REVIEW: Dairy Queen Peppermint Hot Cocoa Blizzard

Dairy Queen Peppermint Hot Cocoa Blizzard

What is the Peppermint Hot Cocoa Blizzard?

The Dairy Queen Blizzard of the Month for December features candy cane pieces, choco chunks, and cocoa fudge, blended of course with DQ’s signature vanilla soft serve.

How is it?

Dairy Queen Peppermint Hot Cocoa Blizzard 2

This one definitely makes Santa’s nice list, and I was genuinely surprised how much I enjoyed it. On their own, the candy cane and hot cocoa flavors are pretty good, but together they teamed up to get my taste buds ready to celebrate the holidays all month long.

Dairy Queen Peppermint Hot Cocoa Blizzard 3

The cocoa fudge flavor certainly doesn’t scream hot cocoa (which by the way is always fun to scream for no reason at all), but it does provide a more complex chocolatey taste compared to the regular fudge and the hints of cocoa blend perfectly with the choco chunks and candy cane pieces.

Peppermint can be an overpowering flavor, but with this Blizzard there was enough to deliver that crunchy candy cane sweetness and distinctive taste while also letting the chocolate flavors join the party. I also liked the two different sensations with the hard candy crunch mixed with the softer crunch of the choco chunks.

Is there anything else you need to know?

This Blizzard is a cousin to the Candy Cane Chill and Candy Cane Oreo Blizzards that have appeared and disappeared like the Elf on the Shelf over the past few years, but I like this the best of the three. It’s unique enough to stand out among the Blizzard family in which some are too closely related.

Dairy Queen Peppermint Hot Cocoa Blizzard 4

The whipped topping speckled with candy cane pieces is a nice added touch here, especially if you are looking for the big burst of peppermint flavor that is missing from the rest of the treat.

Unlike some recent Blizzard flavors that were labeled as seasonal and seemed to be hanging around for a while, this one will be gone by New Year’s Day, so dash into your local DQ soon if you want to try one.

Conclusion:

With DQ introducing so many new Blizzards each year, along with several “let’s pretend it’s a new Blizzard even though we’ve had it in the past and just hope you forgot about it,” this one truly does rise above most others and is a great holiday treat.

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: Small
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Small) 750 calories, 26 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, 1 grams of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 120 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 100 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Kit Kat DUOS Mint + Dark Chocolate

Kit Kat DUOS Mint + Dark Chocolate

What is Kit Kat DUOS Mint + Dark Chocolate?

This is Kit Kat’s newest permanent U.S. flavor. This is a big deal for American Kit Kat lovers since it’s been a very long time since a new variety has made a debut with plans to stay (i.e., not seasonal or limited time). This bar is Kit Kat’s crispy wafers with the milk chocolate replaced with mint crème on top and dark chocolate on the bottom. The result is supposed to be a “duo” of two flavors.

How is it?

Kit Kat DUOS Mint + Dark Chocolate Fingers

It smells like mint chocolate, and it tastes like mint chocolate. So if you like mint chocolate and Kit Kat’s iconic wafers, then this is your candy bar. You’ve probably now noticed that I’ve used the word mint a lot (seven times now if you count headings and titles), and that’s because mint is the dominant flavor of this Kat Kat variation.

I’m a fan of both mint AND dark chocolate and was hoping this duo would be an equal pairing, but it is unfortunately not. I think a mint + milk chocolate duo might be preferred to help increase the prevalence of chocolate taste.

Is there anything else you need to know?

It’s not minty enough to be an actual after-meal mint (it’s just that mint > dark chocolate flavor). If you need a breath freshener, then you should go for something else.

Kit Kat DUOS Mint + Dark Chocolate Split Fingers

It’s also not quite as creamy as an Andes Mint, which makes sense as it is a Kit Kat bar with crispy wafers. For me, Andes Mints set the standard for mint chocolate (and also represent the end of a carb-loaded, satisfying meal at the Olive Garden…which I now want).

Conclusion:

It’s a mint Kit Kat and still a solid candy bar choice. Like most Kit Kats, this product separates well and is good for sharing, although I don’t typically share my candy bars.

Lastly, despite the uneven pairing in this DUOS bar, I still have high hope for future DUOS flavors.

Purchased Price: $1.39
Size: 1.5 oz.
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1.5 oz) 210 calories, 12 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 19 grams of total sugars, 18 grams of added sugars, 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Fruity Cereal Milk Donut Holes

Jack in the Box Fruity Cereal Milk Donut Holes Sign

Desserts have never been a major focus at Jack in the Box, but they’re usually a solid offering. Their new Fruity Cereal Milk Donut Holes are a twist on the previously marketed four-for-a-dollar donut holes. I enjoy donuts and have a close relationship with fruity cereals, so it was a promising concept.

When I ordered them, the cashier said, “They taste JUST like Fruity Pebbles. I’m not even kidding.” Being that this is exactly what I hoped they would taste like, I got pretty pumped. Unfortunately, I soon found out that she was, apparently, completely kidding.

Jack in the Box Fruity Cereal Milk Donut Holes in the Bag

The fragrance that wafted from the bag was pure grease with a little kiss of sugar. I swear I caught a hint of curly fries, but that could have easily been my mind playing tricks on me. Oddly, I didn’t mind either way. I’m not quite sure what that says about me. However, I did notice I didn’t smell anything remotely fruity.

Jack in the Box Fruity Cereal Milk Donut Holes Closeup

The donut holes glistened with oil and were covered with a light dusting of sugar, dotted with little rainbow-colored specks. There was a mass of the colorful sugar sitting at the bottom of the bag.

The donut holes were warm and pillowy – they collapsed with delicate bites, which was a positive start. The initial taste was standard donut fare: doughy, oily, and sugary. There was a distinct lack of any flavors perceivable as “fruity cereal milk.”

Jack in the Box Fruity Cereal Milk Donut Holes Innards

I decided to smash the exposed portion of the donut hole into the glob of the sugar mix and picked up an excessive amount of it. After tasting it like this, I was able to discern a very faint fruity taste. Even then, it wasn’t nearly enough for these donut holes to live up to their name.

There certainly weren’t any notes of Fruity Pebbles. It was more like a sliver of a singular Skittle had been ground up and sprinkled onto the whole batch. This let me know it’s not a preparation issue, but rather that the sugar mix itself is just sub-par.

I begrudgingly ate the rest of them, wondering what could have been.

If you find yourself craving cheap gas station donuts, these should do the trick, but don’t expect any fruit-flavored fun.

Purchased Price: $1.00
Size: 4 donut holes
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Unavailable on website.

(Drive-thru sign image via Robbie.)

REVIEW: Sweet Cinnamon Kit Kat

Sweet Cinnamon Kit Kat

What are Sweet Cinnamon Kit Kat bars?

Have a break, have a Kit Kat, have a Cinnamon Dolce Latte?

The newest flavor in the Kit Kat lineup is Sweet Cinnamon. In an attempt to coincide with the holidays and bring something new besides candy cane or chocolate mint, the gang at Hershey’s has been “spicing” things up.

Kit Kats in America aren’t as extreme as some of its international counterparts, but sweet cinnamon offers a subtle, yet enticing option that’s around for the holiday season. But does the warm spice ever really go out of season?

How are they?

Sweet Cinnamon Kit Kat Top

The second I unwrapped the elfish-decorated minis, the fragrance wasn’t so much like opening a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but instead a bag of cinnamon marshmallows.

After the first bite, I was a bit concerned. There was neither a robust nor subtle cinnamon flavor. So, was this basically a milk chocolate Kit Kat? Not that those aren’t great, but when I expect some cinnamon, I want that delicate balance of sugar, spice, and everything nice!!

Sweet Cinnamon Kit Kat Innards

However, as I kept chewing, I eventually got a subtle and sweet flavor, almost like a particular Starbucks latte I know well.

Is there anything else you need to know?

The light, crispy wafer of a Kit Kat blends perfectly with the mild cinnamon and milk chocolate, but could you imagine if they were made with white chocolate? Think horchata.

Also, I do wish these weren’t limited time only, because they could do well any time of year.

Conclusion:

If you’re looking for a light cinnamon flavor that doesn’t overwhelm, these are for you. My facial reactions after eating these are like that of the elves on the wrappers.

Sweet Cinnamon Kit Kat Elves

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 9 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (34 grams – 4 Pieces) 170 Calories, 9 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 17 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Papa John’s Garlic Parmesan Crust

Papa John s Garlic Parmesan Crust

Papa John’s makes my favorite chain pizza.

Before you @ me, hear me out: it has the perfect balance of flavors as the slightly sweeter pizza sauce is the perfect primer for the savory toppings and signature Garlic Sauce. Also, the texture of the pizza has the springy goodness of fresh bread. Since I’m a crust enthusiast, that’s pretty dang important to me.

So, when Papa John’s launched its new garlic parmesan crust earlier this month, my crust purist self was a little skeptical. Why ruin a good thing?! It’s the first time in company history that it’s taken a page out of Pizza Hut’s book and changed up the crust. According to the VP of the menu strategy team, the chain found inspiration from its glorious Garlic Sauce.

Papa John s Garlic Parmesan Crust Half and Half

For good measure, I deviated from my usual pepperoni order with a half pepperoni, half mushroom pie with the garlic parmesan crust. Why? Because I was worried the new addition would throw off the aforementioned perfect balance. I figured mushroom was the tastiest neutral pick.

Papa John s Garlic Parmesan Crust Closeup

The new crust passed the visual test; it looked pretty different from the standard crust. I liken the look and feel of it to Subway’s Italian Herb and Cheese bread because you can see the shredded parmesan-romano cheese baked into it.

Papa John s Garlic Parmesan Crust Closeup 2

Flavor-wise, I could taste the parmesan, and it didn’t throw off the balance at all! It was fine with both pepperoni and mushroom. The flavor was like eating cheesy breadsticks. It wasn’t garlicky or buttery enough for my liking, though. Especially if it’s supposed to be inspired by the signature sauce.

However, after dipping the garlic parmesan crust into the garlic butter, I had some seriously vampire-warding breath.

Overall, Papa John’s Garlic Parmesan Crust was average. It didn’t add or take away from my experience. I could see it as a nice way to jazz up a pizza order, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for it.

Purchased Price: $10.00
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: N/A.

REVIEW: Skittles Dips

Skittles Dips Creamy Yogurt

What are Skittles Dips?

Skittles now come dipped in a creamy yogurt flavored coating.

How are they?

Do you enjoy “yogurt” coated raisins? Are you a Skittles fan? Well, that’s really all you have to ask yourself. If you answered “yes” to both questions like I did, then you’re in for a treat because I love these.

Skittles Dips Creamy Yogurt Package

The creamy yogurt dip is very similar to what you’re probably expecting. It has that sugary white chocolate flavor and texture, which interact well with each of the classic Skittles flavors – Strawberry, Grape, Green Apple (R.I.P. Lime), Lemon, and Orange. I think I liked Orange best, but they’re all great.

Skittles Dips Creamy Yogurt Closeup

There’s a nice thick layer of the coating that brings the size of each Skittle up from an M&M to slightly smaller than a peanut M&M.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Look, as with yogurt covered raisins, it’s best not to question the “yogurt” of all this. This “yogurt” isn’t turning your Skittles into a healthy snack. You hear “yogurt” and immediately think, “Wellll, look at me eating all healthy and responsible.” Still, we all know it’s essentially a sugar dip – an absolutely delicious sugar dip coating one of the greatest fruit-flavored candies in history.

Skittles Dips Creamy Yogurt Colors

Oh yeah, and I have to mention they look cool as hell, with little black “S’s” on the translucent white coating with each flavor’s color bleeding through. These rule on every level.

Conclusion:

If I have one dumb complaint, it’s that the Skittles seem extra hard and chewy after the coating melts away. They’re amazing, but I still prefer the textural experience of yogurt covered raisins or those Welch’s yogurt coated fruit snacks.

I’ve long questioned why there have never been Chocolate Covered Skittles, and with these being called “Skittles Dips,” and not “Yogurt Dipped Skittles,” it leads me to believe there might be plans to expand the product line.

If so, awesome, if not, I’m just pumped these exist. Make sure to pick these up.

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 11.20 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 oz.) 130 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 4 grams of sat fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 20 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.