REVIEW: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios Cereal

I knew I was winning before I even opened the box of Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios. First of all, I’ve often professed my love for the combination of chocolate and peanut butter. Second, how can you go wrong with Cheerios? I consider them the great American cereal, and I grew up in a Honey Nut Cheerios household myself. My dad loves ’em.

(And side note, in doing research for this review, I guess I never realized how many Cheerios varieties there actually are. Chocolate, Fruity, Protein, Apple Cinnamon, and many, many more. Now I’m a little too excited, and currently imagining my husband’s face if he sees 12 varieties of Cheerios on our next grocery bill. I’ll tell him it’s for research, of course!)

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Back to these babies: I’m gonna cut to the chase. These are great. As soon as you open the box, you get a strong yet pleasant whiff of the chocolate and peanut butter combination. With a flavor that is reminiscent of Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs, the Cheerios don’t taste artificial and aren’t overly sugary.

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The two flavors marry together nicely and you still get the original Cheerios grain taste in there as well. It’s like when you’re already pleased with the sale price of an item and then it rings up even less when you get to the register. (Who doesn’t love this?!) Regular Cheerios are classic and delicious, and when you add in these two flavors, it elevates them even more.

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One of my favorite things about the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios is the versatility. They taste great dry or with milk, making them an ideal snack. Moms, throw these in your diaper bags, and young professionals like me, pack them in your briefcase for between meetings. That’s my plan for the rest of the week, unless my husband hijacks the box before I get back to them.

When you do add milk, the Cheerios hold up well and don’t get soggy instantly. The milk does turn a light brown hue from the chocolate, as you typically find with chocolate cereals, but it doesn’t take away from the flavor.

The other plus is that the nutritional values aren’t too shabby for a cereal involving chocolate. I was pleasantly surprised a serving (yes, I did portion it out to the 3/4 cup serving. Who dictates these serving sizes anyway? It was like a generous handful.) only contains 8 grams of sugar. That’s less than my morning iced coffee! Good job, Cheerios. All the more reason to make these a snack throughout your day.

Bottom line is if you like Cheerios, chocolate and peanut butter, there’s really no reason not to give these a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup – 120 calories, 4 grams of fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 11.3 oz. box
Purchased at: Giant Eagle
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Great flavor combination for an iconic American cereal.
Cons: Honestly hard for me to find one, except for the fact that I wish General Mills had created this flavor sooner.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Cookie Butter Oreo Cookies

Limited Edition Cookie Butter Oreo Cookies

I begin this review with an urgent request.

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest grocery store/megamart/convenience store/bodega/Nabisco factory to get your hands on a pack of Cookie Butter Oreo Cookies.

And I’m not joking. After personally eating the first package I bought (and upon realizing that I probably needed at least one cookie to take a picture of for this review), I went to Target the very next day to procure another bag. Upon arriving, I found the Oreo shelf decimated, but managed to grab the last package on the shelf. Apologies in advance to anyone who shops at my local Target.

Nabisco’s newest limited edition Oreo flavor features two graham flavored cookies with cookie butter crème sandwiched between them. I’m going to assume that most TIB readers are well versed in the flavor of cookie butter, but here’s a crash course for those who haven’t: cookie butter is a spreadable concoction popularized by Trader Joe’s featuring the flavor of speculoos, a spiced shortcrust biscuit popular in Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. It’s good on waffles, toast, pretzels, and (obviously) cookies.

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When I opened my package, I was immediately overwhelmed by beige. While the packaging suggests that the cookies should have some definition against the darker brown cookie butter filling, they instead all blend together into an amorphous tan extravaganza. To be fair, the appearance doesn’t affect the taste, but it wouldn’t have hurt if the cookies got a little bit more time in the tanning bed before packaging.

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Similar to the cookie butter’s indiscernibility visually, the graham scent of the cookie masks most of the spicy cookie butter smell. The taste, however, is a different story. Per usual, the filling is the star of the show, with a strong gingerbread and molasses flavor evident throughout the cookie sandwich. The texture of the cookie butter is on-point as well, and when eaten independent of the cookie base you can really feel the familiar grit of the crushed speculoos biscuits mixed within the crème.

If there’s any area these Oreo cookies fall short in, it’s in the durability of the cookies themselves. With one bite, the cookies shatter quite noticeably and coat your cookie-eating-surface with a shower of graham sand. I’d imagine that the non-traditional graham cookie base has something to do with this, and it makes me wonder how these would have tasted with Oreo’s original chocolate cookie (*makes note for next visit to the Target cookie war zone*).

All in all, these cookies are excellent. While some previous limited edition Oreo flavors have fallen flat, these sandwiches reign supreme over the cookie kingdom. They’re speculoos-tacular!

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.).)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 10.7 oz.
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Burning off the Oreo cookies by running to the store. Amazing flavor. Visions of Franken-Oreo creations.
Cons: Needs a few more minutes out in the sun. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

REVIEW: Limited Edition PB&J Oreo Cookies

Limited Edition PB J Oreo Cookies

If you’re holding a grudge against Oreo for temporarily ruining your taste buds with its Swedish Fish flavor or turning your poop pink with Peeps Oreo, Limited Edition PB&J Oreo might be the olive branch that causes you to forgive.

The sandwich cookie features a creme layer that’s half peanut butter-flavored and half raspberry jelly-flavored between two Golden Oreo wafers. It’s disappointing Nabisco didn’t use their Oreo Thins technology to stack two thin creme layers on top of each other to make it look more like a PB&J sandwich and less like Grimace lying on top his own filth after drinking too many McDonald’s chocolate shakes.

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The peanut butter creme has a pleasant balance of sweet and salty. I haven’t had Peanut Butter Oreo Cookies in a long time, so I’m not sure if this one tastes similar. But when I lick the creme and eat the cookie, Nutter Butter pops into my head. The jelly creme tastes like the same one used in the Limited Edition Jelly Donut Oreo. While I didn’t care for it with that cookie, I like it in this one. While it has an artificial raspberry flavor when eaten alone, it’s turns into a generic berry flavor when eating a whole cookie.

When the two cremes come together in one bite, it brings a smile to my face because the cookie hits the PB&J flavor target. There’s the right balance between the two cremes, one flavor doesn’t overwhelm the other. These cookies make Smuckers Uncrustables seem more like Unbearables. The Golden wafers are great as the “bread” for these cookies because, while sweet, they’re also mild enough to allow the cremes to shine.

These cookies are delightful, so much so that I’d bet money we’ll be seeing these as a permanent or returning flavor in the future. Also, let me include more praise by stating this is one of my Top 5 favorite limited edition Oreo cookies.

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While wonderful, I do have some minor issues with it. The way the creme layer is forces us to bite into a particular side to get both flavors in our mouths. Approach it from the wrong side and you end up with all peanut butter or all jelly. Of course, one can overcome that by shoving the whole cookie into your mouth like a competitive Oreo eater.

Also, raspberry jelly is an odd choice. If I was playing Family Feud and Steve Harvey asked me “Name me a jelly flavor you’d put on a PB&J sandwich,” I’m sure answering “raspberry” wouldn’t be any help towards getting to 200 points.

So to all who have been burned by previous Oreo flavors, the Limited Edition PB&J Oreo is one helluva “I’m Sorry” card from Nabisco.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 95 milligrams of sodium, 25 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: Too much from eBay
Size: 10.7 oz. package
Purchased at: Kroger (by eBay seller)
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Does PB&J well. Peanut butter reminds me of Nutter Butter. Jelly creme works better with this cookie than Jelly Donut Oreo. Possible future varieties, like strawberry jelly, grape jelly, or crunchy peanut butter creme.
Cons: Raspberry jelly seems like an odd choice for jelly. Creme is half peanut butter and half jelly, not two layers on top of each other. Currently a Kroger-exclusive.

REVIEW: Krispy Kreme Reese’s Peanut Butter Doughnut

Krispy Kreme s Reese s Peanut Butter Doughnut

How many ways are there to eat a Reese’s? Aside from the classic cup formation, there are many candy offshoots, a breakfast cereal, spreads, Chips Ahoy! cookies, Baskin-Robbins ice cream, Breyers ice cream, and on and on. Apparently, people like Reese’s.

Coming in right as the dog days of summer settle in with increasing heat and laziness, Krispy Kreme unleashed a morning confection that features a classic yeast doughnut filled with Reese’s Peanut Butter Kreme, dipped in milk chocolate icing, topped with Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips and chopped peanuts, and finished with a drizzle of chocolate and peanut butter. Whew. Are you still breathing? I’m not sure that I am.

This doughnut is a thing of beauty. It feels heavy in the hand and looks like a million lip smackin’ peanut buttery bucks. The light brown drizzle is exactly as advertised, and is straight peanut butter that squishes and moves to the touch. I was anticipating an icing or frosting with some firmness but it maintains its gooey-ness, and as I lick it off of my fingers, it is salty and fatty in all the right ways.

Biting in is a revelation of Krispy-meets-Reese’s indulgence that is damn near everything I had hoped it would be. Given KK’s notoriously sweet reputation I’m shocked by the restrained and balanced sweetness in the overall flavor. The rich fattiness from the peanuts and peanut butter on top mingle with the chocolate icing and chips for the ultimate topping yin and yang, pairing wonderfully with the pillowy, soft, not at all greasy, and not at all sweet yeast doughnut. The toppings do well to boost the intention of the doughnut but also bring a solid crunch to push up against the abundant fresh softness of the chew itself.

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The highlight of this Krispy masterpiece, and likely what will draw most people to want to try it, is the Reese’s Kreme filling. Krispy Kreme’s usual kreme is smooth and very sweet with vanilla undertones. It has many similarities to the filling made famous by Hostess and Little Debbie. This filling takes that same thick, slightly whipped texture and tempers it flawlessly with rich peanut butter-y notes that are juuussst sweet enough to honor the iconic candy. It’s smooth and velvety with a bold nuttiness that still leaves enough room for a little of that signature KK filling flavor to sneak through. My one minor complaint is I wish there was a bit more filling, as both ends of the doughnut were a bit naked.

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Simply put, this doughnut tastes better than it costs, and for $1.59 it is an absolute steal and must-try for any peanut butter or fried dough aficionado. With a touch more chocolate and a hint more filling, the chain pastry world would be looking at a perfect 10, but no matter how I try and nitpick, I already want another one.

(Nutrition Facts – 400 calories, 220 calories from fat, 24 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 42 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 21 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $1.59
Size: N/A
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Amazingly balanced sweetness. Beautiful peanut butter kreme. Real peanut butter drizzle. Soft pillowy fresh yeast base.
Cons: Could use a touch more chocolate and PB filling…but truly it’s a struggle to find a weakness here.

REVIEW: Keebler Limited Batch Dark Chocolate Mint Fudge Stripes Cookies

Keebler Limited Batch Dark Chocolate Mint Fudge Stripes Cookies

I know what you’re thinking.

Thin Mints.

When chocolate and mint come together these days, the inevitable comparison is to those bewitching Girl Scout goodies. But my first impression of Fudge Stripes Dark Chocolate Mint cookies was something a little closer to my own ‘80s heart. Andes candies.

Keebler Limited Batch Dark Chocolate Mint Fudge Stripes Cookies 2

I have memories of my parents putting Andes out in crystal bowls when they had company over, but I’m not sure if that was real life or an Andes commercial that I dreamed my family into. In either case, I had the distinct impression that these were sophisticated adult treats that I was lucky to get my grubby paws on. I wouldn’t taste Thin Mints until near middle-age and still have not partaken in a Shamrock Shake, so those tiny slabs are my mint touchstone.

After the disappointment of Strawberry Cheesecake Fudge Stripes, I was a little leery when I opened this package. My deep inhale was met by the cool minty aromatic embrace of Andes. “Come in,” they purred. “Remember us?” It’s summer, so the light green frosting stripes smeared on my fingers while trying to separate the cookies.

Keebler Limited Batch Dark Chocolate Mint Fudge Stripes Cookies 3

I took a bite and YES – FUDGE STRIPES ARE BACK ON THEIR GAME!

The mint was a bright, refreshing flavor and sensation – there was a tiny kick of cool menthol there. The chocolate was a perfect companion, grounding the mint, but not competing against it. This was an Andes candies cookie and I loved it!

Keebler Limited Batch Dark Chocolate Mint Fudge Stripes Cookies 4

My one (minuscule and easily dismissible) criticism is that while billed as dark chocolate, the cookie base didn’t read as such to me. It was like Oreos or the Fudge Stripes Cookies & Creme variation – a rich dark color, but not the bitter bite of dark chocolate. That being said, it was still delicious, so I’ll hold my thumb over the word “dark” on the package and happily chow down.

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These belong on the “should be a permanent Fudge Stripes release” shelf with Cinnamon Roll, Lemon Cream Pie, and Birthday Cake.

I had the urge to repurpose these and decided on a Stripe-S’Mallow-Mint Sandwich. Two cookies, one marshmallow, a few seconds in the microwave and I had a gooey decadent summer dessert.

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I made mine with jumbo marshmallows, but they were too big and I had a bit of a blowout. Take 2 (pictured) was half a jumbo. A regular ‘mallow would have been perfect.

Keebler Limited Batch Dark Chocolate Mint Fudge Stripes Cookies 7

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 11 grams of total sugars including 11 grams of added sugars, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.69
Size: 11.5 oz. package
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Minty fresh taste! Chocolate-y chocolate-ness. Crystal-bowl-worthy.
Cons: Not really dark chocolate. Not a deal breaker, though.

REVIEW: Dairy Queen M&M’s Treatzza Pizza

Dairy Queen M M s Treatzza Pizza

Released in the mid-1990s, Dairy Queen’s Treatzza Pizza was one of those decades-defining consumer events – a’la Reebok Pump shoes and the Nickelodeon Time Blaster Alarm Clock – that seemingly EVERYBODY but me got to experience back in the day.

The commercials did a five-star job explaining why the $6.99 delicacy was more than a fast food gimmick – it was literally marketed as edible pop culture and digestible ephemera. Missing out on this was like missing out on Yikes! pencils and Pop-Qwiz popcorn – absolutely unforgivable.

Since I never tried the product in my youth, I assumed I would NEVER find out if the Treatzza lived up to all the hype. So when I heard the long discontinued product was coming back, I was ecstatic.

Even now I’m not entirely sure how long the Treatzza (which came in four glorious versions – more on that in just a bit) was sold. Some sources say the thing hung around as late as 2008, but I certainly don’t remember seeing the product on sale since at least 1999 in my neck of the woods. Obviously, I can’t tell you how the relaunched Treatzza compares to the original taste-wise, but it sure as sugar passes the eye test – this thing looks EXACTLY like it magically materialized from a 1995 sales circular ad.

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Just like in the good old days, the Treatzza comes in four permutations: one topped with Heath bar chunks, one topped with Reese’s cups, a “Choco-Brownie” one and – my personal fave – one sprinkled with diced M&M’s.

The featured iteration has a fudge cookie crunch base, vanilla soft serve as the “sauce,” and is complemented with a fine chocolate drizzle. The pie is divvied up into eight fairly consistent slices, so it’s easily enough to feed two people or provide quick snacks for at least four.

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Naturally, the fog of nostalgia could impair my judgement, but regardless of its retro appeal this thing is just delightful. We’ve all had brownies topped with ice cream before, but the Treatzza feels like an entirely different kind of dessert. Here, the cookie, ice cream, fudge, and M&M’s merge into a delicious singularity. Conceptually it might be nothing more than an open-faced ice cream sandwich, but all the ingredients just gel into blissful, congealed harmony. It’s yummy, it’s filling, and I’d swear eating it automatically transported my taste buds back to the DQ of my youth, circa the opening night of Batman Forever.

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Yes, it’s just a giant frozen cookie with an entire M&M’s Blizzard dumped atop it, but I suppose that’s what makes it beautiful. Considering the $10 price point and (presumably) low consumer demand – not to mention it takes up so much space in the freezer – there’s no way this one’s going to be around for more than a few months.

All I can say is try it while you can, folks – that is, unless you feel like waiting around to 2037 to get your third chance.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 slice – 200 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 20 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $9.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: The totally phat crunched up M&M’s taste both boss and fly on your tongue. The vanilla ice cream IS all that and a bag of chips. You and seven of your homeboys can share a pie while blasting a cassette tape of “Gangsta’s Paradise” on a loop for an hour in the parking lot.
Cons: The $10 price tag is inflation-tastic. The cookie crust might be a tad too hard to chew for some consumers. Wondering if this will or will not bring us one step closer to the resurrection of Dunkaroos and/or a Hootie and the Blowfish comeback.