QUICK REVIEW: Burger King Cinnamon Toast Crunch Shake

Burger King Cinnamon Toast Crunch Shake

Having retired from gracing the cover of cereal boxes, Chef Wendell has teamed up with the brilliant minds behind the cereal-flavored shake line at Burger King to bring us the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Shake.

Wendell’s cinnamon sugar stained hands are all over the latest offering, combining what Burger King describes as cinnamon cereal-flavored syrup and cinnamon toast crunch pieces with vanilla soft serve.

Outwardly, it dons the unassuming guise of a ho-hum vanilla shake, but just as with many superhero origin stories, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. The first sip will blast even the most underdeveloped taste buds into sugary oblivion, but a warm cinnamon aftershock is definitely in play as well. This thing screams Cinnamon Toast Crunch and that beloved flavor is uniform and omnipresent.

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As much as I praise the shake for capturing the essence of its namesake, there are some missteps. Unsurprisingly, the cereal pieces do not fare as well as one would like. There was some crunchiness to be found, but overall, they were more soggy than not. This being the first semi-watery shake I’ve received from BK may have hastened the demise of my poor cereal bits.

For breakfast cereal junkies, and especially CTC lovers, this is a dream come true. But, while excellent in flavor, this cereal turned dairy delight hits hard and lingers, possibly even to a cloying extent for those sans adamantium pancreases forged by the cereal fueled Saturday morning cartoon bingeing of their youth.

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Because of those shortcomings, I cannot objectively give this a higher score. Personally though, this is everything I wanted it to be; a decadent portal to the halcyon days of color changing Ninja Turtle bowls filled with sugary goodness.

Purchased Price: $3.29
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Large) 780 calories, 19 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 570 milligrams of sodium, 137 grams of carbohydrates, 113 grams of sugar, and 16 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Pumpkin Spice Doughnut

Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Pumpkin Spice Doughnut 1

This time of year people love to refer to those who adore pumpkin spice as “basic,” and they aren’t using that word in lieu of “standard” or “classic” – it’s a negative thing.

But basic doesn’t always have to be bad, and truth be told, pumpkin spice isn’t really all that basic compared to a lot of other flavors. Starbucks simply bred a generation of UGG-boot clad young girls that fawned over their PSL’s and tarnished the rep of us truly spicy folk forever.

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Some things are truly basic though, and I mean it in a good way. Sometimes the most basic things are the greatest, like chocolate chip cookies, white cake, vanilla bean ice cream, and a classic glazed doughnut. In a natural collision course of good versus bad basic, Krispy Kreme has cranked out a fresh spin on their money-making staple for several days only (for a second year) with the Pumpkin Spice Original Glazed Doughnut.

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The doughnut smells almost identical to Krispy Kreme’s iconic Original Glazed – yeasty, greasy, and sweet. Its color is notably darker, taken from a pure light tan to deep speckled brown. The size, shape, and overall appearance, aside from the color, is a classic KK affair.

The flavor is subtly spicy with little flourishes of cinnamon poking through the soft yeasty fried profile. There aren’t any deep earthy notes of cloves or nutmeg, and no discernible squashy pumpkin flavor either. The ingredient list didn’t offer me any clues, but to my palate, this is a KK glazed doughnut that’s spiked with a decent, but not aggressive, amount of cinnamon. Texturally, this pumpkin pastry is everything I’ve come to expect and love from the Kreme family – soft and doughy with a very light and airy bite that nearly dissolves on the tongue.

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Although the spice-level doesn’t thwart me into a cascading pile of crunchy leaves, what it does do very well is temper the usually hyper-sweet OG Krispy Kreme Doughnut. The presence of cinnamon helps balance out the intense sugariness of the glaze and makes it a much more well-rounded eating experience. I have no issues with the strong smack of sweet that the original version delivers but I know some people’s complaint about KK is they can be too cloying, and this may be a very short lived solution to that problem.

When washed down with coffee, as all doughnuts should be, the spicy cinnamon flavor becomes much more pronounced. Whereas the bitter coffee usually acts as a much-needed relief from most sugar-forward doughnuts, the bitterness actually causes a bit of a spicy sparkle that proves the existence of all those little brown dots and begins to channel the post-chew tingle of ginger.

Krispy Kreme’s Pumpkin Spice Original Glazed Doughnut isn’t a must-try by any means, but it isn’t a downgrade from their already stellar OG offering either. It’s a mellow and fun take on one of the best items the fast food industry offers, and if you’re in the area the next time this flavor inevitably pops up for “one day only,” it’s worth a stop, but don’t drive too far.

(Nutrition Facts – 190 calories, 100 calories from fat, 11 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.29
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Airy, crisp glazed texture. Presence of spice helps balance out the sweetness. Cinnamon all over my errythang.
Cons: Subdued spices until activated by coffee. No true pumpkin flavor. Only available on special days.

REVIEW: Oreo Hot Cocoa Mix

Oreo Hot Cocoa Mix

Oreo has become a D-list celebrity that gets paid for club appearances.

Want the iconic cookie to show up in your milkshake, on your doughnut, or attached to your nuts? That can happen for the right price. Yes, Oreo is the Scott Disick or Lil’ Jon of the snack world. YEAH!!!

The latest company to pay the cookie an appearance fee is Kerry, who has Oreo in its hot cocoa mix. No, not you, Kerry, who’s reading this review right now. Kerry, a food company headquartered in Ireland.

The Oreo Hot Cocoa Mix box says it contains “Oreo Cookie Crumbs,” and a quick look at its ingredients list and what’s on an Oreo package shows that’s the case. While both have the same ingredients, the hot cocoa mix doesn’t appear to be a collection of dark cookie crumbs. Instead, it looks like something from Swiss Miss, Nestle, or a quarry.

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I made a cup with water, and, because of my Swiss Miss experiences, I expected it to be, well, um, watery. But that was not the case with the Oreo Hot Cocoa Mix. Swirling it around in the mug like I was aerating wine shows it has a viscosity that makes it difficult to tell water was used. I don’t know if that means thickening agents or I need to wash my dishes better.

But its consistency might also be the result of the amount of powder in each envelope that goes into the six ounces of liquid the instructions say to use. Each one has about 70 percent more than what’s in a Swiss Miss packet. While that creates a thicker beverage, the amount also makes it difficult to dissolve all the contents in hot liquid. Despite my vigorous stirring, many small powder clumps remained.

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The hot cocoa mix smells like the wafer from the popular cookie, but, in beverage form, it doesn’t make me think I’m drinking molten Oreo. But there’s a bit of the cookie’s dark cocoa flavor in the aftertaste. While it doesn’t fully taste like a chocolate Oreo wafer, it’s a darker, more decadent hot chocolate than I’m used to. It’s quite good.

I also made a cup with vanilla soy milk, but, despite it being creamier than the one made with water, it’s less pleasing because the non-dairy milk hides whatever Oreo flavor there is.

Like Scott Disick’s club appearances, I thought Oreo Hot Cocoa Mix was a desperate money grab. But while Mr. Disick has nothing to offer society, the Oreo Hot Cocoa Mix offers a warm, sweet beverage that’ll hit the spot when the temperatures start dropping.

YEAH!!!

Thanks to reader Robbie for sending me a box!

(Nutrition Facts – 1 packet – 150 calories, 30 calories from fat, 3.5 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 23 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 8-pack
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Smells like chocolate Oreo wafers. A step above Swiss Miss and Nestle hot cocoa mixes. Tastes really good when made with water.
Cons: Is Oreo Yoo-hoo next? Oreo is like a D-list celebrity that gets paid of club appearances. Oreo flavor disappears when made with vanilla soy milk.

REVIEW: White Pumpkin Pie M&M’s

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These White Pumpkin Pie M&M’s are simply white chocolate with a pumpkin pie flavor. But it got me thinking that a pumpkin pie engulfed in hardened white chocolate would actually be an epic holiday dessert. If you make this, you’re officially invited to my family Thanksgiving.

These M&M’s are your standard specialty M&M’s, slightly larger in size and featuring several different colors. (Side note: Is it me or do M&M’s and Oreo seem to be in a competition for who can create the most flavors? I’m certainly not mad about it. Let’s get Mars and Nabisco in on this, stat.)

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I LOVE all things pumpkin, so I was super PUMPed (see what I did there?) to try these guys. I had my hesitations, of course, because oftentimes I find that food supposedly flavored as pumpkin really just tastes like “fall” (nutmeg, spices, etc.) and not really pumpkin itself. Beer is the perfect example of that. More spice and less pumpkin.

I’m super happy to report that the White Pumpkin Pie M&M’s DO in fact taste like pumpkin pie. But boy, are they sweet. Not in a bad way, just in a “You better be ready for dessert way.” The sweetness becomes more prevalent as you go, and there’s also a nice cinnamon aftertaste to them. I could only eat a small handful each time I opened the bag.

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When I bit into one for a cross-section photo, that’s when I could see the inside looks like white chocolate, which is the first ingredient listed on the bag. (Above anything pumpkin, please note.) Now I’m wondering what white chocolate flavor M&M’s comes up with next…

Anyway, I did like these a lot. So much so that when my husband tried to hijack the bag to take to a work meeting, I immediately stopped him because I enjoyed them so much and wanted the bag for myself. (First rule of marriage: Let your wife have all the candy!) They’re a good fall treat and good for grabbing a quick handful as I enjoy my morning coffee. Now, who’s up for a Pumpkin Beer and White Pumpkin Pie M&M’s tasting?

(Nutrition Facts – 1.5 oz – 210 calories, 11 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 28 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Tasty pumpkin flavor, perfect fall treat.
Cons: Too sweet for more than a handful. Should have added “Chocolate” in the product title.

REVIEW: Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bites

1 Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bites

Ah, the end of summer. A magical time when sleeves appear on clothes again, Halloween candy starts popping up in store aisles and I can finally turn the oven on and bake again (without feeling like I’m living inside it). Thankfully, Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bites hit shelves in near-autumn, when I could truly enjoy them.

2 Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bites

On first look, the sparkling sugar coating promised on the package was nowhere to be found. I guess sugar crystals would likely dissolve after just a short thaw, but still – bummer. When tempted with glitter/twinkle/shine/sequins/shimmer, I take it hard when real life comes up short.

3 Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bites

After the suggested eight-minute oven bake, the aroma was subtle – enveloping the stove area with a “something’s baking” cinnamony scent. The bites looked exactly the same after baking – I photographed them with my oven mitt in the frame to tell the before & after shots apart.

4 Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bites

The cinnamon coating gave the bites a density and a flavor kick, but it was more like a crust than crunch. Flavor and texture-wise, the outer shell of the bites screamed “Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls” with that familiar doughy feel. The tops even looked like those cinnamon shards that get half-stuck to the roll below it when you separate them from the exploding cardboard tube. I am a huge fan of the rolls, so I was happy with this development.

5 Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bites

Inside, the warm cinnamon filling stayed put and didn’t ooze out when cracked open. (I’ll let you decide if that’s a good thing or not.) It was slightly thicker than pudding and had a lovely cream cheese-like flavor taking second billing behind the star of the show, cinnamon.

6 Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bites

The biggest issue here was the lack of Cinnamon Toast Crunch in these Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bites. They didn’t have the eggy undertones of the cereal or the grit of the cinnamon sugar. We need Maury to run a DNA test!

The box has oven and microwave directions, so I nuked a batch too. This only takes 30 seconds and while the taste is the same, the texture changes. The al dente feel is instead a soft bite and moist top.

7 Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bites

I tried to turn that into a positive, however. With Halloween right around the corner, I deployed my collection of candy eyeballs and edible whatnots. The sticky surface was perfect for grabbing and holding decorations. They also add a crunch that the bite itself doesn’t have.

Overall, I thought these were fun, easy and delicious – a great treat to make with kids. If you want them as-is, take the time to bake them. If you want to glam them up, put ‘em in the blaster.

(Nutrition Facts – 4 bites – 180 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 380 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 13 grams of sugars and 3 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 8.8 oz. box (18 bites)
Purchased at: ShopRite
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: More like Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll Bites, amiright? Fun size & shape, nice cream-cheesy filling. Oven and microwave options. Begging for H’ween decorations.
Cons: Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, you are NOT the father! Don’t ever promise a glitter girl sparkle and not deliver.