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.

REVIEW: Fiber One Limited Edition Birthday Cake Baked Bar

Fiber One Limited Edition Birthday Cake Baked Bar

Having eaten a lot of stuff from Fiber One over the years, I’ve always felt that it seems to specialize in what I like to call “Dieter’s Delights.” That is, it makes treats that only seem delightful if you’re already depriving yourself of everything else that could even remotely be considered indulgent.

Nowhere is this appeal to the calorie-conscious more apparent than in Fiber One’s new Limited Edition Birthday Cake Baked Bars. After all, what kind of dieter could possibly allow themselves a slice of fiberless, fattening cake, when Fiber One promises to deliver as much flavor and enjoyment for only 90 calories AND with 5 grams of fiber to boot? Being the Birthday Cake queen that I am, I opted to buy the value pack of 12 individually wrapped bars, figuring that these would be right up my alley.

The first thing I noticed about these baby-cake-bars is that they’re small. Like, really small. They’re two, maybe three bites at most, and I actually took a picture of one of them next to a quarter so that you can get a good idea of how small I’m talking here.

Fiber One Limited Edition Birthday Cake Baked Bar 2

Looking at them, I can clearly tell they’re supposed to be emulating Funfetti cake, although the hue of the sprinkles in the bars themselves look noticeably more anemic than they do on the box. The “frosting” (or lack thereof) is a measly tangle of sugar-drizzle that makes me think that my cakes might have gotten caught under a dripping conveyor belt of freshly-frosted Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Size and cake-nakedness aside, they certainly smell delicious! They have a delicate, sweet vanilla scent that reminds me of any boxed mix that you’d be likely to whip up at home. But, at the end of the day, taste is what matters most in any baked good, and Fiber One delivers here. The bars taste like a yummy (albeit tiny) square of yellow cake, and they’re as good as any other snack cake that you would find prepackaged at the grocery store.

They’re a bit on the dense side, but I actually kind of dig that, especially with the crunch of the icing drizzle and the Funfetti sprinkles there to give some variation to the overall texture. I’m still finding the size on these guys to be a problem, though. I find myself wanting to eat three or four to feel like I’ve had a satisfying treat.

Fiber One Limited Edition Birthday Cake Baked Bar 3

Ah, well, since I bought the value pack, I figured that I may as well set about rectifying the size and frosting issues by whipping up a quick batch of buttercream frosting and assembling eight of the bars together into a little Fiber One-inspired cake. NOW this is an indulgence! Diet-friendly? Probably not, considering that my buttercream has three cups of powdered sugar in it. But, delicious? Oh, you better believe it!

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar (25 grams) – 90 calories, 25 calories from fat, 3 grams of total fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of total carbohydrates, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.98
Size: 10.6 oz. (12 bars)
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: BIRTHDAY CAKE! Calorie-conscious treat! Delicious when assembled into an actual cake!
Cons: Not nearly enough frosting. One bar is just a tease. The resulting assembled cake not being diet-friendly.

REVIEW: Peeps Pancakes & Syrup

Peeps Pancakes  Syrup

Well, it seems that Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Left in its wake are wilted roses, broken hearts, and a ransacked holiday aisle at the grocery store.

But wait! What’s that, beyond the carnage of unwanted Sweethearts and Palmer’s chocolate-flavored hearts? It’s Easter to the rescue! Here comes the (REAL) chocolate bunnies! The Reese’s Eggs! The Cadbury Crème Eggs! Jellybeans! And let’s not forget a rainbow of marshmallow Peeps! Yellow Peeps, pink Peeps, blue Peeps, green Peeps, and…brown Peeps?

Taking the next step in marrying breakfast with dessert, Just Born Inc. teamed up with Kroger to bring Pancakes & Syrup Peeps into Easter baskets everywhere for the frugal price of only $1.99 per ten-chick pack. Being the cash strapped, deal hunting college student that I am, I decided to pick up two packs, on sale, for $3.00.

Ripping open the bag, I immediately pick up on the promised syrup aspect, although I can’t say I smell anything that reminds me of pancakes. I’d compare the smell more to maple extract than to a pancake breakfast complete with all the fixin’s.

Peeps Pancakes  Syrup 2

Before I taste them, though, let’s take a moment to dissect how these chicks look. Now, I understand that they were trying to make me think “syrup” by coloring this variety of Peeps light brown, but this particular shade, combined with the shape that Peeps normally have, reminds me of a small pile of poop. Not that I want my marshmallows to be particularly photogenic or anything, but I still think that Peeps & Co. could have stood to work on the aesthetics of these guys a little more before they hit shelves.

But the big question is, “How do they taste?”

Well, I definitely get the syrup flavor. It’s not like an authentic maple syrup flavor, though. It’s more of like a “pancake” syrup flavor that’s going to remind you of Aunt Jemima’s. It actually kind of makes me nostalgic for my old dieting days when I doused everything with Walden Farms Sugar-Free Syrup. I guess that that’s maybe where the “natural & artificial flavor” is shining through.

I’m still not getting anything that reminds me of pancakes, though. Either they forgot to put it in, or the syrup flavor is overpowering it. Other than that, it’s a standard Peeps experience, complete with soft, plushy chicks that have a crunchy sugared coating.

Normally I’d just end it here, but I want to pursue this breakfast/dessert merger for a minute and bring these Peeps into the realm of syrup-ception by dicing up a few, cooking them INTO pancakes, and then dousing THEM in syrup for the ultimate in early morning sugar bomb.

And the results are nothing short of spectacular!

Peeps Pancakes  Syrup 3

The Peeps kind of melt into the dough to create these little maple-marshmallow pockets in the pancakes, and the lake of real maple syrup on top just brings the whole experience full circle. Forget about cereal, THIS is the way marshmallows were meant to be eaten for breakfast!

(Nutrition Facts – 4 chicks – 110 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugars, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.50 (on sale)
Size: 10 chicks
Purchased at: Kroger
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Signs of spring! On sale! Soft and plushy! Delicious when cooked into real pancakes!
Cons: Tastes like “pancake” syrup. No pancake flavor on their own. Kind of looks like little piles of poop.

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Impulsive Buy Reviewer Meghan

Hiya to all my fellow junk food foodies out there! My name’s Ms. Meghan, and I’m ever so very pleased to be the newest addition to The Impulsive Buy’s elite circle of reviewers!

So, who am I?

Well, I’m a lot of things!

  • A full-time university student perusing a degree in Health Promotion.
  • A part-time worker in my town’s local health-food store.
  • I’m a pretty good cook.
  • I have a ServSafe Manager Certification.
  • I make homemade soaps and lotions.
  • I brew my own kombucha.
  • I’m 100 pounds lighter than I was five years ago.

And I bet by now you’re wondering, “What the heck is THIS girl doing here writing junk food reviews?” My response is that it’s all about balance, my fair foodie friends! While I certainly enjoy my new-normal diet of fruit, yogurt, and protein powder, I still find it comforting to indulge in all of my old staples.

My culinary know-how is more likely to be put to use in making cakes and pastries than it is in making some kale and quinoa bowl. If you offer me ice cream or birthday cake-flavored anything, there’s no way I’m going to turn you down. And don’t tell my coworkers, but my recycled kombucha bottle is just as likely to be filled with Mountain Dew Code Red as it is actual kombucha.

Seeing new treats in the forbidden inner aisles of the grocery store and trying to nag my poor mother into buying them for me has been something that I’ve always gotten endless joy from. But now that I’m all grown up and have my own set of wheels to get me to the store and my own money to buy snacks with, there’s no longer anyone or anything that can choc-block* me!

So, considering that about 20,000 new food products come out each year (according to the USDA Economic Research Service, at least) I guess it’s time for me to get munching! Arm yourselves with sporks and grabs some digestive enzymes, guys, because it’s going to be a wild ride!

*Choc-block – When one individual blocks their friend/family member/acquaintance from buying and eating some well-deserved chocolate.