QUICK REVIEW: Little Debbie Limited Edition Sparkling Strawberry Unicorn Cakes

Little Debbie Limited Edition Sparkling Strawberry Unicorn Cakes

What is it?

Serving as a whimsical and colorful foil to Zebra Cakes, these magically-inspired second cousins of Little Debbie’s classic equine-themed treats feature strawberry-flavored cake with a strawberry filling, white icing, and bright sprinkles.

How is it?

Little Debbie Limited Edition Sparkling Strawberry Unicorn Cakes 4

Little Debbie Limited Edition Sparkling Strawberry Unicorn Cakes 2

Before I even get started on how these cakes taste, can I stop for a moment to mention how pretty they are to look at? Between their nearly perfect hexagonal shape, even coating, careful color balance, and personalized cellophane sleeve, I found these to be a pleasure to admire.

Moving on, Little Debbie lived up to my expectations by making each one of these cakes taste as great as they looked. The cake itself is appropriately soft and buttery, with a thin layer of whipped filling in the middle to separate the two cake layers.

Little Debbie Limited Edition Sparkling Strawberry Unicorn Cakes 3

The cake and filling are strawberry flavored, and I have to hand it to Little Debbie here for executing the strawberry quite well. It’s subtle, but definitely there, and I found it worked well alongside the rest of the cake. In fact, its subtlety is what allows the strawberry flavor to work in the first place because it never comes across as overly artificial. I’ve always had issues with fruit-themed cakes tasting anything but authentic in the past.

While the outer coating doesn’t add much flavor-wise, it helps keep the cakes within moist, and the glittering purple sprinkles on top give a hint of grit that keeps me entertained texturally.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Even though I’m well aware that Little Debbie isn’t the most risk-taking snack brand in the grocery store, they could have elevated the whole “Sparkling Strawberry” idea a step further by scattering strawberry-flavored popping candy pieces on the top rather than regular old sprinkles.

Conclusion:

Being a treat that’s pretty, tasty, and slightly fruity, Little Debbie’s Sparkling Strawberry Unicorn Cakes are a much-appreciated respite during a time of year that’s typically dominated by heavy autumnal spices and dark, earthy colors.

Purchased Price: $2.00
Size: 10 cakes
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 cakes) 330 calories, 160 calories from fat, 16 grams of total fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 35 grams of total sugars, 35 grams of added sugars, and 1 gram of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Taco Bell Caramel Apple Freeze

Taco Bell Caramel Apple Freeze

What is it?

According to Taco Bell’s website, it’s a less messy and just-as-delicious drinkable alternative to the overpriced caramel apples sold at county fairs nationwide. In reality, though, it’s just a cup of green apple-flavored slush with a couple of pumps of caramel syrup thrown in.

How is it?

Do you like Green Apple Jolly Ranchers? If so, this the freeze for you. Everything about this drink reminded me of them, and I felt the apple flavor’s slight tartness helped to keep the degree of sweetness from reaching tooth-aching levels. Better yet, I found the fruity flavor and ice to be refreshing on the hot and humid day I bought it.

Taco Bell Caramel Apple Freeze 2

In stark contrast to the fruity forwardness, the caramel syrup wasn’t nearly as potent here. Maybe it was the way my particular drink was made, but I only had a small puddle of barely-detectable caramel sauce at the bottom of my cup, and I found that stirring it around caused it to get lost in a sea of bright green slush.

Is there anything else I need to know?

If you do decide to order one on a hot day like I did, be prepared to guzzle it down fast, because mine started to melt before I had even walked halfway back to my car. By the time I got to work, I basically had a cup of neon green apple juice, which prompted one of my coworkers to quip smartly, “That’s not a green juice,” to which I ended up replying, “It is, but it’s not the sort that you’re used to.”

Conclusion:

Even though I would have appreciated a couple more pumps of caramel sauce, I still ended up liking this drink overall, and, considering it’s only a dollar during Happy Hour, I think it’s worth a try if you like green apple candy.

Purchased Price: $1.00 (purchased during Happy Hour, $2.39 regular price)
Size: 16 oz.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (16 oz.) 190 calories, 50 calories from fat, 0.5 grams of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 42 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Hostess Cookies ‘n Creme Brownies

Hostess Cookies  n Creme Brownies

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve always been one of those people that get paralyzed by the abundance of choice I have when it comes to food.

Do I want peanut butter or almond butter on my sandwich? Cinnamon chewing gum or spearmint to keep in my purse? As for coffee, don’t even get me started on Starbucks since I can easily spend half an hour trying to decide what I want.

With Hostess and its new Cookies ‘n Crème Brownies, though, at least I won’t have to agonizingly choose between cookies or brownies for dessert anymore!

Hostess Cookies  n Creme Brownies 2

Out of the box, each one of these cute little pucks come individually wrapped in Hostess-branded cellophane, which I suppose is to keep them fresh while also making them easy to eat on the go. Also, as an unintentional bonus, they help to prevent people from confusing them for especially lonely Little Debbie Zebra Cakes, which is appreciated since they look nearly identical from the outside.

Picking one of them up, I was surprised to find they’re oddly light for brownies. I associate brownies with being dense, fudgy, chewy squares of bliss, so I had a hard time believing these were going to be anything like that.

My trepidation about the texture wasn’t unfounded, either, because the brownies were as airy as I had expected them to be. They were so cakey that I don’t even think that they’re in the same galaxy as Cosmic Brownies. Compared to the decadent delights brought forth by Little Debbie, these are more like a flat, chocolate snack cake coated with Cookies ‘n Crème-styled icing.

After I stopped thinking about them as brownies and start thinking about them as any other snack cake, they get a lot more enjoyable. They smell like a combination of milk chocolate and sweet cream, and that’s the primary flavor that comes across when I chomp down on one of them. The white outer coating supplied the “cream” aspect, while the baked interior reminded me of cookies.

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Expanding on the cookie aspect, Hostess didn’t nail the whole Oreo-esque flavor profile that well here. Instead, I felt the light cocoa and spongier texture used in the cake were more reminiscent of the cookies used to construct Whoopie Pies. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, I still think that Hostess should have used a crème filling studded with cookie crumbs or something to bring the Cookies ‘N Crème theme around full-circle.

Even though I would consider two or three of these a worthy choice for a midnight snack, I still think Hostess should take some baking lessons from Little Debbie, because her brownies are out-of-this-world delicious by comparison.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 Brownie – 180 calories, 80 calories from fat, 8 grams of total fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 17 grams of total sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.97
Size: 6-pack
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Not having to decide between cookies and brownies. Branded wrapper keeps you from confusing them for a different snack. Pretty tasty when you think of them as snack cakes. Acceptable choice for late night noshing.
Cons: Not nearly fudgy enough to be called a brownie. Doesn’t remind me of Oreos. Needs a crème filling or some cookie crumbs or something. Makes me wish that Little Debbie could teach Hostess how to make better brownies.

QUICK REVIEW: Exclusive Flavor Frosted Chocolatey Salted Caramel Pop-Tarts

Exclusive Flavor Frosted Chocolatey Salted Caramel Pop Tarts

What is it?

Another one of those store-exclusive snacks that cajole you into buying a value pack by not offering a smaller box.

In other words, this Pop-Tarts flavor is a Walmart exclusive, only comes in a box of 16 pastries, and features a chocolate-y pastry filled with alternating ribbons of chocolate and salted caramel fillings and salted caramel icing.

How is it?

Even though Pop-Tarts are never going to be a five-star breakfast, I suppose these aren’t half bad when you consider that most people are going to be eating them while they’re not fully awake.

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Fresh from the foil sleeve, each pastry was crisp, sturdy, and smelled faintly of cocoa. It did an adequate job of containing the pastry’s filling, which was surprisingly less runny than I was expecting it to be, and the acceptably sweet frosting gave a satisfying crunch to top off the experience.

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Calling them “adequate” or “acceptable” is about as kind as I can be towards these, though. The dry pastry shell needed more cocoa to make it taste sufficiently “chocolatey,” and the salted caramel and chocolate fillings both ended up being so faint that they almost completely canceled each other out.

Even the frosting tasted like regular royal icing and left me wanting more salted caramel. If I had been eating one of these first thing in the morning, you could have told me it was a S’mores Pop-Tart and I would have believed you.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Like all Pop-Tarts, these are best eaten warm. Toasting them turns the filling into little rivers of chocolate and salted caramel lava, and that helped bring the fillings’ flavors forward a little more.

Conclusion:

While Chocolatey Salted Caramel Pop-Tarts are far from the worst toaster pastries to eat for a quick breakfast, you might want to split a box of these with a friend or two, because their lack of uniqueness and distinct flavor is guaranteed to leave you bored and disinterested before you finish the oversized box.

Purchased Price: $3.68
Size: 16-pack
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 pastry) 200 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of total fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 220 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Herr’s Sweet ‘n Crunchy Funnel Cake Snack Balls

Herr s Sweet  n Crunchy Funnel Cake Snack Balls

What is it?

A crazy-sounding, state fair-inspired flavor of puffed corn balls that aren’t as crazy as they sound, considering they’re made by the same people who have previously brought us such delights as Kansas City Prime Steak Potato Chips and Birthday Cake Popcorn.

How is it?

Herr s Sweet  n Crunchy Funnel Cake Snack Balls 2a

You know how funnel cakes have powdered sugar, whipped cream, and all kinds of other yummy toppings on them? Imagine one without any, and then translate that generic sweetness onto a ball of puffed corn. If you can imagine how sad that would taste, congratulations, you’ve just summed up the entire flavor profile of Herr’s Funnel Cake Snack Balls.

Yeah, it’s a pretty dull experience. Without the fun stuff, funnel cakes are a ho-hum mess of fried pancake dough, and these snack balls are proof that they don’t have enough taste on their own to successfully inspire any other kind of treat.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Honestly, I don’t feel these are so bad. They’re just incomplete. Like I said before, funnel cakes have toppings, right? Since Herr’s neglected to take care of that, I decided to take matters into my own hands and gussie up a few as though they were the belle of the state fair’s funnel cake ball.

Herr s Sweet  n Crunchy Funnel Cake Snack Balls 3a

And, just as I expected, the toppings made all the difference. Even though this is never a flavor that’s going to be super exciting, the addition of some traditional funnel cake accoutrements make the experience seem more genuine by allowing the snack balls to act as little vehicles for delivering powdered sugar and whipped cream to your mouth, much like an actual funnel cake.

Conclusion:

Compared to other Herr’s creations, Funnel Cake Snack Balls look woefully beige and unexciting from the start, and their flavor is as bland as the naked funnel cakes they resemble. If you decide to buy a bag of these anyway, be prepared to dress them up because there’s not going to be enough flavor to keep you interested otherwise.

Purchased Price: $1.89
Size: 6 oz. bag
Purchased at: Ollie’s Bargain Outlet
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (39 pieces) 140 calories, 70 calories from fat, 7 grams of total fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 9 grams of total sugars, 8 grams of added sugars, and 1 gram of protein.