cola was the first to register and was quite dominant. Faint undertones of coffee came through after, but I could not detect even a trace of chocolate.

Coca Cola with Coffee Mocha Top

I poured it into a glass, and it briefly fizzled. Most of the bubbles began to dissipate quickly. It reminded me of a soda that’s been previously opened and lost most of its carbonation.

I tasted the cola coffee drink and was met with a surprisingly complex presentation. Coca-Cola is the first flavor that I noticed, but it gave way to a mild background of chocolate. The chocolate taste was slightly artificial, not unlike a Tootsie Roll, but I still found it pleasant. The coffee came in next and was significantly more prominent than the chocolate. As I swallowed, I got more cola notes, bringing the flavor profile full-circle. The three flavors are quite complementary to each other. It’s a pleasant and smooth yet remarkably dense combination.

Coca Cola with Coffee Mocha Glass

The aftertaste, however, is not appealing to my palate. It lingered on my tongue and reminded me of a mix of diet cola and old coffee. It even felt like it left a film behind, which I typically associate with diet soda. It’s not necessarily an offensive sensation, and it’s not unique to this version of Coca-Cola with Coffee, as the other flavors do the same thing to me.

As anticipated, Coca-Cola with Coffee Mocha is a tasty and multifaceted beverage experience, but is slightly held back by its aftertaste. If you enjoy the other flavors, you’ll likely appreciate this, but don’t expect a top-tier chocolatey experience.

Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: 12 fl. oz. can
Purchased at: Fry’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 70 calories, 0 grams of fat, 40 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Chobani Oat Nog

Chobani Oat Nog Carton

I am a lifelong eggnog fan. Whether it’s homemade or store-bought, I make a point to consume plenty of it every Christmas season. Upon seeing that Chobani released a new Oat Nog, my curiosity was piqued. Oat milk is my preferred nondairy milk substitute, so it sounded like a promising concept. As Chobani’s Oat Nog is vegan, there’s no egg in the product either.

I poured the Oat Nog into my festive vessel of choice and was dismayed by the consistency. It was much thinner than expected. I’ve had some oat milk varieties in the past that were decently thick and creamy, so I assumed the Oat Nog would be closer to that. Instead, it’s as watery as typical oat milk. Chobani manufactures an extra creamy version of its oat milk, so I don’t know why it couldn’t have aimed for a thickness closer to that.

Chobani Oat Nog Mug

I gave the Oat Nog a deep whiff and was stunned. It smelled exactly like eggnog. I started to feel optimistic again.

I took a sip of the Oat Nog and my taste buds rejoiced. It tasted remarkably close to the real thing. All of the standard, dominant eggnog flavor notes seemed to be there. I’m not sure what type of black magic trickery Chobani pulled off here, but it works quite well.

Chobani Oat Nog Closeup

There is a faint undercurrent of oat milk flavor, but it’s mild. It’s perfectly sweet without being domineering. As time elapsed, I noticed that there was a bit of an aftertaste in my mouth. It was an inoffensive flavor, but it’s one that I frequently notice when having oat milk. It seems like a fair trade-off.

Chobani Oat Nog Spice

I decided to try more of the Oat Nog, but added the all-important nutmeg this time. It brought further cohesion and authenticity to the drink. Unfortunately, no amount of nutmeg can combat the thin consistency of this beverage.

Chobani Oat Nog won’t replace traditional eggnog for me, but I can see myself substituting it on occasion. If you enjoy eggnog, but are avoiding dairy, this is a perfect solution. Likewise, if you find conventional eggnog to be too heavy, this should accommodate nicely. It effortlessly stands on its own, and I’m pleased that it was my first taste of anything nog-related this holiday season.

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 32 fl. oz. bottle
Purchased at: Fry’s
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/2 cup) 90 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugars and less than 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Little Caesars Crazy Calzony

Little Caesars Crazy Calzony Top

Little Caesars has launched another limited-edition novelty item: the Crazy Calzony. According to Little Caesars, this fusion dish is a pizza with a “calzone-like crust filled with garlic white sauce and cheese.” I’ve been a Little Caesars fan for most of my life, so I felt compelled to try this.

The Crazy Calzony is available in pepperoni or cheese. I opted for the former. The pizza portion of the dish is topped with sliced pepperoni, while the calzone-like crust contains julienne pepperoni.

Upon opening the pizza box, I was struck by the Crazy Calzony’s unique aesthetic. It reminded me of a cross boomerang. The calzone crusts were overflowing with cheese and looked quite appetizing. Its aroma was quintessential Little Caesars, but with a heavier presence of garlic.

The pizza segment of the slices tasted exactly as one would expect. If you’ve had a pepperoni pizza from Little Caesars, you already have a good idea of how this tastes. The foundational pizza crust did seem a little thinner than usual, though.

Little Caesars Crazy Calzony Cheese

Now, onto the most important part: the calzone crust. With my first bite, a strong garlic flavor immediately jumped to the forefront. I love garlic, so it worked well for me, but it may be overbearing for some people.

Beyond the garlic, the creamy cheese stuffing tasted mildly sweet. Its texture and sweetness reminded me of the ricotta that is generally featured in calzones. The Crazy Calzony’s description states that the crust is filled with “garlic white sauce, cheese and julienne pepperoni.” I imagine that if it contained actual ricotta, the description would say so. The garlic white sauce likely mixes with the cheese to create that ricotta-like texture. Either way, it’s totally tasty.

The julienne pepperoni provides a nice textural contrast. Its mild spice helps to cut the creaminess of the cheesy filling and brings balance to the overall presentation.

Little Caesars Crazy Calzony Dip

Dipping the calzone crust into the included Crazy Sauce continued to elevate the flavor. The acid from the tomato sauce helped to further tame the richness. The outside of the crust was dusted with parmesan and had a mild buttery flavor, which immediately reminded me of Crazy Bread. It was cooked to a perfect golden brown and had the slightest crunch, while remaining airy on the inside. As a whole, it was similar to many calzones that I’ve had.

Little Caesars Crazy Calzony Bite

As far as novelty pizza dishes go, the Crazy Calzony is a winner in my book. Little Caesars nailed the calzone aspect, but it makes me wish they would offer standalone calzones. If you already like Little Caesars, it’s a safe bet that you’ll enjoy it as well. If you’re not a Little Caesars devotee, then no amount of craziness in the crust will change that for you.

Purchased Price: $8.49
Size: N/A
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 pizza) 2650 calories, 123 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of trans fat, 50 grams of saturated fat, 245 milligrams of cholesterol, 6010 milligrams of sodium, 256 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 109 grams of protein.

REVIEW: KIND Frozen Pints

KIND Frozen Pints Containers

KIND, the purveyor of various fruit & nut bars and other snacks, has released its new Frozen Pints. These frozen non-dairy desserts seem to emulate the flavors of the other products made by KIND.

I snagged three flavors: Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Caramel Almond Sea Salt. Though I couldn’t find them, there are four other flavors available, including Cherry Cashew and Strawberry.

Before digging in, I examined the ingredients labels and found a surprise. The primary ingredient in all three is pear juice, which I thought was curious. Beyond that, all three employ nuts to establish their non-dairy bases. Eager to see how they fared, I dug right in.

Caramel Almond Sea Salt

KIND Frozen Pints Caramel Almond Top

The color of this one was lighter than expected, and I could smell the caramel upon opening it. My spoon glided effortlessly through the almond-based frozen dessert. Most non-dairy ice creams that I’ve had were all quite icy, so this creaminess was a pleasant surprise.

KIND Frozen Pints Caramel Almond Spoon

As I took my first bite, the smoothness was further reinforced. The caramel immediately walloped me in the taste buds. It seemed to be mostly integrated into the base, but there were some faint caramel ribbons throughout as well. As I acclimated to the caramel, I could sense the saltiness, but it was not overbearing. The almond pieces rounded out the flavor profile and added a nice contrasting crunch. Overall, this is an enjoyable, but slightly unexciting, take on salted caramel.

Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 290 calories, 15 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 19 grams of sugar and 6 grams of protein.

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter

KIND Frozen Pints Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Top

The Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter’s carton says it’s a “creamy chocolate frozen dessert made from peanuts, with dark chocolate chunks and a peanut butter swirl.” The base looked chocolatey, but also overly grainy.

KIND Frozen Pints Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Top

Upon trying to insert my spoon, I was met with a much fiercer resistance than that of the Caramel Almond Sea Salt. It was quite icy, as is typical of many non-dairy frozen desserts. It tasted primarily like peanut butter, with just a hint of chocolate. The dark chocolate chunks add complexity and crunch while bringing more chocolate flavor to the forefront. The grittiness is noticeable when eating it as well. I prefer the taste of this one over the caramel, but its texture is a bit of a deal-breaker.

Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 280 calories, 16 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein.

Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt

KIND Frozen Pints Dark Chocolate Almond Top

Like the caramel flavor, the Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt is almond-based. Chunks of dark chocolate and almond pieces peeked out of the top. I hesitantly inserted my spoon into the pint and was relieved to find out this one is creamy also. Upon tasting, I was instantly able to tell that almond was the predominant flavor.

KIND Frozen Pints Dark Chocolate Almond Spoon

The almond pieces and dark chocolate chunks added a rewarding crunch, but there isn’t enough chocolate. This tastes too much like almond-on-almond, which could be remedied by a more generous helping of chocolate. The salt was barely noticeable. The flavor was pleasant enough, but it left me somewhat unsatisfied. The creaminess is the saving grace here.

Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 290 calories, 16 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 240 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 19 grams of sugar and 6 grams of protein.

Final Observations

The KIND Frozen Pints are certainly in the same spirit as the rest of their products. Their subtle sweetness satisfied on a level akin to KIND’s other offerings. The Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter was the standout flavor for me, by far, but its dreadful consistency significantly lowers its standing. This could be related to the use of peanuts in the base rather than almonds. The Caramel Almond Sea Salt was the sweetest, but none of them are particularly sugary. If you are in the market for a non-dairy ice cream, these may be worth a shot, especially if you are fond of nuts.

Purchased Price: $5.49
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Fry’s