SPOTTED ON SHELVES – 8/22/2018

Here are some interesting new and limited edition products found on store shelves by your fellow readers. If you’ve tried any of the products, share your thoughts about them in the comments.

Lindsay Almond Butter  Classic Creamy and Classic Crunchy

Lindsay Almond Butter (Classic Creamy and Classic Crunchy)

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Lindsay Honey Cinnamon Almond Butter

I’m thankful these aren’t olive butters. (Spotted by Sarah R at Safeway and John R at Hannaford.)

Cream of Wheat Instant Cocoa Nut with Real Almonds

Cream of Wheat Instant Cocoa Nut with Real Almonds

(Spotted by Dorothy at Giant Eagle.)

Walmart Cookies  Creme Cupcakes

Walmart Cookies & Creme Cupcakes

Walmart Brownie Crunch Cupcakes

Walmart Brownie Crunch Cupcakes

Marketside Lemon Bundt Cakes

Marketside Lemon Bundt Cakes

(Spotted by Bob K at Walmart.)

Marketside Maple Pecan Cheesecake Bar

Marketside Maple Pecan Cheesecake Bar

(Spotted by Amanda Y at Walmart.)

Marketside Decadent Carrot Bar Cake

Marketside Decadent Carrot Bar Cake

Walmart Chocolate Bundt Cake

Walmart Chocolate Bundt Cake

(Spotted by Laurie at Walmart.)

Dannon Light  Fit Fall Limited Release Multi Pack Original Greek Yogurt

Dannon Light & Fit Fall Limited Release Multi-Pack Original Greek Yogurt

Both flavors aren’t new, but this mixed multi-pack might be. (Spotted by Sarah R at Safeway.)

Hagan Limited Time Only Parlor Favorites Chocolate Churro Ice Cream

Hagan Limited Time Only Parlor Favorites Chocolate Churro Ice Cream

(Spotted by Dorothy at Giant Eagle.)

Jon Donaire Cookies  Cream Sundae Premium Ice Cream Cake

Jon Donaire Cookies & Cream Sundae Premium Ice Cream Cake

Jon Donaire Banana Split Sundae Premium Ice Cream Cake

Jon Donaire Banana Split Sundae Premium Ice Cream Cake

(Spotted by Bob K at Walmart.)

Cafe Valley Christmas Cookie Chocolate Cake

Cafe Valley Christmas Cookie Chocolate Cake

(Spotted by Sylvia at Grocery Outlet.)

If you’re out shopping and see an interesting new product on the shelf, snap a picture of it, and send us an email (theimpulsivebuy@gmail.com) with where you found it and “Spotted” in the subject line. Or reply to us (@theimpulsivebuy) on Twitter with the photo, where you spotted it, and the hashtag #spotted. If you’ve tried the product, share your thoughts about it in the comments.

Also, if you want to send in photos and are wondering if we’ve already covered something, don’t worry about it. Let us worry about it.

REVIEW: Hostess Chocolate Peanut Butter Twinkies

Hostess Chocolate Peanut Butter Twinkies

As a lifelong Hostess Cupcake devotee, when Chocolate Cake Twinkies hit the market earlier this year, my first response was “Stay in your lane, Twinkies!”

I just didn’t think this flavor swinger’s club was a good idea. The “golden” iterations of Cupcake were just Twinkie knockoffs to me. Any other flavor in the universe is fair game for either product, but chocolate belongs to Cupcake and vanilla is Twinkies, in my mind.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Twinkies has softened that stance just a bit.

Hostess Chocolate Peanut Butter Twinkies 2

(I’m at my mother’s house – everything here is quilted. If I leave this Twinkie unattended, it will self-quilt.)

On opening the individually-wrapped cakes, the aroma that greeted me was all cocoa. Dark, rich cocoa. No peanut at all. Interesting, but it didn’t put me off.

Hostess Chocolate Peanut Butter Twinkies 3

Next – the grease test. One Twinkie on a paper napkin for 15 minutes. I find modern Twinkies much oilier than when I was a child. Maybe they always left a shiny slick and I only notice it now as an adult who struggles to fit into the same pants I wore last year. But these Twinkies felt less greasy, and left a sheen so subtle my camera couldn’t capture it. Definitely a plus.

Like the scent, my first bite was 100 percent cocoa. It almost overwhelmed the peanut butter, which I picked up on increasingly with each bite. I was expecting the teeth-achingly-sweet peanut butter buttercream filling that seems to be the default recently, but Hostess got it right. There’s some sugar, but for the most part, they let the peanut butter be itself. PB is a perfect taste that doesn’t need a lot of window dressing, in my opinion. The texture here is closer to a fluffy frosting than the usual PB thickness.

Hostess Chocolate Peanut Butter Twinkies 4

The cake was much better than I expected – a moist, velvety, deep chocolate. Very much like the Hostess Cupcakes I adore – which begged the question: why is this a Twinkie and not a Hostess Cupcake? With a big gob of filling in the center and slab of PB icing on top, the flavor may have taken more of a front seat than in the Twinkie. Or – why not this filling with the usual golden Twinkie cake? Have chocolate and peanut butter become so synonymous that we can’t partner them with other flavors?

Overall, I enjoyed these very much, and would buy them again, but might have been in rapturous love had it been a Hostess Cupcake. That’s just my cupcakes bias.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cakes – 260 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 370 milligrams of sodium, 42 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 28 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 10-pack box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Lovely not-too-sweet peanut butter filling. Hostess Cupcake-y cake. Less grease!
Cons: Why isn’t this a Hostess Cupcake? Needs a PB icing and squiggle.

REVIEW: Keebler Limited Batch Strawberry Cheesecake Fudge Stripes Cookies

Keebler Limited Batch Strawberry Cheesecake Fudge Stripes Cookies

This is the tragedy of Keebler’s Fudge Stripes cookies – adulthood steals your ability to wear them as a ring.

Keebler Limited Batch Strawberry Cheesecake Fudge Stripes Cookies 2

As a girl, I delighted in prancing around in pretend evening gowns with a rock of a Fudge Stripe on my finger. Of course, it was far too ostentatious and impractical, so I nibbled around the edges to reduce it to a more modest size.

Inevitably, it would crack and fall apart in the process, so I would have to eat it and start all over again. Now my fully-grown fingers are too thick to sport the beloved shortbread & frosting jewelry of my youth. My FS consumption dropped off considerably.

Then Keebler started wooing me back with “Limited Batch” flavors. Peppermint. Red Velvet. Birthday Cake. Cinnamon Roll. Lemon Cream Pie. I loved them all. I was still a little sore about the ring thing, but I was definitely back in the fold.

Hence, I’d already written this review in my head when I lifted the package of Strawberry Cheesecake Fudge Stripes from the grocery shelves. 9 out of 10! How could I NOT love them?

Keebler Limited Batch Strawberry Cheesecake Fudge Stripes Cookies 3

When I opened the package, I was greeted by the rosy pink color of the base cookie and a strong scent of tangy cheesecake. I wasn’t getting strawberry, however. No worries, I was sure the taste would make up for it.

On first bite, my expected explosion of Frankenberry-ish fake strawberry didn’t materialize. The cheesecake frosting flavor was good despite being a hair more acidic than most cheesecake flavored items. The strawberry shortbread apparently called in sick today, however. Instead of a fruity delight, it tasted more like eating a flour-flavored cookie with a chemical aftertaste. It’s surprising since the last two Fudge Stripes flavor releases, Lemon Cream Pie and Cinnamon Roll, were spot-on with flavor tone and intensity.

Keebler Limited Batch Strawberry Cheesecake Fudge Stripes Cookies 4

This may be the only time in my life I’ve said this, but I’m probably not going to finish this package of Fudge Stripes. Every bite screams “not worth the calories.” They’re a fail for me.

But Keebler, how ‘bout an adult-finger-size Fudge Stripes release? Eh? Eh?

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, calories from fat (not listed), 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 10g total sugars incl. 9g added sugars and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 11.5 oz. package
Purchased at: ShopRite
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Great color and tasty cheesecake frosting.
Cons: “Knock knock.” “Who’s there?” “Not strawberry.”

REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I think of farmhouse food I think of an apple pie cooling on a windowsill, fresh butter on homemade country white bread, and Junior devouring bacon from the little guy that took first place in the 4-H Pig Show.

Honestly, cookies are seventh or eighth on my list of quintessential farmhouse foods, depending on whether or not said farm includes a fig tree, a tomato garden, and/or Ree Drummond’s pantry.

Yes, I get that “farm” is part of Pepperidge Farm, but really, do you expect me to believe the same people mass-producing cheddar cheese Goldfish can make anything near homemade quality cookies?

Short answer: I guess so.

At first bite Pepperidge Farm’s Farmhouse Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies taste a lot like the Chips Ahoy Double Chocolate Thins, which is a good thing because they are among the better cookies in the Chips Ahoy line.

Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies 2

Yet, where the Chips Ahoy cookies are their usually pitifully small selves, the Farmhouse cookies are wider and heftier. But they’re still able to be thin and crispy. In fact, that melt-in-your mouth, dissolve-around-the-chocolate chip goodness is intensified by the their size.

Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies 3

The chocolate flavor is definitely outstanding; a few notches down from the Wonka Factory chocolate lake, but well above your standard chocolate-chip cookie construction. The three chocolate chips (white, semi-sweet, and milk) work wonderfully together, serving as potholes of varying degrees of chocolate richness and sweetness with each bite.

The white chocolate is especially good, even if you’re the kind of person (like me) who is usually “eh, whatever” in terms of white chocolate. This is the real stuff, mind you, not some partially hydrogenated soybean oil masquerading as cocoa butter. Finally, the chocolate base gives each bite a rounded cocoa flavor that dissolves (as they say) like buttah.

Overall, Pepperidge Farm’s Farmhouse Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies are a notch above Nabisco’s and one of the best mass-produced cookie flavors I’ve had. They’re so good that if there is a farmhouse producing cookies on par with them, then I seriously suggest said farmhouse drop the whole apple pie at the county fair business and get right to the 365-day operation of making cookies.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies –140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 6.9 oz.
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Crispy, buttery, chocolaty base. Multiple levels of chocolate chip sweetness. Smooth, natural, and waxless white chocolate. Perfect size.
Cons: A tad more expensive than Chips Ahoy. Poor milk chocolate chip coverage. It’s as if a thousand apple pies cried out in horror and then were never heard from again.

REVIEW: Hostess Bakeshop CupCake Cookies

Hostess Bakeshop CupCake Cookies

Everyone has a soulmate snack cake. The one sugary, refined, packaged, and questionably delicious baked good that, despite what logic, fortune cookies, retrogrades of mercury, physician advice, and foreboding messages written in your toast imply, you adore. From SnoBalls to Zingers, Cosmic Brownies to Donettes, we all are star-crossed and bound to one.

And, while I may have had a few flings with a Star Crunch — and maybe a Zebra Cake or two — okay, I love them all. But today my heart’s matched to the Hostess CupCake. Who can resist the oddly fudgy cake? The sugary icing floof? The chocolatey ganache with eight sugary squiggles you can gobble right off the top??

And now they come in cookie form, which, as we well know this is the equivalent of the muffin top of the pastry world, doused in fudge and oozing with icing. I’m hungry just typing that. Let’s dive in!

Hostess Bakeshop CupCake Cookies 2

Texture-wise, this cookie’s a winner. It’s more cake-like than crispity-crunchity and deftly walks the line between being both fudgy and more fluffy-wuffy than a bunny sleeping on a TempurPedic in a field of dandelions. That fluffy-wuffiness (using scientific terms today) serves the cookie well as it contrasts with the smooth, crisp coating and sugary squiggle.

And the smell only makes everything better. Right out of the package, aromas of chocolate burst out like 15,000 ponies cascading into a Roman Coliseum. It smells of sugar! And cocoa! And that bizarre nutty-coffee sweetness that comes at the end of Dove dark chocolate! (Is there a name for this? Professional Linguist turned Chocolate Connoisseur: please help!)

That said, this top-notch smell doesn’t fully carry over when it comes to flavor. In fact, the cake tastes of very little: mainly flour, but also a hint of cocoa and Maxwell instant coffee. The chocolate coating helps things out by the hair of its chinny chin-chin.

It’s sugar-forward and tastes like Hershey’s milk chocolate while the sugary squiggle tastes of sugar… and maybe a hint of marshmallow? And while I was bummed to discover there was no fluffy icing filling inside (cue the sad tubas!), the coating itself is definitely a step up from that in the typical Hostess CupCake… although I’m pretty sure you could wax a car with that stuff.

Hostess Bakeshop CupCake Cookies 3

All in all, these buggers end up tasting like those soft-baked Snackwell’s chocolate cookies: a not-so-exciting cake with a sugary, semi-chocolatey icing. While they were tasty enough, I found myself dreaming nostalgically of that fluffy white filling in a regular Hostess CupCake. Without it, the cake lacks pizazz.

If you give these a whirl, I encourage smooshing two cookies together with ice cream and/or questionably emulsified (but impossibly delicious) whipped topping to mimic the effect. Without that? These will be but mediocre, and you deserve better than mediocre, dear reader! Do not settle for bland cookies. Otherwise, there will be sadness, the ship will be down, the Titanic will be sunk, and you will be floating on a makeshift raft made out of a door as you talk nonsense to your frozen lover while Celine Dion sings over flute music in the moonlight, and no matter how long you say, “I’ll never let go,” you gotta let go.

So I’m letting go of you, Hostess CupCake Cookies. Or at least not buying you again without a Costco-sized vat of whipped topping. I may have built you up as lofty dreams in my head, but, as Celine Dion prophesized in 1998, “my heart will go on and ooooon.”

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cookie – 110 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 11 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 1 pack/10 cookies
Purchased at: Von’s
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Fudgy, fluffy cookie texture. Chocolatey icing. Squiggles! 15,000 ponies cascading into a Roman Coliseum.
Cons: No fluffy filling. Chocolatey smell doesn’t fully carry over in flavor. Not-so-exciting cake flavor of flour and cheap coffee. May have Celine Dion song stuck in head for the rest of the day.