REVIEW: Hot Pockets Sweet Treats

Hot Pockets Sweet Treats  Apple Cinnamon and Cinnamon Roll

Like the illustrious Meryl Streep at the Academy Awards, Hot Pockets on a junk food blog need no introduction. If you’ve never kept a stash of Hot Pockets because they were the only food your kid would eat or because you were too tired to cook or wait for delivery, then you a) are a liar or b) need to tell me your life secrets.

Tongue burns aside, Hot Pockets has done a lot for us over the years, providing shoppers with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options, and now with the Sweet Treats line, it’s moving to desserts.

Why hasn’t the brand thought of this before? Turns out it has. This time, it’s ditched the icing and purchased stock in cinnamon, offering two varieties: Cinnamon Roll and Apple Cinnamon. Each package includes four servings (“sticks”) that measure about two by five inches in size and, after one minute in the microwave, amount to several bites if you want to be a dainty eater.

Hot Pockets Sweet Treats Cinnamon Roll 1

Cinnamon Roll was first on my menu, and immediately noticeable was the thorough sprinkling of ground cinnamon over the stick’s crust. Except for the cinnamon, the crust was similar to what you would expect from a savory Hot Pocket: a stiff, bready vessel that can be held in your hand and still contain filling without falling apart. While the cinnamon flavor was apparent, I detected almost no sweetness or other accompanying flavor from the crust itself.

Hot Pockets Sweet Treats Cinnamon Roll 2

Described on the package as a “sweet cream cheese filling,” the contents tasted primarily of (surprise!) warm cinnamon, margarine, and a tinge of underwhelming sweetness. In the microwave, the filling suffered from a little spillage, as Hot Pocket fillings tend to, but in this case, it helped to moisten and flavor the crust’s exterior.

Hot Pockets Sweet Treats Cinnamon Roll 3

The inside of the stick was under-filled with an oddly-textured mixture that, when scraped out with a fork, could be best described as thick blobs of cinnamon-flavored paste. Only one bite yielded a tang reminiscent of cream cheese but with none of the sweetness promised, and I might not have noticed the taste at all if I hadn’t been searching for it. And as someone who could eat cream cheese/cream cheese icing out of a plastic bag on the highway, I promise I was searching.

So did this Sweet Treat remind me of a cinnamon roll? Not really. While the cinnamon and margarine flavors worked well together, the treat’s lack of pillowy dough and a sweet, creamy component stopped it from achieving middle-of-the-cinnamon-roll-level greatness.

Hot Pockets Sweet Treats Apple Cinnamon 1

Hot Pockets Sweet Treats Apple Cinnamon 2

After the disappointment of Cinnamon Roll, how did Apple Cinnamon fare? Utilizing the same crust, Apple Cinnamon was much less aggressively seasoned, instead balancing the cinnamon and sugar to provide the crust with some extra sweetness and a little bit of crunch.

Hot Pockets Sweet Treats Apple Cinnamon 3

Inside contained a well-balanced mixture of diced apples, thickened sweet goo, and a hint of cinnamon that let the apple flavor shine. While Apple Cinnamon too could have used more filling, the presence of the fruit made the filling feel more ample and satisfying than Cinnamon Roll’s. I would buy this one again as an apple pie substitute in a pinch.

Despite their varying levels of success, Hot Pockets Sweet Treats suffer from a lack of both identity (are they desserts? sweet breakfast options? holiday cinnamon novelties?) and creativity in flavors. With varied crusts and fillings (think peaches in a flaky pie crust or chocolate hazelnut cream in a croissant), Hot Pockets Sweet Treats could have the potential to make a trip to the microwave a little more exciting.

Purchased Price: $2.79 each
Size: 10 oz. box/4 sticks per box
Purchased at: Giant Eagle
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Cinnamon Roll), 6 out of 10 (Apple Cinnamon)
Nutrition Facts: (1 stick) Cinnamon Roll – 230 calories, 10 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 14 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein. Apple Cinnamon – 160 calories, 4 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 95 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s The Elf on the Shelf Sugar Cookie Cereal with Marshmallows

Kellogg s The Elf on the Shelf Sugar Cookie Cereal

What is Kellogg’s The Elf on the Shelf Sugar Cookie Cereal with Marshmallows?

Everyone’s favorite hide-and-seek-obsessed holiday imp is plotting to hide in the pantries of festive families this holiday season. Kellogg’s has devised a breakfast cereal fit for denizens of the North Pole: red and green cereal stars infused with sugar cookie flavoring and accompanied by dried marshmallow bits.

Kellogg s The Elf on the Shelf Sugar Cookie Cereal Hand

How is it?

High on the list of things that nurture my inner child (next to jelly shoes and Rugrats reruns) are the holidays and sugary cereal, so I was excited to taste this dessert-inspired breakfast.

Kellogg s The Elf on the Shelf Sugar Cookie Cereal Bowl

The first bite did not deliver the toothache-inducing sweetness I expected, but it did mimic the flavor profile of a cookie. Subtly sweet, the dominant artificial flavor of the crisp, light-as-air cereal was mildly buttery with hints of vanilla in the background. I noted minimal or no aftertaste from the flavorings.

In milk, the vanilla essence awakened, emphasizing the flavor and infusing it into the milk left in the bowl. Unfortunately, the cereal pieces absorbed the liquid so quickly that there was not much milk left to enjoy, and the cereal became as soggy as the bottom of Santa’s boots. Because of the milk’s effect on the texture, I preferred the cereal dry despite its comparatively one-note flavor.

Kellogg s The Elf on the Shelf Sugar Cookie Cereal Closeup

No fun cereal is complete without marshmallows, but dry or with milk, the Elf on the Shelf’s marshmallow bits were so tiny and so few in number that they added no discernible flavor or texture to the cereal.

I’m not afraid of a scavenger hunt and have been known to rake through my box of Lucky Charms in search of the marshmallows so I can eat them first. (Favorite Lucky Charms marshmallow, anyone? There are wrong answers.) But in my one-cup sample, I found approximately two marshmallow bits, a ratio that greatly disappointed both me and my inner child.

Is there anything else you need to know?

The box features a QR code leading to craft ideas, printable activities, and ads for other elf-branded products, including Assorted Fruit Flavored Snacks and Pop-Tarts Crisps. These other products don’t promise new or holiday flavors, though — just a smiling elf figure’s endorsement.


Kellogg’s product is an aesthetically-pleasing, cookie-mimicking cereal that won’t send you or your kids bouncing off the walls in a sugar high. But its one-note flavor and lack of marshmallows won’t send you running back to the store for a second box, either.

Purchased Price: $3.64
Size: 12.2 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 1/3 cup) 150 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Impulsive Buy Reviewer Julie

Hello, readers!

My name is Julie, and when I received the invitation to write reviews for The Impulsive Buy, I was drafting a recipe for “Leftover Halloween Candy Ice Cream.” Now I raise a waffle cone to toast you, my fellow snack enthusiasts in the pursuit of all things novel and delicious. (Anyone want a Milk Dud?)

I live in Pennsylvania, where snow and epic windstorms deter trick-or-treaters and where I work in online higher education. While my days are spent designing educational courses, culinary courses (and lame puns and wordplay) fill my spare time. While my background is in literature and composition, my creative writing pursuits have been dulled by years of composing e-mails that use phrases like “touch base,” “keep in the loop,” and “per my last e-mail.” In an office culture where colleagues call sugar “evil” and moderation “extremism,” sneaking a Snickers bar in my lunch bag feels like a subversive act. I’ve never been much of a rebel, but junk food is definitely a worthy cause.

Food has always played a profound role in my life, serving as the gooey caramel center of some of my most cherished memories. While I love to cook and bake, dreaming of someday infiltrating the Great British Baking Show and reducing Paul Hollywood to tears with my mixed berry layer cake, my 1990s upbringing instilled a deep and lasting love of snacks with cartoon characters on the box.

In the golden age of junk food, I kept a secret stash of Creme Savers under my bed, fought my siblings for the last Froot by the Foot, and knew that any day beginning with Waffle Crisp was bound to be a good one. I still eat more Bagel Bites per capita than the average adult, but junk food blogs like The Impulsive Buy help me to continue chasing the high.

Although my sweet tooth is legendary, I’m willing to try anything twice, especially if it’s pizza. I love novelty items and the small thrill of hunting for treasure up and down the aisles of the grocery store. If there’s a hot trend in frozen food, I want to be the first one to know. While everyone’s at the beach, my summer vacation means a pilgrimage to the nearest Trader Joe’s a couple of hours away in a car loaded with coolers and ice packs. Time for back-to-school shopping? Time to buy every new pumpkin spice item on the shelves! Loving food makes every day a special occasion, even if that only means finding “those hazelnut spread M&M’s I read about” to enjoy later.

What I thought was a weird obsession turned out to be a shared philosophy centered on reveling in the joys of everyday life. I am psyched to share the love with fellow likeminded junk foodies, who can appreciate a limited edition Oreo flavor the way a wine enthusiast savors a fine sauvignon blanc. Maybe together we can form a dedicated tribe to storm the Betty Crocker headquarters and demand the return of Dunkaroos. We’re gonna bring those things back, guys!