REVIEW: McDonald’s Stroopwafel McFlurry

McDonald s Stroopwafel McFlurry

I am of the opinion that McDonald’s outside of the states is better.

One of my all-time favorite fast food sandwiches is the McSpicy in Asia. Now one of my all-time favorite treats is the Stroopwaffel McFlurry from the Netherlands! But, the best is part is that I can get the latter here (for a limited time unless you visit the Chicago HQ McDonald’s locations which carries international items regularly.)

If you’re not familiar with a stroopwafel, it’s a euro-phenom. It’s basically a genius way to eat a cookie for breakfast; they’re very thin (even thinner than Oreo Thins!) waffle wafers sandwiching caramel. The waffle itself has the cinnamon goodness of a freshly made waffle cone, but it’s much more pliable, delicate because it bends with the caramel without crumbling. I appreciate McDonald’s went with the most well-known maker Daelmans.

McDonald s Stroopwafel McFlurry Top

But, you won’t find a whole cookie! The treat itself has broken up pieces of one blended with caramel and vanilla soft serve.

Because I may have been the first person order this at the location I went to, I was able to overhear the details about making the sausage, um, soft serve treat. The snack size comes with two scoops of cookie bits and a regular comes with three. Both get one pump of caramel.

McDonald s Stroopwafel McFlurry Spoon

The cookie pieces ate like caramel bits that beautifully stuccoed the vanilla soft serve. They didn’t freeze up from the cold. Also, one scoop of bits was plenty generous as I thought there was a nice distribution throughout the treat.

The pump of caramel nicely enhanced the caramel in the stroopwafel but didn’t overtake it. However, I could tell the stuff in the cookie was better with notes of cinnamon and vanilla compared to the straight sugar of the confection that was pumped in.

Overall, if you love caramel, you’ll definitely enjoy this!

Purchased Price: $2.29
Size: Snack Size
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 480 calories, 13 grams of fat, 8 gram of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 230 milligrams of sodium, 81 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 57 grams of sugar, and 9 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Talenti Gelato Layers Mint Fudge Cookie and Salted Caramel Truffle

Talenti Gelato Layers Mint Fudge Cookie and Salted Caramel Truffle

Summer is right around the corner, and the new Talenti Gelato Layers is the perfect sweet treat to celebrate after a brutal winter – goodbye polar vortex! – and a moody spring that has included snow.

This innovation is basically a sundae with the visual appeal of a parfait. Each pint has five layers consisting of signature gelato, toppings, and sauces. It’s all perfectly packaged in the usual transparent, recyclable plastic jar.

The line launched with seven different layer combinations, which made it incredibly hard to pick. So, I picked my favorite gelato bases and ended up with Mint Fudge Cookie (mint gelato, cookie crumbs, fudge sauce, mint gelato, chocolate cookies) and Salted Caramel Truffle (sea salt caramel gelato, chocolate cookies, dulce de leche, vanilla gelato, caramel truffle).

Talenti Gelato Layers Mint Fudge Cookie and Salted Caramel Truffle Top Layer

I started with the Mint Fudge Cookie with no rhyme or reason! Because I was worried it would be difficult to get through to all the layers, I began with a meek spoonful of the gelato. It’s surprising how fluffy and light it is; it almost didn’t seem gelato-like! In general, Talenti isn’t one of those hard-to-scoop frozen treats, but I didn’t expect it to be like butter. The flavor of the gelato itself was the Mediterranean Mint I knew and trusted.

Talenti Gelato Layers Mint Fudge Cookie

It was just as easy to take my spoon and dig all the way down to get all the layers. Amazing! My only mistake was that I didn’t use a long spoon.

Talenti Gelato Layers Mint Fudge Cookie Spoon

The mint was the perfect backdrop for all the layered goodness. What stood out to me was the delicious, rich fudge. I love me some good hot fudge, and this did not disappoint. I was also amazed that it wasn’t frozen solid. Magic. I enjoyed the added textural elements from the chocolate cookies and crumbs as well. Admittedly, they got a little soggy, but then it became almost like a chocolate cake texture which was I was not mad about.

Talenti Gelato Layers Salted Caramel Truffle 2

When starting on the Salted Caramel Truffle, I grabbed a larger/longer spoon so I could get more of the good good. I did notice that there was a bit of freezer burn around the bottom-most layer, which was the caramel truffles.

Talenti Gelato Layers Salted Caramel Truffle Spoon

This flavor was sweeter than the mint one, but it’s a caramel lover’s dream come true. It’s like caramel on caramel with the gelato and dulce de leche. I enjoy caramel, but the sweetness was a bit too much for me. Also, I only picked up on the “salted” part of the salted caramel from the truffles below. Although, like the mint version, I enjoyed the texture, particularly from the cubed-shaped chocolate truffles.

All in all, I’m kind of angry because this is SO good. The texture of everything is perfect, which I would think is incredibly difficult to mass produce and keep right on shelves and in freezers at home! But, Talenti has done it. It’s captured lightning in a bottle with the kind of deliciousness that gives me the excuse to eat the whole pint because I don’t want to ruin it by dumping it in a bowl.

Purchased Price: $5.29 each
Size: 1 Pint
Purchased at: Meijer
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Mint Fudge Cookie)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Salted Caramel Truffle)
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) Salted Caramel Truffle 320 calories, 15 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 42 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 34 total grams of sugar, 26 grams added sugar, and 5 grams of protein. Mint Fudge Cookie – 310 calories, 15 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 gram of dietary fiber, 33 total grams of sugars, 28 grams added sugar, and 5 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Chuck E. Cheese Unicorn Churros

Chuck E Cheese Unicorn Churros

What are Chuck E. Cheese Unicorn Churros?

They’re Chuck E.’s (actually technically Ronnie the Unicorn’s) standard issue churros but dusted with colorful, flavored sugar. They’re baked, not deep fried. The sugar flavors are cherry, sour apple, and blue raspberry.

How are they?

Solidly mediocre.

Chuck E Cheese Unicorn Churros Innards

First and foremost, the churro itself is really doughy. Because it’s baked, it doesn’t quite have a crispy exterior. On the bright side, there was no oil residue in the paper container whatsoever. Second, the familiar candy flavors created a high bar that these unicorn churros didn’t quite meet.

Chuck E Cheese Unicorn Churros Sugar

I started with the sour apple first because the neon green intrigued me. I expected a candy-like pucker, but all I got was an apple-flavored taste that wasn’t sour at all.

Next, I moved onto the cherry. This tasted like a standard cinnamon sugar churro. There was no cherry flavor whatsoever. Zilch. Nada! Part of me was somewhat relieved because cherry can taste super artificial.

Chuck E Cheese Unicorn Churros with Regular Churros 2

I unintentionally saved the best for last — blue raspberry. This was the most flavorful of the trio. It had a familiar blue raspberry Jolly Rancher-like flavor, but it was still pretty subdued.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Because an order of churros comes with four pieces, but there are only three flavors, you get two cherry ones. If I had the option of choosing, I’d go with another blue raspberry one.

Conclusion:

Chuck E Cheese Unicorn Churros 2

I think 6-year-old me, who had my birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, would have loved it. Fast forward 20+ years, adult Tiffany thinks that like most unicorn-themed foods, it’s all hype and no substance.

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 4-piece order
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Not Listed

REVIEW: Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins Affogato

Dunkin and Baskin Robbins Affogato Sign

What is the Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins Affogato?

An affogato is a classic Italian dessert featuring gelato “drowned” (direct translation of the word) by warm espresso. In this version, it’s naturally Dunkin’s espresso poured over Baskin-Robbin’s ice cream.

How is it?

Better than expected!

This combination isn’t new to me, but Dunkin’ isn’t really a place where I would think to order this because it sounds fancy and frou frou. But, if you haven’t tried one yet, it basically tastes like a coffee milkshake (if ordered with vanilla like I did).

Dunkin and Baskin Robbins Affogato Brains

However, because ice cream is less dense than gelato, the pour-over created a weird looking texture that I can only describe as brain-like. Appetizing, I know.

Also, the vanilla ice cream was a bit too icy for my liking. Baskin-Robbins used to the gold standard for me as a kid! Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Dunkin and Baskin Robbins Affogato Bite

You can get any one of the 31 flavors as the base for your affogato! The gal working mentioned that she tried it with the Jamoca Almond Fudge and didn’t love it because it just tasted like a “less sweet version.” So, it’s probably better to stick with a more plain flavor.

Conclusion:

I would order this again! I think this new offering makes the combo stores a bit more exciting for me. I like less-sweet flavor profiles, so next time I’ll get it with a chocolate ice cream for a mocha version!

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Not available.

REVIEW: Starbucks Cloud Macchiato

Starbucks Cloud Macchiatos

What are the Starbucks Cloud Macchiatos?

Starbucks’ new Cloud Macchiato is a new fancy take on an O.G., the macchiato, inspired by a classic Spanish summer drink (leche merengada or meringue milk). To achieve the frothy Instagram-worthy clouds, Starbucks’ R&D created a new “cloud powder” out of egg whites. In my mind, they just added egg whites to their existing cold foam offering, but maybe I’m oversimplifying it.

There are two new flavors: the Caramel Cloud (whipped cloud cold foam, vanilla syrup, espresso, caramel drizzle) and the Cinnamon Cloud (whipped cloud cold foam, cinnamon lemon syrup, espresso, caramel drizzle, a dusting of cinnamon). The latter seems to be more faithful to the Spanish’s meringue milk as it includes cinnamon and lemon.

Starbucks Cinnamon Cloud Macchiato Crosshatch

The crosshatching of the caramel drizzle on both is apparently a key Starbucks touch, but that’s not something I think of when thinking of when ordering caramel-topped drinks from here.

How are they?

They were way too easy to drink because I’m basically paying almost $5 for 1/2 cup of foam and an espresso shot, but I enjoyed it.

The Caramel Cloud had everything I enjoyed about the indulgent Ultra Caramel Frappuccino but with almost half the calories and sugar. Like the Ultra, it was less sweet than other caramel drinks. I noticed when ordering on the app that the Tall came with one pump of syrup. Typically, Tall beverages have at least 2-3 pumps of syrup (Cinnamon Dolce Latte: 3, Vanilla Latte: 2).

In addition to being less sweet, the cloud foam added a luxe aspect to the drink like the cold brew whipped cream did for the Ultra. I liken it to eating a delicious, guilt-free lite whipped cream.

Starbucks Cinnamon Cloud Macchiato Clouds

Watch out for the cloud ‘stache though! Your first sip will be all foam, but the espresso catches up on the 2nd or 3rd sip depending on the size of your gulps. When the espresso broke through the clouds like a ray of sunshine, it packed a wallop because of the bold contrast to the fluffy light sweetness.

As for the Cinnamon Cloud, I didn’t pick up on any cinnamon or lemon at all. All I could discern was that it wasn’t as coffee-forward as the Caramel version. Maybe this one could’ve benefitted from an extra pump of syrup!

Is there anything else you need to know?

It’s available both iced and hot. The hot version comes in a plain, white cup like all the other hot drinks, which defeats the purpose of the frothy cloud concept. Why even introduce it in hot?

Starbucks Caramel Cloud Macchiato Glob of Caramel

Note that the iced version comes with the new straw-less lid, but I had to grab a straw anyway to get the globs of caramel at the bottom.

Conclusion:

All in all, it’s no surprise that it’s another winner from Starbucks! But these new drinks stand out because they’re not just another flavored syrup, but truly game-changing innovation in the coffee space. I’m already thinking about all the other flavored cloud possibilities with this new fluffy goodness!

Purchased Price: $4.45
Size: Tall (12 fl. oz.)
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Caramel)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Cinnamon)
Nutrition Facts: (12 fl. oz.) Caramel – 210 calories, 6 grams of fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 28 grams of sugar, and 9 grams of protein. Cinnamon – 210 calories, 6 grams of fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 29 grams of sugar, and 9 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ruffles Double Crunch Potato Chips

Ruffles Double Crunch Potato Chips

As an ice chewer, I am all about crunchy goodness. So, Ruffles “new” Double Crunch chips are right in my wheelhouse.

The “new” is in quotes because Ruffles launched very crunchy chips a couple of times before with Ultimate and Deep Ridged lines. It even secured two U.S. patents for the “chip’s ornamental design,” and 24+ prototypes were created to land on this specific crunchy form that incidentally looks like the chevron design on Charlie Brown’s shirt.

Full disclosure, I haven’t tried the previous iterations. But, I see it as it as a blank slate!

It seems like Double Crunch is closer to Deep Ridged because of the similar flavors AND because Ultimate seemed more wannabe macho with its pseudo-metal pattern on the packaging and tailgate-inspired varieties like Kickin’ Jalapeno Ranch, Sweet & Smokin’ BBQ, and Loaded Bacon & Cheddar Potato Skins.

This version even leans into the same “2x” claim but instead of saying “Ridges 2x As Deep,” it reads “2x The Crunch.” The fine print indicates that it’s only versus original Ruffles, so that’s kind of disappointing.

Ruffles Double Crunch Potato Chips Ridges

But, it is dang crunchy though. It’s so much so that you probably don’t want to eat this in class or work cubicle because someone will side-eye you for being too noisy. The chip itself is very kettle chip-like down to the smell (slight stale oil eau de parfum), which makes sense because that’s how it’s cooked as noted on the back panel. I don’t smell either the Zesty Cheddar or Hot Wings seasoning. Take that at face value based on your own preferences! I don’t mind either way.

Ruffles Double Crunch Potato Chips Open Bags

The Zesty Cheddar is basically like a saltier Cheddar & Sour Cream. I was so surprised by the saltiness that I immediately went to check the nutrition facts but learned that both flavors have the same amount of sodium. Unless the salt was supposed to be the zesty part, I didn’t get a kick either. Disappointing.

Ruffles Double Crunch Potato Chips Closeup

On the flipside, I enjoyed the Hot Wings variety! It’s like a true buffalo wing flavor dancing on my taste buds with a touch of tanginess followed by this creaminess that I can only describe as eating a side of celery with ranch. I don’t know if my mind was playing tricks on me because it tasted so similar to actual wings that I imagined the actual eating experience with sides and all. I didn’t find it THAT spicy but could see folks finding this a bit on the spicier side.

These Ruffles do indeed have some crunchy r-r-r-ridges, but not quite consistent flavors!

Purchased Price: $3.00 each
Size: 7 3/4 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Zesty Cheddar)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Hot Wings)
Nutrition Facts: (about 10 chips) Zesty Cheddar – 150 calories, 8 grams of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugars, and 2 grams of protein. Hot Wings – 150 calories, 8 grams of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, less than 1 gram of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.