REVIEW: McDonald’s Glazed Pull Apart Donut

McDonald s Glazed Pull Apart Donut Full

When Dunkin’ dropped the “Donuts” from its name, I never would have guessed good ol’ Ronald would be the one to stumble over from the 2 am drive-thru line and try to pick it up.

Sure, McDonald’s added several baked goods to its McCafe menu last year, which is clearly competing with Dunkin’ and Starbucks for morning notoriety, but a donut at McDonald’s? It all feels a little too “dreams do come true” for my Standard American Diet heart to handle. But that’s exactly where we are with McDonald’s first Limited Time Only offering to its McCafe Bakery menu: the Glazed Pull Apart Donut.

The donut is described as light and airy and coated in a delicious, sweet glaze. Visually and conceptually, a bunch of donut holes all shoved together in a pull apart fashion, I love this donut. In terms of its execution, it’s just okay. Before I go any deeper, can we address the elephant in the room — why wasn’t this called the McDonut? Gold.

I asked the cashier if it’s served warm like the Cinnamon Roll, and she said they could warm it if I wanted, which I opted out of so I could try both ways when I got home. At room temperature, the donut is relatively firm but soft — it doesn’t give under the pressure of my fingers but has a gentle and slightly bouncy chew.

McDonald s Glazed Pull Apart Donut Innards

The fluffy texture of the yeasty dough reminds me of the bun on McChicken in the best way. It has that artificial squish akin to Wonder Bread, and I find it endearing in this context. The sweetness of the glaze is relatively mild with a vanilla flare and a touch of salt. I get much more of a fried bread flavor than I was expecting for a fully glazed doughnut; it’s kind of savory when compared to Dunkin’ or especially Krispy Kreme, and I wish it were a touch sweeter.

Warmed up, it tastes mostly the same but has a softer and almost melty texture that helps tame some of the more bready notes that jump out at room temperature. The heat helps activate the sweetness, and I found myself nodding my head in approval — this is what I was looking for. I’m not usually one to warm my pastries unless it seems absolutely necessary, and in this case, I 100% recommend it.

McDonald s Glazed Pull Apart Donut Center

The biggest point of intrigue is the center — is it the best part like a cinnamon roll? Yes, yes, it is. While it doesn’t reach the same ooey-gooey heights that the center of a Cinnabon does, it is softer and a bit more glaze-soaked than the outer wannabe Munchkins are and delivers deliciously sweet satisfaction.

McDonald s Glazed Pull Apart Donut Top

As fun as it was to devour an entire family of donut holes, picking them off one by one like a 90s slasher movie antagonist, I can’t help but wonder how much better it could have been if it were just a touch sweeter and softer. I enjoyed the McDonald’s donut experience, but unless I’m already in line with a massive craving for a donut on the side of my Big Mac, I have zero inclination to go out of my way to eat it again, no matter how fun the form factor is.

Purchased Price: $1.79
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 donut) 310 calories, 17 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 280 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 15 gram of sugar, 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Little Caesars Cookie Dough Brownie

Little Caesars Cookie Dough Brownie Life

For as many times as I’ve had a wallet-friendly Little Caesars pizza in the last two years, I have never once looked at Mr. Pizza Pizza to serve me some cake cake. Unlike other pizza chains that have dessert offerings all the time, Little Caesars doesn’t offer a full-time sugary staple to tempt me.

That all changes for now, with the addition of the eye-catching Cookie Dough Brownie. Will it be as short-lived as 2017’s Cinnamon Loaded Crazy Bites or go the distance to round out the menu for good? The cellophane-wrapped dessert is a chocolate brownie topped with cookie dough frosting and M&M’s Minis.

Little Caesars Cookie Dough Brownie Cellophane

I’m glad I went to pick this up in the afternoon to have later on for a proper dessert because this new item is served COLD. Like straight out of the fridge and handed to me cold. Like, “damn, is that a fridge or a freezer?” cold. And I have a major pet peeve when it comes to baked goods: I don’t like them cold. Cake, especially something with frosting, cookies, brownies, etc., should all be at room temperature to enjoy their ideal texture and flavor. If I wanted stiff frosting, I would eat ice cream, and even that has to properly temper, or I lose my mind. I let this pretty package of four perfectly cut squares sit on my counter for four hours before eating, and they achieved peak softness.

Little Caesars Cookie Dough Brownie Cuts

Little Caesars Cookie Dough Brownie Just One

The cookie dough frosting is the most unique component and by far the highlight of the experience. It has a pronounced brown sugar flavor with some of cookie dough’s essential granular sugar crystal grit that plays well with the generally smooth and creamy (properly tempered) frosting. It’s more firm than your average buttercream but softer and less dense than actual cookie dough. I’ve never had anything quite like it, and Little Caesars kind of killed it with the execution — I’m impressed.

Little Caesars Cookie Dough Brownie Side

The brownie is much less interesting. Although still totally passable for a $4 dessert, the chocolate base is way more cake than a brownie, devoid of the heft and richness I associate with a brownie. It’s moist and fluffy but firm enough to hold up the frosting, very much like a thinly sliced sponge cake. A very close comparison in terms of texture and flavor is Little Debbie’s Cosmic Brownie, with a little less of an artificial preservative-heavy finish.

Little Caesars Cookie Dough Brownie Long

I tend to enjoy M&M’s incorporated into my desserts, and that’s the case here. They add a satisfying rainbow of color to the presentation, a nice little crunch to offset the creamy frosting, and another layer of chocolate to accentuate the milder cocoa in the brownie.

For those who prefer their sweets cold, I did try a square straight from the fridge the next day, and while it didn’t improve the experience, it didn’t take anything away, either. Little Caesars nailed two out of the three pieces of this sweet puzzle, regardless of temperature, and for the beyond reasonable price point, I would still recommend adding this unique treat to your next pizza night.

Purchased Price: $3.69
Size: 4 pieces
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 piece, 48g) 210 calories, 11 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Doritos Tangy Ranch!

Tangy Ranch Doritos Bag

Everyone has that one junk food that got away. One of the most elusive snacking memories I’ve been hopelessly clinging onto and clamoring for is Doritos Sonic Sour Cream!

The history is a bit wonky, but for ME, these Doritos popped up sometime in the mid to late 90s in a gorgeous Joker-esque lime green bag with purple accents and vanished in the early 2000s. They may have origins even deeper than that, tracing back to a Sour Cream and Onion Doritos in the 70s, but that doesn’t sound or look nearly as cool as the neon green Sonic finished with a very 90s exclamation mark. They were like Cool(er) Ranch Doritos but more seasoned, more creamy, and honestly…the bag looked cooler. I got them every time I could.

All this nostalgic babble is simply to say I was ecstatic when I heard about the new Doritos Tangy Ranch! A cool bag, albeit not quite lime green, more of a teal, but still new and slightly 90s, and the word “tangy” with an exclamation mark. Tang is definitely what comes to mind when I think about sour cream. Could these be a rebranding and relaunching of the chip that has escaped me my entire adult life? *cue Law & Order transition music*

Tangy Ranch Doritos Spill

No. No, they are not. Despite the return of the exclamation mark and the nod to the 90s design, these are not sonic, nor are they sour cream, but they are good! The first massive difference I notice when crunching into these corny chips is the aggressive garlic punch that finishes with just a touch of a fiery tickle. I wouldn’t go so far as to call them spicy, but they’re spicier than your standard Cool Ranch or Nacho Cheese. Think heavy-handed garlic combined with black pepper.

Tangy Ranch Doritos Seasoning

The flavor rounds out with a buttermilk tang and a touch of dill for a flavor that is, appropriately, pretty ranch-y. As with all Doritos, some chips are very heavily seasoned, and others are merely speckled. The ones with the most seasoning are truly tang-tactic, veering on spicy, and the speckled ones are pretty mild.

My memory of Sonic Sour Cream! is a smoother taste with a particularly white powder that emphasized the creamy, like a cousin of white cheddar popcorn seasoning, and this definitely isn’t that. But I had to know how these compare to the OG, so I went back to the store and got Doritos Cool Ranch for a side by side, and yeah, these Tangy Ranch! really do lay on the garlic.

Tangy Ranch Doritos Cool Ranch

By comparison, the Cool Ranch chips are smoother, creamier, and noticeably less zesty, but not boring in the slightest. Cool Ranch has always been my favorite of the easy-to-find original line, and I stand by that opinion. They’re so so good and endlessly snackable; I never want to stop. If you’re a fan of Doritos Cool Ranch and aren’t afraid of a little garlic breath, Tangy Ranch! is definitely worth a shot.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 2 3/4 ounce bag
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (17 chips, 28g) 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Little Caesars Planteroni Pizza

Little Caesars Planteroni Pizza Whole

I’m not a vegetarian, but I’m no stranger to meat substitutes. My grandfather and stepdad are both vegan, my girlfriend used to be vegan, and I spent two years in college as a pescatarian (eating only fish). While I’ve settled in my omnivore ways as a taxpaying adult, I’m not opposed to a nice Impossible Burger or Tofurky Sausage, and I am legitimately fascinated by the huge wave of plant-based options that have swept fast food in recent years.

If you had told me Little Caesars would beat McDonald’s to the punch in adding a fake meat offering, I’d call ya crazy, but that’s exactly where we’ve landed. Little Caesars’ Planteroni Pizza is a large round pizza with Field Roast Plant-Based Pepperoni.

Little Caesars Planteroni Pizza No Ads

Pulling up to my second closest Little Caesars (my closest is usually a jam-packed nightmare I wanted to avoid), there were zero advertisements of this new plant-based ‘roni, likely because this item hasn’t rolled out nationwide. Although it still seems like a secret, even locally, it was prominently featured on LC’s terrific app under Limited Time Offers, and ordering went off without a hitch.

Little Caesars Planteroni Pizza Pepperoni

It looks great — nice and shiny cheese with a fresh and zesty aroma that instantly makes my mouth water. Field Roast’s “pepperoni” are faux meat made up of canola oil, wheat gluten, potato protein, and pea protein, along with a ton of other binders and flavors. They have a deeper color, thicker cut, and way less greasy shine than your average pepperoni.

Unfortunately, their different look and lack of shininess translate to a lackluster flavor as well. I have no issues with the tougher texture of plant-based proteins, but the lack of salty and fatty intensity really brings down the experience. With pepperoni that isn’t chockfull of salt and animal fat, the cheaper components of Little Caesars’ pizza are exposed, and the crust and sauce both taste weaker and less impactful than any LC’s pizza I’ve had in the last two years.

The saving grace was the Butter Garlic sauce I added to my order, which, hot take alert, is even better than Papa John’s with a more robust and intense garlic flavor. When dunked into that glorious silky sauce, the pizza is pretty good, bringing the necessary salt and fat desperately lacking from Field Roast’s creation.

Another issue with this is that it’s not vegan. Nothing has changed about this pizza except for the pepperoni, and I don’t see this as an improvement over plain cheese or a wonderful veggie combo like mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers for those who don’t eat meat.

Little Caesars Planteroni Pizza Cheep

At the price point that Little Caesars is offering this pizza, $8.49, it should at least be an ExtraMostBestest, with extra cheese and pepperoni, but it isn’t, and that lack of indulgence makes for something that’s pretty underwhelming. For a $2.50 upcharge (the most I’ve ever paid for an LC pizza), I don’t think the Planteroni delivered anything exciting to the Little Caesars experience, aside from a cool and catchy name.

Purchased Price: $8.49
Size: Large
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 pizza) 2180 calories, 84 grams of fat, 32 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, 150 milligrams of cholesterol, 4580 milligrams of sodium, 256 grams of carbohydrates, 14 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, 107 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Fruity Cereal Kit Kat

Fruity Cereal Kit Kat Wrapper

One of the best progressions in junk food over the last four years has been Hershey’s edging closer and closer to mimicking Nestle’s insane Kit Kat flavor production in Japan.

While stateside we’re still nowhere near the heights of experimentation reached overseas, we’ve had a myriad of interestingly flavored wafer bars that began with 2017’s relatively blasé California Strawberry from the Flavors of America line. Since then, we’ve been gifted Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie, Sweet Cinnamon, Lemon, Raspberry, Birthday Cake, Key Lime Pie, Witch’s Brew, and the latest exciting addition: Limited Edition Fruity Cereal.

Kit Kat is one of those candy bars that I don’t want to call underrated because they’re very popular but feels at times underappreciated, even by myself, in its purest form. Milk, white, and dark without any limited time bells and whistles always deliver on a light and crispy sweet treat whenever they cross my path. This new Fruity Cereal version falls right in line with the expectation set by their core lineup; it’s refreshing, tasty, and not extreme in the slightest.

Fruity Cereal Kit Kat Fingers

The opaque pink color dotted with specs looks like it could be crumbs straight out of a bag of Fruity Pebbles. The bar carries a gentle fruity aroma that smells more white chocolate sweet than distinctly berry or citrus. The flavor goes along with the muted color, which is not necessarily bad; it just doesn’t punch me in the face. I get creamy white chocolate followed by a mild strawberry (a spooky hint of Franken Berry, perhaps?) that finishes with the lemon-lime citrusy zing I associate with most “fruity” cereals.

Fruity Cereal Kit Kat Layers

When I think fruity cereal, I autopilot to Fruity Pebbles, my personal favorite. This Kit Kat makes my brain go right to Froot Loops, which I’ve always enjoyed but associate with less of a citrus intensity and overall flavor wallop than Pebbles. Maybe it’s also recency bias from the amazing Fruity Pebbles Candy Bar that came out earlier this year, studded with actual cereal that leaves me searching for that magnitude of flavor. In any case, this Kit Kat is good!

Although the flavor is mild, it’s enjoyable. There’s a distinct creaminess that comes with any variety of Kit Kat, which takes center stage here. While it doesn’t knock my socks off the way my first Japanese Green Tea Kit Kat did or come close to the absolute perfection of Pumpkin Pie, it’s a solid ode to a crunchy breakfast that any Loops or Pebbles fan can break off a piece of.

Purchased Price: 88 cents
Size: 1.5 ounces
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 package) 220 calories, 12 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 20 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.