What are Dove Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa with Marshmallow Creme Promises?
A mouthful to say.
Joking aside, it’s Dove getting in on the hot cocoa flavor trend. It’s the squircle-shaped candy that we know and love from Dove, but with milk chocolate hot cocoa and a marshmallow crème flavored center (note that it’s not phrased as “hot cocoa-flavored milk chocolate”). It’s a limited time only candy and is available exclusively at Target.
How are they?
It had the silky smoothness of typical Dove Promises, but any hot cocoa-ness was really subtle (also see: non-existent). I kept eating piece after piece, and each time I thought I was starting to get a hint of marshmallow or rich cocoa, it would quickly dissipate into a one-note milk chocolate flavor.
I expected it to be more marshmallow-forward because the majority of the interior was crème colored. But, once I picked off some of the crème to try on its own, I discovered that it was like white chocolate. One could argue that a marshmallow doesn’t taste like anything, but whatever it is, it’s overpowered entirely by milk chocolate.
Is there anything else you need to know?
I think the recently released Hot Cocoa M&M’s have more of a hot cocoa flavor than this. At least, I could tell they didn’t taste like regular M&M’s.
Dove’s Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa with Marshmallow Creme Promises are good, but they don’t quite deliver on the flavor profile. But, I do appreciate that the foil wrappers and the Promises written on the inside have a holiday theme.
Purchased Price: $3.99 Size: 7.94 oz. Purchased at: Target Rating: 4 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (4 pieces) 180 calories, 11 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.
I didn’t know hacking at Mickey Dee’s was a thing as I usually only think of “secret menus” at places like In-N-Out, Starbucks, and Jamba Juice. But, apparently I’ve been missing out because I’ve only ever combined my Big Breakfast combo into one giant sandwich. Does that count as a hack?
Inspired by current hackennings (hacking+happenings) and eater demand for heftier breakfast sandwiches, McDonald’s launched three new Triple Breakfast Stacks for a limited time. They are sandwiches that come with two sausage patties, two slices of American cheese, bacon, and an egg. The only difference between the three options is the carb that holds it all together; you can pick a biscuit, McMuffin or McGriddle.
As a more classic breakfast kinda gal, I went with the McMuffin version. A McDonald’s sandwich/burger in the states never looks as good as it does in the commercials or like the beautiful food photos on the menu. They’re constructed with tweezers overseas, I swear. I lament because my Triple Stack squished down to a 1.75 stack. But, it was still much larger than a regular McMuffin.
My first bite was the familiar goodness of a Sausage McMuffin — that salty, porky flavor balanced with the slight tang of the English muffin. But, what I noticed more distinctly with the Stack was the American cheese. It has a distinct taste profile and with two melty slices, the rich silkiness of the Kraft-like layers became one of the main flavors, but I wasn’t mad about it.
When I got to the bacon, I LOVED that it did what it does best – make everything taste better! I thoroughly enjoyed the extra punch of salty smokiness as well as the texture it added. I was a bit sad when my last bite was just the sausage patty because it seemed so plain without bacon!
The $4.29 price point for the sandwich is like the price of a combo for other breakfast sandwiches. But, the Sausage McMuffin with Egg a la carte is $3. So, you’re effectively getting another sausage patty, bacon, and slice of cheese for $1.29. Not a shabby deal.
I would say to quickly skedaddle to your local McDonald’s because the Triple Stacks are a limited time offering. But if you want it after it’s officially taken off the menu, you could just hack it. ¯\_(?)_/¯
Purchased Price: $4.29 Size: N/A Rating: 9 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (McMuffin version) 780 calories, 57 grams of fat, 23 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 340 milligrams of cholesterol, 1560 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugars, 35 grams of protein.
The new Bugles Hot & Spicy is what it sounds like — a new hot and spicy flavor of our favorite finger hats! If you don’t know what Bugles are – what rock have you been, er, I mean they’re cone-shaped corn chips.
How is it?
I opened the bag, and the first two smells I could identify were permanent marker and BBQ flavoring. I’m guessing the permanent marker smell was coming from the packaging and the BBQ from the chips themselves. Thank goodness it didn’t taste like a marker.
Of course, I followed the Bugles eating ritual: I put one on each finger and ate it off one-by-one, like I did back in elementary school. They didn’t fit my finger as well though.
Anyways, there was a sweet BBQ-esque flavor that reminded me corn nuts (but without the tooth-chipping crunch) followed by heat from the hot and spicy flavoring. The corn tempered the spiciness and it added a sweetness. All the salty, hot, and sweet flavors made for an addictive combination.
Is there anything else I need to know?
The lingering spiciness was fantastic! But, I was taken by surprise as I kept huffing and puffing from the snack even when I stopped eating them. Yowza!
Usually, chips don’t deliver on hot or spicy, but this new Bugles does both! If you’re like me and haven’t had the classic snack in a while (and you like spicy foods), it’s worth a try!
Purchased Price: $2.98 Size: 14.5 oz. bag Purchased at: Walmart Rating: 8 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (30 grams) 160 calories, 9 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 280 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.
What are Starbucks Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cookie Straws?
The Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Cookie Straws are essentially Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL)-flavored rolled wafers. Pirouline, the Belgian inventors of this wafer form, manufactures this eco-friendly straw alternative that’s part of Starbucks’ “Coffee At Home” efforts. This means it’s available at grocery stores along with PSL K-Cup pods, VIA Instant flavors, etc.
How are they?
The Pumpkin Spice Cookie Straws tin has an overpowering holiday candle smell, but the wafers taste like a delicious PSL! The flavor comes from the inner white chocolatey coating.
They’re individually packaged, which I thought was a waste of packaging at first. But when I realized I could only eat one at a time, I appreciated it kept the others at optimum freshness.
Is there anything else I need to know?
I thought sipping an iced PSL through this cookie straw would be too much (also see: too basic), but it was surprisingly good. It accented the pumpkin spice sauce and made the drink taste even more festive with a touch more of the cinnamon and nutmeg goodness.
However, the wafer does NOT work well with hot drinks. I thought the inner coating would melt and add some its flavor to my Pike Place brewed coffee, but it just made the exterior mushy.
It’s worth the splurge especially if you love all things pumpkin spice. It’s good enough to eat it on its own as a snack or as a sweet treat to complement your coffee. With this launch, Starbucks is cementing its PSL foothold in snacks too. I can’t wait to see what other PSL snack innovations come next year!
Purchased Price: $6.98 Size: 9.1 oz. container Purchased at: Walmart Rating: 9 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (1 cookie) 60 calories, 2 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 20 milligrams of sodium, 10 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of sugars, and 1 gram of protein.
You know when something tastes better in your memory than it actually does? That’s Planters Cheez Balls and Cheez Curls for me.
I distinctively remember Mr. Peanut and the blue cylindrical can sitting on the coffee table, which was the designated snack table, in our family’s living room. So, was I excited to see Planters bring it back for a limited time? Heck yeah! But, Chester Cheetah has ruled the curl and poof category uncontested for over a decade now and for good reason.
Looking at the can now, I wonder why I didn’t ever question a peanut mascot on a corn-based snack. Anyways, when I opened them with said odd graphic, I was taken aback by the fluorescent orange because I forgot how traffic cone-colored they were. I know that’s part of the charm because they’re from a time when we had purple-colored ketchup and neon-colored soda. But in today’s push for less artificial flavors or colors, it’s a bit jarring. It didn’t help that they were noticeably more neon than Cheetos. But, props to Planters for keeping these babies true to form.
Because I wanted to save the best for last, I started with the Cheez Curls. They were noticeably more flavorful and saltier than Cheetos. The fluorescent-ness translated to better cheez coverage. But, I enjoyed Cheetos’ crunchier texture and that the last flavor was more corn-forward.
I was curious as to why the corn was more pronounced, so I looked into the ingredient list. The first ingredient is degerminated yellow corn meal, but for Cheetos it’s enriched corn meal. I’m not a food scientist so don’t quiz me, but Google says that the degerminating process strips some pieces off of the corn to make it shelf stable. The enriching process adds back some the lost vitamins and nutrients from the degermination. Maybe in this process, Chester also adds back some corn flavor. I wouldn’t put it past that Cheetah!
Another theory I have is that the Curls (and Balls) contain semisoft cheese whereas Cheetos just uses a cheese seasoning. Again, no food magician here but I think of how cheese-forward a semisoft curd is versus a dried cheese seasoning. In my mind, this translates as the corn really just being a base vehicle for the cheese, which is why it’s not as corn flavored as the Cheetos.
As for the Cheez Balls, it’s clearly the same cheez so points for consistency. However, there was a subtle stale oil smell wafting from the can that I didn’t get with the other. Besides that, unlike the Curls, there were less texture and flavor differences with Cheetos Puffs. Interestingly enough, the Balls have both semisoft cheese and dried cheese seasoning.
All in all, pick up a can of Cheez Curls and Balls for nostalgia’s sake because it’s only around for a limited time. And I don’t foresee Planters extending that because they simply can’t stand up to Cheetos’ dominance and better taste. Sorry!
(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz. – Cheez Curls – 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 250 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of sugars, and 2 grams of protein. Cheez Balls – 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)
Purchased Price: $1.98 each Size: 4 oz. containers Purchased at: Walmart Rating: 5 out of 10 (Cheez Curls) Rating: 6 out of 10 (Cheez Balls Pros: Fluorescent orange glory and retro packaging. The Curls and Balls use semisoft cheese instead of just dried cheese seasoning which makes me think that it’s a bit more of a premium product than Cheetos! Great cheez coverage! Cons: They’re just not as good as Cheetos, IMHO. Cheez Balls have a bit of weird stale oil smell.