REVIEW: Twix Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Bars

Twix Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Bars

What is the Twix Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Bar?

Depending on how you choose to see it, these are either a new twixt (get it?) on the existing Twix ice cream bars or a meltable version of the Twix Triple Chocolate candy bar. The chocolate shell remains the same as the original ice cream bar, but the vanilla ice cream and cookie bits are now chocolate. The filling is not the chocolate caramel of the candy bar, but the same gooey caramel of the O.G. ice cream bar.

Twix Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Bars 2

How is it?

I was a tiny bit disappointed that neither iteration of the Twix ice cream bar maintains the classic Twix cookie-on-the-bottom construction. It’s what makes a Twix a Twix. But I didn’t linger long on this because I was won over by its taste on the first bite.

Twix Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Bars 3

These were straight up delicious, and the experience was more than the sum of its parts. The fluffy ice cream had a strong hot cocoa essence, which was unexpected in a cold item. The cookie bits brought a nice crunch and a darker chocolate. The coating, while a standard milk chocolate, brought us to three different chocolate profiles, which I loved. The caramel filling wasn’t anything special but was tasty and a little on the thin side, which works well with ice cream.

Twix Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Bars 4

Is there anything else you need to know?

Whatever you do, do not peel off the top layer of chocolate coating. The visual of these bars naked is something out of an HR Giger nightmare. I’m pretty sure those cookie balls are hatching in my belly right now…

Twix Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Bars 5

Yeesh.

Conclusion:

Do not wait for sunburn season to find these. Chocolate fans, Twix fans, Alien fans – they’re well worth a try. They might be my go-to summer treat. Just don’t look under the hood.

Purchased Price: $4.29
Size: 11 oz. box / 6 bars
Purchased at: ShopRite
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 bar) 160 calories, 9 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 50 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 grams of fiber, 15 grams of total sugars, 13 grams of added sugars and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sprite Lymonade

Sprite Lymonade

Sprite Lymonade is the classic lemon and lime-flavored Sprite mixed with some lemonade. Okay, not exactly lemonade because the beverage itself isn’t an ingredient. It gets its elevated citrus flavor from, according to the bottle, clarified lemon juice from concentrate. I imagine Sprite Clarified Lemon Juice From Concentrate would’ve been a horrible product name.

It has ONE PERCENT real juice. And, somewhere, Mtn Dew Amp Game Fuel is laughing because it’s made with five percent juice, which is still not a lot, but much more than this.

It tastes like a cloudy Sprite that’s ever so slightly more lemony than the original. It’s definitely not carbonated lemonade, and it’s definitely not just Sprite. If you like the classic lemon-lime soda, I imagine you’ll also enjoy this because it isn’t a dramatic change from the original.

The “lemonade” portion tastes the part, adding a little more lemon flavor and sourness, but thankfully it isn’t as sour as a test batch made by aspiring young first-time lemonade stand proprietors.

Like with all Sprite varieties, it has no caffeine. Seriously, Coca-Cola, if you want to sell a little more of your popular drink, make one with caffeine. People love Sprite. People love caffeine. Do the math. I know you’ve probably done it in the lab, and the caffeine messes with the crisp, clean lemon-lime flavor, but I’d buy more if it had some. No pressure, Coca-Cola.

Sprite Lymonade is crisp, refreshing, citrusy, and any other adjective used to describe a good lemon-lime soda, but to be frank, it’s an unexciting variation. We have cherry, cranberry, and whatever Sprite flavors are available at Coca-Cola Freestyle dispensers, so pardon me if I feel this is a little boring, I mean, in Sprite spelling, boryng.

Purchased Price: Way too much from someone on eBay
Size: 20 fl. oz. bottle
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 bottle) 220 calories, 0 grams of fat, 110 milligrams of sodium, 59 grams of carbohydrates, 57 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Haagen-Dazs Spirits Collection Ice Cream (U.S.)

Haagen Dazs Spirits Collection Ice Cream

Judging from the length of their corresponding aisles at the grocery store, it’s no secret that Americans love alcohol and ice cream. Despite this, mergers between the two seem rare with mainstream brands.

Befitting of the most drunken-sounding ice cream brand, Haagen-Dazs has risen to fill this void of boozy frozen desserts with the release of its new Spirits Collection. Each pint features a different variety of popular liquor, paired alongside indulgent mix-ins, and Haagen-Dazs’ famously rich ice cream.

Bourbon Vanilla Bean Truffle

Haagen Dazs Spirits Collection Bourbon Vanilla Bean Truffle

Perhaps the most basic of the bunch, this offering blends classic vanilla ice cream with miniature chocolate truffles and a spicy bourbon swirl.

Although that description may sound unexciting when compared to this line’s other offerings, this flavor goes to show that ice cream doesn’t have to be complicated to be good. With a dense, sweet, vanilla bean-flecked base, I found it easy to appreciate this variety’s superb consistency and mouthfeel, and the tiny truffles dotted throughout helped to provide intermittent bursts of crunch and texture.

Rather than finding distinct ribbons of bourbon swirled throughout, I tasted hints of booze in each spoonful and found the alcohol’s slight edge helped to make this flavor seem like an “adult’s only” version of vanilla bean ice cream.

Purchased Price: $4.39
Purchased at: Food Lion
Size: 14 fl. oz.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 340 calories, 20 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 34 grams of total sugars, 29 grams of added sugars, and 4 grams of protein.

Rum Tres Leches

Haagen Dazs Spirits Collection Rum Tres Leches

This flavor swirls a trio of south-of-the-border indulgences — generous chunks of tres leches, dulce de leche, and a rum-infused base.

Don’t speak Spanish? Then I’ll translate for you – this is a white rum ice cream with chunks of cake soaked in sweetened condensed milk and ribbons of gooey caramel sauce. And, yes, it’s as tooth-achingly sweet as it sounds.

Although I like each component individually, they’re too much when together. The alcohol, although detectable, is much more muted than in the Bourbon Vanilla Truffle, and the milk-soaked cake pieces were surprisingly dry and stale. Rather than buying this, I’d recommend heading down to your local Mexican restauranté and drinking a mojito or two alongside a slice of traditionally prepared Tres Leches.

Purchased Price: $4.39
Purchased at: Food Lion
Size: 14 fl. oz.
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 360 calories, 21 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 35 grams of total sugars, 25 grams of added sugars, and 5 grams of protein.

Irish Cream Brownie

Haagen Dazs Spirits Collection Irish Cream Brownie

Voyaging across the Atlantic, this St. Patrick’s Day-approved variety utilizes an Irish cream-flavored base, brownie chunks, and a fudge swirl.

Calling the brownie bits “chunks” is being pretty generous, though, because I got very few fully intact pieces in my pint. Instead, most were obliterated in a brownie crumb explosion that masked whatever pitiful amount of fudge swirl Haagen-Dazs managed to get into this flavor.

I didn’t think the Irish Cream base was anything special, either. It tasted good – all Haagen-Dazs tastes good – but I would have been just as happy to pour some Baileys on top of a scoop of its vanilla ice cream.

Purchased Price: $4.39
?Purchased at: Food Lion
Size: 14 fl. oz.
Rating: 6 out of 10
?Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 360 calories, 21 grams of total fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 25 grams of added sugars, and 5 grams of protein.

Stout Chocolate Pretzel Crunch

Haagen Dazs Spirits Collection Stout Chocolate Pretzel Crunch

Also drawing inspiration from Ireland, this pub-grub-styled dessert features stout-infused chocolate ice cream mixed with chocolate covered pretzels and a fudge swirl.

Similar to the previous flavor, this variety also suffered from having a less than impressive fudge swirl. Even so, I didn’t find myself missing the swirl’s added richness as much here, because I thought the chocolate stout base was plenty satisfying by itself. Although I had initially been concerned about its boozy infusion being covered up by cocoa, my concerns were unjustified, as the two flavors work to complement one another well.

The chocolate covered pretzels were similarly well-executed. I find that most pretzels tend to get soggy in ice cream, but these were pleasantly crunchy and added a needed pop of salt that helped to break through the dessert’s richness.

Purchased Price: $4.39
Purchased at: Food Lion
Size: 14 fl. oz.

Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 360 calories, 19 grams of total fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 130 milligrams of sodium, 41 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 32 grams of total sugars, 27 grams of added sugars, and 6 grams of protein.

Conclusion:

Although each of these flavors has minor flaws, Haagen-Dazs is definitely on the right track by expanding its library of desserts to include its Spirits Collection. I only hope other brands will follow its lead because booze-infused ice cream is a trend that I can get behind!

REVIEW: Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1 Cups

Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1 Cups

Not content with occupying half an aisle with its 150 flavors (slightly exaggerated, obviously, but have you seen how many there are?), Duncan Hines expands its Perfect Size for 1 cake mix line to include other established brands and fun toppings.

There are four flavors at the moment – Chocolate Chip Cake Mix with Chips Ahoy Cookie Pieces, Chocolate Cake Mix with Chocolate Candy Pieces, Cookies and Cream Cake Mix with Oreo Cookie Pieces, and S’mores Cake Mix with Honey Maid Graham Cracker Pieces.

They all have straightforward instructions like the previous mug mixes – it’s pretty much add water, stir, and microwave! One interesting thing is that while the official instructions tell you to sprinkle the toppings on after baking there is also a suggestion to try them blended in before nuking. I decided to do both and put some of the toppings in before and then sprinkled some afterward so that I could have the full experience.

Chips Ahoy

Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1 Cup Chips Ahoy

This one had a nice and fluffy texture with good chocolate flavor throughout. Considering it’s a microwaveable powdered cake mix it’s not entirely fair to compare to a regular cake. It’s all about being economical and convenient, and this suffices in that regard. Sure, it could be a little more moist and flavorful, but it gets the job done.

I had a hunch the reason the toppings are added later is that the cooking process would affect them and that was the case with this one especially. The pieces added before blending in too well by turning into different colored elements of the cake. Those added later maintained their consistency and added a nice crunch. The chocolate pieces added a decadent touch and seemed evenly dispersed. In essence, this is like a very simplistic version of a dessert at a fancy restaurant in which it would be called Chocolate Chip Cookie – TWO WAYS.

Purchased Price: $3.19*
Size: 2.4 oz. cup
Purchased at: ShopFoodEx.com
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 Container) 300 calories, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 350 milligrams of sodium, 51 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 29 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

Candy Coated Chocolates

Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1 Cup Not M Ms

This one is heavy on the chocolate, like really, really heavy and almost to the point of being too rich. It’s a one-note chocolate cake with more chocolate. I’m sensing a theme here as the toppings seem to be the stars here.

The cake part, like the previous one, was serviceable as it was nice and fluffy, but a little dry. The bootleg M&M’s though are amazing in this one and make up for the mediocre cake. Whether you add them before baking or after, the heat melts them so that the insides are like molten chocolate. It’s like you’re digging for treasure and when you find one of the candies, it’s oh so satisfying. Again, the crunch adds another satisfying element when eating this. This one is a joyous textural adventure through chocolate.

Purchased Price: $3.19*
Size: 2.4 oz. cup
Purchased at: ShopFoodEx.com
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 Container) 290 calories, 8 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 350 milligrams of sodium, 53 grams of carbohydrates, 2 gram of fiber, 32 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

Oreo

Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1 Cup Oreo

Not breaking with the trend with the others, this was also fluffy, but a bit dry. It has Oreo cookie crumbles as part of the batter with what seemed like white chocolate chips.

With the topping, there’s a little bit of a cookies and cream flavor, but this whole endeavor ended up tasting mostly like sugar to me even though it has about the same amount as the other three. The white chips weren’t large enough to stay molten, so they blended in and faded away, while the Oreo topping pieces weren’t as crunchy as I was expecting them to be. In a nutshell, this was a lightly chocolatey and creamy, but way too sweet cake.

Purchased Price: $3.19*
Size: 2.4 oz. cup
Purchased at: ShopFoodEx.com
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 1 Container – 300 calories, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 380 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 29 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

Honey Maid

Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1 Cup Honey Maid

This one perplexed me. I prepared it in the same way as the others, but the cake here turned out to be a little gummy, which was very odd. It’s supposed to be a s’mores base, but I didn’t get any of that except for the little bits of chocolate.

There’s no graham flavor even though I added a few of the pieces and there’s certainly no marshmallow even if I did see a few white chips buried in there. The graham pieces were a nice addition that added a bit of extra flavor, but they were not as crunchy as the other toppings. Unfortunately, though, nothing could save this one as I couldn’t get past the weird texture.

Purchased Price: $3.19*
Size: 2.5 oz. cup
Purchased at: ShopFoodEx.com
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 1 Container – 310 calories, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 370 milligrams of sodium, 55 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 30 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

Other Things:

  • You’ll notice that three of four are all well-known brands. This is because Duncan Hines partnered up with Mondelez to gain access to their snacking portfolio that includes those three. M&M’s, though? It’s another company entirely, so I’m assuming it wasn’t worth the effort, hence why the generic candy-coated chocolates make an appearance.
  • Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1 Cups Before Baking

  • I tried the toppings both as an add-in with the cake batter and afterward on top. Here are my suggestions for you: Chips Ahoy – Add them later as they pretty much vanish once cooked. Candy Coated Chocolates – Do what I did and put half before and half after. You will get a range of molten chocolate that’s glorious. Cookies and Cream – The batter already contains small bits of the Oreo wafer so save them all to add as toppings. Honey Maid – I would skip this one entirely but if you do partake, add the graham as a topping.
  • Regardless of the actual food product, one thing that’s a total upgrade with these is the single serve cup. With the boxed versions, you had to take the plunge on four servings and with so many different flavors to try one may end up with too many extras. Also, all you have to dirty up to indulge is a spoon whereas previously it was a spoon, mug, and measuring utensil.

*Editor’s Note: The cups were purchased from an online grocer, so the prices are slightly higher than they are at stores.

REVIEW: Starbucks Vanilla Almondmilk Frappuccino

Starbucks Vanilla Almondmilk Frappuccino

What is the Starbucks Vanilla Almondmilk Frappuccino?

Imagine a bottled Starbucks Frappuccino with, instead of reduced fat and skim milk, a liquid made from almonds that are treated as if someone is trying to extract top secret information from it. They’re drowned, chopped into tiny pieces, and then drowned again.

Besides this vanilla flavor, there’s also a mocha version.

How is it?

Full disclosure: I drink almond milk. More specifically, organic Silk Almondmilk from Costco that comes in a pack with three half-gallons, which I drink even though there’s a Silk’s Vanilla Soymilk multi-pack that’s cheaper and better tasting. I mention that to show I have no issues with the nut milk.

With that said, Starbucks’ Vanilla Almondmilk Frappuccino is something I wouldn’t buy again. At first, it’s decent coffee drink. But in the middle of every sip, a weird, acrid taste pops up in my mouth. It’s similar to what I experienced with Starbucks’ bottled Smoked Butterscotch Latte. It’s not so horrible that I’m spitting it out and pouring the rest down the drain, but the next time I’m looking for a non-dairy coffee drink, I’ll avoid this.

I’m not sure if it’s the nut milk that’s causing this or something else because the Smoked Butterscotch Latte doesn’t have almond milk and I also recently tried Starbucks’ Almondmilk Caffe Latte and Caffe Mocha which don’t have that acrid taste.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Because the almond milk tends to be thinner than cow milk or soy milk, I thought this would also be that way. But thanks to our friends carrageenan and cellulose gum, it’s as thick and creamy as regular bottled Frappuccino beverages.

Some of you astute readers might’ve noticed I’ve used two different spellings for almond milk. When used in product names, I’ll respect the one-word spelling, but I’m on Team #AlmondSpaceMilk and used the two-word spelling for all other instances. Eh, maybe I’m just a fuddy-duddy.

Conclusion:

Starbucks’ Vanilla Almondmilk Frappuccino has fewer calories and fat than its dairy version, but its flavor makes it my least favorite bottled nut milk coffee drink. Thankfully, there are better options from Starbucks.

Purchased Price: $2.89
Size: 13.7 fl. oz.
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 bottle) 180 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 28 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Starbucks Frappuccino with a Splash of Cold Brew

Starbucks Frappuccino with Cold Brew  Salted Dark Chocolate and Toasted White Chocolate

What are Starbucks Frappuccino with Cold Brew?

Bottled beverages that mostly contain brewed Starbucks coffee with a splash of Starbucks cold brew coffee, reduced fat milk, skim milk, and sugar. The line debuted with three flavors — Salted Dark Chocolate, Toasted White Chocolate, and Caramelized Vanilla Honey. The review below is for the first two.

How are they?

The good news is that they taste like bottled Starbucks Frappuccino, which is perfectly fine because I happen to like the line as a whole.

However, the flavors are so nondescript among other ready-to-drink Starbucks beverages that I could secretly pour the Toasted White Chocolate one into a bottle of Starbucks Mocha White Chocolate Frappuccino or a can of Starbucks Vanilla Doubleshot Energy and the Salted Dark Chocolate one in a bottle of Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino or a can of Starbucks Mocha Vanilla Doubleshot Energy, then hand it to you, and you wouldn’t know any better after taking a sip.

I notice a slight saltiness with the dark chocolate one, but I can’t tell there’s cold brew in either flavor. But we have no idea how much a “splash of cold brew” is. It doesn’t sound like much, though.

Even though these are creamy, sweet, and delicious bottled coffee beverages, I find these Starbucks Frappuccinos with Cold Brew to be dumb. What? I’m dumb? No, you’re dumb, Starbucks Frappuccinos with Cold Brew.

A “splash of cold brew” in a beverage that already contains coffee sounds like adding a splash of tap water to seltzer. There’s a difference between the two, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. If it had only cold brew, then that would be significant.

Is there anything else you need to know?

If I didn’t know PepsiCo makes these and that the PepsiCo Beverage Facts website exists, I might’ve had a hard time finding out how much caffeine these have, which is 95 milligrams in each one. The glass bottles don’t mention anywhere this critical information that caffeine-needy minds want to know.

Conclusion:

If you’re a regular bottled Starbucks Frappuccino beverage drinker, you’ll enjoy these. But if you’re expecting something different from what you’ve been already drinking, these may disappoint you.

Purchased Price: $2.63 each
Size: 13.7 fl. oz. bottles
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Salted Dark Chocolate)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Toasted White Chocolate)
Nutrition Facts: (1 bottle) Salted Dark Chocolate – 260 calories, 5 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 270 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 43 grams of sugar, and 9 grams of protein. Toasted White Chocolate – 290 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 44 grams of sugar, and 9 grams of protein.