REVIEW: White Pumpkin Pie M&M’s

White Pumpkin Pie M M s

These White Pumpkin Pie M&M’s are simply white chocolate with a pumpkin pie flavor. But it got me thinking that a pumpkin pie engulfed in hardened white chocolate would actually be an epic holiday dessert. If you make this, you’re officially invited to my family Thanksgiving.

These M&M’s are your standard specialty M&M’s, slightly larger in size and featuring several different colors. (Side note: Is it me or do M&M’s and Oreo seem to be in a competition for who can create the most flavors? I’m certainly not mad about it. Let’s get Mars and Nabisco in on this, stat.)

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I LOVE all things pumpkin, so I was super PUMPed (see what I did there?) to try these guys. I had my hesitations, of course, because oftentimes I find that food supposedly flavored as pumpkin really just tastes like “fall” (nutmeg, spices, etc.) and not really pumpkin itself. Beer is the perfect example of that. More spice and less pumpkin.

I’m super happy to report that the White Pumpkin Pie M&M’s DO in fact taste like pumpkin pie. But boy, are they sweet. Not in a bad way, just in a “You better be ready for dessert way.” The sweetness becomes more prevalent as you go, and there’s also a nice cinnamon aftertaste to them. I could only eat a small handful each time I opened the bag.

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When I bit into one for a cross-section photo, that’s when I could see the inside looks like white chocolate, which is the first ingredient listed on the bag. (Above anything pumpkin, please note.) Now I’m wondering what white chocolate flavor M&M’s comes up with next…

Anyway, I did like these a lot. So much so that when my husband tried to hijack the bag to take to a work meeting, I immediately stopped him because I enjoyed them so much and wanted the bag for myself. (First rule of marriage: Let your wife have all the candy!) They’re a good fall treat and good for grabbing a quick handful as I enjoy my morning coffee. Now, who’s up for a Pumpkin Beer and White Pumpkin Pie M&M’s tasting?

(Nutrition Facts – 1.5 oz – 210 calories, 11 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 28 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Tasty pumpkin flavor, perfect fall treat.
Cons: Too sweet for more than a handful. Should have added “Chocolate” in the product title.

REVIEW: Brach’s Cookie Candy Corn

Brach s Cookie Candy Corn

I really enjoy candy corn, despite it being a major sugar bomb. (Seriously – have you checked out those nutrition facts below? Basically, ONLY sugar. I think in this case ignorance is bliss… Don’t even get me started on calorie counts on certain restaurant menus. IHOP is NOT the place I want to know how many calories I’m ingesting. Let me eat my stack of pancakes in peace.) But I do love me some candy corn when fall/Halloween comes around.

I had two thoughts when I saw the Brach’s Cookie Candy Corn in the store.

  1. What could this possibly taste like?
  2. Why are the Fall items out when schools haven’t even started yet? I’m a firm believer in Fall/Halloween AFTER back-to-school, Christmas music the day AFTER Thanksgiving and Easter goods AFTER Valentine’s Day.

The flavors intrigued me: The bag contained four different flavors of the candy corn, all beloved cookies. You’ll find Chocolate Chip (top left in the photo below), Oatmeal (top right), Butter Cookie (bottom right), and Cookies n’ Cream (bottom left).

Brach s Cookie Candy Corn 3

I was excited to try, but I couldn’t help but wonder: Would someone pick these over Aunt Alice’s cookie tray at Thanksgiving? Read on, my friends…

I started out by determining which flavor was which – surprisingly easy based on the color combinations – and compiled notes on each. Let’s start with Chocolate Chip. Definitely one of the more basic flavors. It had a strong chocolate taste up front with a subtle finish. Tasted more like a chocolate cookie with chocolate chips than just a chocolate chip cookie.

Next up was Oatmeal, which was by far my favorite of the group. It’s a warm-up for the taste of fall and the candy corn to come. There was a hint of cinnamon aftertaste, and it was the one that tasted the least like candy corn.

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For Cookies n’ Cream, vanilla is definitely the dominant flavor. It was good, leaving a sweet aftertaste. Alas, I’d still rather have an Oreo. And finally, Butter Cookie. Although the most even-flavored, it was the sweetest by far and the flavor that tasted the most artificial. There was no aftertaste with this one.

My expert analysis is this: The Brach’s Candy Corn is good, not great. Take my advice – if you want candy corn, eat candy corn. If you want a cookie, eat an actual cookie. The mixing of the two isn’t quite up to par. But if they do decide to bag up just the Oatmeal flavor, I may be OK with that.

(Nutrition Facts – 15 pieces – 110 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 22 grams of sugar; includes 22 grams added sugars, and 0 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.00
Size: 9 oz. bag
Purchased at: Giant Eagle
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Fun flavors, unique spin on candy corn. Good, not great.
Cons: Just not as good as a cookie. Stick to Aunt Alice’s Thanksgiving cookie tray.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Keep Caramel and Cookie On Ice Cream

Ben  Jerry s Keep Caramel and Cookie On Ice Cream

I hold a very special place in my heart for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. My most memorable Valentine’s Day as a single gal included takeout from my favorite local spot, German grapefruit beer, a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, and binge-watching Suits on USA. (A shameless plug: The show comes back on July 12 and I can’t wait. You’ll thank me later.)

Anyway, I told my now-husband about that when we were dating, so for our first Valentine’s Day, he recreated it, right down to the same Ben & Jerry’s pint I had savored. My waistline thanked me that year, considering we split it instead of me face planting into the entire thing.

I tell you this story because you need to understand my enthusiasm for Ben & Jerry’s. Now that this is established, I must also share my enthusiasm for Target. So: My favorite brand of ice cream has an exclusive flavor at my favorite store. Done deal, had to have it.

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Ben & Jerry’s Keep Caramel and Cookie On is described as “Caramel Malt Ice Cream with Shortbread Cookies, Fudge Flakes & Caramel Swirls.” The first thing I noticed about this ice cream was how incredibly smooth it is. Like “goes down way too easy let me keep digging into this pint” smooth. The smoothness could be attributed to the malt, which, based on my research, can add to the creamy texture.

While I loved the smoothness of the ice cream, the downfall was the actual caramel flavor. It was slightly underwhelming. That being said, the ice cream was not bad, just not as caramel-y as I was expecting. It seems as though the focus was more on the add-ins and the ice cream was a bit overlooked. I definitely got more of a caramel note from the caramel swirls. I’m glad the swirls were there; otherwise, I would have been seriously missing some caramel flavor. #swirlpower

The fudge flakes are more than flakes – they’re basically glorified chocolate chips. Which was a nice surprise, considering I usually think of flakes as shavings or something not as prevalent. They were a nice add-in.

Ben  Jerry s Keep Caramel and Cookie On Ice Cream 3

But let me tell you about the shortbread. You guys, the shortbread cookies totally made this ice cream. Why have I not had shortbread with ice cream before? It was soft, not crunchy (from being embedded in the ice cream), and not overly sweet. It was such a nice addition without overpowering the rest of the flavors. Did I tell you I loved the shortbread?

All in all, this is a super solid Ben & Jerry’s flavor that gets my seal of approval. It left me wanting more…in a good way, not an unsatisfied way. I’m thinking some kind of ice cream float is in my future with the rest of this puppy.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 270 calories, 130 calories from fat, 14 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 25 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: One pint
Purchased at: Target (Exclusive Flavor)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Shortbread in your ice cream. I repeat, shortbread.
Cons: Not enough caramel to live up to the name.

REVIEW: Hostess Ding Dongs Frozen Dairy Dessert Sandwiches

Hostess Ding Dongs Frozen Dairy Dessert Sandwiches

In preparation for my wedding in May, I’ve been on a self-proclaimed dessert detox. There are some exceptions of course… like writing reviews for the lovely readers of the Impulsive Buy. Because it’s all in the name of research!

So imagine my excitement when I unwrapped one of the Hostess Ding Dongs Frozen Dairy Dessert Sandwiches. Oh glory, my first sweet in about two weeks! I was hungry, ready and so pumped, and I’m pleased to report that I was not disappointed.

Each sandwich is individually packaged, and on first glance, it’s about the size and thickness of a hockey puck. It does, in fact, look the ice cream version of a regular Ding Dong.

Hostess Ding Dongs Frozen Dairy Dessert Sandwiches 2

Now, if you’re looking for a neat and tidy eating experience, this is not for you. I cut open the Ding Dong, and the chocolate outer layer did not hold together well. Nor did the chocolate stay together as I ate each half. But I was impressed with how well the ice cream stayed solid and did not melt.

Hostess Ding Dongs Frozen Dairy Dessert Sandwiches 3

Cutting apart the Ding Dong revealed two things: 1) A glorious, pretty thick chocolate coating and 2) A crunchy, cookie-esque layer between the chocolate coating and ice cream that I was not expecting and It. Was. Epic. Best way to describe the Ding Dong is having the crunch of a Thin Mint with the taste of a Klondike Bar.

There really isn’t anything special to report about the vanilla frozen dairy dessert. The chocolate was so prevalent that it was hard to taste it on its own. The frozen dairy dessert was good, just nothing to write home about. I loved all the chocolate – it was rich and melted in my mouth.

The other thing I appreciated was the portion size and nutritional information. At under 200 calories a serving, this is a perfect dessert for when you want something quick and not too heavy. Basically, it truly is the frozen version of a beloved Hostess snack cake.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 sandwich – 180 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 5-pack
Purchased at: Giant Eagle
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Cookie crunch and plenty of chocolate to please my sweet tooth.
Cons: Kind of messy to eat. Kind of messy to eat. Normal frozen dairy dessert.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Mac Jr.

McDonald's Mac Jr.

When I was sharing the news that McDonald’s now has a Mac Jr. with a co-worker (side note: we’re marketers, so creativity is always on the brain), we both deemed it a lack of innovation on Mickey D’s part for calling it Jr. since so many other chains Jr.-ize their burgers.

Personally, I think it should be called the Baby Mac. So much so, in fact, that I’ve had to stop myself from writing Baby instead of Jr. several times already.

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But lack of creativity in the name is not what I’m here to judge, so let me tell you about the size and the flavor. While the good old Big Mac has two meat patties, you’ll find just one on the limited time only Mac Jr. From bottom to top, the burger was built as so: Bun, cheese, meat, pickle, onion (very little onion on mine), lettuce, Big Mac sauce and bun.

I’m going to have to agree with Leonard here, I wish the meat was more prevalent in size. Because the patty was so thin, it left me wanting more. (Thank goodness I also picked up an Oreo McFlurry. Purchase price? $1.99 for a snack size.) I easily polished off the burger without feeling completely satisfied.

McDonald's Mac Jr. 4

But that being said, the taste was on point. There was a great ratio of cheese to meat, and the pickles were fresh and crunchy. And the sauce? Oh, the Big Mac sauce. My only gripe is that my friendly McDonald’s Mac Jr. assembler was a little heavy-handed on the sauce. As soon as I unwrapped the paper, it was oozing out of the sides. Delicious and warm, but slightly too much. I think this is the case where it’s just a tad too much of a good thing.

McDonald's Mac Jr. 5

If you’re in the mood for the Baby Mac, err… Mac Jr., you won’t be disappointed in flavor. McDonald’s definitely gets that right. However, I caution to you add some fries or that beautiful, sweet McFlurry if you’re looking for a complete meal but don’t want the extra meat and bun of a Big Mac or Grand Mac.

(Nutrition Facts – 460 calories, 240 calories from fat, 27 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 830 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 21 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Cost is less than my morning coffee order. It’s the adorable little sibling of the Mac family.
Cons: Pretty thin meat patty, a bit too much sauce (but is that really a problem?)