REVIEW: Peeps Filled Delights Neapolitan

Peeps Filled Delights Neapolitan

I eat a whole helluva lot of ice cream, but I can’t remember the last time I had Neapolitan.

The tri-flavor container of chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla is said to have originated in the late 19th century in Naples, Italy, and as far as I’m concerned is only enjoyed at an eight-year-old’s birthday party next to a slice of Power Rangers cake.

How the city responsible for some of the most pristine and perfectly simple pizza known to man can also create one of the silliest ice cream flavors that no one really eats is mind-boggling, but leave it to Peeps to make the mundane even more readily consumable.

The latest addition to the Filled Delights line pairs a strawberry marshmallow with decadent chocolate filling that’s dipped in creamy white fudge. Hey…that actually sounds kinda good.

Peeps Filled Delights Neapolitan 2

The aroma is a super strong sweet strawberry with a notable creaminess that does evoke Neapolitan ice cream. There’s no chocolate on the nose, which is to be expected with all of the fudgy goodness hiding on the inside. There’s something always oddly nostalgic about artificial strawberry and the way it mingles with the vanilla marshmallow scent is inviting.

Going in for the kill, the ‘mallow isn’t as sweet as I was expecting and is surprisingly pretty well balanced for something composed almost entirely of sugar. The sometimes harsh over-the-top fake strawberry notes are mellowed by the cool and creamy white fudge, which, as with all Delights, brings a nice smooth foundation and slight crunch to the bouncy Peeps body. The fudge also helps bring to mind the mouthfeel of ice cream and a legitimate vanilla component that’s necessary to the create the Neapolitan trifecta.

Peeps Filled Delights Neapolitan 3

The chocolate filling is ample and erupts from the midsection of the Peep with a mellow milky cocoa quality very similar to Hershey’s Syrup and an appearance like a snapshot from a Law & Order: SVU crime scene. It’s runny enough to bring a completely different texture than the vanilla dip, but firm enough that it stays in place while biting. The chocolate is pretty sweet, but again, not over the top, and all three desired flavors come through on their own, but also work in harmony.

I’ve gotta say, for a Peep that I had no intention of ever seeing exist (like all Peeps?) I enjoyed the execution of this oft-neglected style of ice cream turned into candy. In fact, I enjoyed these Peeps more than my last scoop of actual Neapolitan ice cream. But after eating two in a row, the sugar rush consumed my body. It’s best to leave these chicks with a one-and-done mentality.

(Nutrition Facts – 3 chicks – 180 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 30 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 32 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 1.75 oz. package/3 chicks
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Great nostalgic strawberry flavor. Gooey chocolate filling. Creamy smooth vanilla.
Cons: Eating multiple chicks can lead to stomach ache. Epic sugar rush. Crime scene photos of Peeps.

REVIEW: Krispy Kreme Hershey’s Gold Doughnut

Krispy Kreme Hershey s Gold Doughnut

Last year, Hershey’s made one of their strongest moves in a decade with its Gold Peanuts & Pretzels Bar, utilizing a caramelized creme “golden” base over the usual cocoa. It’s a masterpiece in the realm of mainstream sweet and salty bars and Hershey’s is wasting no time at all pumping out new ways for us to consume their latest behemoth.

After collaborating with 7-Eleven to make a drinkable cappuccino version of the bar, the chocolate company opted to make sweet, sweet food love with one of the greatest treats in the fast food universe – Krispy Kreme’s Original Glazed. The new limited-time Hershey’s Gold Doughnut takes the O.G. and tops it with pieces of Hershey’s Gold and a salted caramel icing.

Krispy Kreme Hershey s Gold Doughnut 2

The aroma is strong. The leading smell is the ample Gold bar pieces, which carry a sweet nuttiness akin to peanut brittle, accented by the extra push of salty caramel and the unmistakable golden aura of fried yeast dough. The salted caramel icing is perfectly drizzled on top of the already amazing original glaze and studded with so many candy pieces that it left a handful of bits at the bottom of the bag like coveted escaped french fries.

Biting into this golden trophy of a doughnut reveals some of the most immaculate textures the fast food world could ever provide, and boy is it SWEET. The soft and fresh bouncy glazed doughnut is taken to new heights with the added chew of the Gold bar pieces. The crunch of the pretzels and peanuts provide a stark contrast to the fluffy base.

The only flavor that doesn’t come through as strongly as I would like are the peanuts. But the creamy, fatty essence of the golden chocolate does well to bring a bit of extra depth to the overall profile. The salted caramel icing is aggressively sweet but has a legitimate salty pop and thick sticky texture that makes it stand out from the original clear glaze.

Krispy Kreme Hershey s Gold Doughnut 3

The ultimate test of this glazed greatness is to see how it holds up in the microwave – and my god does it deliver. A quick 8-second zap in the micro launches the flavors and textures into the melty, salty stratosphere for a taste that made me throw my head back in euphoria. Everything is heightened, the caramel fully activated, and the bar pieces are still firm enough to deliver a slightly melted chew atop the fried gooey decadence.

This is a wonderful doughnut, but in the grand scheme of the sweet and salty symphony it’s missing a bit of bass. While the treble is through the roof with very high highs of sweet and salty sending my upper register through the roof, I’m missing a bit of balance to weigh the flavors down and complete the movement that spawns an encore. It’s a worthy update to the very strong original, but short of the perfect score.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 doughnut – 280 calories, 15 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 135 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 20 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.89
Size: N/A
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Awesome sweet and salty flavors. KK didn’t mess with their perfect glaze. Caramel is actually salted. Microwaving it will cause euphoria.

Cons: Peanuts get lost a bit in the mix. Can be overwhelmingly sweet and salty without enough fat to balance.

REVIEW: Snickers Peanut Butter Crisper

Snickers Peanut Butter Crisper

How does that age-old saying go?

Put peanut butter on anything and it automatically gets better.

Yeah, I think it goes something like that. Or at least, I’m hoping it does.

In 2015 Snickers released the Snickers Crisper, and while it’s still a fine candy it’s actually my least favorite Snickers of all time. Conversely, Snickers Peanut Butter is my second favorite, coming in very close to the classic original bar of perfection.

The Crisper bar omits the signature nougat for a layer of crisped rice, and the newest Snickers follows the same pattern but adds a layer of peanut butter atop of the caramel, all shrouded in sweet milk chocolate. So does the equation of A (anything) + PB (peanut butter) = magic apply here? Fingers crossed.

Good news — it absolutely does.

Snickers Peanut Butter Crisper 2

The fatty, smooth, and salty peanut butter adds the chewy lip-smacking depth that I missed from the original Snickers Crisper, which I thought fell a little flat in terms of sugary crave-ability. The rice crisps in the first crisp bar couldn’t quite hold up to the standard set by the original Snickers’ nougat. But here I don’t miss it at all and I really like the textural crunch that the rice crisps provide in tandem with the pillow of beautiful peanut butter.

The sticky, crackly, sugary mashup of caramel, crisps, peanuts and peanut butter reminds me of the oft-forgotten Whatchamacallit bar, although dare I say, it’s even better? The fun semi-wafery texture also harkens back to my beloved Reese’s Sticks with a bigger, more formidable chomp.

Snickers Peanut Butter Crisper 4

The thickness of PB Crisper allows for a more generous layer of peanut butter that never gets lost from the first bite to the last. It blends perfectly with the caramel to create a lovely sweet and salty bite with just enough reprieve from the crisps to never taste too cloying. The milk chocolate is of usual Mars quality, with just the right amount of creaminess to round out (or square out?) a wonderfully smash-able treat that is very much nut-forward over cocoa.

Snickers Peanut Butter Crisper only makes a minor change to its original version, but it’s one that works incredibly well. Sometimes it’s the littlest of adjustments that can make all the difference, and I’m glad I paid at least a little attention in algebra because for Snickers, A + PB truly does equal taste bud magic.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 square bar – 110 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.19
Size: 4 pack
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Perfect balance of sweet and salty. Thick layer of peanut butter. Awesome crispy crunch. Finally gives meaning to algebra.
Cons: Too easy to eat too many. Maybe could be EVEN better with nougat?!

REVIEW: Krispy Kreme Gingerbread Glazed Doughnut

Krispy Kreme Gingerbread Glazed Doughnut

“Gingerbread, gingerbread, gingerbread doughnuutttss. Oh what fun it is to turn little men into fried cake. Hey!”

Building off the spicy success of last season’s Pumpkin Spice Original Glazed, Krispy Kreme is rolling out winter’s favorite spiced cake in the form of the Gingerbread Glazed Doughnut.

You may notice the absence of the word “original” in the title. This is intentional. For the first time ever, KK changed both the dough and the glaze to create the ultimate one-two punch of Christmas delight. The offering is spiced gingerbread dough with hints of cinnamon and ginger covered in a warm gingerbread molasses glaze.

When I arrived at my local Krispy in the mid-afternoon I was afraid I had missed the party. But it turns out I was just in on the most underground secret of the doughnut world. No signs, no posters, and no slot in the doughnut case for them. It seems this one got promoted exclusively through online buzz.

From what I can gather, based on the epic emptying and scrub down of the KK glazing conveyor belt happening at 4 p.m., the molasses glaze created a whole new obstacle in being able to provide these special doughnuts alongside their signature original. After talking to an employee, who described them as “super limited,” I confirmed it was cranked out once in the morning and would not be made again.

Krispy Kreme Gingerbread Glazed Doughnut 2

The doughnut looks different from the OG glazed, most notably the darker color and thicker texture of the molasses. The dough is speckled with spice much like the pumpkin version but feels a bit heartier with the modified glaze’s density.

Since eating them straight from the fried belt of dreams was not an option I opted to try the doughnut at room temperature. The flavor is not very bold, and if I had to guess what the change was without knowing I’m not sure I would guess gingerbread.

Krispy Kreme Gingerbread Glazed Doughnut 3

The molasses glaze is less sweet and doesn’t pop with the usual bright sweetness of the OG. There’s a nice brown sugar flavor that presides over everything else, and only a tiny hint of cinnamon in the finish that’s fleeting. I don’t get any gingery tingle, but the texture is still enjoyable, soft, and fluffy, although a bit denser than the usual KK offering.

Warmed up, for the eight seconds the box recommends, the brown sugar molasses notes become more apparent and rich, with a greasy buttery flavor, which is what I expect when venturing towards the coveted Hot Light. Still, for a doughnut that’s supposed to represent one of the most spiced breads of the year, it’s very tame and kind of disappointing.

The dough is still quality, and it’s a sugary fried treat so it does taste good. But I don’t get a whisper of ginger, let alone the nutmeg, cloves, or black pepper that make the Christmas bread what it is. As is, this seasonal remix is a downgrade from the original. Ho ho hum.

(Nutrition Facts – 200 calories, 10 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 95 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.69
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Rich molasses glaze. Classic soft fluffy texture. Balanced sweetness.
Cons: Very mellow spice. No ginger tingle. Can’t eat straight off of conveyor belt.

REVIEW: Star Wars Space Punch

Star Wars Space Punch

Star Wars is one of the highest grossing and beloved film franchises of all time. While the actual movies are the biggest draw for most fans, the amount of merchandise and branded junk food that have come from the series is unreal.

Star Wars collaborated hard with the fast food industry, creating toys and limited items with Burger King, McDonald’s, KFC, and Taco Bell. They’ve had their own boxes and shapes of Cheez-Its, Pop Chips, and Doritos. They’ve even made their own breakfast cereal and chocolates, and now, ahead of the release of The Last Jedi, they wanna quench your thirst too.

When I stumbled across Space Punch in the grocery store, I was shocked it wasn’t an energy drink. The shape, style, and placement of the cans immediately screamed Red Bull. But upon closer inspection they proudly sport “caffeine free” above the nutritional information, and low sugar to boot.

Star Wars Space Punch 2

The punch comes in twenty different character-specific cans, and choosing one is a feat. Channeling my inner-assassin I had to go with Boba Fett, even though the golden C-3PO looked real fresh.

Rather than get you artificially boosted and bouncin’ off the walls like Yoda in a deep training session, Space Punch aims to nourish you from within with a sparkling mix of vitamins and hydration to achieve ultimate Jedi zen.

So what the hell does punch in space taste like? According to the ingredients, it should taste like blackberry, blueberry, carrot, grapefruit, orange, pear, and raspberry. Wow. That is quite the combo – my brain is spinning and about to explode like the Death Star on a bad day.

Star Wars Space Punch 3

As much as I love the juice concentrates listed, I’m not a big fan of this drink. It has nice light effervescence to it, reminiscent of many energy drinks, but the taste is artificially sweet and akin to liquefied chewable vitamins. The aroma even makes me wonder if I’ve stuck my nose straight into a bottle of Flintstones’ finest.

The blackberry and raspberry notes are surprisingly more dominant than the citrus. But the most prominent taste is that of the primary sweeteners erythritol and stevia. There’s a sharp and unpleasant fake aftertaste that washes out any of the more subtle and nuanced clean flavors of the actual fruit juice, and the blending of the two is not something I want to drink more of.

For what it lacks in taste, it doesn’t deliver that much of a vitamin boost either. It has 40-50 percent of your daily recommended Vitamin B6 and B12, and that’s pretty much it. While it’s a fun idea for collectors and might be appealing to people who enjoy Vitamin Water Zero, I would much rather pop a vitamin with a glass of water, and leave this to fizzle out in a galaxy far, far away.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 can – 20 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 12 oz. can
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Awesome collectible cans. Nice tight bubbles.
Cons: Strong fake sugar flavor. Not much vitamin boost. No caffeine. Does not turn you into a Jedi.