REVIEW: KFC Apple Pie Poppers

One institution of Americana, Kentucky Fried Chicken, has added another icon of Americana, apple pie, to its menu.

These new KFC Apple Pie Poppers feature apple pie filling inside a crust, available in orders of four or ten. They are roughly two inches long, with a seam on one side and slits on the other.

The filling is pretty standard for canned or mass-produced apple pie: small apple chunks in a thick syrup with a noticeable quantity of cinnamon. It’s nowhere near as good as a pie made with fresh apples, but of course, I don’t expect that from a fast food restaurant. I like the way some of the syrupy filling caramelizes as it oozes out of the crust.

And speaking of crust, the pastry is really the star here. It is soft, chewy, and even a little bit stretchy. I know that sounds weird and possibly gross, but I don’t know how else to describe it. It has a wonderful texture! And the flavor is satisfying and buttery.

Taken together, the filling and the crust are similar to apple pies or turnovers from other fast food joints. If you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably eaten something nearly identical at some point.

There is nothing groundbreaking about these KFC Apple Pie Poppers, and I don’t know if I’ll go out of my way to have them again, especially since Kentucky Fried Chicken is not in my regular fast food rotation. However, they are still a tasty dessert option, and they seem like the kind of thing KFC really ought to have on its menu.

Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: 4-piece order
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 piece) 80 calories, 5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 9 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Honey Bunches of Oats Frosted Bunches Cereal

Post doesn’t release limited-edition Honey Bunches of Oats flavors very often, so when it does, pay attention!

Except this new Frosted Bunches variety, sadly, isn’t worth paying much attention to. Really, the most interesting part of the whole cereal is the wintry box with a yeti theme. (Why are yetis having a moment now?)

I happened to have the bottom half of a box of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds, so I was able to make a few comparisons between the new one and the classic.

With “Frosted Bunches” as the name of this new cereal, I assumed the oat clusters would be different. And yet, I* can’t really taste a difference between the bunches. If they are different, I don’t know what it is.

(*See what I did there? “yet, I”? “yeti”?)

The real difference is actually in the flakes. All of them in the Frosted Bunches variety are lighter in color and sweeter. This cereal would be better called Honey Bunches of Oats Frosted Flakes instead of Frosted Bunches. So, basically, this is a sweeter version of regular Honey Bunches of Oats, and the nutrition facts bear that out.

And despite an extra dose of “Bunches” in this cereal’s name, it seems to have fewer, not more, bunches in the cereal itself.

Look, Honey Bunches of Oats has long been one of my favorite cereals, so I will gladly finish this box. But it is not significantly different from the regular varieties. I only notice the differences because I’m looking for them. The ingredient lists have mostly the same ingredients, just in a different order.

The differences are not significant enough for me to make it worth the extra sugar in this Frosted Bunches edition, mainly because the regular version has more textural and flavor contrasts.

This cereal might be boring, but I hope to see more exciting limited edition offerings from Honey Bunches of Oats in the future. (How have we not yet seen a pumpkin spice variety?!)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 11 oz. box
Purchased at: Smith’s (Kroger)
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup/40 grams) 160 calories, 2 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 11 grams of sugar including 11 grams of added sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Little Debbie Chocolate Christmas Tree Cakes Ice Cream

Back in 2021, I reviewed Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes Ice Cream. Two years later, Deborah hasn’t aged a day, but she has brought us an additional frozen flavor inspired by one of her yuletide treats: Chocolate Christmas Tree Cakes! (I’m tempted to spell “treat” as “treet” for this review, but I will forbear. You’re welcome.)

Besides the obvious flavor difference, there are some subtle differences between regular CTCs and chocolate CTCs. The regular ones feature a red icing drizzle with green sugar crystals, while the chocolate ones have a white icing drizzle with red and green sprinkles. Hudsonville, the maker of the ice cream, did not overlook these small details.

The regular CTC ice cream features vanilla ice cream with white cake bits and a red swirl with green crystal sprinkles. The chocolate version has a chocolate base with chocolate cake bits and red, green, and white sprinkles. White swirls were swapped out for the white sprinkles.

The chocolate base is wonderful. It’s not that exciting, but it’s a classic ice cream flavor for a reason. And I also really enjoy the cake bits. They almost have the consistency of brownie bits you find in ice cream, so they’re a textural delight.

And speaking of texture: I am so glad the chocolate variety uses sprinkles instead of sugar crystals! The crystals were my biggest complaint about the regular CTC ice cream. They had a gritty, sand-like texture that seemed out of place in the creamy treat.

The sprinkles in the chocolate version, however, have a slight crunch from the cold, but I don’t feel like I’m munching on quartz granules. They are a sensory pleasure. And, of course, we can’t overlook the festive appearance they give this dessert.

My other biggest complaint with the original CTC ice cream was that, although it was good, it was just kind of boring. And, I must admit, this one is also kind of boring. The color of the sprinkles is the only thing festive or seasonal. Chocolate ice cream and chocolate cake are nothing new.

But, you know what? I’m going to overlook the boringness because it’s still a delightful dessert that I will be more than happy to finish.

Purchased Price: $2.74
Size: One pint
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup/97 grams) 230 calories, 10 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 21 grams of sugar including 17 grams of added sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Van Leeuwen Dill Pickle Ice Cream

Van Leeuwen famously offers totally bonkers ice cream flavors, like pizza, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, and Hidden Valley Ranch.

Now it’s giving us dill pickle. It’s part of its 2023 Walmart fall/winter flavors. I guess because you have pickles at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner? Or because there’s that weird tradition about hanging a pickle on the Christmas tree? Whatever the reason, it’s here, and it’s real.

So…how does it taste?

It tastes like ice cream. And it tastes like pickles. It tastes like pickle ice cream. And it’s not gross!

I mean, I really don’t know how else to describe it other than it tastes like pickles. It’s sweet, like ice cream. It’s not as tart as actual pickles, but the flavor is there. The carton explains, “This tangy yet sweet pickle ice cream is more pickle-ized with a dill pickle swirl.” That swirl tastes more like bread-and-butter pickles to me, but it all melds together in a dill flavor.

I know the concept sounds weird, but as a fan of both pickles and unusual food combinations, I really enjoyed this ice cream. My mom was less keen on the idea, but even she admitted it tasted good.

And strangely, the ice cream gave me a craving for actual pickles. I had to go to the fridge and pull out the jar of pickles before I finished my ice cream. I really wanted the crunchiness and saltiness of the real deal. I mean, the rill dill. (I think my body needed the electrolytes.)

Do you remember that I Love Lucy episode where pregnant Lucy dipped a pickle in her papaya milkshake? I had to do that here. It was OK; the actual pickle just overwhelmed the ice cream. It wasn’t bad, but I don’t feel a need to do it again.

I think Van Leeuwen is the Lady Gaga of ice cream. Early in her career, a meat dress and prosthetic shoulders screamed, “Notice me!” Now that she’s proved herself, that stuff is less important. (One of the best concerts I’ve been to, BTW.)

Similarly, when you strip away the weirdness, Van Leeuwen really is a wonderful ice cream company; I’ve loved their other flavors. And I certainly never paid attention to them until I heard about the mac & cheese flavor.

And speaking of meat, can we next expect hamburger, fried chicken, or turkey ice creams from Van Leeuwen?

Purchased Price: $4.98
Size: 14 fl oz (414 ml)
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup/108 grams) 250 calories, 14 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 240 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugar (including 20 grams of added sugar), and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Burger King Ghost Pepper Chicken Fries

Last year, I reviewed Burger King’s Ghost Pepper Whopper, which was one of the most memorable burgers I’ve ever had, especially with its beautiful orange and black bun.

BK brought that Whopper back this year but also introduced something new: the Ghost Pepper Chicken Fries.

These are fry-shaped chicken (and if you’re a reader of this site, you probably already know about chicken fries) with a spicy ghost pepper breading. They’re not as pretty as the Ghost Pepper Whopper’s bun, but they still are (subtly) orange and black.

I’ve never had an actual ghost pepper since I’m not a masochist, but I can guarantee that the Ghost Pepper Chicken Fries are nowhere close to the heat of the real pepper.

With that said, they are still spicy. I was on the verge of hiccupping as I made it through all twelve, but I didn’t. There was a steady burn as I munched, and I was glad to have the BBQ dipping sauce to cut through the heat. (I don’t think it did, but I told myself it was helping.)

But this item is not any spicier than many other fast food offerings. I didn’t think it was as hot as the Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich, a jalapeño burger, or the Ghost Pepper Whopper.

The chicken itself is just what I hoped it would be: moist, tender, not dried out or gristly.

I enjoyed eating these. They were a great vessel for the BBQ sauce, and they were spicy enough to keep it interesting without making me miserable. Spice-loving people will probably want them to be hotter, but they’re a good match for the general population.

I must return to BK to get the Ghost Pepper Whopper this year. I don’t like the Chicken Fries as much as the Whopper, but they’re a good option if you don’t want to commit to the calories of a full sandwich.

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 12-piece
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (12 pieces) 410 calories, 26 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,160 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 19 grams of protein.