REVIEW: Frosted Mocha Latte Pop-Tarts

Frosted Mocha Latte Pop Tarts Box

What are Frosted Mocha Latte Pop-Tarts?

Pop-Tarts brewed up a chocolate- and espresso-inspired pastry that won’t require you to wake up early to beat the rush at your favorite cafe.

Exclusive to Walmart, Frosted Mocha Latte Pop-Tarts are sold in a value pack of 16 pastries. I think this falls somewhere between grande and venti on the Pop-Tart/Coffee Equivalency Scale.

How are they?

Frosted Mocha Latte Pop Tarts Whole

Upon rustling open that iconic silver wrapper, I was impressed that Frosted Mocha Latte Pop-Tarts took the “frosted” descriptor seriously. A generous layer of white icing, topped with a light brown squiggle, covers each pastry. The icing doesn’t impart much flavor, but it acts like a crisp shell of sweetness that enhances each bite.

Frosted Mocha Latte Pop Tarts Filling

Although its strong coffee aroma beckons, the pastry crust is typical Pop-Tarts fare: dry, crumbly, and subtly chocolate-flavored. If you’ll indulge the topical metaphor, the pastry is like an old coffee mug: functional and not too exciting by itself, but a wonderful support for flavor-packed filling. Rich and thick, the Pop-Tart filling perfectly balances chocolate flavor with a strong, realistic coffee taste. It’s not too sweet and manages to maintain some bitter notes, which are really interesting and surprisingly nuanced.

Frosted Mocha Latte Pop Tarts Split

Because the toaster at my office has been emitting sparks (and if I’m going to set the place on fire, it’s going to be in a completely different context), I warmed a Pop-Tart in the microwave for about 10 seconds. I highly recommend this method. The warmth softens the crust and the filling, waking up the already-impressive coffee flavor. It provides all of the comfort of a hot drink with none of the caffeine jitters.

Anything else you need to know?

A few years ago, Pop-Tarts released a limited edition Chocolate Mocha flavor as a tie-in with Dunkin’ Donuts. The Frosted Mocha Latte flavor looks almost identical to that product. If you’ve tried both, share your comparisons in the comments below.

Conclusion:

Frosted Mocha Latte Pop-Tarts deliver strong flavor with the right balance of sweet and bitter notes. Whether you’re a kid with grown-up tastes or an adult who isn’t afraid to indulge in a favorite childhood brand, this flavor warrants a refill.

Purchased Price: $3.94
Size: 27 oz (768 g) box (16 pack)
Purchased at: Walmart (Exclusive Flavor)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 2 pastries) 360 calories, 9 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 400 milligrams of sodium, 69 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 36 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Salted Caramel Twix

Salted Caramel Twix Wrapper

When whispers of a new Twix flavor circulated on social media a few weeks ago, junk food fans reveled in the anticipation. Would this new flavor be a crowd-pleasing birthday cake, a seasonal pumpkin spice, or something completely unexpected, like purple ube with a mango twist? (Let the record show that was my idea first, Twix!) Would the long sought-after Sugar Cookie Twix finally hit shelves? Would we chocolate fiends soon be granted a Middle Twix?

Enter Salted Caramel Twix for the big reveal. Sea salt joins the beloved combination of caramel, shortbread, and milk chocolate in this new bar, packaged in a shiny teal wrapper.

With this news, the part of me that loves odd and novel flavors experienced the emotional equivalent of a sad trumpet sound effect, but the part of me that remains slightly obsessed with salted caramel was thrilled. I would rather enjoy a familiar flavor executed perfectly than novelty for novelty’s sake.

Salted Caramel Twix Coating

Although Salted Caramel Twix is also available in King Size, I opted for the standard size. The petite twin sticks look like the original Twix — although a little smaller — inside and out. I was expecting a visual hint of salt, either embedded in the caramel or sprinkled on top of the chocolate coating, but there was nary a grain in sight. Note that if you are vehemently anti-salted caramel, someone could use this Twix to play a trick on you.

With each bite of the Salted Caramel Twix, I experienced the same trajectory of flavor. For the first several chews, the bar tastes largely like an original Twix: creamy milk chocolate, sweet chewy caramel, and crunchy cookie. Then, a punchy salt flavor comes through and lasts for three or four seconds before the taste mellows back into original territory. The saltiness isn’t intense enough to produce a strong mingling of sweet and salty, but it was intense enough to make me incredibly thirsty after eating one stick.

Salted Caramel Twix Split

Tasting one element at a time, I believe the salt is baked into the shortbread cookie, not the caramel. The separation of salt from caramel might contribute to the fleeting saltiness of the bar as a whole. When located in the least sweet element, the salt needs some help being introduced to the sweet.

The thought of salt being separated from caramel until reunited by someone’s mandibles is somewhat tragic. If the salt is not inside the caramel, is it truly salted caramel? Begin the philosophical discussion in the comments below.

Rating the Salted Caramel Twix is tough, because we all know that caramel, shortbread, and chocolate combine to make magic. Yet, the bar’s muted salty/sweet contrast underwhelms. It neither capitalizes on the power of a simple flavor nor deviates strongly enough from the original Twix to feel exciting. Salted caramel fans may enjoy this twist on the original, but it won’t make them forget about the countless other like-flavored products available to satisfy their sweet (and salty) tooth.

Purchased Price: 88 cents
Size: 1.41 oz bar (40 g)
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 200 calories, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 20 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Hershey’s Oat Made Chocolate Bars

Hershey s Oat Made Chocolate Bars Wrappers

What are Hershey’s Oat Made Chocolate Bars?

Hershey’s new Oat Made line is the company’s first venture into plant-based chocolate. Made with oat milk instead of dairy, Oat Made bars are vegan, non-GMO, and made with Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa.

Two varieties are available: Classic Dark and Extra Creamy Almond & Sea Salt.

How are they?

When I first heard about Hershey’s Oat Made line, I was fascinated by its credentials. As an aspiring candy historian, I want my finger on the pulse of everything new in the world of chocolate. Also, I enjoy experimenting with milk alternatives not out of personal dietary need, but simply curiosity and awareness of friends and family who do have these needs. The presence of oat milk – a favorite dairy alternative – in chocolate seemed too interesting to ignore.

Hershey s Oat Made Chocolate Bars Dark

First, the Classic Dark bar is a convincing duplicate of its dairy-infused cousin. The flavor perfectly balances bitter and sweet. Breaking the bar into squares yields a satisfying snap – often a sign of higher quantities of cocoa butter – but this firm bite easily transitions into a smooth texture without the chalkiness dark chocolate can sometimes have. The bar is definitely on par with comparable products from higher-priced brands like Lindt or Ghiradelli.

Hershey s Oat Made Chocolate Bars Creamy 1

The Extra Creamy Almond & Sea Salt bar is meant to mimic milk chocolate, and while it doesn’t taste much like the classic Hershey’s milk chocolate, I mean this in the best possible way. The bar smells and tastes of cocoa powder, resulting in a richer and more authentic chocolate flavor without the mild tang characteristic of classic Hershey’s.

Hershey s Oat Made Chocolate Bars Creamy 2

“Extra Creamy” is a bit of a misnomer, because as the bar melts, a gritty texture emerges. The bar contains a generous amount of almond pieces, which provide a hint of salt and a satisfying crunch that distracts from the grittiness.

Anything else you need to know?

Both bars are part of a limited test release from now through June 2022. They will be available in select stores across the United States. I haven’t seen them in the wild, but as of this writing you can order them from Target.com.

Conclusion:

Whether you are searching to satisfy a dietary need or just trying to expand your confectionary horizons, Hershey’s Oat Made chocolate bars are satisfying options with the potential for additional innovation. Especially for the price point, either variety’s rich flavor would contribute nicely to a s’more.

Purchased Price: $1.99 each
Size: 1.55 oz (43 g)
Purchased at: Target.com
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Classic Dark), 7 out of 10 (Extra Creamy Almond & Sea Salt)
Nutrition Facts: Classic Dark – 210 calories, 16 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein. Extra Creamy Almond & Sea Salt – 230 calories, 16 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 30 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Monster Mash Cereal

Monster Mash Cereal Box

I was browsing store shelves one summer day
and found a new cereal along the way
On the box were five monsters I’ve missed
Obviously, I couldn’t resist
I bought the Mash!
I bought the Monster Mash!

Although some consumers balk at seasonal products creeping into stores early, I love catching fall finds in late summer. Like a child watching the first fun size candy bar grace his trick or treat bag, I see these seasonal products as harbingers of more greatness to come. (Also like that child, I’m probably regretting not wearing a light jacket like my mom told me to.)

Monster Mash Cereal Characters

Monster Mash Cereal feels especially exciting because it celebrates the 50th anniversary of the monster cereals that have haunted our seasonal breakfast tables. Not willing to rival Dr. Frankenstein, General Mills didn’t create Monster Mash from the spare parts of Boo Berry, Franken Berry, Count Chocula, Frute Brute, and Yummy Mummy cereals. Rather, this limited edition offering is an artificially berry-flavored cereal with marshmallows. Essentially, it is a mixture of Boo Berry and Franken Berry cereals, along with marbits shaped like ghosts, bats, and monster heads to pay homage to the other mascots.

Monster Mash Cereal Closeup

Monster Mash Cereal Band

Take a moment to set aside your disappointment at the Count Chocula erasure. Instead, admire the work of art that is the Monster Mash cereal box, where our band of ghoulish mascots celebrates its half-century milestone by playing a cover of “Monster Mash.” The QR code on the back of the box leads you to a page where you can view a “behind the music” video and listen to a snippet of the cover. Spotify subscribers have access to the full song, which has no business sounding so good.

You’re probably thinking, Get to the point already. Should I trick or treat myself to this cereal or not? Unfortunately, the fun aesthetic and novelty of Monster Mash contribute heavily to its appeal, because the cereal itself is passable. The crisp cereal has a generic mixed berry flavor, with the blueberry pieces dominating. The multi-colored marbits all deliver a mild marshmallow taste. I always welcome marbits in cereal, so I wouldn’t have minded a few more per serving.

Monster Mash Cereal Bowl

Unlike the oat-based monster cereals of the past, Monster Mash is corn-based, which I always find less pleasing in milk. That trend holds true here:

Out of the carton, some milk I poured
so I could taste just a little more
I lifted my spoon, prepared to savor
and said, “What happened to all the flavor?”

As expected, the cereal grew soggy quickly, but I was surprised that the milk made the berry flavor disappear faster than a ghost through a wall.

For such a fun concept, Monster Mash Cereal sadly underwhelms. It’s definitely good enough to snack on during a horror movie marathon or to keep up your energy if you get lost in a corn maze. Happy to have found a smaller box (versus the family size common to so many limited edition cereals), I will enjoy Monster Mash until the novelty wears off, but I won’t be howling for more.

Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: 9.6 oz (272 g) box
Purchased at: Giant Eagle
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 1 1/3 cup) 160 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein

REVIEW: Snickers Almond Brownie Squares

Snickers Almond Brownie Dark Chocolate Squares Wrapper

What are Snickers Almond Brownie Squares?

Following last year’s Peanut Brownie Squares, this Snickers bar features brownie filling, almonds, and a layer of caramel enrobed in a dark chocolate coating.

How are they?

Snickers Almond Brownie Squares are the brand’s second candy bar/brownie mash-up. Although I had tried the Peanut variety, I couldn’t remember much about it, which isn’t an indictment of the product’s quality as much as a wake-up call that I eat so much chocolate I can’t keep it all straight.

Snickers Almond Brownie Dark Chocolate Squares 4 Pieces

Once I tried the Almond Brownie Squares, the memories came flooding back: neat little chocolate squares! Luscious caramel! A soft, rich brownie filling! Together, the ingredients form a tasty treat that reminds me of eyeing a pan of freshly baked brownies, agonizing over whether I want a corner or an edge piece.

The two variables of this bar are the dark chocolate coating and the almonds. Compared to the milk chocolate in the Peanut variety, this bar’s dark chocolate is a better complement to the rich brownie center. It adds just a bit of bitterness that rounds out the very sweet caramel and super chocolate-y brownie.

Snickers Almond Brownie Dark Chocolate Squares Split

(Side note: Although the brownie filling looks like a baked dessert, don’t be fooled: it is actually confectionary, somewhat nougat-like. Although the brownie flavor is spot-on, the composition and texture of this bar are not pastry-like.)

Almond pieces are embedded within the brownie filling, but I wish there were more. They are small and scant, adding little texture and flavor. I recognize that nuts are rarely the star of baked brownies, where they are often reserved for topping anyway. But here, they get too lost in the luxury of the chocolate candy.

Anything else you need to know?

I could only find the share size, but Snickers Almond Brownie Squares will also be available in singles and stand-up pouches.

Conclusion:

Dark chocolate and soft brownie filling are a chocolate match made in Snickers heaven, but the almond component is lackluster. Dark chocolate fans or lovers of the Peanut Brownie Squares will enjoy this latest creation, but those who believe a brownie isn’t a brownie without nuts may be happier at a bake sale.

Purchased Price: $1.48
Size: 2.52 oz (4 squares)
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 1/2 package – 2 squares) 180 calories, 9 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 18 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.