REVIEW: Nestle Toll House Funfetti Edible Cookie Dough and Edible Fudge Brownie Batter

Nestle Toll House Funfetti Edible Cookie Dough and Edible Fudge Brownie Batter

Friends, edible cookie dough is so 2019.

It’s 2020, and it marks the brave new world of EDIBLE BATTER. Nestle Toll House has one foot in the past and one foot in the future with its launch of Funfetti Edible Cookie Dough and Edible Fudge Brownie Batter.

I thought the first two flavors were outstanding. And even though I didn’t need another flavor, I’m never going to say no to colorful candy sprinkles!

Nestle Toll House Funfetti Edible Cookie Dough

Upon opening, the color and smell reinforced birthday cake. Like with the other flavors, I marveled at how easy it was to scoop as it wasn’t goopy or too hard. I was also happy to see that the color of the sprinkles didn’t bleed the way the M&M’s did in the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Monster flavor.

The taste delivered Funfetti, which is like sugar cookies. As expected, the sprinkles didn’t add much except a little color.

What caught me off guard was the texture. There was a distinct grittiness that I didn’t notice in the other flavors. I mean, one could argue there’s more realism with it – like you’re getting the granulated sugar that you mixed into your real dough! Or maybe it was the texture from the sprinkles that created this experience. Either way, it read as extra gritty to me.

One last gripe about this flavor, the “Made with 100% Real Fun” claim on the container made me roll my eyes. I have a personal vendetta against useless claims like this because it cheapens us all!!

Nestle Toll House Edible Fudge Brownie Batter

As for the edible batter – two words: HECK YES!

The smell immediately reminded me of Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker chocolate cake mix, and it took me back to elementary school with me in my parents’ kitchen mixing away. The ability for this new flavor to conjure up intense nostalgia, just from its smell, is part of its magic.

The batter itself was dense, rich, and delicious – quite cocoa forward and chocolate-intense, so calling it Devil’s Food Cake wouldn’t be off!

So, which is it, Tiffany, cake or brownie?!

This could easily be a base batter for making Devil’s Food Cake OR fudge brownies! BUT, I find brownie more fitting because the firmer texture of cookie dough translated into this new batter reminds me of eating the ooey-gooey core of a slightly underbaked fudge brownie.

I did notice there were white unmixed bits that were a stark contrast to the deep chocolate brown. OK, Nestle, that’s a bit TOO MUCH realism. I know I was a terrible cake mixer as a kid, but no need to remind me. But jokes aside, I have no idea what these bits were, and I could see how they could be off-putting.

Nestle Toll House Funfetti Edible Cookie Dough and Edible Fudge Brownie Batter 2

All in all, these edible goodies were executed quite well. Yes, there were small issues, but I didn’t find them egregious. However, what could be a deal-breaker is the new price! I was a bit taken aback by the price increase from $4.49 to $6 on all flavors. The food is good, but dang that is premium!

Purchased Price: $5.99 each
?Size: 15 oz. container
?Purchased at: Meijer
?Rating: 7 out of 10 (Funfetti), 9 out of 10 (Fudge)
?Nutrition Facts: (2 Tbsp) Funfetti – 140 calories, 4 grams of total fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 9 milligrams of cholesterol, 110 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 14 grams of total sugars, 14 grams of added sugars, and 1 grams of protein. Fudge Brownie Batter – 140 calories, 4.5 grams of total fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 14 grams of total sugars, 14 grams of added sugars, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Papa John’s Papadias

Papa John s Meatball Pepperoni Papadia

While your favorite pizza chain is still 2000 and late by adding more things to the crust, my favorite pizza chain – Papa John’s – is doing the most with its new Papadias. Inspired by the piadina, a Northern Italy flatbread sandwich, these were tested back in July and clearly did well enough to be launched nationwide. Thank you, test markets!

I was surprised to see ALL four varieties (Italian, Philly Cheesesteak, Grilled BBQ Chicken & Bacon, Meatball Pepperoni) made it through, but I’m making an educated guess the Philly Cheesesteak was the crowd favorite because it’s the hero image on all posters, website, etc.

I’m going to cut right to the chase; these part pizza, part sandwich phenoms are legit! I have eaten many a Subway flatbread sandwiches and it simply can’t compare to flatbread created with Papa John’s fresh, never frozen dough that has a fantastic springiness to it.

I can see why this portable form would work well for lunch. Thanks to the uniform fold-over, it was really easy to hold and didn’t come undone. There was no chance of me accidentally eating more of the top than the bottom and making a mess. Additionally, there wasn’t much oil residue on my fingers – just the tolerable, manageable dustiness that comes with eating pizza.

I was also very impressed by the amount of food for $6 each. It was one of the rare times that the press photos actually mirrored the size of the food in real life!

Here’s my ranking, in order of would order/eat again to likely would not order/eat again:

Meatball Pepperoni

Spicy meatballs, pepperoni, pizza sauce, mozzarella, and classic Italian seasoning. Served with a Pizza sauce dipping cup.

Papa John s Meatball Pepperoni Papadia Box

I didn’t want to put this one down. I don’t usually order meatballs as a topping at Papa John’s, so I was a blank slate on this one. I found that the beef and pork meatballs had good flavor and a pleasant overall texture – easy to bite into without weird tough bits or strange gamey-ness. And the pepperoni complemented these very well!

Papa John s Meatball Pepperoni Papadia 2

The meatballs were also cut in half, which helped with the distribution – I always had bites with meatball and/or pepperoni – and ensured that it all stayed in the flatbread. I was a bit disappointed the meatballs weren’t actually spicy though. On the bright side, no need for Alka-Seltzer! Spicy meatball reference, anyone? Overall, this Papadia had all the tastiness of a meatball sub without any of the messiness.

Grilled BBQ Chicken & Bacon

Grilled chicken, bacon, fresh-cut onions, and mozzarella. It’s drizzled with sweet and smoky BBQ Sauce. Served with a BBQ sauce dipping cup.

Papa John s Grilled BBQ Chicken  Bacon Papadia Box

What I noticed immediately about this one was the smell. The BBQ sauce was quite pungent, but it was welcomed! The plethora of sweet and smoky BBQ sauce was well-balanced with the mild mozzarella, savory bacon, and sharp onion strips. The first thing that came to mind was that it reminded me of a Carl’s Jr Western Bacon Cheeseburger except way easier to eat. Again, I can get a version of another favorite with LESS MESS? YAS.

Papa John s Grilled BBQ Chicken  Bacon Papadia

Italian

Alfredo sauce, spicy Italian sausage, salami, mozzarella, and banana peppers. Served with a Pizza sauce dipping cup.

Papa John s Italian Papadia Box

I LOVE Italian sandwiches because of the nuanced cold cut meat flavors balanced by the fresh crunch of banana peppers. The Papadia interpretation lost me a little bit because by having it all warm/cooked, the flavors and textures blended together too much.

Papa John s Italian Papadia

It blended so much so that I didn’t even realize there was Alfredo sauce! Furthermore, the salami and spicy Italian sausage melded together so much that the salami flavor couldn’t be discerned. And once again, no heat. Luckily, I was able to get some fuego from the standard pepperoncini fixin’ on the side. From a texture perspective, I could definitely taste the tangy banana pepper, but I wanted that added crunch!

Philly Cheesesteak

Sliced Philly steak, fresh-cut onions, green peppers, mozzarella, and the chain’s Philly sauce. Served with a Garlic sauce dipping cup.

Papa John s Philly Cheesesteak Papadia Box

The flavor was unmistakably a Philly cheesesteak with that green bell pepper and onion-forward flavor. However, my biggest gripe was the texture of the “sliced” Philly steak. Sliced is in quotes because it felt like ground beef and I couldn’t get past that. I’m no Philadelphian, but even I know that’s blasphemy! The flavor couldn’t make up for the faux pas on texture. However, even if the texture was right, it still would not leap frog the other flavors in tastiness.

Papa John s Philly Cheesesteak Papadia

Besides personal preference on flavors and textures, the only thing I thought was gratuitous across the board was the sauce on the side. All of the Papadias were really well-sauced and didn’t need any extra love.

Given the tastiness and viability of this innovation, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Hutadias or Domdias soon.

Papa John s Papadias

Purchased Price: $6 each
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Meatball Pepperoni), 7 out of 10 (Grilled BBQ Chicken & Bacon), 6 out of 10 (Italian), 6 out of 10 (Philly Cheesesteak)
Nutrition Facts: (1 Papadia) Meatball Pepperoni – 950 calories, 50 grams of fat, 21 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 140 milligrams of cholesterol, 2460 milligrams of sodium, 81 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 42 grams of protein. Philly Cheesesteak – 850 calories, 39 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 2180 milligrams of sodium, 81 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 40 grams of protein. Grilled BBQ Chicken & Bacon – 880 calories, 30 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 165 milligrams of cholesterol, 2630 milligrams of sodium, 91 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 36 grams of sugar, and 59 grams of protein. Italian – 960 calories, 55 grams of fat, 21 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 140 milligrams of cholesterol, 2760 milligrams of sodium, 77 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 38 grams of protein..

REVIEW: Arby’s Fish ‘N Cheddar Sandwich

Arby s Fish  N Cheddar Sandwich Wrapper

What is Arby’s Fish ‘N Cheddar Sandwich?

“WE HAVE THE FISH,” declares Arby’s new Fish ‘N Cheddar Sandwich wrapper.

Arby s Fish  N Cheddar Sandwich We have the Fish

I guess it does because Arby’s has THREE limited time fish sandwich options: the Crispy Fish Sandwich (crispy fish, tartar sauce, lettuce, sesame seed bun), Fish N’ Cheddar (crispy fish, cheddar cheese sauce, tartar sauce, lettuce sesame seed bun), and the King’s Hawaiian Fish Deluxe Sandwich (crispy fish, cheddar cheese, tartar sauce, lettuce, tomatoes on a King’s Hawaiian bun).

We’ve seen the Crispy Fish and the King’s Hawaiian Fish Deluxe before, but not the Fish N’ Cheddar. But let’s be real. It’s basically the crispy fish sandwich with cheddar cheese sauce.

Arby s Fish  N Cheddar Sandwich Hang off the Bun

Arby’s also boldly declares that the fish lineup is “Hang Off The Bun Huge.” As someone who lived in Indiana and has experienced a Pork Tenderloin sandwich, which is known for the meat outsizing the bun, I can appreciate this.

How is it?

Arby s Fish  N Cheddar Sandwich Profile

If the meat is going to outsize the bun, it better be dang good. Unfortunately, in this case, the fish wasn’t. The flavor was fine, but the texture was its downfall. To be fair, it wasn’t like a soggy wet nap, but it simply didn’t have that desirable deep-fried crunch.

In my opinion, they were way too fair on the breading-to-fish ratio. I wouldn’t have been upset if Arby’s skimped just a bit to make the breading a smidge more robust to create a delicious, crispy exterior.

Arby s Fish  N Cheddar Sandwich Cheese

Now on to what makes the sandwich “new” — the cheddar cheese sauce. This sauce was basically a less liquid-y nacho cheese. I concluded that even though it provides a more favorable melted texture than a square of American cheese, its flavor doesn’t complement the rest of the sandwich.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Arby s Fish  N Cheddar Sandwich Comparison
Fish ‘N Cheddar (left) Filet-O-Fish (right)

I ate this side-by-side with McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish. Arby’s offering was bigger, wasn’t doused in tartar sauce, and contained iceberg lettuce and cheese sauce, but these differences didn’t really give it an edge over the Filet-O-Fish and is not worth the extra couple of bucks.

Conclusion:

I would pick the Filet-O-Fish over this any day. If Arby’s brought back its Nashville Hot Fish Sandwich, I may consider making it my fast food fish fix. But, when it comes to a basic fried fish sandwich, I prefer the McDonald’s classic.

Purchased Price: $4.29
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 540 calories, 22 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 1030 milligrams of sodium, 65 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 20 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Caramel Coconut Oreo Cookies

Caramel Coconut Oreo Cookies

Oreo is starting the new decade with a FLAVOR BANG. The brand announced four new flavors (Chocolate Marshmallow, Caramel Coconut, Dark Chocolate Fudge-Covered, and Tiramisu) and launched three of said flavors this month.

I was most excited for the Caramel Coconut flavor because I know and love coconut crème. Probably like most folks, my mind went to Girl Scout Samoas or Caramel deLites Cookies. But, it’s SO MUCH tastier.

Caramel Coconut Oreo Cookies Sleeves

The caramel aroma really drew me in. The smell isn’t like your sundae caramel syrup or even what’s in a Ben & Jerry’s pint. It’s a deliciously deep scent that twinkles with a warmth that I ascribe to honey and/or brown sugar. And no, it’s not artificial like a Yankee Candle either. Oddly, there’s nothing about the scent experience that would even remotely hint at the coconut part of this flavor.

The scent makes up for the look because frankly, the brown crème doesn’t look very appetizing. It’s not something that would stop me from eating the cookie, but the off-tan seems to lean more like a pumpkin or maybe even maple crème.

Caramel Coconut Oreo Cookies Creme

Despite the creme color, I enjoyed eating every single cookie in this Family Size pack. Speaking of, why was I forced to buy Family Size?! I would’ve been so irked if this didn’t deliver. Yes, I checked if I could buy a regular-sized pack. I’m fairly certain a smaller size wasn’t made.

Anyways back to the cookie — it’s definitely more caramel forward but does have a coconut finish. If you’re not familiar with Oreo’s execution of coconut, I can see how it’s easily missed.

I also didn’t see any coconut bits when examining the crème, but I did discover small pieces wedged in my molars. That didn’t bother me too much as the stringy texture of longer strips of dried coconut isn’t my favorite.

Caramel Coconut Oreo Cookies are so wonderful that I’m going to drop this controversial thought: How about the Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers reformulate their respective Girl Scout coconut and caramel cookies to be more like this Oreo? I would buy SO many boxes.

Purchased Price: $3.56
Size: 17 oz.
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 cookies) 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 2.5 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 13 grams of total sugars, and less than 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Birthday Cake Frosty Cookie Sundae

Wendy s Birthday Cake Frosty Cookie Sundae

Woo, it’s Sagittarius season y’all!

Happy 50th Birthday to Wendy’s and golden birthday to me! I was delighted I was able to celebrate with the fast food chain’s new Birthday Cake Frosty Cookie Sundae.

Fifty revolutions around the sun is a pretty big deal, but it’s an even bigger deal because this birthday cake flavor is the first new Frosty flavor since the controversial vanilla launch in 2006.

While the cookie sundae concept may seem new, it’s not. There was a collab with Ghirardelli earlier this year featuring chocolate chip cookie chunks and G’s chocolate sauce. But, everything always seems more festive with rainbow sprinkles. So, this b-day version of the cookie sundae features rainbow sprinkles and sugar cookie bits.

Wendy s Birthday Cake Frosty Cookie Sundae Spoonful

I appreciate that Wendy’s is very transparent in describing in the production description that it’s “our creamy vanilla Frosty mixed with the flavor of classic birthday cake” because that’s exactly what it tastes like. I was able to discern it was not quite the vanilla one, but the birthday cake flavoring was relatively subtle.

Wendy s Birthday Cake Frosty Cookie Sundae Cookie Closeup

It just tasted sweeter to me, but maybe sweeter vanilla is all birthday cake is! I liked the texture from the sugar cookies and sprinkles, but that’s about all they added. The cookie itself was a tad eggy for my liking, but it wasn’t a deal-breaker.

I know I sound like a harsh critic, but my gold standard is Christina Tosi’s Milk B’ day Cake. Wendy’s didn’t come close to reaching that level, BUT at a fraction of the price/time without being an actual cake, it’s solid.

Although Wendy’s is technically a Scorpio with a founded date of 11/15/1969, I’m glad it was started and that the Vanilla Frosty came to be about 13 years ago. Without those two things happening, this birthday cake sundae maybe wouldn’t have existed for this limited time!

Purchased Price: $2.19
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 410 Calories, 14 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 240 milligrams of sodium, 64 grams of carbohydrates, 47 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Papa John’s Garlic Parmesan Crust

Papa John s Garlic Parmesan Crust

Papa John’s makes my favorite chain pizza.

Before you @ me, hear me out: it has the perfect balance of flavors as the slightly sweeter pizza sauce is the perfect primer for the savory toppings and signature Garlic Sauce. Also, the texture of the pizza has the springy goodness of fresh bread. Since I’m a crust enthusiast, that’s pretty dang important to me.

So, when Papa John’s launched its new garlic parmesan crust earlier this month, my crust purist self was a little skeptical. Why ruin a good thing?! It’s the first time in company history that it’s taken a page out of Pizza Hut’s book and changed up the crust. According to the VP of the menu strategy team, the chain found inspiration from its glorious Garlic Sauce.

Papa John s Garlic Parmesan Crust Half and Half

For good measure, I deviated from my usual pepperoni order with a half pepperoni, half mushroom pie with the garlic parmesan crust. Why? Because I was worried the new addition would throw off the aforementioned perfect balance. I figured mushroom was the tastiest neutral pick.

Papa John s Garlic Parmesan Crust Closeup

The new crust passed the visual test; it looked pretty different from the standard crust. I liken the look and feel of it to Subway’s Italian Herb and Cheese bread because you can see the shredded parmesan-romano cheese baked into it.

Papa John s Garlic Parmesan Crust Closeup 2

Flavor-wise, I could taste the parmesan, and it didn’t throw off the balance at all! It was fine with both pepperoni and mushroom. The flavor was like eating cheesy breadsticks. It wasn’t garlicky or buttery enough for my liking, though. Especially if it’s supposed to be inspired by the signature sauce.

However, after dipping the garlic parmesan crust into the garlic butter, I had some seriously vampire-warding breath.

Overall, Papa John’s Garlic Parmesan Crust was average. It didn’t add or take away from my experience. I could see it as a nice way to jazz up a pizza order, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for it.

Purchased Price: $10.00
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: N/A.