REVIEW: Nabisco Limited Edition Candy Corn Oreo

Nabisco Limited Edition Candy Corn Oreo

Halloween is coming, and I can already tell that for some of you, one of the most frightening events of this particular season is the recent release of a Candy Corn-flavored Oreo.

Now, I understand that to many, candy corn is unappetizing. These folks see it as striped candle wax melted down and shaped into chewy, inedible shapes suggesting the appearance rotten dog teeth, which is then given away in loads by lazy or otherwise uncaring households to trick-or-treaters who can only greet the sub-par candy gift with gritted teeth and a half-assed “Thank-you” mumbled through their Batman masks. Those people strongly believe that all candy corn tastes like sticky, flavorless plastic.

But it’s not true.

There is a difference in candy corn flavor from brand to brand, and unfortunately, many people have had the misfortune of tasting the cheap brands that do not use real honey in their confections. I get that some people just don’t have a sweet tooth or don’t care for excessive amounts of sugar, so they stay clear of candy corn. I’ve never had this problem. The sweeter, the better. As a result, I have had no fear of candy corn, and having tasted nearly every type of candy corn, I consider myself to be a candy corn connoisseur. (This is probably the most I’ve typed the words “candy corn” in one sitting. I deserve a medal … shaped like a piece of candy corn.)

I say all this to give you some perspective on my experience with the new Limited Edition Candy Corn Oreo cookies… and after sampling this new (very sweet) sandwich cookie, I’ve come away with one question. How on earth are these Candy Corn Oreos? Have the people at Nabisco never eaten a real piece of candy corn before? Before you even get the cookies out of the package, you can smell the very potent (yet admittedly pleasant) aroma of cupcakes. Candy corn does not smell like cake, so already, I’m wondering what these sandwich cookies are all about.

Nabisco Limited Edition Candy Corn Oreo Closeup

The Limited Edition Candy Corn Oreo is shaped just like a regular Oreo with a thin layer of sugary crème filling between two Golden Oreo wafers. The filling is dyed with one orange side and one yellow side to mimic the appearance of an actual piece of candy corn. They’re forgetting the white tips, but… whatever. This is the level of commitment we’re dealing with.

The cookie part of the sandwich does not balance out the extreme sweetness of this filling at all, and that’s probably because they’re Golden Oreos, which I think are sweeter than the original chocolate Oreo wafers. In fact, they amp up the sugariness to 1000.87 percent based on my Sugar-o-Meter readings. (Full disclosure: The Sugar-o-Meter is just a girl I know who bit into the cookie and said, “That’s really sugary.”) Candy Corn Oreos have the same satisfying crunch as regular Oreos, and you could probably dunk them in milk. However, I’m weird about milk the same way some of you are weird about candy corn, so I can’t give you any advice on dunking your Oreos without feeling nauseated. So let’s move on.

As I mentioned before, Limited Edition Candy Corn Oreo cookies smell like cupcakes, so it makes sense that the crème filling tastes like vanilla frosting. Seriously, that’s what these Oreos taste like to me – sugary Vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting. Don’t get me wrong… They’re yummy, and I didn’t dislike these Oreos at all. However, they are not Candy Corn-flavored. There wasn’t a note of honey or mellowcreme-style flavor. Nothing about these Oreos besides the color scheme evokes the experience of real candy corn. If Nabisco wanted to make a Vanilla Cupcake Oreo next, they could just change the food coloring of the crème and re-release these sandwich cookies.

So basically, I was looking forward to an Oreo that tasted like one of my favorite Halloween candies, and instead, I got a cake frosting-derived interpretation of one of the world’s most-loved and most-hated holiday confections, which totally missed the mark. These Limited Edition Candy Corn Oreos do not taste like candy corn at all. I’m putting that down as a “con,” but I bet many of you would count that as a “pro.”

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 150 calories, 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, less than 1 gram of protein, 0% vitamin A, 0% calcium, and 4% iron.)

Item: Nabisco Limited Edition Candy Corn Oreo
Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 10.5 ounces (297 g)
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Filling tastes like vanilla buttercream frosting. Pleasant yet strong cupcake aroma. Real Candy Corn. Medals shaped like candy corn.
Cons: Candy Corn Oreos do not taste like candy corn. Rotten dog teeth. May be too sweet for some people to handle. The thought of milk being used for dunking.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Special K Popcorn Chips (Butter & Sweet and Salty)

Special K Popcorn Chips

I had to call my cable company regarding some serious internet connectivity issues over the weekend. For those of you who have ever had the misfortune of having to contact your cable provider for any reason, I don’t have to tell you that it was a long, tedious process, fraught with drama. There was shouting, pleading, whining, and some profanity, and that was before I even spoke to a person. The automated system kept misinterpreting my voice commands, putting me on hold, and then kicking me out to the main menu in an endless loop of broken promises.

What kept me sane in those terrible moments before I finally broke through to an actual human being? Some crispy, corn-based snacks in the form of geometric shapes. Special K’s new Popcorn Chips are crunchy baked snacks that taste like tortilla chips but look like Styrofoam triangles. And they are the one thing that kept me from crossing completely over from blissful, crunchy serenity waiting on hold for 20 minutes to completely losing my shit on some innocent customer service representative who probably hates their job as much as I hate their company’s chirpy, ad-filled phone queue soundtrack.

Special K Popcorn Chips are made from corn (natch), and they taste like it. However, I never got the sensation of eating popcorn. It was more like I was eating tortilla chips. By referring to these thingies as “Popcorn Chips,” Special K may have wanted to emphasize how their snacks are baked and are similar in texture to Pop Chips. Like Pop Chips, Special K Popcorn Chips are low in fat and present a healthier option for those in need of a crunchy, convenient snack. Unlike Pop Chips, they have no association with Ashton Kutcher. See? Special K Popcorn Chips are already winning at life. They also appear thick enough to withstand some dipping as well, so if you’re curious as to whether a Popcorn Chip mixes with ranch dressing or nacho cheese and don’t care about fat, have at it.

Special K Popcorn Chips Closeup

I sampled two flavors of Special K Popcorn Chips: “Sweet and Salty” and “Butter.” Sweet and Salty was the chip flavor that kept me from crossing over into the Danger Zone during my telephone adventure. They’re very lightly sweetened, which makes their flavor profile a bit more complex than I first expected it to be. The sweetness mingles nicely with the saltiness, which provides a pleasantly addictive snacking experience. It makes me glad a single serving size of these Popcorn Chips is 28 chips and not something more restrictive and ridiculous like 10. But let’s not kid ourselves, I could totally go to town on these and eat half the box. What can I say? I like crunchy snacks… especially if the crunching drowns out the umpteenth repetition of some perky bimbo’s invitation to ask my customer service agent for more information on bundling telephone service with HD cable and high-speed internet.

The butter-flavored Special K Popcorn Chips, on the other hand, are actually pretty nasty. Special K… if you’re going to go so far as to create a corn snack reminiscent of POPCORN, you really need to hit the mark with the BUTTER-FLAVORED ones. It’s not rocket science. Just use the fake butter everyone else uses on microwave popcorn. Duh. The disturbingly rank artificial butter flavoring is so strong that it comes off tasting more like fake cheese than butter. And I don’t mean the good fake cheese. This is terrible fake cheese. Like the kind that comes in off-brand, plastic dip cups with stale cracker sticks, which would somehow always be lurking in the office break room at the bottom of the kitchen “snack bowl”… dusty and ignored for what seems like centuries. I’m so glad I didn’t try the Butter Popcorn Chips while on the phone. You’d all have heard about the first-ever long-distance throttling via fiber-optics on the morning news. A real triumph of science. For me, not for the cable company.

Special K Popcorn Chips Single Chip

The Butter Popcorn Chips don’t look all that differently from the Sweet and Salty ones, but you can actually see the fine dusting of “butter” seasoning on each chip. The inherent popcorn flavor of the Butter Popcorn Chips is overpowered by the funky fake cheese flavoring, so I can’t help but wish that they’d toned it down a bit. I don’t know what kind of butter they were thinking about when they created this variety, but it was probably left out in the sun for a while. It tastes like a foot. The butter’s gone bad.

Special K Popcorn Chips are crunchy and flavorful. It’s just too bad that only one flavor is good. They made a serious error with the Butter Popcorn Chips, but I’m not about to give them a call to complain about it. At least not without the Sweet and Salty Popcorn Chips within snacking distance.

(Nutrition Facts – 28 chips (28g) – Butter – 120 calories, 2 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Sweet and Salty – 120 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Kellogg’s Special K Popcorn Chips (Butter & Sweet and Salty)
Purchased Price: $2.89
Size: 4.5 ounces
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Butter)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Sweet and Salty)
Pros: “Sweet and Salty” lives up to its name. Nice crisp texture. Decent serving size. Low in fat.
Cons: Butter flavor is extremely artificial-tasting and gross. Foot-flavored snacks. Waiting on hold. Ashton.

REVIEW: Starbucks Refreshers (Cool Lime and Very Berry Hibiscus)

Starbucks Refreshers (Cool Lime and Very Berry Hibiscus)

Sometimes I get tired. Usually it’s a couple hours after lunch when I swiftly enter that mid-afternoon slump that brings my forehead perilously close to smashing into my keyboard. While it would be great to receive daily energy injections at the 3:00 hour, I don’t think most corporate health insurance policies include the administration of intravenous jump juice.

Most people go for a coffee run when they feel sluggish. However, unlike my overly-caffeinated colleagues, I don’t drink coffee. So what’s a java-free girl to do? Simple. Be only slightly unconventional and ingest the latest branded “naturally” caffeinated beverage from one of our nation’s largest peddlers of liquid vim and vigor.

Starbucks has introduced their new Starbucks Refreshers – fruity iced drinks laced with the “natural energy” of Green Coffee Extract (capitalization is theirs) from unroasted Arabica coffee beans. There’s no real flavor to speak of from this Green Coffee Extract, but as I quickly discovered, it packs a punch. After sampling these Refreshers, I definitely felt a bit perkier… That is to say, I was jauntily strolling through the office hallways, smiling broadly and cheerfully vocalizing like the Trololo guy. I was curious about this wonderful ingredient that had put some pep in my step, so I read up on Green Coffee Extract. Interestingly enough, studies have shown that the extract from unroasted coffee beans can inhibit fat absorption in lab mice. So if I transform into a lab mouse while drinking a Starbucks Refresher, I can eat all the cheese I want! Yaaahhhhhh yaya-yaaaaaahhhh…!

There are two flavors of handcrafted beverages available in Starbucks cafes: Cool Lime and Very Berry Hibiscus.

According to the Starbucks website, Cool Lime is “real fruit juice, mint and a lime slice shaken with Green Coffee Extract for a boost of natural energy, served over ice.” The taste of lime was dominant, but I couldn’t taste the mint. The Cool Lime Refresher did otherwise live up to its name, for it was quite refreshing. And cool. In fact, this is what a summer drink should be. Light and citrus-y, but not too sweet. I don’t know if one lime slice is supposed to be the standard because I received two slices the first time I ordered it, but the limes were a great addition to the overall flavor profile. The Cool Lime Refresher also didn’t taste artificial like some other mixed fruit drinks tend to taste, and I think that the use of real fruit helped.

On the other hand, Starbucks claims that the Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher is “handcrafted with whole blackberries” and contains a “hint of hibiscus.” I couldn’t really see any whole blackberries in my drink, just crushed ones. I don’t know if it’s because they were muddled at the bottom of the cup with the Green Coffee Extract or what, but it clearly states that they should be whole. By “whole blackberries,” they must mean “once whole blackberries.” And by “hint of hibiscus,” they must mean “unheeded suggestion of hibiscus” because I couldn’t taste any hibiscus. Maybe I don’t know what hibiscus really tastes like… I mean, what does a flower with natural diuretic properties taste like? Mild panic in 20 minutes when you can’t find the bathroom? Anyway, this Very Berry Hibiscus drink wasn’t Very Anything. More like Sorta-Maybe Berry Hibiscus.

Similar to the Cool Lime Refresher, the Starbucks website claims the Very Berry Refresher is made with “real fruit juice and whole blackberries shaken with Green Coffee Extract for a boost of natural energy, served over ice.” The fruit juice tasted a little diluted, despite its bold appearance, and even though it was served chilled, it didn’t really seem like a summer drink to me. For a Refresher, it was not very refreshing.

Of the two new Starbucks Refreshers, you can probably tell by what I’ve written here (and by looking at the photo taken from a later trip) which one I liked best. The Cool Lime Refresher is the lightweight, summery drink with the appropriate flavor and appearance you’d most appreciate on a hot summer day. The Very Berry Hibiscus tries too hard to fit in with the summer vibe and instead comes off as the sort of drink you’d have to order back in the house because it’s not going anywhere dressed like that.

(Nutrition Facts – 12 fluid ounces – Cool Lime – 40 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, 10 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, 0.9% Vitamin C, and 45 milligrams of caffeine. Very Berry Hibiscus – 60 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, 14 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, 0.9% Vitamin C, and 45 milligrams of caffeine.)

Item: Starbucks Refreshers (Cool Lime and Very Berry Hibiscus)
Purchased Price: $2.95
Size: 12 oz
Purchased at: Starbucks
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Cool Lime)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Very Berry Hibiscus)
Pros: Cool Lime Refresher lives up to its name. Green Coffee Extract inhibits fat absorption in lab mice. Real lime slices. Eduard Khil-like happiness and mirth.
Cons: Very Berry Hibiscus isn’t Very Anything. The 3:00 Slump. Hibiscus is a natural diuretic. Couldn’t taste the Cool Lime Refresher’s mint flavor.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Eggo Thick & Fluffy Mixed Berry Waffles

Kellogg's Eggo Thick & Fluffy Mixed Berry Waffles

Okay, Eggo, we get it. You make some pretty great frozen waffles. In fact, I’d say that you’ve got the frozen waffle game ON LOCK. But can you please stop gloating? We understand that you want us to give you the R.E.S.P.E.C.T. you sorely desire when we get home.

I know I’m proud of you. But making the umpteenth delicious waffle variety is really pushing it. I simply cannot stress enough the importance of humility in the art of frozen breakfast-making.

See, with your new Thick & Fluffy Mixed Berry Waffles, you take things a bit too far by adding real fruit into your already delicious batter. Eggo, I know you’re at the top of the game, but you’re humiliating the competition at this point. Just slow your roll. Go easy on them.

Now, Thick & Fluffy Mixed Berry waffles are full of mixed berry flavor. Even though it doesn’t taste like real fruit, I want you to know that I still appreciate the effort. It’s a sizeable leap away from some of the other frozen waffle lines out there who only offer blueberry flavor. Blueberry is old hat.

By giving us strawberry and blueberry together, you’re breaking the mold with a VARIETY of berries. You clearly wanted to present a waffle wherein strawberry and blueberry flavors mingle in perfect harmony… but before you get too smug, Eggo, let me point out that the strawberry flavor overpowers the blueberry flavor just a smidgen. That doesn’t completely ruin the effect, though, nor the name. The berries are blended. They are mixed, which makes for some delicious waffles. I see you, Eggo.

Kellogg's Eggo Thick & Fluffy Mixed Berry Waffles Closeup

Let’s not forget the convenience factor. When it comes to toaster waffles, especially waffles of a certain thickness that tend to take a little longer to toast… it’s not always easy to get it just right. You’ve made a Thick & Fluffy waffle and that is indeed thick and fluffy, but one that is still a cinch to get to that desirable level of golden brown crispiness without the burnt edges. Delicious and hot and golden brown. And sweet enough to skip the syrup… but why would you ever do that? I say bring on the sweetness!) This is a good waffle, Eggo. But now you’re just showing off.

So please hear me out. I admire the level of toasty goodness you’ve achieved with this new creation, Mixed Berry – one that is on par with the yummy-ness of the other Thick & Fluffy flavors, Original and Cinnamon & Brown Sugar.

But please, just take a moment to think of the other brands, the ones you’ve left behind: Kashi, Aunt Jemima, Krusteaz, Nature’s Path, Van’s, and any store brand. Think of how they might feel when you show up with yet another tasty breakfast item that will yet again fill the bellies of Americans with warm, toasty, sweet waffle-y goodness. They’ll feel jealous, that’s what.

That’ll do, Eggo. That’ll do.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 waffle/55 grams – 160 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 260 milligrams of sodium, 45 milligrams of potassium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Kellogg’s Eggo Thick & Fluffy Mixed Berry Waffles
Purchased Price: $2.50 (on sale)
Size: 6 waffles/11.6 oz
Purchased at: Vons
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Full of mixed berry flavor. Sweet enough to skip the syrup. Humility. Aretha.
Cons: Jealousy. Mixed berry flavor doesn’t taste like real fruit. Show-offs. Strawberry flavor overpowers the blueberry flavor.

REVIEW: Nestlé Crunch Limited Edition Thin Mints Girl Scouts Candy Bar

Nestlé Crunch Limited Edition Thin Mints Girl Scouts Candy Bar

Who doesn’t want things when they want them? For a culture that has found a way to hasten the delivery of materials in nearly every facet of life, we have yet to master the forever elusive and infinitely-adored Girl Scout Cookie. Unavailable anywhere but from the hands of the enterprising young scouts themselves, these cookies cannot be a more prized item. I’ve seen grown adults hoard these delicious treats like canned peaches in a 1962 bomb shelter.

One guy I knew could fill a tractor trailer with all the boxes of Tagalongs he’d stockpiled through the years. Another friend packed a large freezer in her garage with boxes upon boxes of Thin Mints, swearing that they tasted even better partially-thawed. All of this makes me believe that after the apocalypse, only two things will populate the earth: Cockroaches and frozen boxes of Samoas.

However, every year, the rest of us are forced to wait until Girl Scout Cookies go on sale. I know that when that much-anticipated order form starts making the rounds at the office, delicious and enticing visions of Thin Mints and my beloved Trefoils begin to dance through my head. But having a whole box of cookies (or more) to yourself is a spare-tire-inducing event. Good thing the Girl Scouts have teamed up with Nestlé to create Nestlé Crunch Limited Edition Girl Scouts candy bars. Now I can have the taste of authentic Girl Scout cookies in a bite-sized package TODAY. For a limited time.

Nestlé Crunch Limited Edition Thin Mints Girl Scouts Candy Bar Bars

Since Thin Mints are the most popular Girl Scout Cookie of all time, it makes sense to review the Nestlé Crunch Limited Edition Thin Mints Girl Scouts candy bar. True fans will not be disappointed. The Nestlé Crunch Thin Mints candy bar is a very nice amalgamation of everything we love about original Crunch bars and Thin Mints: “Dark chocolate cookie wafers and mint chocolate créme, topped with airy crispies.” You get two bars in a wrapper, so it’s double the pleasure, double the fun. The candy tastes like the real thing except for the “airy crispie” bits, but those add a nice texture.

If you think about it, these Nestlé Crunch Thin Mints candy bars are like an ultra-light, super-portable box of cookies! Way to go, Nestlé Crunch Limited Edition Thin Mints Girl Scouts candy bars! Yes, that’s an overly wordy title for something with a delightfully simple flavor. They’ve definitely got the “mint” part down with the tasty créme, but the “thin” part must have (thankfully) been lost in translation because these bars are pretty thick and coated in dense dark chocolate. You can’t go wrong with more dark chocolate.

Nestlé Crunch Limited Edition Thin Mints Girl Scouts Candy Bar Innards

Also, the layered cookie wafers create a more delicate crunch than the original Thin Mint cookies which is pretty awesome. We’re talking crispy — As crispy as your burnout neighbor in college who always wore socks with soccer sandals and kept showing up asking if you had any salsa.

Those of us who adore Thin Mints may agree that waiting for Thin Mints to come out once per year is a real trial, so the Nestlé Crunch Limited Edition Thin Mints Girl Scouts candy bars are a nice stop-gap. Impatient cookie hoarders rejoice!

(Nutrition Facts – 1 package – 200 calories, 100 fat calories, 11 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein, 0% Calcium, 4% Iron, 10% Vitamin C, and 0% Vitamin A.)

Item: Nestlé Crunch Limited Edition Thin Mints Girl Scouts Candy Bar
Purchased Price: $1.19
Size: 1.3 ounces (36.8 grams)
Purchased at: CVS
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Cookie hoarding. Dense dark chocolate coating. Airy crispies. Double your pleasure.
Cons: Having to wait 12 months for delicious Girl Scout Cookies. Socks with sandals. Spare tires. Only available for a limited time.