REVIEW: Kit Kat Duos Strawberry + Dark Chocolate

Kit Kat Duos Strawberry + Dark Chocolate Wrapper

Having previously released Mint + Dark Chocolate and Mocha + Chocolate varieties, Kit Kat Duos now introduces a third dynamic Duo of the candy bar aisle: Strawberry + Dark Chocolate. This addition to the line is described as “crisp wafers in strawberry-flavored crème and dark chocolate.” While the bar will be available in standard size wherever Kit Kats are sold, I recently found a King Size version at my local GetGo.

“Oooooh, this looks GOOD!” exclaimed the cashier who rang up my purchase.

Kit Kat Duos Strawberry + Dark Chocolate Layers

And she was right! The bar’s appearance is striking. The top of the Kit Kat consists of strawberry-flavored crème, colored a rich pink rose. The bottom base offers the stark contrast of dark chocolate’s nearly black hue. The color combination is bright, gorgeous, and made for dessert charcuterie boards, if that’s your jam.

In junk food and in life, however, appearances aren’t everything. Luckily, this Kit Kat delivers a pretty bite beneath the aesthetically-pleasing crème coating. Opening the package, I caught a strong whiff of strawberry that was definitely more appetizing than artificial, giving me a hint of the taste to come.

Kit Kat Duos Strawberry + Dark Chocolate Pink Creme

The strawberry-flavored crème successfully combines realistic fresh strawberry taste with confectionary sweetness. The flavor reminds me of the strawberry cream-filled chocolates found in Valentine’s Day assortment boxes, except less sugary-sweet. While Kit Kat has issued berry flavors (Raspberry Crème, Flavor of California Strawberry) before, this strawberry crème seems comparatively less sweet on its own, making it an interesting partner for a second flavored coating.

Of course, the dark chocolate complements the strawberry wonderfully by providing a bitter edge. My only qualm: even though the pink crème covers more of the bar’s surface area, the dark chocolate at times overshadows the more delicate strawberry flavor. Despite these moments, the flavors still make a strong team. If no one has yet identified a metaphorical representation of Batman and Robin rendered in chocolate, this Kit Kat could be it.

Kit Kat Duos Strawberry + Dark Chocolate Split

At first, I thought the wrapper art depicted reddish shading between the wafers, potentially indicating another (jam? chocolate?) layer. But my eyes were deceiving me; the wafers here are the usual delicious Kit Kat fare. A third flavor integration would be stuff for Kit Kat Trios, which exists only in my dreams.

Kit Kat Duos Strawberry + Dark Chocolate Top Bottom

As Valentine’s Day approaches, a strawberry and dark chocolate pairing may seem either apropos or glaringly obvious, depending on your attitude toward novel flavors. But unlike those Valentine’s chocolate-covered strawberries that will grow soggy in your refrigerator after two days, dampening the chocolate and possibly your spirits, Kit Kat Duos Strawberry + Dark Chocolate is here to stay as a permanent addition to the Duos line. Because I love a classic flavor combination executed well, I plan to revisit this product to satisfy my next fruit-and-chocolate fix.

Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: 3 oz (85 g) – King Size
Purchased at: GetGo
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per package) 420 calories, 24 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 54 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 40 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Black Forest Cake M&M’s

Black Forest Cake M M s Bag

What are Black Forest Cake M&M’s?

Arriving just in time for Valentine’s Day, this seasonal flavor takes its inspiration from the Black Forest cake. Each M&M combines milk and dark chocolate with a twist of cherry flavor.

For those of you who haven’t binge-watched an embarrassing amount of baking competition shows, a Black Forest cake consists of layers of chocolate cake, whipped cream, and syrup- or kirsch-soaked cherries, topped with chocolate shavings.

How are they?

Black Forest Cake M M s Rows

The spirit of Valentine’s Day is strong with this product, from the festive packaging to the pink, red, and white candy shells that scream “Valentine’s Day” (or at least sing it in a Barry White-esque baritone).

Additionally, these M&M’s remind me of a Valentine’s staple: cherry cordial candies. The milk chocolate center of the M&M seems to hold most of the cherry flavor, which tastes a lot like a cherry cordial — minus the sticky filling. The cherry taste complements the chocolate well. It is noticeable, but not overwhelming, medicinal, or sour.

Black Forest Cake M M s Innards

Dark chocolate surrounds the M&M’s milk chocolate core, adding a subtle hint of bitterness to the bite. I don’t often enjoy M&M’s that combine two kinds of chocolate because one always overwhelms the other. This combination, though, creates a successful flavor contrast that reminds me of biting into a filled chocolate or a chocolate shaving on a cake.

Anything else you need to know?

I wondered why M&M’s chose to name these after Black Forest cake rather than cherry cordials, which seem more Valentines-y to me as someone who, granted, participates in Valentine’s Day solely by shopping for discounted candy the next day. A Google search tells me that Cherry Cordial M&M’s previously existed, although that variety used only milk chocolate.


Black Forest Cake M M s Bowl

Black Forest Cake M&M’s combine milk and dark chocolate expertly and boast a sweet cherry flavor. The candies may seem simple compared to their elaborate namesake, but they are still worthy of a spot next to the cherry cordials in your Valentine’s Day chocolate box.

Purchased Price: $3.28
Size: 8 oz (226.8 g) bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 1 ounce/about 16 pieces) 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 10 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Hostess Boost Jumbo Donettes

Hostess Boost Jumbo Donettes Both

What are Hostess Boost Jumbo Donettes?

Available in Chocolate Mocha and Caramel Macchiato flavors, these individually wrapped donuts are infused with caffeine via unflavored coffee bean extract. Per the wrapper, each Jumbo Donette contains 50-70 milligrams per pastry, or about the caffeine content of one cup of coffee.

How are they?

Although I’m not a regular coffee drinker, I do consume caffeinated beverages – usually diet soda or sparkling water – each morning. My daily caffeine intake ranges 40-75 milligrams. More than that makes me struggle to fall asleep at night, and if I want to stay up late, I usually just over-think embarrassing moments from my past.

Hostess Boost Jumbo Donettes make some intriguing caffeine claims, and since their caffeine content falls right within my usual range, I was eager to test them out. For two days in a row, I ate one in lieu of my morning caffeinated beverage.

Hostess Boost Jumbo Donettes Mocha Mug

Hostess Boost Jumbo Donettes Mocha Split

Both Chocolate Mocha and Caramel Macchiato varieties are the size I would consider to be standard for a donut (equivalent to three regular Donettes, for the Hostess brand-minded). The pastry is dense and chewy, with some inconsistency throughout the texture. Pockets of the donut contain tough, gummy crumbs, which felt unusual. Both products are also covered with a smooth, sweet icing glaze that, happily, doesn’t create the oily aftertaste I’ve experienced with other packaged baked goods.

Hostess Boost Jumbo Donettes Macchiato Mug

Hostess Boost Jumbo Donettes Macciato Split

Of the two varieties, I preferred the Caramel Macchiato flavor. Although I couldn’t taste any hint of espresso, the caramel flavor was strong, creamy, and sweet. The Chocolate Mocha variety is bland by comparison, tasting of mild coffee and very little chocolate. Both varieties, which list natural and artificial flavorings as their main flavor source, would have benefitted from a stronger coffee taste.

Most importantly, was the best part of waking up a Jumbo Donette (not in my cup)?

It sure helped! Both days, I felt as alert and energized as I normally do after my daily intake, and the effects sustained throughout the day. If you are a five-cup-a-day coffee drinker, a Boost Jumbo Donut will probably feel like a drop in the metaphorical mug, but it was just enough for me to substitute one or two daily beverages. I guess we could always chalk it up to the placebo effect, but that in itself is also a very powerful thing.

Anything else you need to know?

The wrappers note that this product is not recommended for pregnant women, children under 18 years old, or individuals sensitive to caffeine.

For the caffeine-conscious, keep in mind that caffeine content per cup of coffee can vary wildly from the 50-70 mg a Boost Jumbo Donette promises. Many online sources can estimate the content of your favorite caffeine source if you wish to compare like I did.


Hostess Boost Jumbo Donettes Stack

Hostess Boost Jumbo Donettes provide a gentle, well, boost from the infused caffeine. Neither variety completely recreates the flavors found in your favorite coffee shop, but both will provide an effective pick-me-up.

Purchased Price: 2 for $3.75
Size: 2.5 oz. (71 g) each
Purchased at: Sheetz
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Caramel Macchiato), 5 out of 10 (Chocolate Mocha)
Nutrition Facts: (Both flavors) 300 calories, 15 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 250 milligrams of sodium, 41 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 25 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Red Baron Fully Loaded Pepperoni Pizza

Red Baron Fully Loaded Pepperoni Pizza Box

What is Red Baron Fully Loaded Pepperoni Pizza?

Red Baron’s new “Fully Loaded” product line is named for its generous toppings. This pepperoni variety promises two kinds of pepperoni tossed among mozzarella cheese and a zesty tomato sauce. Also available are Five Cheese and Supreme varieties.

How is it?

As an avid fan of both junk food and the written word, I like to luxuriate in product descriptions. Finding just the right word can evoke glorious imagery. As I read the official Fully Loaded descriptions on Red Baron’s website, certain phrases characterizing this new product line’s toppings appealed to my inner word nerd: “loaded,” “mounds,” “piled high.”

What bounty! What splendor!

Red Baron Fully Loaded Pepperoni Pizza Frozen

Unpackaged, the pizza is unfettered from those lofty expectations. Contrary to the product’s name, the Fully Loaded Pepperoni Pizza isn’t overloaded with toppings, although it offers enough to deliver great flavor.

Red Baron Fully Loaded Pepperoni Pizza Toppings

Slices of crisp, lightly spicy pepperoni pair with chewy, salty little pepperoni cubes to ensure each piece of pizza gets a hit of meat. Mozzarella covers the pizza but is too spare to achieve cheese-pull status. Flecks of cheddar are also present, but their flavor is largely lost among the mozzarella and pepperoni spices. The tomato sauce is a nice surprise: thick in texture with hints of sweetness and smoky paprika.

Red Baron Fully Loaded Pepperoni Pizza Crust

The real bounty of this pizza lies in the crust, which may be the most successful of all the Red Baron products I’ve tried. Moderately seasoned and buttery, it’s not too greasy. Thick and chewy, it somehow manages to remain airy and light. My only complaint is its tendency toward gumminess in the middle of the pizza, where the lightest part of the crust absorbs the sauce.

Red Baron Fully Loaded Pepperoni Pizza Cooked

The crust’s edges are crisp — and I mean crisp. Have you ever watched a cooking show where the host bites into their final creation, turns to the camera, and asks the viewer, “Did you hear that?” I was tempted to recreate that for you, but this is a written review and so you can’t hear the satisfying crunch of my pizza cutter rolling through this crispy, crispy crust. I’m sorry for that.

And I’m sorry to demote your star status, toppings.

Anything else you need to know?

Red Baron Fully Loaded Pepperoni Pizza Side

This pizza reminds me a lot of DiGiorno’s Crispy Pan Pizza because they have similarly thick, yet airy crusts at comparable price points. I like both products equally.


Red Baron’s Fully Loaded Pepperoni Pizza is hearty, flavorful, and among the brand’s stronger offerings. The product’s name sets high expectations that the toppings themselves don’t fulfill, but its thick, crispy crust helps to deliver an abundant bite.

Purchased Price: $7.99
Size: 27.85 oz (1 lb and 11.85 oz)/789 g
Purchased at: Giant Eagle
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 1/6 pizza) 380 calories, 19 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 680 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Hershey’s Sugar Cookie Candy Bar

Hershey s Sugar Cookie Candy Bar Wrapper

What is Hershey’s Sugar Cookie Candy Bar?

Sugar cookie flavored white crème and red and green cookie pieces make up this seasonal bar.

How is it?

I’m a simple woman: I see red and green cookie pieces embedded in a snow white bar of chocolate, and I smile. This bar has a fun and festive appearance, but it is not just a Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Crème bar dressed up in a Santa suit.

The crème’s sugar cookie flavor distinguishes it from your everyday white crème. Behind its super sweetness are high notes of vanilla and butter, which especially contributes to the richness of the bar. The flavor reminds me a lot of birthday cake flavored white chocolate, which I love but prefer in small doses due to its intense sweetness.

Hershey s Sugar Cookie Candy Bar Split

As I nibbled on the bar (which was broken into irregular pieces due to shipping, not my brute strength), I reached a similar point of diminishing returns. The richness that makes the crème a treat can become cloying after too many bites.

Hershey s Sugar Cookie Candy Bar Innards

The bar’s pretty cookie pieces do not impart a lot of flavor on their own. Although they contain an extra hint of sweetness, their texture is what satisfies. The pieces are light, crispy, and generously sprinkled throughout the bar.

Anything else you need to know?

You can also find Sugar Cookie flavored white crème in Hershey’s Kiss form. From what I remember of the Kisses, the crème tastes very similar, although the bar’s buttery taste stands out more. The shape of the bar also lends itself to a more even distribution of cookie pieces.

Hershey s Sugar Cookie Candy Bar Closeup


Hershey’s Sugar Cookie Candy Bar combines the butter, vanilla, and sugar flavors of your favorite sugar cookie recipe and adds a colorful crunch. However, the flavor is incredibly rich, so if you leave one for Santa Claus this year in lieu of cookies, don’t be offended if he leaves a few pieces behind.

DISCLAIMER: I received a free sample from Hershey’s, which did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 1.55 oz (43 g) bar
Purchased at: Provided by Hershey’s
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 230 calories, 12 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 50 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 22 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.