REVIEW: Limited Edition Peeps Oreo Cookies

Limited Edition Peeps Oreo Cookies

Goodbye red velvet and strange emoticon hearts!

Hello hoppy bunnies and pastel pallets!

As if there weren’t more Peeps flavors popping up than a rabbit’s litter in heat, this year Nabisco is gifting us the collaboration I’m not sure anyone anticipated or wanted – Limited Edition Peeps Oreo. This spring offering combines the Golden Oreo cookie with a fluorescent pink marshmallow Peeps flavored creme that unfortunately has no head you can rip off to begin your snacking.

Limited Edition Peeps Oreo Cookies 2

The package exudes a very “Golden” aroma, with a strong vanilla, buttercream kind of sweetness that reminds me of a super intensified Nilla Wafer. It smells more like a cookie than a marshmallow, with no notable Peep perfume mingling in the wash of creaminess. They’re also very visually appealing – the spring colors and golden yellow glow simply look tasty.

Limited Edition Peeps Oreo Cookies 3

The cookie is essentially a very sweet Golden Oreo, not too different from the Candy Corn flavor, which for me always tasted like a white frosted cupcake. What sets this one apart is a gritty sugar crystal crunch in the pink Peep creme that emulates the sparkly outside of the iconic marshmallow chick. This is the element I was most hoping Nabisco would incorporate into this mash up and they nailed it. It isn’t too intensely tough, but the creme adds a nice, smaller crunch to the bite of the big crumbly cookie.

Limited Edition Peeps Oreo Cookies 4

The problem is that the Peeps Oreo doesn’t really remind me at all of a Peep. What they share in common is that they are a big blast of sugar; but the cookie is completely devoid of any of the marshmallow nuances that contribute to Peeps’ notoriously fluffy flavor. After eating two or three in a row, a strange artificial tang developed on my tongue and left a little bit of a filmy feeling in my mouth, but surprisingly it still wasn’t as unpleasant as some other weird food dyed flavors I’ve encountered over the years.

If you’re a diehard Peeps fan who simply can’t get enough cute marshmallows in your life, then definitely give this a try for the novelty texture in the creme. If you’re looking for the next greatest limited Oreo flavor, or a worthy follow up to the beloved Marshmallow Crispy version, you can probably skip over these and instead make a melted masterpiece by exploding a Peep in the microwave and stuffing it inside of two Golden Oreo wafers, which might be just a tad more fun.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 10.7 oz.
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Fun spring colors with pretty poppin’ pink. Gritty sugar-laced creme filling. Buttercream frosting sweetness. Classic golden Oreo sparkle.
Cons: Doesn’t really taste like Peeps. Slight artificial frosting tang buildup during snack-age.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Hostess Twinkies Ice Cream

Limited Edition Hostess Twinkies Ice Cream

Just in time for me dusting off the last of my White Peppermint Twinkies, Hostess is breaking down the freezer aisle doors with Limited Edition Twinkies Ice Cream. Combining a sweet butter cream ice cream with sponge cake pieces and a frosting swirl, the chubby 12-year-old in me can hardly contain his excitement.

Limited Edition Hostess Twinkies Ice Cream 2

It should go without saying that this isn’t a super premium ice cream, but it isn’t a “diet” ice cream either, and the lower fat, higher air ratio here actually works to convey the desired flavors well. It scoops effortlessly, folding over on itself and exposing wonderful ripples of aggressively churned dairy. The base flavor is rich and buttery with caramel notes that hint towards the golden outside of Hostess’ sponge cake.

Limited Edition Hostess Twinkies Ice Cream 3

Texturally what it lacks in decadent density it makes up for with a light and fluffy whipped presence that melts with ease and reminds me of Twinkie creme. The frosting swirl is more predominantly mixed in with the base than standing out on its own, but when eating you can taste two distinct flavors. Some bites are pure sweet butter cream ice cream and others pop with a creme filling frosting surprise that is a touch greasy and extra sweet.

Limited Edition Hostess Twinkies Ice Cream 4

The sponge pieces are perfect. Although not huge, they are pretty evenly sprinkled throughout and make their way pleasantly into every couple of bites. They’ve held their shape well and are chewy like cake that has been served on a plate with ice cream that has melted its way onto the slice. The texture is spot on Twinkie, with the exception that there’s no risk of them being dry because they’re drowning in deliciously sweet ice cream instead of sitting for an unknown amount of time in a cellophane wrapper.

Overall this is an extremely well-executed ice cream version of eating a Twinkie. The buttery, slightly greasy mouthfeel and melty creamy textures all harken back to the experience of eating the classic Hostess cake – but perhaps even better.

Limited Edition Hostess Twinkies Ice Cream 5

It’s no secret that eating Twinkies can be extremely hit or miss, and this ice cream takes care of the quality issues that can happen when you buy cake at a gas station. It’s not going to flip the gourmet ice cream universe on its head, but it’s fun and tasty, and for what it is, it’s pretty damn good.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup (65g) – 160 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 grams sat fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 50 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 1.5 qts
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Nice buttery sweet base with caramel notes. Tastes just like a Twinkie put into a blender. Tasty sponge cake, no risk of dryness.
Cons: A Twinkie ice cream that tastes better than an actual Twinkie = high risk of overdose.

REVIEW: Keebler Limited Batch Cinnamon Roll Fudge Stripes Cookies

Keebler Limited Batch Cinnamon Roll Fudge Stripes Cookies

Those funny little tree dwelling elves at Keebler really caught my attention last year. After being pushed to the back of my junk food brain, they officially put Fudge Stripes back on the map with killer Birthday Cake and Peppermint flavors that stood up to all of the limited release cookies I had in 2016.

To the resounding excitement of cinna-sluts like myself all across the nation, they’re kicking off 2017 with a Cinnamon Roll rendition of their famous striped confections.

Keebler Limited Batch Cinnamon Roll Fudge Stripes Cookies 2

Immediately the rich robust smell of cinnamon and vanilla icing float out of the cool brown package. The aroma mimics that unmistakable head-turning scent that wafts out all Cinnabon’s in the finest shopping malls of America, resulting in the starry-eyed activation of the salivary glands.

The crunchy snap of the cookie is more pronounced than your average Fudge Stripe, which tends to occupy that space right between a soft and hard cookie. Leading the flavor is a soft cinnamon rush that is beautiful and balanced by the the thick and smooth vanilla glaze. It has a little bit less of a buttery taste than the usual Stripes’ shortbread base, and the dark tan cookie is speckled with brown giving an even and full cinnamon burst in every bite.

Keebler Limited Batch Cinnamon Roll Fudge Stripes Cookies 3

The overall flavor is less sweet than their standard cookie but also not too aggressively spiced. For people who love cinnamon, like myself, there’s enough to satisfy, but not so much that they would turn someone off who may be more adverse to a strongly spiced cookie. Taste-wise the product they are most reminiscent of are cinnamon Teddy Grahams.

Keebler Limited Batch Cinnamon Roll Fudge Stripes Cookies 4

Unlike an Oreo, there’s no real way to separate the baked base from the coating, but it’s pretty apparent that the cinnamon comes from the brown speckled cookie and the sweetness driven by the glaze. Surprisingly, the frosting flavor comes across much sweeter in the smell than it does on the tongue, which makes me feel like I could eat approximately 45 of these before any kind of “stop” registers in my brain.

For cookies that were baked inside of a tree, these are an impressive and satisfying take on one of Saturday morning’s greatest indulgences. Hopefully the Keebler clan can continue to channel their elfin voodoo and crank out a pancakes and syrup flavor so I will never have to cook breakfast again.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: 11.5 oz package
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Perfect cinnamon bun smell. Amazing cookie crunch. Balanced cinnamon and vanilla flavor. Potential to save breakfast cooking time in the future.
Cons: Could use some yeasty bread “roll” flavor.

REVIEW: Hershey’s Cupcake Kisses

Hershey's Cupcake Kisses

In my mind, and in my heart, cake and Kisses fall in essentially the same category. Short, sweet, and simple reminders that life is worth living, and ideally consumed/received on a daily basis. It is under this umbrella of logic that I read the news of Hershey’s Cupcake Kisses and proceeded to die with anticipation.

For this Target-exclusive Valentine’s Day candy Hershey’s put a spin on their popular Cookies ‘n’ Creme flavor (also available as Kisses) and made a “white cookie cupcake” kiss with colored cookies and cupcake flavor. Opening the playful pink bag is like dunking your face into a Funfetti frosting wonderland, It is exactly what I wanted these Kisses to smell like.

Hershey's Cupcake Kisses 2

The initial bite is very sweet and smacks you in the face with vanilla frosting splendor. At first these Kisses taste exactly like hardened bits of Funfetti vanilla frosting with the cookie pieces in place of the festive sprinkles, and the white chocolate is the jarred faux-buttercream. Unfortunately there is a strange astringent aftertaste that dominates and leaves my mouth tasting unpleasant and artificial, almost like a cake made with too much baking soda.

Hershey's Cupcake Kisses 3

I thought it might be coming from the colored cookie pieces, which unlike in the cookies and cream version have no chocolate or specific flavor to them. I was able to isolate some of the cookies in my mouth and they tasted fine, like a slightly tame shortbread. After repeatedly trying more Kisses to shake the bitter essence, it kept coming and put a damper on the overall experience, but for some reason I kept wanting to eat them.

Hershey's Cupcake Kisses 4

There is a lore that pink or red frosting has a bitter strong flavor when compared to other dyes, likely due to the use of iodine, Red #3, or Red #40. Although not specifically listed in the ingredients, there could be an element of frosting-emulation at play here that is causing the strange aftertaste.

Whether that translates to a true cupcake experience or a failed element of execution is up to you, but it’s certainly there, and for me, ultimately distracting. Strange frosting flavors have never kept me from crushing cake in the past, and while these Kisses miss the mark of being perfect, I will still eat at least three servings of them (27 Kisses).

(Nutrition Facts – 9 pieces – 200 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 50 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 18 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 10 oz. package
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Funfetti frosting wonderland. Still oddly delicious. Foil covered in hearts. So many shades of pink.
Cons: Weird bitter aftertaste. Cake doesn’t have a crunch.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Chocolate Strawberry Oreo Cookies

Limited Edition Chocolate Strawberry Oreo Cookies

Two years ago, on a hazy New Year’s morning (my birthday), my girlfriend woke me up with a package of Birthday Cake Oreo in bed, and the secret junk food junkie in me silently screamed with joy.

Now, thanks to the cookie scientists at Nabisco, I can return the favor to my one true love on Valentine’s Day with the Limited Edition Chocolate Strawberry Oreo. Whether or not a crinkly package of factory cookies can successfully replace four-dollars-a-pop chocolate-covered strawberries remains to be seen, but whether or not these Oreo’s are a decent start to the pending onslaught of 2017’s limited offerings can be laid to rest right now.

Limited Edition Chocolate Strawberry Oreo Cookies 2

The Oreo cookies look no different than the always available chocolate flavor, with a dark creme sandwiched between two classic wafer cookies; but the aroma is distinctly different and heavy on the strawberry. Something about the chocolate strawberry smell is immediately nostalgic, channeling Neapolitan ice cream sandwiches, kiddy cereal, and strawberry Pocky sticks. While it is definitely an artificial fruit smell, it is not too perfumey or cloying in any way.

Limited Edition Chocolate Strawberry Oreo Cookies 3

Digging into the cookies, the strong strawberry smell is put on the back burner as chocolate takes the more dominant role in overall flavor, which makes sense as the chocolate outweighs the strawberry components 2-to-1. The textures of the chocolate and strawberry cremes are exactly the same, which mixes the two flavors together in a way that is cohesive but ultimately not too special.

There’s nothing off-putting about the fruit flavor like the strange Swedish Fish Oreo, but there’s also nothing particularly new or unique, like the slightly differing textures in the Filled Cupcake Oreo.

Limited Edition Chocolate Strawberry Oreo Cookies 4

A chocolate covered strawberry, as the design of the package directly implies, should have a more strawberry-forward flavor, and while these cookies do a good job of conveying both elements, the ratios and authenticity feel a bit off.

They’re a tasty crunchy cookie that will definitely be agreeable to most average palates but don’t provide any level of satisfaction that the original Oreo have delivered for over 100 years (literally). I’m not sure my Valentine’s chocolate thirst will be satiated with these come February 14, so I may have to go back to dropping $30 at Godiva to show how much I truly care.

(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, 90 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 10.7 oz. package
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Full choco-strawberry aroma. Not too artificial tasting. Hey, it’s an Oreo.
Cons: Not enough genuine strawberry flavor. Not enough contrast, too much chocolate. Will not replace expensive Valentine’s Day candy.

REVIEW: Hershey’s Caramel Cookie Layer Crunch Bar

Hershey's Caramel Cookie Layer Crunch Bar

It’s no controversial hot take to say that Hershey’s doesn’t make the highest quality chocolate around, not even the greatest chocolate at 7-Eleven or Walgreens; but they definitely know how to put together a good candy bar.

Among my favorite of their bars is the white chocolate Cookies ‘n’ Creme Bar, and with a twist of marketing genius Hershey’s have unleashed three new spins on that success with Cookie Layer Crunch Bars. The caramel flavor combines milk chocolate with shortbread cookie bits and a velvety caramel, packaged in mini bars of three breakable pieces.

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The chocolate has a deeper fuller taste than what I’m used to with Hershey’s milk chocolate, lacking that undesirable slight graininess from their classic bar. It has an almost dark chocolate quality to it, a sensation that is created by the contrast of the sweeter caramel and salty cookie pieces.

The saltiness of the shortbread comes through beautifully, but the “bits” aren’t big enough to really get any of that lush buttery flavor usually associated with this type of cookie. I can’t knock Hershey’s here since they do use the small-implying word “bits” but the texture-fiend in me wants more crunch, especially with the word being in the name. 

Hershey's Caramel Cookie Layer Crunch Bar 3

The chocolate to caramel to cookie ratio is well balanced and doesn’t come across as overwhelmingly sweet, which can oftentimes happen in candy bars that feature caramel without any nuts.

I can’t say I’ve ever had a readily available candy quite like this and that’s a good thing because it’s fresh and it works. It teeters on the line of your typical grocery chocolate bar and something more gourmet you might find at a chocolatier like See’s or Godiva. Each piece is layered with that sweet salty crunch that shines in one of my other favorite Hershey’s products, the oftentimes overlooked and pretzel-prominent Take 5.

This might be the most repeat-noshable candy bar Hershey’s has released without peanut butter in it, and a great launch for a company that hasn’t done much to innovate the junk aisle game outside of weird seasonal flavors of Kisses. From the snack-style packaging to the different flavors to the multiple textures, Hershey’s has unleashed something simple but effective that should prove to be very popular and leaves itself open to new and limited/seasonal variations down the line.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 package (2 bars) – 200 calories, 12 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 2 gram of protein..)

Purchased Price: $1.29
Size: 1.4 oz. bar
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Smooth rich chocolate. Sweet salty fix. Great packaging. Most repeat-noshable Hershey’s without peanut butter.
Cons: Could use more crunch. Could use more shortbread butteriness. Could use peanut butter.