REVIEW: Keebler Special Batch Chocolate Caramel Fudge Stripes Cookies

Keebler Special Batch Chocolate Caramel Fudge Stripes Cookies

As I’m sure that most of my fellow southerners understand, the arrival of May means the start of the hot, humid weather that’s going to be around for the rest of the summer. Most people give up trying to endure the heat and crank up the air conditioner at this point, but I normally try to stick it out until the official start of summer before turning mine on.

So, considering that my house is 87 degrees right now, there’s no way I’m going to turn my oven on to bake anything. Luckily, the grocery store has a wide enough variety of ready-to-eat cookies that I can enjoy a different treat every night of the week without ever having to heat up my kitchen!

Keebler’s Fudge Stripes have been a favorite of mine ever since I was a kid, and I love things that pair chocolate and caramel together, so the idea behind Keebler’s new Special Batch Chocolate Caramel Fudge Stripes sounded awesome to me when I spotted them while I strolled around Walmart, taking in the breeze from their industrial air conditioners.

Keebler Special Batch Chocolate Caramel Fudge Stripes Cookies 2

Once I got them home and actually opened up the bag to grab a handful, though, my expectations started tank fast. First off, they smelled super weird. It’s kind of hard to describe, but they have this buttery, artificial aroma to them that reminds me of microwave kettle corn.

Keebler Special Batch Chocolate Caramel Fudge Stripes Cookies 3

That’s probably due to the caramel fudge coating on them, which I’d say took up about 80 percent of the chocolate shortbread cookie’s surface area. Setting that aside, seeing the abundance of caramel fudge on these cookies made me excited that I was going to get some big caramel flavor from Ernie’s newest creation!

But it was a super let-down. Even though these have a distinct appearance and aroma when compared to the original ones, they taste about the same. The caramel coating got completely lost somehow, and the shortbread cookies only had the very lightest hints of cocoa when I was really searching for it.

That’s a real shame! Chocolate and caramel done right should complement one another like peanut butter and jelly.

In retrospect, these cookies might have tasted better if Keebler had used caramel-flavored shortbread and stuck to dipping it into their standard fudge coating. Something about trying to make the fudge taste like caramel makes the cookie’s entire flavor profile not work.

In any case, if the Keebler elves want to live up to their promise of only making cookies and crackers that are uncommonly good, this is a batch of cookies that needs to head back to the Fac-Tree for some more work.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 60 calories from fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 11 grams of total sugars, 11 grams of added sugars, 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.48
Size: 11.5 oz.
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Not having to heat up my oven. Sounded like a great idea on the package. They don’t actually taste bad on their own.
Cons: Smell like microwave kettlecorn. No caramel or chocolate taste. They taste like a regular Fudge Stripes cookie. Not being uncommonly good.

REVIEW: My Oreo Creation Cherry Cola Oreo Cookies

My Oreo Creation Cherry Cola Oreo Cookies

Oreo cookies are kind of like the Barbie doll of mass-produced cookies.

They’re simple, but never convincingly imitated. Just like how a Dollar Tree “Fashion Doll” is a poor imitation of the real thing and a Great Value Twist ‘N Shout would never be mistaken for a real Oreo cookie.

At the same time, though, they’re both also flexible enough to become anything imaginable. Just like how you can buy a Barbie that’s a veterinarian, astronaut, president, or whatever else, you can get your Oreo double-stuffed, thin, chocolate-covered, in ice cream, in Cool Whip, AND in any kind of off-the-wall flavor the mad scientists over at Nabisco can dream up!

Three varieties were released from the Flavor Lab this time around: Cherry Cola, Kettle Corn, and Pina Colada. Being that I hate kettle corn and I don’t know what a real pina colada tastes like, the Cherry Cola one ended up in my cart.

My Oreo Creation Cherry Cola Oreo Cookies 2

Breaking open the seal, I instantly picked up on a distinct cherry aroma with a few hints of cocoa coming through. I don’t think many people take the time to fully appreciate the smell of deliciousness when they first tear into a bag of junk food, but that’s a mistake. Just think: all that flavor has been sealed inside for a while, waiting for you to enjoy! Wouldn’t it be a terrible waste to not savor every part of it?

My Oreo Creation Cherry Cola Oreo Cookies 3

The cookies themselves use standard chocolate Oreo wafers with a red and white filling to carry the cherry cola flavor across. The filling has little popping candies inside, which I guess is to mimic the carbonation aspect of soda.

At first, the Dutched cocoa in the wafers dominated my palate, but the fruity flavor popped in after a minute, and the whole cookie actually tasted like a cherry cola.

My Oreo Creation Cherry Cola Oreo Cookies 4

And by “popped in,” I mean the cherry flavor popped in! The popping candies in the crème are cherry flavored, and they start popping all over the place once you really get to chewing. You can’t wolf these down if you want to get the full effect, but they’re awesome if you take the time to savor each bite and let all the little candies mirror the bubbliness of soda.

While munching on them, they got me thinking: If Oreo is Milk’s Favorite Cookie, is this one cherry cola’s favorite?

My Oreo Creation Cherry Cola Oreo Cookies 5

After dunking a few into some Cherry Coke Zero, I think the two are better enjoyed apart from one another. Dunking them ruins the popping candies, which makes them tastes less like the beverage, weirdly enough. They do make pretty good buddies, though. So while I wouldn’t recommend you dunk your Cherry Cola Oreo Cookies into actual cherry cola, having a glass on the side complements it perfectly!

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 13 grams of sugars, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 10.7 oz.
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Actually tastes like a cherry cola! Cherry cola flavor doesn’t overpower the Oreo-ness of the Oreo wafers. Super fun popping candies to imitate carbonation!
Cons: Dunking ruins the popping candies. Most likely only available for a limited time. A whole row isn’t considered a proper “serving”.

REVIEW: Dreyer’s-Edy’s DC Comics Ice Cream

Dreyer s Edy s DC Comics Ice Cream

Remember when ordering “Superman” ice cream meant that you were:

1) Between the ages of four and ten years old.
2) Going to get a scoop of generic red/blue/yellow ice cream that tasted like tooty-fruity vanilla?

Those days are long over! Since America’s officially comic book crazy right now, you can get your hands on superhero-themed anything — shirts, binders, socks, gummies. Just name it! Up until now, though, there hasn’t been an officially licensed superhero-themed ice cream.

Rising to duty’s call, Edy’s/Dreyer’s has partnered with DC Comics to come up with not one, not two, but THREE official DC-inspired ice creams, just in time to save civilians everywhere from the sweltering summer heat!

Edy’s/Dreyer’s decided to represent DC Comics’s three most iconic superheroes with their light ice cream offerings: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Aquaman, being the least popular of the Super Friends, wasn’t good enough to make the cut, I suppose. In any case, I decided to try all three flavors.

Krypton Cookie Dough

Dreyer s Edy s DC Comics Ice Cream Krypton 2

After removing the lid from this Superman-inspired ice cream, I realized that this is a far cry from the Superman ice cream that I remember eating as a kid. Instead of using an eye-catching rainbow swirl, Edy’s/Dreyer’s went in the exact opposite direction by making this quart a single boring shade of vanilla, with a few pale chunks to break up the monotony.

What’s the deal with everyone being so scared of color? It seems like everything that I’ve bought lately has just had the color bleached out of it. Would putting a little more dye into the mix-ins really cost Edy’s/Dreyer’s that much more money?

The taste of this stuff is about as plain as it looks. Unlike its tooty-fruity step-brother, this Superman ice cream is the kind of vanilla that only works well as a canvas for crazy swirls and jam-packed mix-ins. The problem is, this flavor doesn’t have either of those things. The blue sprinkles don’t taste any different from the ice cream’s base, and the red and yellow cookie dough pieces are so sparse that I only found three of them in my entire bowl.

Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts (1/2 cup): 120 calories, 3 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 50 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 14 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein)

Dark Knight Brownie Bite

Dreyer s Edy s DC Comics Ice Cream Dark Knight Brownie Bite 2

I gotta say that this Batman-inspired flavor surprised me. Upon first glance, it may not be the prettiest ice cream ever, but it more than makes up for its lack of visual appeal in taste.

Digging in, it’s got that soft, whipped texture that pretty much all light ice creams have, and it actually works pretty well here. It keeps the chocolate from being too dense and heavy, and the overall effect makes the ice cream feel like a sort of frozen chocolate mousse or something. The downside to that is that the ice cream melts pretty fast, but I found myself not really minding too much.

Edy’s/Dreyer’s decided to get creative with the chunks in this flavor by shaping them into miniature bats. They’re cute, and they give a nice crunch to the base. There still aren’t nearly enough brownie pieces, but the ones that I could find were pretty yummy, and they reminded me of frozen Cosmic Brownies. The fudge swirl is nearly absent, but I found that the brownie chunks and the chocolate bats were enough to keep my taste buds entertained.

Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts (1/2 cup): 130 calories, 3.5 grams of total fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 17 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein)

Golden Lasso Twirl

Dreyer s Edy s DC Comics Ice Cream Golden Lasso 2

Last up is an ice cream designed for the ladies!

Honestly, this one doesn’t look too different from Krypton Cookie Dough. The base is a little tanner, and the chunks changed color from blue to gold, but that’s about it. Chowing down, it doesn’t really even taste much different from Krypton Cookie Dough, either. The ice cream is almost identical, using the same plain ol’ vanilla to showcase the mix-ins and swirl.

Most of the caramel flavor comes from the chunks. There’s plenty of chunks to go around here, but I don’t think that they’re enough to carry the caramel flavor by themselves. The graham cracker “swirl” is similarly plentiful and tasty, but I don’t know that I’d really call it a swirl. In my opinion, swirls are supposed to be somewhere in-between gooey and semisolid, and these are definitely solid graham cracker pieces.

I’m a sucker for anything with graham crackers, so this was probably my favorite of the three, and I wouldn’t mind buying this flavor again. Next time, I’ll just make sure to buy extra caramel sauce to put on top.

Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts (1/2 cup): 130 calories, 4.5 grams of total fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 50 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 15 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein)

Overall, I feel that all three DC-inspired ice creams were pretty standard for something that would come from Edy’s/Dreyer’s light offerings. No single flavor was spectacular, and all of them had points that they could improve on, but the packaging on them is fun, and any of the flavors would make for a cheap and yummy way to cool off on a hot day. Besides, what kid wouldn’t love getting to eat superhero-themed ice cream?

Now, if only Marvel would team up with Breyer’s to make Avenger-inspired flavors!

Purchased Price: $3.00 (on sale)
Size: 1.5 quarts
Purchased at: Kroger
Pros: Super-fun art on the carton. Cheap and yummy way to cool off on a hot day. Fun mix-ins. Official, licensed, superhero-inspired flavors.
Cons: Not as visually appealing as generic “Superman” ice cream. Not enough mix-ins overall. Missing swirls. Nothing all that unique taste-wise from Edy’s/Dreyer’s other light ice cream offerings.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Birthday Cake Cookie Crisp Cereal

Limited Edition Birthday Cake Cookie Crisp Cereal

I think that it’s pretty much every kid’s dream to get to eat dessert for breakfast every morning. At the same time, I think that it’s also pretty much every parent’s dream to get their kids to eat something at least somewhat nutritious before they load them onto the school bus.

Luckily for sugar-hungry kids and sleep-deprived parents everywhere, Cookie Crisp is here to bridge the gap! With cookies for the kids and 12 vitamins and minerals to keep the parents happy, who can complain, right?

Since they’ve already succeeded in bringing miniature chocolate chip cookies into the cereal bowls of millions of kids everywhere, Cookie Crisp has seemingly set its sights on an entirely new confection to cereal-ize: birthday cake!

After unsealing the bag to appreciate the aroma of freshly-opened cereal, I have to say, this is one of the most delicious smelling cereals I’ve ever bought! It literally smells like an ice cream parlor, and it made me super excited to have a bowl of these crispy cake-flavored-cookies as my post-workout snack.

Limited Edition Birthday Cake Cookie Crisp Cereal 2

Weighing out a proper portion quickly quieted any excitement that I had, though. I’ve never really thought about it much before, but 26 grams of cereal is so small! It barely even fills my cereal bowls halfway. If you’re eating this as a meal, expect to double or triple the serving size, along with the nutrition facts.

Birthday Cake Cookie Crisp looks the same as regular Cookie Crisp, only it seems that it’s traded the usual chocolate bits on the cereal for a sprinkling of Fruity Pebbles dust instead.

Limited Edition Birthday Cake Cookie Crisp Cereal 3

I decided to eat a handful of them by themselves before I poured milk into the rest of my bowl, and any anticipation that I may have had left quickly dissipated. They don’t taste like birthday cake at all! The flavor of the corn completely overpowered everything else, and all I tasted was a generic cereal!

I mean, it’s not awful or anything, but it doesn’t taste different from anything else out there. Certainly not like the cookie-cake-cereal hybrid that I was promised. Eating the cereal with milk nuances the intensity of the corn flavor, but it still doesn’t bring out any cake flavor.

If I hadn’t seen the box before eating this, I would just tell you I was eating regular cereal puffs or something. In brief, this is one limited edition item that’s not worth your trouble to seek out.

Limited Edition Birthday Cake Cookie Crisp Cereal 4

It does work to make some pretty good miniature ice cream sandwiches with, though. Just sayin’.

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup without milk – 100 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 110 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.98
Size: 19.8 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Smells delicious! Decent cereal in its own right. Holds up well in milk.
Cons: Doesn’t remind me of either birthday cake or cookies. Most generic-tasting cereal ever.

REVIEW: Hershey’s Bites

Hershey s Bites

It looks like Hershey’s has been on a roll lately. First, it comes out with all those Cookie Layered Crunch Bars. Then, it created those bars of salty-and-sweet perfection appropriately dubbed as “Hershey’s Gold.” And now it’s decided to jump onto the donut-inspired-everything bandwagon with the creation of its new Hershey’s Bites.

Not to be confused with Hershey’s Snack Bites, these are, according to the package, “soft donut bites with a sweet & creamy chocolatey filling.” They seem as if a lava cake and a donut hole met up, had a few drinks together, and ending up with these little guys as a permanent reminder of their drunken love for one another.

Opening the box, I’m happy to see Hershey’s put a flap on it so that you can close it. It always irks me when food companies make multi-serving frozen snacks and then fail to give you any kind of way to re-seal the package. That said, Hershey’s only gets half credit, since it didn’t give you any kind of way to reseal the box’s inner bag, thus dooming the uneaten portion to freezer burn.

Out of the box, the bites don’t look exactly how I expected them to. The sparkly picture gave me the impression that these were going to be rolled in some kind of granulated sugar, kind of like those donuts you find at Chinese buffets. In reality, there’s no such coating, and they look like unappetizing brown lumps.

The box said I could prepare these by either baking them at 350 for eight minutes or by microwaving them for 20-30 seconds. I decided to try both methods so I could give a comprehensive analysis.

Hershey s Bites 2

The ones baked in the toaster oven had a crunchy outer shell, but the “creamy chocolate filling” wasn’t so much of a filling as it was more like a half-baked center.

Hershey s Bites 3

As expected, the microwaved ones were softer, but neither one had the texture of a real donut hole. The baked ones were more cookie-like and have chocolate flavor is, ironically, closer to an Oreo cookie than Hershey’s Chocolate. The microwaved ones reminded me of a microwaved snack cake.

Between the two, I liked the baked ones better since they had a little more texture, but both needed more filling. I was expecting something like rich chocolate ganache, but this tasted like undercooked batter.

Hershey s Bites 4

My primary complaint, though, is that both seem so incomplete without a glaze. Don’t all donuts have it or some kind of sugar coating? I made some to coat mine and it made them taste much more like actual donuts. Hershey’s should have taken notes from Pillsbury on this one and included a glaze packet, like Toaster Strudels.

Valiant effort, Hershey’s, but your newest experiment is a miss.

(Nutrition Facts – 4 bites – 180 calories, 6 grams of fat, 50 calories from fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 310 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.29
Size: 18 bites (8.8 oz. box)
Purchased at: Kroger
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Baked)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Microwaved)
Pros: Lava cake/donut hole love-child! Re-sealable box! Tastes like Oreo cookies!
Cons: Deceptive picture on the box. Inner bag isn’t re-sealable. More poop-looking snacks. Doesn’t taste like Hershey’s chocolate. No glaze included.