REVIEW: Reese’s Snack Cake

Reese s Snack Cake Package

What are Reese’s Snack Cakes?

Each snack consists of a chocolate cake layer topped with Reese’s peanut butter creme and covered in milk chocolate.

How are they?

Reese s Snack Cake Exterior

When I unwrapped my package of Reese’s Snack Cakes, I was expecting a take on a Hostess CupCake or Zinger: a supple, airy sponge slicked with icing. What I found looked more like a candy bar: two chocolate-coated rectangles nestled in a cardboard sleeve, compact and entirely coated with milk chocolate.

Intrigued by the snack’s appearance (and anything involving peanut butter), I felt this warranted deeper investigation. Because I’m weird, I like to analyze snacks layer by layer, pretending that I’m a junk food scientist studying a sugary ecosystem. Here are my findings:

The milk chocolate coating is smooth and creamy. It tastes like what you’d find in the candy aisle, but a little sturdier and less prone to melting.

Next, the peanut butter creme has the delicious flavor of Reese’s filling, but with textural differences that remind me of marzipan or even hard fudge. It is soft, but dense and malleable enough that the layer can retain its shape when separated from the cake.

Reese s Snack Cake Innards

Finally, the cake layer is difficult to classify. Its deep cocoa flavor pairs well with the other cake components, but its texture is unsuccessful. Dense, dry, and crumbly, it is barely a cake. It tastes like a cake deprived of moisture or air, with all of its crumbs squeezed together. It brings to mind protein-enhanced snack bars (think Protein One), and with six grams of protein, it could probably pass as one more easily than it could pass as a cake.

Overall, the peanut butter and chocolate outshine an unsuccessful cake, which should have been the star of this snack. A different product name would have helped to leverage expectations, but the result is not Reese’s strongest offering.

Anything else you need to know?

Reese s Snack Cake Size

In press releases, Reese’s has billed its Snack Cakes as breakfast or mid-morning snacks. Given both the product’s candy bar sweetness and lack of resemblance to cake, I don’t understand the breakfast connection. Coffee cakes, muffins, and scones will not need to fight these snack cakes for space at the brunch table.

Conclusion:

Decidedly un-cakelike, Reese’s Snack Cakes deliver on the classic chocolate and peanut butter pair, but are worth less than the sum of their parts.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 2.75 oz pack (2 cakes)
Purchased at: Sheetz
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 380 calories, 21 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 33 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Key Lime Pie M&M’s

Key Lime Pie M M s Bag

Scheduled for a spring release, Key Lime Pie M&M’s made an early appearance at my local gas station in Pennsylvania. Punxsutawney Phil assures me that this is a sign we are in for an early spring, so what better way to celebrate than by digging into these lime-flavored white chocolate M&M’s? As a fan of both real white chocolate and last year’s Orange Vanilla Cream M&M’s, I was excited to try out this new citrus-inspired treat.

Larger than your standard plain variety, Key Lime Pie M&M’s have an appetizing scent, a mixture of sweet cream and citrus that somehow manages not to smell like hand lotion or furniture polish.

Key Lime Pie M M s Colors

The shell colors include shades of Kelly and pastel green to represent Key limes and pie filling, as well as off-white/eggshell to evoke whipped cream or a lightly-baked pie crust. The color combination is appealing, not only because it looks like components of Key lime pie, but because the colors match the outfit Ms. Green is wearing on the wrapper, which I think she would appreciate.

The white chocolate’s taste captures the essence of a lime pie filling, where sweet creamy or whipped filling is combined with a lime element. While Key lime pie purists might describe the creaminess as uncharacteristic of a Key lime’s sharp acid, the resulting balance in the M&M is really delightful.

Key Lime Pie M M s Innards

The white chocolate tastes mellow and un-cloying in its sweetness while the lime is refreshing and not too tart. (I don’t know that I’ve ever described white chocolate as refreshing before, so definitely take that as a sign of an interesting bite!) As I ate more, the lime flavor seemed to grow stronger, as did a pleasantly zesty aftertaste.

Of course, your mouth will not pucker from eating these M&M’s as it would a sour candy. On a 10-point scale of sourness with 1 being, say, a plain, humble noodle and 10 being a straight-up lemon wedge, these hover around 3 or 4. Anyone who loves that pucker a sharp lime curd or limeade brings may be disappointed, but I think the balance is really successful in terms of highlighting both the lime and white chocolate flavors.

Absent from the M&M’s is a pie crust flavor, which I am honestly okay with. A graham center, or even a standard crispy one, would have been fun way to add some texture, but the quality of the M&M does not suffer without one.

Although I have never won a blue ribbon in my county fair’s pie contest (I will one day — watch out, Mrs. Johnson!), I know that over-zesting citrus can lead to a bitter pith. Luckily the flavor of Key Lime Pie M&M’s didn’t leave me much to be bitter about. I’m sure I’ll be buying them again well into spring.

Purchased Price: $2.19
Size: 2.47 oz. Share Size bag
Purchased at: Sheetz
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 35g or 1/2 pack) 170 calories, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 30 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 23 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Reese’s Mallow-top Peanut Butter Cups

Reese s Mallow top Peanut Butter Cups Bag

It’s the most wonderful time of year for junk foodies. Post-Christmas clearance candies mingle near Valentine’s Day conversation hearts, while Easter specialties gradually inch into the seasonal aisle like budding spring flowers.

At the same time, highly-anticipated new products from our favorite brands emerge to ring in the New Year. A new and limited time spring offering, Reese’s Mallow-top Peanut Butter Cups have been at the top of my wish list, so I was thrilled to find them early. (With the thrill came some relief because when overlapping holiday products stimulate my anxieties about whether time is an illusion, usually my blood sugar is low.)

Reese s Mallow top Peanut Butter Cups Layer

Delivered by the Baby New Year Bunny Cupid via the CVS candy aisle, Mallow-top Peanut Butter Cups contain the classic Reese’s peanut butter filling, encased by a dual-flavored shell. The bottom half of the cup is standard milk chocolate, while the top is marshmallow-flavored white crème. Unwrapped, the cup’s contrasting colors are pretty, achieving a similar look to fall’s half-green Franken-cups.

Recently, Reese’s has brought us varied fillings galore, so a flavored shell feels like something special. In order to savor the marshmallow coating appropriately, I delicately severed the top portion of the cup to test it first. The crème has the sweet vanilla-tinged flavor of a marshmallow, but it is extremely subtle. Although its gentle flavor prevents an artificial quality that anything “flavored” can sometimes bring, the subtlety comes as a surprise because the white crème smells so strongly and convincingly of marshmallow. Overall, the crème is a bit of a disappointment, especially when compared to the recent Witch’s Brew Kit Kats, which I feel created a more successful marshmallow flavor.

Reese s Mallow top Peanut Butter Cups Innards

In news that will surprise no one, the Mallow-top’s three components together taste good overall. But again, the subtlety of the marshmallow white crème underwhelms. While marshmallow flavor is discernible in the first bite, it is quickly overpowered by the familiar peanut butter and milk chocolate combination. With a clean palate and the taste buds of a trained sommelier, you might not need to read the product wrapper in order to know that marshmallow was the intended flavor.

I am not saying that Reese’s Mallow-tops are not worth a try, especially because marshmallow flavors and textures can be polarizing. Because I like a fluffy, chewy, or gooey marshmallow, I definitely missed that textural quality in this product and might have preferred a Big Cup with a marshmallow fluff and peanut butter center.

Reese s Mallow top Peanut Butter Cups Individual

I suspect that people who will enjoy Mallow-tops include: Reese’s fans who find themselves torn between the milk chocolate and white crème varieties, anyone who prefers hot cocoa with tiny marbits versus puffed marshmallows, and my friend Jenn, who enjoys the flavor of marshmallows but thinks sticky food is gross. Meanwhile, people who will be disappointed in the product include fluffernutter sandwich fans, white chocolate/crème haters, and those rogues who use peanut butter cups instead of chocolate bars in their s’mores.

Overall, Reese’s Mallow-top Peanut Butter Cups are a step in an interesting direction, but the brand is definitely capable of doing more to strike the right balance between invention and tradition.

Purchased Price: $4.59
Size: 7.8 oz. bag
Purchase at: CVS
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 2 cups) 180 calories, 10 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies Cereal

Kellogg s Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies Cereal Box

What is Kellogg’s Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies Cereal

Spiced oatmeal cookie cereal pieces with a creme-flavored coating.

How is it?

Like many of you, I have several oddly specific, debatable food opinions. For example, cereal is better at night, and Reese’s cups are best consumed edge first. However, there are few beliefs that I hold more closely than this: Oatmeal Creme Pies are the best — and most underrated — Little Debbie product.

What makes the convenience store delicacy so irresistible? The tender molasses cookie, enhanced by raisin paste? The generous creamy filling? A mix of nostalgia and the undeniable allure of the forbidden? (Rarely allowed packaged snacks as a kid, I instead enjoyed them at my best friend’s house, with Little Debbie as the third member of our junk food girl gang. FYI: We are now accepting new members.) Either way, I was thrilled to learn that Oatmeal Creme Pies were coming to my breakfast table.

The big question: Does the cereal taste like Oatmeal Creme Pies?

Not quite.

The second big question: Does it taste good?

Absolutely!

Kellogg s Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies Cereal Bowl

Alone or with milk, this cereal is flavorful and satisfying. The pieces are large, bagel-shaped puffs made of corn and oat flours, resulting in a light and crispy texture. The dominant flavors are cinnamon and nutmeg with a faint hint of molasses. Each piece is coated lightly in a sweet vanilla powder that complements the spice nicely. I liken the flavors to those of a cinnamon bun or doughnut, especially with the vanilla powder, which tastes like a simple glaze that could coat either pastry.

Kellogg s Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies Cereal Closeup

Yet, the cereal’s main strength — its warm spice flavor — is what makes it less successful as a substitute for your Creme Pie cravings. The strong cinnamon is not really reminiscent of an Oatmeal Creme Pie’s dark, caramelized molasses flavor, and the sweet vanilla notes don’t do enough to create a much-missed creamy element. More molasses or even a cream filling (a la Fillows) would bring the cereal closer to resembling a Creme Pie.

Anything else you need to know?

While Post and Hostess brought us Honey Bun, Donettes, and Twinkies cereal, Kellogg’s is the first to team up with Little Debbie, coinciding with the brand’s 60th anniversary.

Conclusion:

Kellogg s Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies Cereal Creme Pies

Kellogg’s Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies Cereal does not convincingly recreate the flavors or texture of its inspiration. However, the result — a mix of warm spices, subtle vanilla, and a little molasses — is still delicious.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free sample of this product. Doing so did not influence my review in any way.

Purchased Price: Free
Size: 9.1 oz. box
Purchased at: Received from Kellogg’s
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 1 1/4 cup) 170 calories, 3 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

Click here for our previous cereal reviews.

REVIEW: Ruffles Double Crunch Honey Mustard Potato Chips

Ruffles Double Crunch Honey Mustard Potato Chips Bag

What are Ruffles Double Crunch Honey Mustard Potato Chips?

Ruffles adds to its extra crunchy repertoire a sweet and tangy honey mustard flavor.

How are they?

A fellow snack-lover recently told me that the only thing greater than the variety of potato chip flavors is the speed at which we consumers demand them. I would have to add that the only thing faster than our demand rate is the speed at which we buy. This commentary is not based in economics or science, but rather my speedometer reading as I rushed to the store in search of this product, which combines my loves of sweet, salty, and savory all in one bite.

Ruffles Double Crunch Honey Mustard Potato Chips Plated

These Ruffles perfectly recreate what I consider to be the ideal honey mustard profile: the tang of dark mustard balanced with bright, sweet honey. Faint hints of paprika and horseradish flavors contribute some spice without resulting in a building heat sensation. Although their bright yellow color would suggest otherwise, the chips are not overly-coated with seasoning. At first, I wanted a touch more mustard flavor, but now I think any more seasoning would risk overwhelming the chip, which is more delicate than its hardy pretzel cousin.

Although other varieties exist, I had never tried a Double Crunch product before, and now I am never going back. Similar to a kettle-cooked chip, the crunch of the deep, chevron-angled grooves is intensely satisfying. Along with big flavor and crunch, these Ruffles deliver a big chip; several were the size of my admittedly elfin palm.

Ruffles Double Crunch Honey Mustard Potato Chips Super Closeup

In short, these chips are tasty and addictive. A family member (a Sensible Eater who measures out salad dressing by the teaspoonful) and I demolished the bag in under 24 hours.

Anything else you need to know?

A Google search informed me that Ruffles released an Ultimate Tangy Honey Mustard flavor in 2013. Although I never had the opportunity to try them, the product images and ingredient list appear nearly identical to the Double Crunch variety. If you remember and pine for that product like a long-lost lover, the Double Crunch Ruffles may fill the hole in your chip-loving heart.

Conclusion:

Honey mustard fans of the world will happily set pretzels aside for this flavorful and addictive Double Crunch product.

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 7 3/4 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 28g/about 10 chips) 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Marie Callender’s Confetti Birthday Cake Cream Pie and Chocolate Brownie Cream Pie

Marie Callender s Confetti Birthday Cake and Chocolate Brownie Cream Pies Boxes

What are Marie Callender’s Confetti Birthday Cake and Chocolate Brownie Cream Pies?

Birthday cake and brownies take new forms in these thaw-and-eat frozen cream pies from Marie Callender’s.  

How are they?

For someone who writes for a junk food blog, I have tendencies toward dessert snobbery. I recoil at the sight of canned pie filling. If grocery store sheet cake is my only option, I’d rather have none. While watching cooking shows, I cry out to the contestants “The rose water essence will overwhelm your pate e choux filling!” as my microwave dings to announce my Lean Cuisine is ready.

There are two wolves inside of me: one that yearns for authentic French patisserie, and one that can’t resist an oatmeal cream pie peddled by a certain curly-haired lass. I am at peace with the contradiction, but when presented with the opportunity to try Marie Callender’s two newest products, I wondered how my snobbish preferences would influence my opinion. As it turns out, my two inner wolves, bonded by their love of sugar, have more in common than I thought. I was pleasantly surprised by both desserts, although each possessed imperfect features.

Confetti Birthday Cake

Marie Callender s Confetti Birthday Cake Cream Pie Full

The star of the Confetti Birthday Cake Cream Pie is its crust, a soft sugar cookie base that tastes homemade. The pie’s exterior is inviting — topped with confetti cake pieces, rainbow chips, and a halo of piped whipped topping. The cake pieces are cookie-crispy, and, along with the chips, provide nice taste and a textural contrast, even if it is not particularly cake-like.

Marie Callender s Confetti Birthday Cake Cream Pie Slice

The sticky whipped topping is a bit too heavy and coats the mouth with the slickness of hydrogenated oils. It tastes like the coating often found on ice cream cakes – that not-quite-frosting, but not-quite-whipped cream decorative sugar fluff – and ultimately doesn’t add much to the pie.

This leaves the thick, smooth filling to tie the pieces together. A pleasant (although very sweet) vanilla flavor, the filling would have benefitted from more vanilla or butter notes and less sweetness. In a bite, all elements evoke the concentrated sweetness of a sugar cookie more so than a sprinkle cake.

Chocolate Brownie

Marie Callender s Chocolate Brownie Cream Pie Full

The Chocolate Brownie Cream Pie filling has the same thickness, texture, and sweetness as the Confetti Birthday Cake’s, but its flavor – this time, a rich chocolate – is much stronger. Sprinkled with chocolate chips and sizable chewy brownie cubes, this pie delivers an extra chocolate burst that’s clearly inspired by a brownie. Only a small slice will satisfy even the most ravenous sweet tooth.

Marie Callender s Chocolate Brownie Cream Pie Full Slice

While a little oily, the whipped topping here is light and smooth, effectively complementing the rich chocolate components of the pie. Again, the pie’s crust – a dark chocolate cookie crust – is impressive.

Anything else you need to know?

The package directions recommend thawing the pies for at least 1.5 hours before eating. My descriptions above reflect the results of the minimum thaw time, because the apocalypse could occur at any second and I don’t want to experience it on an empty stomach.

Within a day or two, the pies’ textures evolved slightly: the toppings softened, and the filling had a looser texture, similar to oil-based whipped topping. While the softer filling was more characteristic of a cream pie, I overall preferred the first-day textures. The package also recommends that consumers eat the products within three days of thawing and do not refreeze them.

Conclusion:

Both varieties are intense sugar bombs with enough components to find satisfaction among the highs and lows. The Chocolate Brownie Cream Pie is a more successful homage to its inspiration dessert.

Disclosure: I received free samples of this product. Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 25 oz.
Purchased at: Received from Marie Callender’s
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Confetti Birthday Cake), 7 out of 10 (Chocolate Brownie)
Nutrition Facts: (per 1/6 pie) Confetti Birthday Cake – 530 calories, 34 grams of fat, 19 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 350 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 36 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein. Chocolate Brownie – 530 calories, 34 grams of fat, 19 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 270 milligrams of sodium, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 35 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein.