QUICK REVIEW: Pillsbury Grands! Limited Edition Cinnamon Rolls with Strawberry & Cream Flavored Icing

Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon Rolls Strawberry Cream

What is it?

Pillsbury has released Limited Edition Grands! Cinnamon Rolls that are essentially regular cinnamon rolls with a specialty icing. The strawberry & cream flavored icing comes in a generous tub. Don’t be intimidated by the Pepto-Bismol coloring.

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How is it?

If you’re a fan of Pillsbury’s normal cinnamon rolls, there’s nothing disappointing about these. The cinnamon flavor was on par, and I loved the icing. The fact it was a little difficult to scoop out of the tub was negated by the epic melting capabilities on a warm roll. The strawberry flavor is pretty authentic – it’s not too sweet or artificial – and it pairs extremely well with the cinnamon. Not sure why Pillsbury didn’t put this combo together sooner.

Is there anything else I need to know?

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The tube comes with five cinnamon rolls, and although they are “pre-cut” in the dough, it was a slight challenge to pull them apart and separate. Since they’re pretty large, one is satisfying. My cinnamon roll baking method is to lay them out on a pizza pan instead of a round cake pan (for easier grab-and-go access), and I’m glad I did since these were pretty big once baked and ready. Oh, your hands WILL get pretty messy, but it’s definitely worth it.

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Conclusion:

Looking to switch up your Sunday brunch routine? If so, these are a must-purchase. It’s a nice change of pace from the usual offerings. Good work, Pillsbury!

Purchased Price: $3.50
Size: 17.5 oz. tube
Purchased at: Meijer
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 roll) 300 calories, 7 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 520 milligrams of sodium, 56 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 24 grams of sugars, and 5 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Cool Whip Mix-Ins Oreo and Double Chocolate Brownie

Cool Whip Mix Ins Oreo

I’m not exactly sure whose daughter I am, because my mom doesn’t like Cool Whip and my dad barely eats dessert.

But since my sweet tooth is always raging (well, that and the fact I gave up sweets at my office for Lent so anything at home was still fair game), I was super excited to find these new Cool Whip Mix-Ins at the grocery store. I’ve always been a fan of frozen section whipped topping, not the stuff that sprays out of the can, so I got some vanilla ice cream and put the Mix-Ins to the test.

We’ll start with the Oreo, which set the bar super high. I first tried each straight from the container before adding them to the ice cream. Oreo had an extremely authentic Oreo flavor – it didn’t taste artificial at all. When I gave my husband a taste, he likened it to an “Oreo without all the cavities” since the Cool Whip is super light. You definitely get a taste of cookie chunks in there.

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This was a new concept to me, since I’m normally not used to something IN my Cool Whip, but on top of it (i.e. sprinkles or chocolate sauce). I really liked the added texture, and the cookie chunks brought the chocolate flavor of the Oreo. It almost tasted like a mousse that I would eat by itself, without adding it to anything. Don’t be surprised if you find me alone with a spoon and this container…that’s how much I enjoyed it.

Cool Whip Mix Ins Double Chocolate Brownie

Double Chocolate Brownie was good, don’t get me wrong, but it just wasn’t as delightful as the Oreo. The best part of this flavor was the brownie bites — so soft, chewy, rich and chocolate-y. But the Cool Whip itself was lackluster — just a simple chocolate with an artificial taste.

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You know when you crack open a peanut shell only to find a mediocre-sized peanut inside? That’s the way I felt with the Double Chocolate Brownie. I was hoping for the whole package, but only got the chunks. It was because of the brownie chunks that I gave it as high of a rating as I did, because they were so good. I would have liked the Cool Whip itself to be that great, not just the mix-in.

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On top of ice cream, both flavors added a nice touch. But I’m standing by my proclamation that I rather just eat this straight from the container. I’m not much of a cook in the kitchen, but I think an icebox cake with the Oreo Cool Whip is in my future.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 Tbsp – Oreo – 35 calories, 2 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of sugars, and 0 grams of protein. Double Chocolate Brownie – 40 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 10 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of sugars, and 0 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.19 each
Size: 8 oz. tubs
Purchased at: Giant Eagle
Rating: 10 out of 10 (Oreo)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Double Chocolate Brownie)
Pros: Good enough to eat on its own or on top of another dessert. Authentic Oreo flavor, epic brownie chunks.
Cons: Artificial chocolate whip.

REVIEW: Kit Kat Ice Cream

Kit Kat Ice Cream  2018

As I snagged the very last container of Kit Kat Ice Cream at my local grocery store the previous weekend (was this a sign that everyone loves the ice cream?), I couldn’t get this scene from The Office out of my head. In fact, I still can’t.

All pop culture references aside, let’s cut to the chase. Thank you, Kit Kat Ice Cream, for being an amazing treat. I’ve always liked Kit Kat bars since they seem a little bit lighter and I can eat one and be perfectly satisfied. With this ice cream, I wasn’t quite satisfied… because I liked it so much I needed more. #wentbackforseconds

The description says that the product is chocolate light ice cream with a wafer swirl and Kit Kat candy pieces. So here’s the most important thing to note: This is NOT Kit Kat flavored ice cream. It’s chocolate. The Kit Kat comes in a second.

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At first bite, the chocolate ice cream was delightful. Light, as described, and very creamy. It actually reminded me of a Wendy’s Frosty, as it was a little “meltier” and not as solid. (It was, in fact, in the freezer for a while before consuming – in case you thought that might have contributed to the meltiness.)

Within each bite of glorious ice cream are Kit Kat candy pieces. They definitely did not skimp on the candy pieces. I can confidently say that I got them in 95 percent of my bites. Next time there’s chocolate chips in an ice cream, can I substitute for Kit Kat pieces? To me, they tasted more like a dark chocolate than the usual milk chocolate… and I certainly wasn’t complaining. My only gripe was that the Kit Kat flavor from the candy was slightly overpowered by the ice cream. Not by much, but enough for me to knock my rating down a few points.

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The wafer swirl was a nice addition, but it wasn’t super apparent. I barely noticed it as I took off the ice cream lid, and it was only faintly visible once I scooped. There was a little flavor from it as I ate, but the Kit Kat pieces were the pièce de résistance.

The ice cream did effect the crispiness of the Kit Kat pieces — more of a chocolate flavor with a small hint of the wafer inside. But the wafer swirl helps make up for the crispiness inside the pieces.

My favorite thing about this ice cream was that you could eat a decent amount of it and not feel weighed down. Looking at the nutritional facts, it’s not bad for a dessert. If you’re staying home on a Saturday night dateless eating straight out of a tub of ice cream, I recommend this one. You won’t be disappointed.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 140 calories, 5 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.34
Size: 1.5 qts.
Purchased at: Giant Eagle
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: A multitude of Kit Kat candy pieces. Fantastic chocolate ice cream.
Cons: Ice cream is chocolate, not Kit Kat flavored. Lackluster wafer swirl.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo Cookies

Limited Edition Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo Cookies

Can someone tell me what number Nabisco has reached with unique flavors of Oreo cookies? It has to be in competition with the number of volumes of Now That’s What I Call Music (which is up to 64, by the way. I still remember rocking out to volumes 14, 15, 16 and 17 with my brother as pre-teens). A few new flavors hit the shelves, including these Limited Edition Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo Cookies.

My first thought – which I’m guessing is everyone’s first thought – is “Are these going to taste like Nutella?” The sweet, smooth Italian spread has a flavor of hazelnut cocoa, which made me think these cookies would taste similar.

Keep reading, my friends…

I applaud Nabisco for the smaller package sizes they’ve had with the limited edition cookies. That way you’re not stuck with a huge amount if you don’t like them, and your waistline will thank you if you do. As I opened the package, there’s a strong scent that in my opinion wasn’t super pleasant. I couldn’t place it exactly, but maybe a little artificial?

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That aside, I grabbed a serving of two cookies and dug in. At first bite, the cream inside is smooth. I’m talking super smooth – even more so than the vanilla cream in a regular Oreo cookie. Dare I say, even creamier than a Double Stuf Oreo. But here’s the catch: No trace of hazelnut found. The cream tasted like good old chocolate. My husband even tried them and he said the same thing. He tasted a hint of hazelnut on the second bite, but I still struggled.

Limited Edition Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo Cookies 5

These cookies definitely taste better than they initially smelled. I enjoyed the smooth, rich cream in the middle, and I like that they were sweet, but not overwhelmingly sweet. But I’m disappointed in the lack of hazelnut. If Nabisco is going to make a chocolate hazelnut Oreo, then they might as well partner with Nutella and make a Nutella Oreo. It would be more authentic and recognizable. My husband deemed these “Nutella’s cheaper brother.”

I debated with what to rank these cookies because here’s the dilemma: I enjoyed the taste, but they don’t taste as they are marketed. They are a nice alternative to your standard Oreo – I like flavors that have the vanilla cookies because I love vanilla-based desserts. But they missed the mark with the chocolate hazelnut flavor, and I’m interested to know if others felt the same.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 10.7 oz package
Purchased at: Giant Eagle
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Smooth cream in the middle. I wish all Oreo cookies had cream this smooth.
Cons: Lack of hazelnut. They just taste like a vanilla and chocolate cookie.

REVIEW: Starbucks Toasted White Chocolate Mocha

Starbucks Toasted White Chocolate Mocha

I frequent Starbucks a little too often. (Mom, if you’re reading this, Starbucks gift cards are a very acceptable Christmas gift). I also am a sucker for the holiday and/or limited edition drinks, like Starbucks’ new Toasted White Chocolate Mocha.

The beverage includes espresso, caramelized white chocolate, whipped cream, and candied cranberry sugar. When I received my hot drink, I was super pleased that what I got DID look like the promotional picture.

There’s plenty of whipped cream (although it was sunken in due to the heat of the drink when I took off the lid) and cranberry sugar that, in my opinion, kind of looked like bacon bits. (Hey Starbucks, there’s an idea! A drink with bacon? This would have done wonders for the Maple Pecan latte that was released this fall. The drink fell flat for me, and bacon would have seriously enhanced it with the maple. I end my rant.)

The first sips of the drink were mostly whipped cream, which is never a bad thing. Once I got to the actual drink, I was definitely a fan. I didn’t taste too much of the “toasted” flavor, but the white chocolate was strong and delicious. While there is espresso, I didn’t taste any coffee – I felt like I was drinking a fancy white hot chocolate.

This is definitely a fun “dessert” drink or mid-afternoon pick-me-up (I’m plotting it for a Black Friday sugar rush), but don’t count on it for your morning caffeine jolt. It DOES contain caffeine, but it just wasn’t too noticeable for me. I usually avoid caffeine after 5 p.m. so I can get to sleep like a normal person at night, but I had this at 7 p.m. and my 10 p.m. bedtime wasn’t a problem.

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Back to the candied cranberry sugar — this was the most unnecessary part of the drink. Not only did I not taste any cranberry flavor, once the fruit bits got soggy, their texture was too soft and chewy. Because cranberry isn’t in the name of the drink, I think you could do without it.

I drank the Toasted White Chocolate Mocha over the course of an hour, and the flavor and temperature held strong. One key takeaway is although this is a sugar bomb – 41 grams in a tall! – it’s not overly sweet. Perfect for sipping and shopping, if you ask me.

Starbucks, another well-done holiday drink. Can’t wait to see what you come up with next. (cough, bacon, cough.)

(Nutrition Facts – 12 oz – 330 calories, 12 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 300 milligrams of sodium, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 41 grams of sugar, 11 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.25
Size: Tall (12 oz.)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Strong white chocolate flavor. Didn’t keep me up all night.
Cons: Bacon bit-looking cranberry sugar on top that just wasn’t necessary.