REVIEW: Great Value Holiday Sugar Cookie Popcorn

Great Value Holiday Sugar Cookie Popcorn

What is Great Value Holiday Sugar Cookie Popcorn?

Walmart’s store brand has upped its game when it comes to seasonal products. One of its new yuletide items is a sugar cookie–flavored microwave popcorn. Even though “sugar” is in the name, there’s no sugar added; this microwave popcorn is flavored by “natural and artificial flavor” and sucralose.

How is it?

I had no idea what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. My coworker said, “It’s like they took a syringe and injected a full sugar cookie in each corn.” I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s definitely adjacent to a sugar cookie flavor.

Great Value Holiday Sugar Cookie Popcorn Closeup

It has a buttery element that is less reminiscent of popcorn and more reminiscent of sugar cookies. It’s sweet, but not as sweet as kettle corn. This would be a great snack to munch on while watching a holiday movie like How the Wonderful Elf Died Hard Home Alone on 34th Street.

Still, though, it’s not addicting. I usually can inhale popcorn (as long as it’s not overly saturated with artificial butter flavor), but with this sweet version, I’m satisfied with a handful or two, and I don’t feel like eating more.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Is there anything else you need to know?

I obeyed the packaging’s rule not to use the microwave’s popcorn button, even though everyone ignores that. The recommended minute and forty-five seconds was perfect for my home microwave, but it was entirely too short for the office microwave.

Also, it tastes much better than it smells.

Conclusion:

I can’t munch on this treat indefinitely, but Great Value deserves an A for ingenuity.

Purchased Price: $1.98
Size: 14.04 oz. box (6 bags)
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 bag) 340 calories, 21 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 350 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of total sugars, 0 grams of added sugars, and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Hostess Limited Edition Iced Pumpkin CupCakes

Hostess Limited Edition Iced Pumpkin CupCakes

What are Limited Edition Hostess Iced Pumpkin CupCakes?

Hostess has revamped a pumpkin product from a few years ago. They used to be called Pumpkin Spice CupCakes, but now they’re Iced Pumpkin CupCakes. They used to have leaf-shaped sprinkles, but now they have a fall-colored version of the iconic frosting squiggle.

How are they?

Four years ago, I had the “Pumpkin Spice” version, and these are just as good as I remember them.

The overwhelming flavor is cinnamon. It’s not quite the cinnamon you use in baking; it’s closer to a cinnamon bear. But I like it a lot. The cinnamon mostly seems to be in the frosting.

Hostess Limited Edition Iced Pumpkin CupCakes Squiggles

Speaking of frosting, I’m not always a big fan of the waxy texture of CupCakes frosting, but this time it provides a nice textural contrast to the cake.
The cake itself has a pleasant but restrained flavor, though the pumpkin isn’t very strong.

Hostess Limited Edition Iced Pumpkin CupCakes Filling

The creamy filling is the standard filling of Hostess products. (It might have been overkill to use the pumpkin spice filling from the Twinkies.)

Is there anything else you need to know?

I really enjoy these, but I like that somewhat-artificial cinnamon flavor. The internet disagreed with me when I gave a 10/10 to those cinnamon Oreo cookies, so you might not like them as much as I do.

Hostess Limited Edition Iced Pumpkin CupCakes Ad

In the real world, I’m an amateur historian, and Hostess Cup Cakes [sic] were almost marketed as a health food back in 1935: “They renew energy quickly because they are so easy to digest, and they never spoil her appetite for dinner.”

Conclusion:

I’m glad they brought these back, because they are easily my favorite Hostess product.

Purchased Price: $3.50
Size: 12.7 oz. box
Purchased at: Fresh Market
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cake) 160 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 21 grams of sugar (including 21 grams of added sugar), and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Betty Crocker Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cake Mug Treats

Betty Crocker Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cake Mug Treats

What are Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cake Mug Treats?

Betty Crocker has added a limited-edition pumpkin cake to its (her?) lineup of Mug Treats. The box contains four packages of cake mix and four pouches of cream cheese icing.

Betty Crocker Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cake Mug Treats Mix

Betty Crocker Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cake Mug Treats Mixed

Betty Crocker Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cake Mug Treats Cooked

Betty Crocker Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cake Mug Treats Icing

Betty Crocker Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cake Mug Treats Icing Neat

Mix the batter with water or milk (I cooked it both ways) in a mug, microwave it for a little over a minute, then top with the frosting. It’s super easy. (If you want it to look pretty, tear a small hole in the icing pouch; if you want to move on with your life, make a big tear and squeeze it out in globs. It tastes the same.)

How are they?

As the cake was cooking, it smelled delightful. Unfortunately, the cake itself is perfectly mediocre. I didn’t think it was much more flavorful than a pancake. There are prominently visible spice clusters, but the spice flavor is subdued, and overall it’s bland.

Betty Crocker Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cake Mug Treats Eaten

The cream cheese frosting is just OK as well. It certainly isn’t bad (and it adds some needed sweetness to the cake), but it’s unremarkable.

Is there anything else you need to know?

As I ate this Betty Crocker pumpkin item, I couldn’t help but think of a similar item: Kodiak Cakes Pumpkin Dark Chocolate Muffin Cup. That treat is more expensive, but it tastes better, and it’s better for you. Go with that one instead.

Conclusion:

These Mug Treats are essentially seventy-five-cent cupcakes. When you think of it that way, they’re fine. But mostly they’re not worth the calories.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 12.5 oz. box/4 pouches
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 pouch mix + 1 pouch icing, 89 grams) 340 calories, 7 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 240 milligrams of sodium, 69 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 55 grams of sugar (including 54 grams of added sugar), and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Kool-Aid Ghoul-Aid Scary Berry Popping Candy

Kool Aid Ghoul Aid Scary Berry Popping Candy

What is Kool-Aid Ghoul-Aid Scary Berry Popping Candy?

Kool-Aid has added to the list of popping candies with its new “Scary Berry” candy, just in time for Halloween. (Wait, what?)

How is it?

Kool Aid Ghoul Aid Scary Berry Popping Candy Packet

When I opened the pack, I was surprised to see three different colors and textures. The big, aquamarine pieces are standard popping candy, and that’s all I was expecting. The pop factor is comparable to Pop Rocks.

But there are also blue pieces. It’s been a long time since I’ve made Kool-Aid, but I think the blue bits are just Kool-Aid powder, or something close to it. They provide most of the flavoring, a typical, artificial blue raspberry flavor.

Kool Aid Ghoul Aid Scary Berry Popping Candy Closeup

And then there are pure sugar crystals, presumably to balance the tartness of the powder. Or maybe it’s to resemble the actual ingredients of Kool-Aid, with the popping candy taking the place of water.

Together, it’s a somewhat tart popping candy. Popping candy usually has little flavor, so I’m glad they added the raspberry powder. But overall, it just feels like chemicals in my mouth.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Outside of the packaging and the name, I cannot possibly figure out what this candy has to do with Halloween. I associate popping candy with the Fourth of July, raspberry is likewise a summer flavor, and the greenish-blue color evokes images of mermaids, not vampires.

Conclusion:

If you want popping candy, this is as good as any. But it’s also not much better than any of the others.

Purchased Price: $1.00
Size: 3-pack (7 grams each)
Purchased at: Dollar Tree
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (3 bags/21 grams) 80 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 14 grams of sugar (including 14 grams of added sugar), and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Zombie Skittles

Zombie Skittles

What are Zombie Skittles?

This year’s new Halloween Skittles mix includes five fruit flavors: petrifying citrus punch (orange), mummified melon (green), chilling black cherry (purple), boogeyman blackberry (blue), and blood red berry (red). But lurking among all these colors is a “rotten zombie” flavor, so you can eat a zombie before it eats you. It’s like Russian roulette for your taste buds.

How are they?

Zombie Skittles Closeup

All the fruit flavors are lovely. Melon might be my new favorite Skittles flavor; black cherry is a nice alternative to typical cherry flavors; citrus, red berry, and blackberry are what you would expect.

But I know you came here for the zombie flavor.

It’s truly repulsive.

It starts out tasting like rotting fruit, and then it transitions to a somewhat meaty flavor, which is horrifying when you think about it. This flavor stops me in my tracks, and I almost want to laugh because it’s so bad.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Zombie Skittles Spoons

It’s easy enough to power through the zombie flavor (or spit it out), so it doesn’t entirely spoil the candy-eating experience. My educated estimate for the ratio of zombie to fruit is approximately 1:9, so most of them are safe.

That said, there is genuine relief when you get a fruity one.

Conclusion:

I probably will not buy these, nor will I be sad if they don’t come back next year. But they do exactly what they mean to do, and they’re a weirdly fun novelty candy. They would be great at a Halloween party.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free sample of the product. Doing so did not influence my review in any way.

Purchased Price: Free
Size: 3.6 oz. bag
Purchased at: Received from Mars
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 oz/28 g/27 pieces) 110 calories, 1 gram of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 5 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 21 grams of total sugar, 21 grams of added sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Creepy Cocoa Crisp M&M’s

Creepy Cocoa Crisp M M s

What are Creepy Cocoa Crisp M&M’s?

The Target-exclusive Halloween M&M’s for 2019 are dark chocolate with a cocoa crispy center, in festive colors of brown, red, and orange.

How are they?

Creepy Cocoa Crisp M M s Innards

I was underwhelmed by the Target-exclusive Cookies & Screeem of yesteryear, but these Creepy Cocoa Crisp are a decided improvement. I like dark chocolate M&M’s, but they’re even better with the crispy texture! My family members who don’t much care for the Crispy variety enjoyed these.

My only disappointment is that it’s hard to taste the cocoa element in the crisp part (which is the same color as the chocolate). The dark chocolate overpowers it. But that’s a minor quibble, because they’re still wonderful. This is a simple concept, but it works very well.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Creepy Cocoa Crisp M M s Red M Mcula

With the package portraying the Red M&M holding a bowl of chocolate cereal while wearing a vampire costume, it seems obvious Mars is channeling Count Chocula. But that cereal is made of corn, whereas the M&M crispy parts are made of rice flour. I appreciate the creativity —- it’s not predictable, but it still has a seasonal connection.

Conclusion:

The colors, flavor, and texture combine to make this limited-edition flavor a winner. Since Red is dressed as a vampire, I imagine repurposing a line from The Munsters to tell him how I feel about this candy:

Me: “I really dig you!”

Red: “And someday I’ll return the favor!”

Purchased Price: $3.19
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts:: (1 oz./28 grams/30 pieces) 140 calories, 5 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 16 grams of sugar (includes 16 grams of added sugars), and 1 gram of protein.