REVIEW: Frankford Gummy Lunchables Cracker Stackers

Frankford Gummy Lunchables Box

Behold! Nostalgia in edible gelatin form!

I confess I tried every Lunchable as a kid. The crackers. The pizza. The tacos. And while I love lunch and I love gummies, do they go together? It is with a quiver in my soul and a trembling of my hands that I find out today!

Frankford Gummy Lunchables Tray

I appreciate that all the gummies have separate compartments, but those crackers look claustrophobic smooshed in there. Let’s take them out!

Frankford Gummy Lunchables Tall Stack

Sugar, dextrin, and yellow number 40. That’s what this little girl is made of, and thank goodness because these Lunchable gummies have plenty of it! They smell like Froot Loops and taste like what happens when you eat every Starburst and Skittle flavor in one gulp. I’m sure each shape is supposed to have a distinct flavor, but they all smell and taste the same: tangy, sweet, slightly citrus-y, not bad, but not amazing.

The texture is a mix of Haribo gummies, Fruit by the Foot, and those squishy candy corn pumpkins that I pluck out of the bag every year. After eating all of them, I have enough energy to hurl a jumbo jet across Central Park.

Aside from the obvious benefit of getting to shovel your face with flavored sugar, you also get to stack your gummy crackers into whatever formation you like. Like a Lego tower. Only not made of plastic. And not ridiculously expensive. So better than a Lego tower! Stacked together in a sandwich, they are about the size of an eyeball and, according to research, there are a lot of good reasons to eat neon-colored gummies the size of an eyeball.

Frankford Gummy Lunchables Small Stack

So if you want a Lunchable without the lunchbox, weirdly shaped turkey slices, or smelly school cafeteria, you can eat these and still feel a sense of triumph (or maybe that’s the sugar rush?). These may not have particularly distinct flavors, but the shape is unique, they’re fun to smoosh together, and they beat overcooked cafeteria green beans any day.

Purchased Price: $5.00
Size: 6.2 oz. pack
Purchased at: Five Below
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/6 of the tray or 30 grams) 100 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 14 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Sugar Cookie PEZ Candy

Sugar Cookie PEZ

What are Sugar Cookie PEZ?

Pressed dextrose hyperrectangles promising to taste like sweet, crisp sugar cookies. They are predominantly made of corn syrup and natural flavors and very well might steal a spot on your Santa cookie plate.

Sugar Cookie PEZ crunchies of sorrow

How are they?

Munching in, I’m… well, disheartened. It’s got the classic crunchy sweetness of PEZ, but tastes of very little. It’s not a sugar cookie flavor so much as it is a really crunchy Smartie. Not a fruity Smartie. The little taste-free white ones. Yes, it is very, very sugary (like a sugar cookie), but it comes without the key buttery nuttiness found in the aforementioned baked good.

I was hoping for something distinguishable, perhaps even a sweeter version of Popcorn Jelly Bellies, but these are just corn syrup with a bit of crunch and humbuggery.

Is there anything else you need to know?

These are admirably crunchy, yielding a chomp louder than four bowls of Cap’n Crunch. The dispenser also came with two other flavors so, if one doesn’t strike your fancy, you’ll still have a solid variety of others to give you a sugar burst throughout the day.

Sugar Cookie PEZ humbuggery

Conclusion:

If you like to munch on unflavored, cavity-threatening sugar cubes straight from the bag, let it be known! PEZ has a flavor for you!

Yet, should you be hoping for a little more zing to your sugar cookie-inspired candy, these shall disappoint – they taste of very little aside from the corn syrup and don’t echo the buttery, nutty, sweet-and-salty majesty of sugar cookies enough to warrant them credit.

Moreover, if you leave Sugar Cookie PEZ out on your Christmas cookie plate, they’d make Santa sad. Don’t make Santa sad! Go getcha some Lofthouse cookies and don’t fret if you pass on these.

Sugar Cookie PEZ Pong

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 1 Dispenser with 6 Candy Packets
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 roll) 35 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 9 grams of carbohydrates, 0 gram of dietary fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Hostess Peanut Butter Ding Dongs

Hostess Peanut Butter Ding Dongs

Sometimes, life presents small, yet pressing emergencies that must be addressed at once: the printer is out of ink, your car engine’s sputtering fumes, your roommate ate all the popsicles on the first 80-degree day of spring (always share the popsicles!).

These are the everyday, yet highly significant crises, the things that cannot wait for some imagined perfect time on your agenda. And today? That crisis is the craving for peanut butter and chocolate. To ignore this need would be reprehensible, so let us not dilly-dally. Onward! To the snack cake!

Hostess Peanut Butter Ding Dongs 2

I have tried all the snack cakes – the rolls, the crispies, the fluffies, the strange holiday shapies — and, I dare say, this iteration is quite pleasant. While not nouveau or flashy by any means, this humble pastry circle does good on its promise to highlight the cake’s prima donna: chocolate and peanut butter.

Biting in, there’s an ample floof of creamy peanut butter filling much akin to peanut butter-fied frosting from the tub. Surrounding it is a milk chocolate-y coating that’s been drizzled together with peanut butter confection, which has enough nutty, cocoa-y chime to remind me why I shovel Reese’s into my mouth like a Hungry Hippo.

The chocolate portion of the coating is a tad thin, yet quite tasty. Sure, it’s not Ghirardelli by any stretch of the imagination, but it brings flavors of fudge, milk chocolate, chocolate frosting to the fore and, like all the Hostess goods of my youth, combines into an experience that is deliciously familiar and so crammed with sugar, I probably have enough energy to perform Riverdance blindfolded right now.

Now, the cake is another story. Maybe I got a crummy batch, but when it comes to being light and fluffy, this pastry has hitched a one-way ticket on the struggle bus. It’s dense, flavorless, and nothing more than ho-hum. That said, I didn’t expect some extravagant cake straight from the ovens of the Great British Bake-Off, especially when a pack of two is only 50 cents.

The cake’s really just a neutral vehicle to hold all the chocolate and peanut butter together, which it does quite well and for a super inexpensive price. So if, and I’m just thinking ahead, you know, thinking of us, you were to buy, say, 29 packs, it may prove to be one of the best decisions you’ve made in 2018.

Hostess Peanut Butter Ding Dongs 3

If you’ve ever been charmed (understandably) by a Reese’s, these are not going to replace the confection in the chocolate-and-peanut-butta-lovin’ pocket of your soul, but if you’d like a pretty good, no-nonsense snack cake, these are chocolate-y, peanut butter-y, and sturdy enough that you can add ice cream and they will not turn to mush.

Simple and to-the-point, they require little thought other than ripping open a little tag of cellophane and even make a nice breakfast on a Wednesday. And don’t we all deserve a nice breakfast on a Wednesday?

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cakes – 350 calories, 160 calories from fat, 18 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 36 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: 50 cents
Size: 2-pack
Purchased at: 99-Cent Store
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Chocolate coating. Peanut butter drizzle in coating. Frosting-like peanut butter floof inside. Reason to use “floof” in everyday language. Clogging Riverdance blindfolded.
Cons: Dense, flavorless cake. Could have greater ratio of chocolate coating. Discovering you’re out of printer ink. Roommates who eat all the popsicles without asking.

REVIEW: Haagen-Dazs Dulce de Leche Cookie Squares

Haagen Dazs Dulce de Leche Cookie Squares jpg

I know winter is supposed to be all fuzzy slippers and hot cocoa and half a metric ton of cinnamon spice, but, as someone known to recite Shakespearean love sonnets to frozen dairy, I need little to entice me that the dead middle of winter is the perfect time for some ice cream. Especially if it involves cookies, chocolate, and caramel, and boom-shackalacka! Haagen-Dazs is delivering just that.

Haagen Dazs Dulce de Leche Cookie Squares 2 jpg

If you don’t have soft spot in your heart for gooey, deeply nutty caramel, just turn away ‘cause this bar is ribboned with the stuff. Now, in case you haven’t yet had the near-holy, angels-singing-from-the-sky experience of dulce de leche yet, prepare thyself to be amazed! For dulce de leche is what becomes of sweetened condensed milk after being slowly caramelized, creating an effect that is less sharply sugary than regular caramel and more nutty-sweet.

Here, it serves as a thick, sweetened, gooey, nutty confection that strings out like mad from the surrounding sweeter caramel ice cream, which provided me with enough energy to hurl a monster truck across a football field.

And it doesn’t even stop there, folks. The chocolate coating is snappy, sweet, and drizzled with just a tad bit of semisweet chocolate to yin out the yang of the main milk chocolate base. The Oreo-like cookie wafer has a snap, crumble, chew, and durability that holds up to the weight of the ice cream above. Taken as a whole, the result is crispy, creamy, nutty, crumbly, chocolatey, and other delicious adjectives that end in “y.” It all makes for something so delicious.

Haagen Dazs Dulce de Leche Cookie Squares 3 jpg

In this small three-dimensional square, Haagen-Dazs proves that, while it may be winter, dessert doesn’t have to taste like a Gingerbread Man’s spice drawer to be absolutely delicious in a blustery season. Indeed, sometimes, a simple, well-executed square of cookie, ice cream, and chocolate is just the thing to transform a callous-hearted, snowy-sludged humbug into a un-grumpified, semi-regularly-functioning human who has big dreams and has done adult things today and deserves something very, very spectacular.

Like you, dear reader.

You deserve something very, very spectacular. So go get you some! They may not be perfect and hardly toe the line of breaking new ground, but they are delicious. And, for today, delicious is enough.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – 310 calories, 170 calories from fat, 18 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 26 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.34 (on sale)
Size: 1 box/3 bars
Purchased at: Ralph’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Nutty, nutty dulce de leche. Milk and semisweet chocolate. Durable, Oreo-like cookie wafer. Enough sugar to hurl a monster truck across a football field.
Cons: Not the best if you’re looking for crazy mix-ins. Callous-hearted, snowy-sludged humbugs.

REVIEW: Lindt Lindor Limited Edition Red Velvet Truffles

Lindt Lindor Limited Edition Red Velvet Truffles

Like an escape hatch hidden behind a library bookshelf in the 19th medieval literature section, red velvet cake is so much more than it seems. It is what chocolate cake would be if it were recruited as a spy, stealthily dying its natural brown cake a burnt red and shunning its chocolate frosted exterior for a plain, smooth buttercream, possibly even with some cream cheese added in (scandalous!).

But we know that these red dyes and swirly buttercreams are just fancy looks, right? At its heart, red velvet cake is still just a humble, fudgy chocolate cake, and I don’t mess around when it comes to chocolate cake. These little Lindt truffles are no exception: I want nothing short of chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate…oh yeah, and a dab of buttercream. Bring forth your cocoa-iest, Lindt!

Lindt Lindor Limited Edition Red Velvet Truffles 2

Let us pause to celebrate Lindt’s interactive packaging. Not only does bursting open the bag bring forth smells of sugar and milk chocolate, but the act of unwrapping and beholding one of the white chocolate orbs provides you with a warm bubbly feeling and sense of accomplishment. It’s similar to the sensation of completing all 256 secret levels in Super Mario Brothers, only without golden coins, Luigi, or the need to defeat a spikey-shelled turtle creature with anger problems.

Chomping down, there’s an immediate crackle from the white chocolate shell, which leans more on the “Buttercream” rather than the “Cream Cheese” side of the Frosting Spectrum (very scientific). The insides are smooth and, I’m pleased to discover, taste like actual chocolate.

Sure, there’s some red dye going on, saturated fat out the wazoo, and vegetable oil helping it all hold together, but it graciously doesn’t obstruct from the rich, milk chocolate flavor sustained here. It ends up being about a 30:70 flavor ratio between the white chocolate “buttercream” flavor and milk chocolate fudgy flavor and, while I’m not sure what recipe, ingredient, or Harry Potter magic made this so intensely chocolate-cakey, I approve of it.

Lindt Lindor Limited Edition Red Velvet Truffles 3

Having had far too many dry, crusty red velvet cakes in recent years, I confess I underestimated these truffles. While this isn’t the truffle I expected, it’s unquestionably a delicious one and I will happily finish the bag. They have crisp white chocolate, fudgy insides, and, when looked at in a certain light, turn your tongue red.

Oh, and they taste solid: sweet, white-and-milk chocolatey, a tad earthy, very sweet with a crunchy shell and smoothy-groovy insides. In this, Lindt proves that there is no need to have such a noisy fuss over cake. Indeed, you can avoid the oven and actually find something not only decent, but absolutely delicious.

So, if you want some cake without the flour, hassle, waiting, or just want to eat something smaller than a manhole cover, now you can join the over five million people who talk to their therapist about their mild addiction to red velvet on a weekly basis.

(Nutrition Facts – 3 truffles – 220 calories, 160 calories from fat, 17 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 0 gram of dietary fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: 6 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Crispy shell. Smooth, fudgy insides. Actual white chocolate used. Turns tongue red (sorta). Cake without an oven. Escape hatches hidden behind library shelves. Warm bubbly feelings attained by completing 256 levels of Super Mario Brothers.
Cons: Will disappoint cream cheese lovers. Questionable red dye. Oodles of saturated fat. Awkward discussions with therapist about red velvet cake addiction. Spikey-shelled turtle creature with an anger problems.