This Walmart-exclusive flavor of the Easter perennial brings the classic soda into marshmallow form.
How are they?
It has probably been two decades since I last drank Dr Pepper, but when I smelled the carton of burgundy chicks, I could almost feel the carbonation in my mouth. Yep, that’s a Dr Pepper scent!
When I eat them, the flavor is diluted. It still tastes like Dr Pepper, but marshmallow is more prominent. Oh, and if you’re wondering, there’s no caffeine in the ingredients.
Dr Pepper diehards (and there are a lot of them) will probably want a stronger flavor. However, these are tame and safe enough that you could put them in Easter baskets for the whole family and everyone would be pleased with them. (As long as they like Peeps in general, that is.)
Anything else you need to know?
Back in 2018, I reviewed Peeps mystery flavors, and I guessed with 30 percent confidence that one of the flavors was Dr Pepper. I was wrong (it was blue raspberry), but I can’t help but wonder if my review gave Just Born the idea for this year’s product.
Dr Pepper is a worthy addition to the selection of flavored Peeps, even if the flavor could be stronger.
Purchased Price: $1.36 Size: 3 oz package Purchased at: Walmart Rating: 7 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (4 chicks) 110 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 24 grams of sugar (including 24 grams of added sugar), and 1 gram of protein.
The package describes these new Valentine’s Day Kisses as “extra creamy milk chocolate with strawberry flavored center.”
How are they?
These Kisses have the same chocolate that the other filled Kisses have. It’s a little different from the solid Kisses, but it’s largely a vehicle for the filling.
The filling in this case is bright red, and I don’t know if I would have pegged the flavor as strawberry if the wrapper and the plume didn’t tell me.
I enjoy this candy, but it’s not one I would miss if it didn’t come back. It’s excessively sweet, and I say that as someone with a tremendous sweet tooth.
Anything else you need to know?
If the description sounds familiar, it should: I’m pretty sure these are exactly the same as Vampire Kisses the company has released for Halloween.
It might seem weird to recycle Halloween candy for Valentine’s Day, but they’re practically the same holiday. You don’t get the day off of work or school, and they both use candy to market age-inappropriate things to children (horror and romance).
The flavor itself might be more appropriate for February, but I prefer the blood-red concept for October. So many other candies use the strawberry chocolate flavor this time of year, and they execute it better.
Hershey’s Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Kisses are fine and passable. They would be great in a Valentine’s goody bag. But the seasonal aisle is full of better and more interesting candies.
Purchased Price: $3.99 Size: 9 oz bag Purchased at: Target Rating: 6 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (6 pieces) 120 calories, 5 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 20 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 16 grams of sugar including 13 grams of added sugar, and 2 grams of protein.
But I’m pretty sure this new Spam Figgy Pudding is the weirdest. When I learned of its existence, I knew it would be so delightfully, seasonally unusual that I had to try it. I’m generally indifferent about regular Spam, but I’m a sucker for anything with a holiday theme.
(Spam’s website consistently treats its name as SPAM, but Merriam-Webster opts for Spam, so I’m going with that. It’s easier to type.)
Here’s how the website describes it: “SPAM Figgy Pudding brings a blend of warm spices and seasonal ingredients that will be the star in many wintertime recipe favorites. With notes of cinnamon and nutmeg combined with fig and orange flavors, you’ll taste true holiday comfort that will have you caroling all season long.”
Now, I’ve never had a figgy pudding for at least three reasons:
I’ve never stepped foot in the UK.
The authentic recipes sound unreasonably complicated.
I am not 200 years old. (Yet.)
Therefore, I can’t compare it to a real figgy pudding. But with that caveat, how is it?
Well, there’s definitely a seasonal vibe to it. I taste spices (though I’m not sure I can pick out specific ones), and I taste fruit, especially orange, making it a little sweeter. If you like Spam, this is a fun, festive variation! My dad eats Spam regularly and doesn’t like this version as much as the classic, but he said it’s fine if you want a different flavor.
Now, I didn’t know what to do with a brick of the stuff, but fortunately, the website has several recipes. I opted for the Spiced Dutch Baby Pancake. I followed the instructions as well as I could, except I didn’t have a 10-inch cast-iron skillet like the recipe called for. I ate it with the recommended cranberry butter (thanks, Thanksgiving leftovers!), maple syrup, and powdered sugar.
This was a weird dish, to be sure. But I’m a fan of mixing sweet and savory, and the Figgy Pudding Spam paired well with the sweeter elements and the spices of the pancake. I mean, it’s still Spam, so there’s something mildly off-putting about it. But I had no problem finishing the pan.
Spam Figgy Pudding is only available in a two-pack (mine came in a cardboard sleeve that fell apart in transit). I’m still trying to figure out what I’ll do with the second can, but I’m sure I’ll find a good use for it!
Because this is a novelty food, it’s more expensive than the original Spam. As far as the food itself goes, it’s not worth the price. But if you are a die-hard Spam fan, or you just like trying weird products, go for it!
Purchased Price: $14.13 plus shipping Size: 2 12-oz cans Purchased at: Walmart.com Rating: 7 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (2 oz) 180 calories, 15 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 600 milligrams of sodium, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar (including 4 grams of added sugars), and 7 grams of protein.
The Elf on the Shelf line of cereals* has a new Walmart-exclusive flavor that “magically cools your mouth as you eat.”
*I can’t believe Elf on the Shelf is now a line of cereals, plural.
How is it?
Let’s start with the promise of cooling. When I eat a piece dry, I do notice a sensation in my mouth, one that I don’t get from other cereals. Is it cooling? I don’t know; you might be able to convince me it’s a warming sensation.
But in milk, the feeling is diluted. I do get some kind of cooling phenomenon when I drink the leftover milk, but that might just be the literal temperature.
I compared the ingredients with the Elf on the Shelf Sugar Cookie Cereal, and it appears that the magic ingredient is calcium carbonate. Any geologist worth their halite* can tell you that’s limestone.
As for the flavor, I have no idea what “North Pole Snow Creme” is. But the waffle cone on the box suggests that it’s supposed to be vanilla. It does taste like vanilla, which is hard to mess up. But really, this just tastes like any other generically sweet corn cereal.
The marshmallows are so rare that Kellogg’s needn’t have bothered.
Anything else you need to know?
I compared this new cereal with the Sugar Cookie variety, and the Snow Creme version is better. So if you’re at Walmart, there’s no need to pick up that red and green variety.
The wintry color scheme of this cereal is my favorite part.
The Elf on the Shelf branding means this cereal is an opportunistic cash grab, not a worthwhile cereal on its own. The “cooling” sensation is too subtle to be, well, cool.
Purchased Price: $4.48 Size: 12.2 oz. box Purchased at: Walmart Rating: 5 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (1 1/3 cup, 39 grams) 140 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 0 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 13 grams of sugar (including 13 grams of added sugar), and 2 grams of protein.
Between pumpkinundation and trick-or-treating, there’s a lot of sugar to consume at this time of year. So it’s refreshing when companies bring something spooky to savory foods for a change. Burger King gave us Halloween Whoppers in 2015, 2018, 2019, and this year it brought the concept back.
Burger King’s website describes the 2022 version, the Ghost Pepper Whopper, as “1/4 lb. flame-grilled beef patty, melty Ghost Pepper cheese, bacon, crispy jalapeños, and queso sauce all on a toasted orange and black sesame seed bun.” Apparently, spicy things are for Halloween now just because one pepper has “ghost” in its name.
When I unwrapped my sandwich, it struck me how beautiful the bun was! A perfectly festive orange with black sesame seeds. It’s stunning, and that alone is worth the purchase. Much better than the greenish bun of the 2018 sandwich. Visuals aside, it’s soft and slightly sweet. It’s just a bun, but it gets the job done!
Let’s go through the toppings from top to bottom:
The queso sauce has a standard nacho flavor but with a kick. I don’t always love queso, but I like this one.
The crispy jalapeños have the texture of potato chips, and I like them better than fresh or canned jalapeños. They provide a welcome textural contrast, and the crisps bring the heat without the hiccups. BK made a solid choice here.
The bacon is as good as any, and it’s neither too chewy nor too crispy.
The ghost pepper cheese is the only element that’s lacking for me. It just tastes like regular American cheese. If it has a pepper flavor, it’s drowned out by the queso and the jalapeños.
The beef patty was everything I hoped from a BK burger: substantive and with the perfect amount of chew.
Altogether, these elements made for a tasty sandwich. Sometimes I didn’t enjoy having both the cheese and the queso; I might have liked it better without the Ghost Pepper cheese. But that’s just me.
Now, as for the spiciness: I didn’t find the burger that spicy. My nose ran a little, but I ate the whole sandwich without needing to drink anything. People hoping it will be as spicy as an actual ghost pepper will be disappointed. But the mildness means that a larger segment of the population will get to enjoy this fantastically festive burger.
The previous iterations of spooky Whoppers didn’t rise from the dead on subsequent Halloweens. But I wouldn’t mind if this one did.
UPDATE: Thanks to our readers’ helpful comments, I realized that I originally got plain American cheese instead of the ghost pepper cheese it was supposed to be. So I went to a different location on a different day and got the real cheese.
It has a discernible kick, and it’s much better than the American cheese. This burger also came with a more generous helping of jalapeño crisps, so overall it was noticeably spicier. I definitely got the hiccups this time. But still, most people should be able to handle it.
Purchased Price: $6.99 Rating: 8 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: 750 calories, 44 grams of fat, 17 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 115 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,510 milligrams of sodium, 51.2 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 9.1 grams of sugar, and 38 grams of protein.