REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Marshmallow Sky Ice Cream

When you stroll into the grocery store ice cream aisle, one thing will usually jump out at you more prominently than most — the Ben & Jerry’s section. It’s usually more prominent than any others in the area, and with as many limited, new, and classic flavors as they have stocked, you would think that is all Ben & Jerry’s has to offer…but it is not.

Ben & Jerry’s keeps some of its treasured flavors quietly close to the chest and only available in Scoop Shops. One of my favorites, a dairy-laden version of Seven Layer Bar, can only be found in the dip case, and if you make it into one of B&J’s shops, you may find a couple of other surprises, too.

Good news for those without a shop nearby: a Scoop Shop exclusive has become a Limited Batch pint for the first time in a long time (ever?). Marshmallow Sky features marshmallow ice cream with marshmallow swirls and gobs of chocolate chip cookie dough and chocolate chocolate chip cookie dough.

The blue base ice cream, colored naturally with spirulina extract, is delightfully creamy with a robust vanilla flavor that isn’t as aggressively sweet as I was anticipating, and I’m totally okay with it. Marshmallow is usually a two-note flavor — sugar, then vanilla — and this base has the same two notes, but it’s much more vanilla than sugar, which is a welcomed surprise given the presence of the mix-ins. The marshmallow swirl is sticky and sweet and brings both the sugary element and texture to the mallow-sperience, thoroughly doing its job to bring the sweet taste of the summer sky to the spoon.

The double punch of dough chunks is prominent throughout and helps bring some much appreciated texture to the bites. The classic chocolate chip cookie dough’s brown sugar flavor blends in a bit with the bold vanilla backdrop of the base. But its gritty, chewy crunch and hints of chocolate poke through well. However, the bells of the ball are the chocolate chocolate chip cookie dough gobs, which REALLY make their mark with deep bittersweet notes of cocoa that cut through the base like butter. The blast of chocolate really delivers the dynamic pop I want from a good mix-in that elevates marshmallow sky oh so high into a pint that you should certainly buy.

This flavor is essentially B&J’s classic cookie dough on steroids. The base is a more robust and full-bodied vanilla than the original, and the double chocolate dough gives it a layering that the original lacks, all tied together with the sweet, sticky bow of a marshmallow swirl. Coming from the company that created cookie dough ice cream, this eats like a love letter to those who consider the classic their favorite flavor and shouldn’t be missed by those who adore the gobs of dough and vanilla with a colorful twist.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free product sample from Ben & Jerry’s. Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: One Pint
Purchased at: Received from Ben & Jerry’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup, 132g) 340 calories, 15 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates,0 grams of fiber, 35 grams of total sugars, and 5 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Impretzively Fudged and PB S’more

Kicking off the new year in sweet and salty style, the master churners at Ben & Jerry’s are back with two fresh additions to their vaunted lineup of chunk-laden pints: Impretzively Fudged and PB S’more.

Impretzively Fudged is chocolate ice cream with fudge-covered pretzel pieces and pretzel swirls.

This is a straightforward but delightfully effective take on a chocolate-covered pretzel. Simple isn’t always bad; in this case, it makes the pint simply stunning. The chocolate base is as good as ever, with some of the salt from the pretzel swirl bleeding into the ice cream for a more nuanced and rich chocolate flavor than the average chocolate provides — and I love it. The gritty, subtly crunchy pretzel swirl is pretty present throughout, and with only one swirl and one mix-in, the intended sweet and salty profile is inescapable and captivatingly delicious.

The fudge-covered pretzel pieces are different than I expected. Even though the description says “pieces,” I envisioned pretzel nuggets, but they are, in fact, pieces. Pieces to the point that they feel almost like shattered fragments of a chocolate pretzel bark. They have a nice crunch and genuine salty pop that makes each spoonful incredibly satisfying. This pint eats more like a chocolate chip ice cream than one with massive boulders of chunk-age, but in this case, the chocolate chips are flecks of chocolate pretzel, and it’s pure indulgent fun. The profile is a bit of a one-trick pony, but it’s a pony that I love and a trick I will gladly embrace time and time again.

PB S’more is toasted marshmallow ice cream with peanut butter cups, graham cracker pieces, and marshmallow swirls.

S’mores ice cream is usually hard to pull off, nailing the nuanced layers of flavor and texture that make the summertime treat so fantastic, and this new PB-ified iteration falls down that same tricky trajectory. Anytime I see marshmallow and graham swirls in an ice cream, I am sold, and they both do their job in this pint convincingly as some of B&J’s best mix-ins. Where it gets a bit muddied is in the toasted marshmallow base. It comes across as really sweet, and I love sweet, but this teeters on cloying. Not enough to ruin the experience, but enough to make me wish it was different. I don’t get much of a toasted flavor either, and some smokiness would have been more than welcome to temper the intense sweetness of the base and swirls.

The peanut butter cups change the pint’s dynamic for the better, bringing a big, bold crunch and semisweet chocolate punch that helps break up the overlapping monotony of the double-mallow-whammy. They are full-sized PB cups broken into giant chunks. But sadly, my pint only had four sizable pieces throughout with a couple of fragmented shards, and I only occasionally got the salty peanut butter reprieve I was hoping for. I love this flavor conceptually, but in execution, I think it would have been much better with a different base — graham, peanut butter, or even chocolate — to make the scoop more balanced in moments without the excellent boulders of PB cups.

All in all, these are fun ways to start the new year for one of the most prolific brands in grocery store ice cream. This drop steps away from the novelty of a Topped or Core’d pint to deliver a slightly tweaked version of Gimme S’more and a more bare-bones spin on Glampfire Trail Mix. If you’re a fan of those, this will likely appeal to you and should be arriving on shelves now!

DISCLOSURE: I received free product samples from Ben & Jerry’s. Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: One Pint
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Impretzively Fudged), 7 out of 10 (PB S’more)
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) Impretzively Fudged – 390 calories, 23 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 260 milligrams of sodium, 42 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 32 grams of total sugars, and 6 grams of protein. PB S’more – 370 calories, 19 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 45 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 35 grams of total sugars, and 6 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Chocolate Fudge Brownie Oat Milk Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert

When Ben & Jerry’s first began its foray into non-dairy “ice cream” pints in 2016, it chose one base option to replace its coveted creamy dairy – almond milk. Since then, there have been sunflower butter experiments, but all that is about to hit the wayside. A lot has changed since the B&J’s non-dairy inception, one of which is the widespread popularity of oat milk. The nut-free alternative has taken over in bougie third-wave coffee shops and cereal bowls. By 2024, every Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy pint and scoop shop offering will transition to an oat base, which the company claims creates a creamier texture that allows the flavors to shine as intended.

The reformulation begins with two classics: original launch flavor Chocolate Fudge Brownie, which features chocolate non-dairy frozen dessert with fudge brownies, and fan favorite, more recently vegan-ified, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, which boasts vanilla non-dairy frozen dessert with chocolate chip cookie dough and fudge flakes.

The timing of this changeover is interesting for me, personally. I was visiting family recently, some of whom are vegan, and they brought out a pint of non-dairy The Tonight Dough. I remarked how Ben & Jerry’s almond base seems to have gotten markedly better over the years, and I was impressed with its creaminess and flavor. Not only that, but my favorite new B&J’s pint of 2023 is the non-dairy Oatmeal Dream Pie, which has a sunflower butter base, and I thought the vegan version of Lights! Caramel! Action! was just as good as its dairy counterpart. That said, I was primed to go into these new oat milk pints with a plethora of experience with the older formula as recently as last week.

So, how does the oat milk stack up? It’s pretty good! Both bases have a solid flavor but a slightly thinner, almost watery finish that tends to be the case for most non-dairy bases not made with coconut. There’s no true fatty density to leave a creamy imprint on your tongue, but there also isn’t any almond or coconut aftertaste. There’s a bit of an oat taste that lingers in the finish, but it isn’t as aggressive as its nutty counterparts. The “ice cream” is incredibly smooth and tempers wonderfully. It takes longer to get there than dairy, but once you let it sit for 15 minutes or so, it has a delightfully smooth and pleasant texture that provides a clean background for the cocoa and vanilla, respectively.

From the beginning, Ben & Jerry’s mission statement has been all about the chunks, and they really shine in these pints. Although both flavors are very basic, the brownies and cookie dough taste and feel nearly identical to those submerged in cow’s milk. The brownies are soft, chewy, and have a chocolatey pop, while the cookie dough brings a gritty brown sugar blast accented by crunchy yet melty chocolate chips. For non-dairy pints you can pick up at the grocery store, the mix-ins don’t get much better than this.

These are two very safe flavors for Ben & Jerry’s to launch its new base with, and I don’t think any vegan ice cream lovers will be disappointed in the change, but I don’t find them mind-blowingly better, either. The chocolate base has less of an aftertaste, and the cookie dough has a more dynamic chunk-age, so they’re both equally tasty but fairly standard in my rankings. The real test of this new recipe will be how it performs in the true non-dairy standout exclusives like Oatmeal Dream Pie, Coconut Seven Layer Bar, and Peanut Butter & Cookies.

DISCLOSURE: I received free product samples. Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: One Pint
Purchased at: Sent samples for review from Ben & Jerry’s
Rating: 7 out of 10 (for both)
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – 340 calories, 13 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 50 milligrams of sodium, 55 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 33 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

Chocolate Fudge Brownie – 260 calories, 9 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 42 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 25 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Mousse Pie Ice Cream

Chocoholics unite! The final new flavor from Ben & Jerry’s 2023 launch lineup is an ode to one of the essential French-inspired American desserts, which definitely hits me with a bit of Americana nostalgia. Mousse Pie is milk chocolate ice cream with chocolate mousse swirls and chocolate cookie swirls.

Ben & Jerry’s chocolate base is a topic of contention amongst many ice cream bloggers. Some seem to think it’s lackluster and one of the lowlights of the brand, but I like it quite a bit, especially in my favorite classic flavor Phish Food. Regardless of my enjoyment of the normal chocolate base, I’m always happy to see the oft-forgotten milk chocolate get rolled out for a new creation. The base here is lighter and sweeter with a smooth milky flavor that reminds me of a throwback chocolate malt without the malty funk. Not quite as light as a vanilla-leaning Wendy’s Frosty, but it’s devoid of all the bitterness one usually gets from a typical chocolate base, and I enjoy it.

What I enjoy more, though, is the textural contrast with the chocolate mousse swirls. Unlike Topped Bossin’ Cream Pie, I’m actually able to differentiate between the base and the swirls in this pint, and I do get a lighter, fluffier texture that somewhat emulates the airiness of a mousse. It’s a fun and unexpected switch-up that really comes to life when you let this pint get all the way tempered to just shy of melty — if you pick this up, make sure to give it enough time to show its true colors.

As fun as the base and mousse are, the highlight of this pint is the chocolate cookie swirls. I’m no stranger to this staple B&J mix-in, and there’s a reason why it gets used so much. It’s gritty and buttery with a bittersweet chocolate taste that is very welcome amongst the milkier components. It has that classic Oreo-adjacent cocoa flare that drives home the flavor of the pie crust perfectly. It pops up in some bigger chunks throughout that carry a hearty, satisfying crunch — it’s a lot of fun.

Mousse Pie is essentially a lighter, in terms of both texture and taste, version of Ben & Jerry’s classic Chocolate Therapy. Overall I prefer Chocolate Therapy, which makes this one feel a bit redundant in the scope of the prolific and often innovative Ben & Jerry’s arsenal. However, I can’t deny how well the components play together, and the addictive-ness of that gritty swirl is enough to keep me happily digging to the bottom of this chocolaty abyss.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free product sample from Ben & Jerry’s. Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: One Pint
Purchased at: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup, 139g) 390 calories, 24 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 34 grams of total sugars, and 6 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Churray for Churros! Ice Cream

Churros and ice cream are nearly complete opposites. Aside from their robust sweetness, I can’t imagine many things in the dessert realm that are more drastically different than each other. One is hot and crispy, while the other is cold and melty.

When I dream up the ideal churro, the first thing that comes to mind is a fried crunch that gives way to soft fluffy dough with a sharp sugary cinnamon bite. When I imagine the perfect pint, I see gooey swirls and chewy chunks in a velvety smooth base. They’re like completely different experiences, right? I’ve had churros in ice cream before and it hasn’t worked, but Ben & Jerry’s is daringly giving it a shot. Churray for Churros! is buttery cinnamon ice cream with churro pieces and crunchy cinnamon swirls.

Bad news first: this pint doesn’t give me much of the satisfaction I associate with a churro, but the good news is it is a really great cinnamon ice cream. The base is delightful. It is absolutely buttery with a smooth texture that gives way to a very prominent but sweet cinnamon flavor that works beautifully with the lush fatty dairy notes. It is a mild flavor that most fans of the spice should find sufficient while not being so intense that it will turn people away who may not love it as much as I do; it is balanced.

The “churro pieces” are really more like a cross between a chewy cookie and cookie dough. They’re very soft and slightly gritty, not nearly as gritty as the classic gobs of chocolate chip cookie dough B&J are known for, but there’s a hint of undone-ness to the chew. They amp up the cinnamon flavor AND the buttery flavor from the base, and it’s like a match made in heaven. Again, these “churro pieces” don’t really remind me of a churro texturally at all, but when I’ve had churro pieces in other ice creams, it has been a disaster. So kudos to the gurus in Vermont for figuring this one out because the cinnamon sugar taste is awesome.

There are a ton of churro pieces in my pint but not so much of the crunchy cinnamon swirls. I don’t notice a big textural shift between bites, and with three cinnamon components, it’s hard to differentiate exactly what’s going on. In fact, that’s the only issue I have with this creation is that while it’s very good, it’s a bit of a one-trick pony. This is the perfect ice cream to have a single scoop of on a cone or to use as the base of a sundae. But on its own, it feels like it’s one component away from being a B&J all-timer.

Perhaps pairing this with churro dipping sauce, like a dulce de leche or fudge swirl, could have taken this to churro spiral city. Churray for Churros! reminds me a lot more of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and snickerdoodle cookie dough than it does churros, but I am a cinnamon fiend, and all of those profiles have a special place in my heart, even if it’s a bit one-note at times.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free product sample from Ben & Jerry’s. Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: One Pint
Purchased at: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup, 133g) 380 calories, 23 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 33 grams of total sugars, and 5 grams of protein.