QUICK REVIEW: Turkey Hill Caramel Peanut Butter Gelato Swirls

Turkey Hill Caramel Peanut Butter Gelato Swirls

I’ve had caramel swirls in ice cream. I’ve had peanut butter swirls in ice cream. But I’ve never had a caramel AND peanut butter swirl.

Thank goodness crossing the swirls is not like crossing proton pack energy streams which would cause all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light because if it was I’d be gone thanks to Turkey Hill’s Caramel Peanut Butter Gelato Swirls.

According to the ingredients, the peanut butter caramel swirl contains actual peanut butter, but it’s what makes the swirl taste a bit odd. The nicest way I can explain its flavor is to say it tastes like a cheap artificial peanut butter-flavored candy, and the caramel’s sweetness seems to amplify the peanut butter’s odd flavor.

As for the base gelato, I’m not sure what flavor it is and whatever it is it’s not very strong. It looks like vanilla, but it tastes more like a nondescript sweet flavor. Even though I’m not a fan of the swirl, there are enough of them at almost every level in the container to give the nondescript sweet base a bit more flavor.

Turkey Hill Caramel Peanut Butter Gelato Swirls 2

As for the gelato’s texture, it has a consistency too similar to frozen dairy dessert. Sure, that makes it easy to scoop, but when I think of gelato, I think premium and this doesn’t have a premium vibe to it.

Turkey Hill’s Caramel Peanut Butter Gelato Swirls is not horrible. I’ll eat it before freezer burns sets in, but its swirl is something that makes me not want to purchase another quart.

Disclosure: I received this quart for free from Turkey Hill. Receiving it for free did not influence the review, which you probably knew already since this wasn’t a positive review.

Purchased Price: FREE (received from Turkey Hill)
Size: 1 quart
Purchased at: N/A
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/2 cup) 180 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Blue Bunny Seasonal Selections Spiced Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Blue Bunny Seasonal Selections Spiced Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Pumpkin pie – homemade, if you please, in a graham cracker crust, if you prefer, and hopefully served following a 3,500 calorie expedition through turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes – has long ago reached that point of singular dessert transcendence in which the evolutionary process takes over, undergoing a transformation into all manner of other delicious items. Case in point? Ice cream, including Blue Bunny’s new Spiced Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream.

Pumpkin-flavored ice cream is unapologetically delicious, although hardly earth-shattering. Virtually every major ice cream player has capitalized on mixing pumpkin puree and the usual suspects of spices within the magical confines of frozen cream and sugar, and none have been downright bad. That said, Blue Bunny has got some stiff competition, especially when they’ve forgone the standard whipped cream topping for, ahem, “marshmallow swirl.”

They certainly nailed the spice aspect if nothing else. It’s floral and powerful. It’s multifaceted and gives each lick a sophisticated ethos of falling leaves and cool temperatures. Frankly, when middle schoolers learn about the spice trade in their history classes and ask the proverbial “so what?” teachers should shove an ice cream cone of this in their faces and make them say thank you to the Portuguese.

Blue Bunny Seasonal Selections Spiced Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream 2

The taste of pumpkin is solid, but by no means exceptional. You know that flavor pumpkin pie takes on in the oven? That deep, brown sugar and caramelized natural sugar flavor? Yeah, it’s not there. If you’re like me and looking for an exceptionally deep pumpkin flavor, Blue Bunny’s rendition just doesn’t compete with the pumpkin bases of Edy’s and Hershey’s.

What does compete is the graham cracker ribbon. Some graham crackers suffer from staleness or overly fake flavors when put into ice cream. Not this one. The flavor is classic and mellow with the right mixture of crunch and whole wheat flavor to remind you of Nabisco’s Honey Maid Graham Crackers. It’s a nice counter to the assertive pumpkin spice, and needed textural contrast to the smooth base.

Blue Bunny Seasonal Selections Spiced Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream 3

While the pie crust pieces in the ribbon are exceptional, the ice cream base begs for more of them. Those of you familiar with Turkey Hill’s Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream will notice how little graham pieces there are and how they aren’t as crunchy in Blue Bunny’s version. Likewise, the ice cream base feels like it should be richer. Don’t get me wrong, it’s smooth and creamy, but the taste of cream just seems overshadowed by the floral notes of the spice. As far as the marshmallow swirl? Eh, can we just leave that on the sweet potato casserole? The only white swirly stuff I want on my pumpkin pie is whipped cream.

It’s a scientific fact that you can’t screw up pumpkin pie and Blue Bunny’s Spiced Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream is no exception. Yet like Red Velvet and other desserts turned into ice cream, it could do better, especially in an ice cream aisle filled with so many competitors.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 150 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 0 gram of dietary fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Blue Bunny Seasonal Selections Spiced Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 1.75 quarts
Purchased at: United Supermarkets
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Exceptional pumpkin spice flavor. Smooth texture and mouthfeel. Graham cracker swirl tastes like Nabisco Honey Maid Graham Crackers. Educational resource for apathetic middle schoolers.
Cons: Pumpkin flavor lacks baked depth and richness. Too sweet. Needs more graham cracker ribbons. Marshmallow fluff instead of whipped cream.

REVIEW: Hello Kitty Ice Cream Cake

Hello Kitty Ice Cream Cake

I know it’s hard to resist this Hello Kitty Ice Cream Cake.

For some of you, you’re squealing the word “kawaii” (cute) in your head or out loud and you’re halfway out the door with your Hello Kitty purse hanging from your arm and your Hello Kitty tattoo that’s in a location that only the tattoo artist who put it there and your bathroom mirror knows.

But before you rush out that door and spend your hard earned money on this ice cream cake, I want you to ask yourself — WWHKD.

What Would Hello Kitty Do?

I know what Hello Kitty would do. She would not put this ice cream cake anywhere near her mouth because…1) she doesn’t have a frickin’ mouth and 2) it’s not very kawaii.

I mean, look at it. Those dead eyes. The bow that looks like a baboon’s butt. And that colorful crap around it.

Hello Kitty Ice Cream Cake 3

The confetti sprinkles on the cake’s edges make it look like it was downwind from an office worker opening a paper hole puncher used only for colored paper in front of a fan. Not only do those colorful sprinkles make it look like Hello Kitty has a beard made from wet clown wigs, they also have a texture that I would describe as waterlogged cardboard that’s been dried out. They add a deadening texture to the exterior of the cake and they taste like the cheaper version of the sticks that come with Fun Dip. Stale store brand Fruity Pebbles would be an upgrade over these.

Hello Kitty Ice Cream Cake 4

As for the white frosting, it has an Elmer’s Glue-like consistency and a flavor that’s exactly what I imagine the color white tastes like. Behind that white frosting is vanilla ice cream mixed with more of those confetti sprinkles. It’s fetti-like.

Now you might be thinking, “Don’t you mean Funfetti-like?”

No. The word “fun” should never be used to describe this product.

The ice cream isn’t creamy, but that might be the fault of the sprinkles inside it. Its flavor will be fine for any non-discerning taste buds and the sprinkles in it don’t seem to be as cardboard-y as the ones on the outside of the cake. But even if the inside of this ice cream cake is tolerable, I have to say no to it.

How crazy is it to say “no” to an ice cream cake? No ice cream cake should make me feel that way.

Hello Kitty Ice Cream Cake 2

If you happen to be at a party and one of these are brought out, the first thing you should do is cut out Hello Kitty’s dead eyes so that your eyes don’t end up being a reflection of hers as you make your way through one slice. When you get that slice and you can’t secretly throw it into the trash, shave off those rainbow sprinkles and as much of the frosting as you can. The ice cream is tolerable, but when eaten with everything else, not so much.

Personally, I think the cake should be either melted by Bad Badtz-Maru, buried in the ground by Pochacco, drowned by Kerokerokeroppi, or violently cut into pieces by Chococat. Yes, part of my head is filled with the names of Sanrio characters. No Google or Wikipedia for me.

Speaking of Sanrio, I’m 100 percent sure Sanrio doesn’t really care this cake is bad because they probably got their licensing money. I’m also 100 percent sure they’re not celebrating the fact that they got their licensing money with a Hello Kitty Ice Cream Cake.

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of money, I should mention I paid $26 for this embarrassing reason for possible tooth decay. Even if you saw it for one-third of the price, it’s not worth it.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/12 of a cake – 240 calories, 110 calories from fat, 13 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 25 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Hello Kitty Ice Cream Cake
Purchased Price: $25.99
Size: 52 fl. oz.
Purchased at: Times Supermarket
Rating: 2 out of 10
Pros: Ice cream is tolerable. Don’t need Google or Wikipedia to list Sanrio characters. WWHKD.
Cons: Not cute. Confetti sprinkles have a texture similar to cardboard that’s been wet and then dried. Sprinkles have a bland flavor. Ice cream isn’t creamy. Frosting is as bland as the sprinkles. Not worth $26.

REVIEW: Häagen-Dazs Artisan Collection Spiced Pecan Turtle Ice Cream

Haagen-Dazs Artisan Collection Spiced Pecan Turtle Ice Cream

I just want to preface this review by telling you that I pronounce the word “pea-can,” and not the snooty, actual pronunciation “puh-con.” I’d be totally misrepresenting myself if I didn’t let you know that up front. Clearly, I’m not very cultured, so the idea of trying this new fancy pants ice cream flavor intrigues me…and kinda scares me.

Let’s be real, despite Magnum’s best attempts, Häagen-Dazs is our most pretentious ice cream brand. What with their “look at me” umlaut and their “look at me again” hyphen. Their name doesn’t even translate to anything, it just sounds Danish and important. Now they’re adding everyone’s favorite buzzword “Artisan” to the mix? We’re talking “high-quality ingredients handmade by a worker in a skilled trade” here people.

Enter Spiced Pecan Turtle Ice Cream.

Haagen-Dazs Artisan Collection Spiced Pecan Turtle Ice Cream Topless

The base ice cream looks, smells and tastes like any run of the mill chocolate ice cream you’re used to, so don’t get your hopes up there. The revelation you’re looking for comes in the form of the featured chocolate, caramel, and pecan clusters. This is where you leave boring ol’ chocolate ice cream behind, and enter a new world of perfectly textured spicy bites.

Unlike some ice creams riddled with molar threatening chunks, the outer chocolate coating of each cluster acts as a barrier to somehow keep the inner pecan soft and fresh. This was a welcome surprise and easily the best part of the ice cream for me. Size and appearance wise, they reminded me a lot of Buncha Crunch, just without a bunch of crunch. A crunch would actually ruin the experience.

The clusters are also where spice flavor really pops. Said flavor is inspired by Christopher Elbow’s artisanal chocolate – fannnn-cy! Apparently Mr. Elbow is very famous for peculiar chocolate creations and not his curveball as his name would suggest. 

Haagen-Dazs Artisan Collection Spiced Pecan Turtle Ice Cream Closeup

Turtles are an underrated flavor combination in my opinion (and an underrated animal for that matter) but I’m not sure they needed a “spice” element. The spice itself does have a little kick to it, which is an odd sensation to taste in an ice cream. The aftertaste lingers in the back of your mouth after you chomp down on the clusters, and I wasn’t a fan.  I got the hint of caramel, but only for a second before that weird heat took over. I guess “sweet and spicy” is trying to sneak its way into the niche market “sweet and salty” has recently carved out. I think it’s gonna have a harder time catching on.

Even after looking at all the ingredients, I’m not positive what this mystery “spice” is.  It could be cinnamon? Maybe ginger? This ice cream does taste a little “gingerbready” if you will. Will you? I know you won’t.

Well then, let me do my due diligence and research Christopher Elbow a little more because this will bother me all day. After some digging, the spice(s) appears to be…ancho and chipotle peppers with some cinnamon to boot. Well there it is, with the inclusion of “chipotle” we’ve hit max buzzword capacity. That explains the heat element. Here’s your chance to have peppers in your ice cream. Color me intrigued.

So is this worth trying? I’m gonna go ahead and say sure, give it a shot. While it’s basically just a strange spin on regular chocolate ice cream, it’s unique enough to try for yourself. Will I ever buy it again? Probably not, but I’m not mad that I did. If nothing else, I felt important while I held this pint of Häagen-Dazs. You shoulda seen the look the cute checkout girl gave me when I told her I only eat the finest artisanal ice creams. It was somewhere between “Who cares” and “Security!”

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 310 calories, 19 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugar, 5 grams of protein, 8% vitamin A, 0% calcium, and 8% iron.)

Item: Häagen-Dazs Artisan Collection Spiced Pecan Turtle Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $3.49 (on sale)
Size: 14 oz.
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Unique flavor. Umlauts. Artisanal snacking. Fancy pants. Boring ol’ chocolate ice cream. Cute checkout girl. I like turtles.
(Puh-)Cons: Utter spice confusion. Christopher Elbow squandering his name. Odd aftertaste. Boring ol’ chocolate ice cream.

REVIEW: Haagen-Dazs Artisan Collection Tres Leches Brigadeiros Ice Cream

Haagen Dazs Artisan Collection Tres Leches Brigadeiros Ice Cream Contianer

What first springs to mind when you see the word Brigadeiro? If you’re like me, which you probably are not, what springs forth is the picture of a Spanish military officer wearing a kickass uniform that probably has epaulettes.

What should spring to mind, however, is a chocolate truffle originating in Brazil that is apparently both famous and beloved and is often used for celebrations. At least, that’s what the Internet told me.

Listen, the point is that Häagen-Dazs has a new Artisan Collection. Each flavor says the ice cream company “collaborated closely with notable culinary artisans from around the country”, according to their press release. I chose Tres Leches Brigadeiros because tres leches is delicious and I guess I was still enamored with the idea of epaulettes.

By the way, in case you’re reading this review out loud to your kids as a bedtime story, Brigadeiro is pronounced bree-gah-day-ro. I was adding a few extra syllables in there before I learned that little fact. How silly I would look at the office if I hadn’t. Because Brazilian truffles are a trending water cooler topic, you know.

Häagen-Dazs decided to team up with My Sweet Brigadeiro for this artisanal flavor. They are based in New York but also sell their handmade Brigadeiros online. They specifically chose their Happy Couple for the ice cream.

With all this talk of truffles and cakes, you might expect Tres Leches Brigadeiros to contain chunks, but Häagen-Dazs actually deconstructed the Happy Couple for this creation, resulting in an ice cream that is completely smooth.

Haagen Dazs Artisan Collection Tres Leches Brigadeiros Ice Cream1

My Sweet Brigadeiro’s website describes the Happy Couple as “white and chocolate Brigadeiro and it’s called Casadinho in Portuguese”. And, in case you’re not familiar with tres leches, it’s a cake that utilizes, you guessed it, three different types of milk: evaporated, condensed, and heavy cream.

Now that we’re completely caught up on terminology, let’s get to the ice cream itself. As mentioned before, Tres Leches Brigadeiros (I’m just gonna call it TLB from now on) is a really smooth and creamy ice cream. It’s got chocolate ribbons running through it, which is meant to represent the Brigadeiro.

When I saw the chocolate on my spoon, I expected a burst of rich flavor when I put it in my mouth. Not so. The chocolate flavor is present, and actually tastes high-quality, but it’s very faint. As for the white chocolate, I couldn’t taste it at all.

Where TLB really shines is the tres leches part. With three different kinds of milk in the ingredients, it created a sweet ice cream with great depth that also managed not to overwhelm with richness.

Haagen Dazs Artisan Collection Tres Leches Brigadeiros Ice Cream2

This results in a carton of ice cream that you can dig into and finish off during an episode of Game of Thrones and suddenly go “Oh…oops.” In fact, I barely had time to take pictures before my carton of TLB was finished.

All this results in a bit of a conflict when it comes to my opinion of Häagen-Dazs Artisan Collection Tres Leches Brigadeiros. On the one hand, I adore both the light but deep flavor and the smooth texture, with the added bonus of a hint of chocolate ribbon.

On the other hand, I feel like anyone who is familiar with Brigadeiros will be disappointed. While I’ve never had one personally, I have to believe that the Happy Couple Brazilian truffle offers up more flavor than what’s been showcased by Häagen-Dazs. It seems like this should just be called “Tres Leches with a Hint of Chocolate”.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup — 270 calories, 15 grams of total fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 gram of dietary fiber, 26 grams of sugar, 5 grams of protein, 10% vitamin A, 10% calcium, and 2% iron.)

Item: Häagen-Dazs Artisan Collection Tres Leches Brigadeiros Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $3.33
Size: 14 oz.
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Delicious tres leches flavor. Epaulettes. Not too rich and super smooth. Learning about other cultures’ foods. Hint of chocolate works with the tres leches.
Cons: Brigadeiro flavor seems highly muted. Embarrassing mispronunciations. Way too easy to eat all 52.5 grams of fat in a single sitting. Happy Couple sounds like Chinese food. Brazilians may feel their favorite truffle is misrepresented.