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.

REVIEW: Sweet & Fiery Fruit by the Foot and Fruit Gushers

Sweet  Fiery Fruit by the Foot and Fruit Gushers

I’ve gotta admit; fruit snacks are something that I’d kind of forgotten about as an adult. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been aware that they exist, but they’re not something I’ve put much thought into after I stopped brown-bagging my lunch.

I’m always on the lookout for unusual flavor combinations, though, so coming across fruit snacks that promised to be both sweet AND spicy gave me more than enough reason to pick up boxes of Sweet & Fiery Fruit by the Foot and Fruit Gushers.

Sweet  Fiery Fruit by the Foot

The Fruit by the Foot version features two flavors of tropically-themed fruit tape infused with a little tastebud-tingling heat: Spicy Watermelon and Fiery Peach. Like all varieties of Fruit by the Foot, each roll comes individually packaged, and General Mills was even kind enough to print the flavor on the wrapper so you can pick one out without having to open all of them up.

Flavor-wise, I have to say I was surprised at how much heat these had! Considering that Fruit by the Foot is a snack targeted towards kids, I had been expecting the inherent sweetness in these to overpower any sort of spicy element, but that was far from the case. Both started on the sugary side, but the heat built up while I chomped my way through each roll. By the time I got to the end, the spice and heat were the star attractions of both, and the featured fruits were just chilling in the background.

In contrast to how each of the two Fruit by the Foot flavors were packaged separately, Sweet & Fiery Fruit Gushers instead mixed all three flavors into individual pouches.

By the way, yes, I said all THREE flavors. The Gushers added Hot Mango to the party.

Sweet  Fiery Fruit Gushers

And, man, they sure mixed a lot of the Hot Mango pieces in! I’ve eaten several pouches, and most of the ones I’ve opened have been at least 50 percent Hot Mango. For some odd reason, General Mills decided to color this Gusher-exclusive flavor bright green, which is just about the last color that I associate with mangoes. Maybe they wanted it to stand out more from the Spicy Watermelon and Fiery Peach pieces, but I kept expecting to taste hot lime whenever I popped one into my mouth.

Even though the Sweet & Fiery Gushers were tasty, I don’t think they were able to balance the combo of sweet and spicy as well as Fruit by the Foot was. Since the Gushers are small and easy to eat in one or two handfuls, the spice level of these didn’t have enough time to build up, and I usually only started tasting it when I was finishing up my pouch. On the bright side, though, the box does have 12 pouches in it, so you can eat a couple of them in one sitting without having to worry about running out.

While I enjoyed the Sweet & Fiery variations of Fruit Gushers and Fruit by the Foot, neither snack is something I can imagine most kids would care for. Instead, these are best suited for those with, dare I say, more complex palates. People like their parents, or 20-something college students who have self-confessed Chipotle addictions.

Anyway, kudos to General Mills for making fruit snacks relevant again for everyone over the age of 12!

(Nutrition Facts – Fruit by the Foot – 1 roll – 80 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1 gram of total fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 50 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of total carbohydrates, 10 grams of sugars, 0 grams of dietary fiber, and 0 grams of protein. Fruit Gushers – 1 pouch – 90 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of total fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of total carbohydrates, 12 grams of sugars, 0 grams of dietary fiber, and 0 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.29 each
Size: 9 oz. box (12 rolls) (Fruit by the Foot)
Size: 10.8 oz. box (12 pouches) (Fruit Gushers)
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Fruit by the Foot)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Fruit Gushers)
Pros: Fruit snacks that appeal to adults! Spice tames and complements the sweetness nicely. Both boxes generously sized.
Cons: Neither snack would probably appeal much to kids. Hot Mango is only found in the Gushers. Spice doesn’t have a chance to truly come into play with the Gushers.

REVIEW: General Mills Dippin’ Dots Cereal (Cookies ‘n Cream and Banana Split)

General Mills Dippin Dots Cereal  Cookies  N Cream and Banana Split

Are actual Dippin’ Dots still a thing anymore?

I used to beg my mom to buy it for me all the time when I was a kid, but I can’t even remember the last time I saw a Dippin’ Dots kiosk. For something that used to tout itself as being the “Ice Cream of the Future,” it sure seems like it hasn’t aged well. Perhaps a reason for its lack of success was that the ice cream had to be stored in ultra-cold super-freezers, which prevented people from buying and eating them at home.

Thankfully for those of us who don’t have freezers that can hold ice cream at -40° F, the kind people over at General Mills lent their breakfast-making prowess to Dippin’ Dots to recreate two of its most popular flavors into a much more easily distributable cereal form.

General Mills Dippin Dots Cookies  n Cream Cereal

The Cookies ‘n Cream flavor features tan and brown cereal puffs mixed with clusters of milk chocolate-coated cookie bits. Opening the bag, there was an aroma that reminded me more of Corn Pops mixed with a few crushed Oreo wafers than it did of ice cream.

The corn-heavy smell of the cereal foreshadowed its flavor, which didn’t taste like Cookies ‘n Cream at all. I had hoped the brown and tan puffs would emulate both flavors respectively, but they instead had that generic “corn-y” taste shared by most cereal puffs.

The chocolate cookie clusters were the only element that actually tasted like how they were supposed to, but there weren’t nearly enough of them to go around, and I found they had a tendency to sink to the bottom of my bowl once I added milk.

General Mills Dippin Dots Banana Split Cereal

Banana Split is constructed like the Cookies ‘n Cream version, but the quality here is a different story. I was hesitant to try it at first since banana is a flavor that often oversteps into the territory of being overly artificial. But it turns out it was what this cereal needed to overcome the flavor coming from the corn flour in the puffs.

Every bite I took tasted like authentic, sweet bananas and the banana-flavored white chocolate crunchies brought that creamy element of vanilla that really let this cereal hone in on being an ice cream-inspired flavor.

General Mills Dippin Dots Cereal  Cookies  N Cream and Banana Split 2

While I’m on the topic of those crunchies, they’re the best part of the cereal. Dippin’ Dots should consider boxing them up and selling them as candy. But there seemed to be way more of them in my box of Banana Split than in my box of Cookies ‘n Cream.

Both flavors got soggy quickly in milk, but the Banana Split flavor was able to use this to its advantage by getting the dairy to work alongside the white chocolate crunchies to produce a flavor reminiscent of a melting banana split. Cookies ‘n Cream didn’t fare as well. It sopped up the milk and tasted like mushy Corn Pops that had jarring chunks of chocolate coated sandwich cookies in it.

So, has Dippin’ Dots created the Cereal of the Future? Probably not, but it sure is fun to be able to say that you’ve just had a bowl of Dippin’ Dots for breakfast.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – Cookies ‘n Cream – 120 calories, 15 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of total fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 65 milligrams of potassium, 27 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 10 grams of sugars, 15 grams of other carbohydrates, and 2 grams of protein. Banana Split – 130 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2.5 grams of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, 55 milligrams of potassium, 27 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 11 grams of sugars, 15 grams of other carbohydrates, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.64 each
Size: 18 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 3 out of 10 (Cookies ‘n Cream)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Banana Split)
Pros: Not needing a super-freezer. Great flavor in the Banana Split version. Awesome crunchies in both flavors! Getting to tell people that you’ve just had Dippin’ Dots for breakfast.
Cons: Not enough flavor in the Cookies ‘n Cream variety. Neither one holds up well in milk. Crunchy bits are not available in stand-alone candy form.

QUICK REVIEW: Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats Vanilla Latte Cereal

Kellogg s Frosted Mini Wheats Vanilla Latte Cereal

What is it?

It’s your basic bowl of shredded wheat cereal with a vanilla latte-flavored icing.

In essence, this is Kelloggs’s way of saying, “You’re welcome” to everyone out there that wants to double up on their morning cup o’ joe by eating and drinking it at the same time.

How is it?

Put simply, you’re going to want a cup of coffee on the side, because this iteration of Frosted Mini Wheats leaves all of its flavor in the box. Even though this cereal smells like the inside of a Starbucks, I couldn’t pick up on even the slightest hint of coffee or vanilla when I ate a bowl of it.

Kellogg s Frosted Mini Wheats Vanilla Latte Cereal 2

Oddly enough, even though this flavor supposedly has as much sugar as Original Frosted Mini Wheats, it seemed way less sweet in my opinion. It basically tasted like a bowl of regular Shredded Wheat with a sparse sprinkling of sugar on top, which is really just a bowl of mushy sadness once it gets mixed with milk.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Kellogg s Frosted Mini Wheats Vanilla Latte Cereal 4

Since the Vanilla Latte version of Mini Wheats don’t actually have coffee listed in their ingredients, I decided to try and make them taste more like sweet caffeine by replacing the milk in my cereal bowl with a Vanilla Starbucks Frappuccino drink. Even then, the Mini Wheats just seemed to cancel out all of the coffee flavor from the Frappuccino, and, in the end, I just had a bowl tasteless wheat gruel suspended in milky coffee.

Kellogg s Frosted Mini Wheats Vanilla Latte Cereal 5

You know, I think that it’s the rough blandness of the shredded wheat in the cereal squares themselves that’s not allowing the icing to convey any kind of defined taste. Especially given how good the icing component smells, I feel that this flavor would do so much better in a medium where the texture isn’t distracting me so much, like in a puffed or flaked cereal.

Conclusion:

Despite the delicious-sounding premise, I’d pass on these in favor of Maple Brown Sugar Frosted Mini Wheats with a real vanilla latte on the side.

Purchased Price: $3.69
Size: 20.4 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 3 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (21 biscuits) 190 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 200 milligrams of potassium, 45 grams total carbohydrates, 6 grams of dietary fiber, 11 grams of total sugars, and 5 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Baskin-Robbins Dunkin’ Donuts French Vanilla Coffee Ice Cream

Baskin Robbins Dunkin Donuts French Vanilla Coffee Ice Cream

What is it?

A marriage between my two greatest loves in life: coffee and ice cream.

In other words, this is another one of Dunkin’ Brands’s attempts at co-branding, and it combines Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee Flavored Ice Cream with French Vanilla Ice Cream.

How is it?

Baskin Robbins Dunkin Donuts French Vanilla Coffee Ice Cream 2

Just as good as you would expect a frozen dessert with Baskin-Robbins’s pedigree to be! The creamy sweetness of the vanilla worked well alongside the subtle bitterness and slightly icy nature of the coffee portion. Both of them were well combined in my not-quite-a-pint, so I got a nice combination of both flavors in each spoonful.

When I ate the two together, the overall effect reminded me of a frozen vanilla latte. Considering that I’m always trying to figure out a way to get more caffeine and ice cream into my day, this flavor certainly kills two birds with one stone.

Baskin Robbins Dunkin Donuts French Vanilla Coffee Ice Cream 3

As far as density is concerned, I wouldn’t consider this to be a hefty snack. Despite how small the container is, this ice cream isn’t nearly as rich and heavy as Haagen-Dazs or Ben & Jerry’s is, so I’d compare it to be more similar to Edy’s/Dreyer’s Grand or Blue Bunny in the texture department.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Baskin Robbins Dunkin Donuts French Vanilla Coffee Ice Cream 4

Since this flavor is inspired by French vanilla coffee, it’s not surprising that heating a cup over the stove produces an AMAZING result. Melting it down into a hot drink makes probably the most indulgent coffee that you’re likely to ever drink at home, and it’s absolutely an acceptable replacement for a real vanilla latte if you’re ever too lazy to drive to an actual Dunkin’ Donuts.

Conclusion:

Baskin-Robbins Dunkin’ Donuts French Vanilla Coffee Ice Cream’s versatility as both a dessert and as an emergency caffeine fix make it a definite must-have if you love coffee and ice cream as much as I do. Just don’t expect something super indulgent if you decide to go the frozen route.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 14 fl. oz.
Purchased at: Food Lion
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/2 cup) 190 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 18 grams of total sugars, 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s It’s Dough Time Cinn-DOUGH-rella Ice Cream

Ben  Jerry s Cinn DOUGH rella Ice Cream

As much as I love being able to spoon an entire Ben & Jerry’s pint into my mouth while watching Netflix, there’s something to be said about the magical nature of eating Ben & Jerry’s in an actual Scoop Shop.

See, whereas the whole pint/couch combination has convenience, the Scoop Shop has atmosphere. There’s the sweet fragrance of perfectly tempered ice cream circulating in the air, a seemingly endless buffet of delicious choices in the cooler, and a smiling ice cream scooper eagerly awaiting your decision.

Plus, Scoop Shops have exclusive flavors like Ben & Jerry’s new Cinn-DOUGH-rella, which continues Ben & Jerry’s tradition of including everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink by featuring, “Cinnamon and Caramel Ice Creams with Cinnamon Bun Dough, Shortbread Cookies, & Oatmeal Cinnamon Cookie Swirls.”

Ben  Jerry s Cinn DOUGH rella Ice Cream 2

Unlike other ice creams that try to tame cinnamon’s natural spiciness to please delicate palates, this variety brought it out right from the get-go. The two ice creams came together in a way that allowed them to shine and complement one another, and the resulting combination was reminiscent of pouring icing onto fresh cinnamon rolls.

Ben  Jerry s Cinn DOUGH rella Ice Cream 5

Ben & Jerry’s handled the cinnamon bun dough pieces nicely, too. They were abundant in my scoop, and they provided an extra-strong cinnamon hit that made me want to keep digging through my bowl to find more.

The swirl, while not particularly impressive looking, more than made up for its lackluster appearance in the taste department! It added even more flavor into what was already a Cinna-Bonanza, and the oat cookie swirls brought a subtle grittiness that helped to shake up the texture of the entire experience.

To be honest, the mix-ins are what I enjoyed the most about this variety. In fact, I liked the flavor of the cinnamon bun dough and oatmeal cookie swirl so much that I actually forgot about the shortbread cookie pieces, which were M.I.A. in my scoop. Not that it needed them anyway, because this flavor was busy enough.

Ben  Jerry s Cinn DOUGH rella Ice Cream 3

One thing’s for sure: this is a flavor for the Cinna-Maniacs out there. Fans of Ben & Jerry’s Cinnamon Buns would love this. In fact, I’d go as far to say that this new flavor is everything the classic flavor wishes it could be. It’s almost as though the Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Gurus decided to dress up Cinnamon Buns to attend a Scoop Shop Ball, turning it into a cinnamon lover’s ultimate dream.

I only hope that Ben & Jerry’s decides to extend their Scoop-Shop-Exclusive party to the grocery store because I don’t think that downing a pint of Cinnamon Buns is going to satisfy my cravings for the sweet spice after getting a taste of such extravagant ice cream royalty!

(Nutrition Facts – 1 Scoop – 240 calories, 14 grams of total fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 21 grams of total sugars, 3 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 1 scoop
Purchased at: Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Getting to enjoy that Scoop Shop atmosphere. Not being afraid to show off bold cinnamon flavor. Worthy of being ice cream royalty in both flavor and name.
Cons: Missing shortbread cookie pieces. Exclusive only to Scoop Shops. Me not living anywhere close to a Scoop Shop. Not being able to inhale by the pint while watching Netflix.