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.

Burger King Cinnamon Toast Crunch Shake 2

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.

Burger King Cinnamon Toast Crunch Shake 3

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: 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.

Oreo Hot Cocoa Mix 2

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.

Oreo Hot Cocoa Mix 3

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.


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

White Pumpkin Pie M M s

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.)

White Pumpkin Pie M M s 2

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.

White Pumpkin Pie M M s 3

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.

REVIEW: Nestle Toll House Cookie of the Year Chocolate Fudge Pretzel Cookies

Nestle Toll House Cookie of the Year Chocolate Fudge Pretzel

Hey there, everyone.

For the second year in a row, I’m here to accept the Nestle Toll House Cookie of the Year Award. I’m not sure why the award committee keeps inviting me back to make these speeches on behalf of a cookie. I guess they must believe in the old adage, “you are what you eat.”


Yeesh. Tough crowd.

Let me be clear, folks. This isn’t an envelope mix-up, like that “La La Land” and “Moonlight” fiasco. Believe it or not, Nestle Toll House’s Chocolate Fudge Pretzel cookie dough really did beat out other contenders like PB&J Oreo for the Cookie of the Year award. Sorry, PB&J Oreo. Between you and me, I have a feeling that Nestle Toll House might have rigged this thing.

Nestle Toll House Cookie of the Year Chocolate Fudge Pretzel 2

I’ve got to give a quick shout-out to the crew on this production, also known as my oven and baking sheet. The 11-12 minutes it took to fully bake this project took longer than those “straight-to-plate” cookies, but these guys were nothing but professional.

Nestle Toll House Cookie of the Year Chocolate Fudge Pretzel 3

For all of you drama fans out there, Nestle Toll House Chocolate Fudge Pretzel cookies are set against a dark backdrop…of chocolate, that is. The chocolate cookie dough steals the show with a perfectly rich cocoa flavor. Like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, it’s the kind of role player that you can build a franchise around.

I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the milk chocolate morsels. They add a sweeter, creamier element throughout. It can be hard to stand out when one of your co-stars is so dominant, but the milk chocolate morsels play off of the chocolate cookie dough really well.

Nestle Toll House Cookie of the Year Chocolate Fudge Pretzel 4

The pretzel pieces are a welcome addition to the cast, too. They’re salty, floury, and retain a good crunch. But if I’m being honest, they can be pretty erratic. Some cookies have a lot of them, and others hardly have any. It would be nice to see some consistency from those pretzel prima donnas.

Some of you in the audience might look at these Chocolate Fudge Pretzel cookies and think, “they could use something more, like caramel.” But I’ve got to disagree with you. Adding another ingredient here would be like Michael Bay’s use of explosions -— excessive.

Nestle Toll House Cookie of the Year Chocolate Fudge Pretzel 5

Once again, the Nestle Toll House Cookie of the Year is a real winner. The chocolate cookie dough, milk chocolate morsels, and pretzel pieces combine to make a formidable cast that puts on a great performance. Congratulations to the 2017 Cookie of the Year: Nestle Toll House Chocolate Fudge Pretzel Cookies.

I don’t know what the 2018 Cookie of the Year will be, but I do know this: it’ll be made by Nestle Toll House…

…and I’ll have to give yet another acceptance speech for a fake cookie award.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cookie – 80 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 11 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 16 oz. (makes 24 cookies)
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Rich, fudgy cookie dough. Sweet milk chocolate morsels add nice variety. Crunchy pretzel pieces. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Cons: Still a totally made-up award, possibly rigged. Uneven distribution of pretzel pieces. Michael Bay.