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.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s and Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolatey Love A-Fair Ice Cream

When it comes to the snack game, few things are as fun and exciting as a good mashup. Two culinary titans colliding to create one new product tends to send the masses (at least those that frequent blogs like this) into a spiral of excitement — Peeps Oreo. Mountain Dew Doritos. Kellogg’s Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie cereal. And now, just in time for Valentine’s Day…a Chocolatey Love A-Fair.

The new pint from Ben & Jerry’s and Tony’s Chocolonely combines chocolate ice cream with salted caramel swirls, caramel chunks, and sea salt fudge chunks. In keeping with Tony’s mission statement to end modern slavery in cocoa farming, this new flavor uses fair trade cocoa that’s traceable via Tony’s open chain. Delicious AND good for the workers? Hell yeah.

This pint isn’t exactly what I expected, but it is really good. The chocolate ice cream is incredible. I’m a fan of Ben & Jerry’s chocolate base, but this has an extra depth and richness from the amount of saltiness floating within the mix-ins. It truly tastes and feels like a salted chocolate base with a brilliant, bittersweet flavor that tempers perfectly. A similar sensation happens with Glampfire Trail Mix from the pretzel swirl — the base itself isn’t different, but what’s in it changes the dynamic. This may be the best chocolate base I’ve had from B&J. For a grocery shelf available product, it is elite.

The salted caramel swirl isn’t as prominent here as in some of my other favorites, like Phish Food, but it pops up a couple of times in pleasant little globs. I have a feeling a lot of the caramel seeped into the base, which I can’t be too mad about because it has such a dynamic depth that the sticky sweet caramel is just a nice little bonus when I find it, as opposed to being necessary for satisfaction.

What threw me off initially were the mix-ins. When I read “caramel chunks” and “sea salt fudge chunks,” I think squishy, or at the very least soft and somewhat ganache-adjacent, but that’s not the case here. The sea salt fudge chunks are much closer to the classic B&J fudge flakes, but they have a legitimate salty pop that cuts through the base brilliantly. I tend to think B&J “fudge chunks” (basically big chocolate chips) always taste better in shapes like the fish in Phish Food than when they’re flakes, and that same rule applies here. They’re firm and snappy but still have a melt-in-your-mouth quality once chewed.

The caramel chunks are even more unique. They’re crunchy and crackly, like the outside of caramel corn meets Buncha Crunch, with a gently sweet buttery flavor. I expected something like a smaller version of a caramel that comes wrapped in plastic from the grocery store that gets melted down for caramel apples, but it’s its own thing entirely, and it works.

Chocolatey Love A-Fair doesn’t reinvent the wheel by any means, but it delivers a legitimately delicious sweet and salty scooping experience that should please fans of both Ben & Jerry’s indulgent pints and Tony’s high quality cocoa expertise.

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: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup, 136g) 360 calories, 21 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 35 grams of total sugars, and 6 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Topped Bossin’ Cream Pie and Topped Raspberry Cheesecake

For those who may not be quite as privy to strolling a grocery store’s frozen aisle on a bi-weekly basis, Ben & Jerry’s erupted into 2021 with seven new semi-novelty pints called Topped. I call them “semi-novelty” because, like their Core’d ice cream siblings before them, these flavors are definitely meant to catch eyes and get people talking about their full layer of chocolate ganache beneath the lid. Last year saw a Topped microdose of two new additions, and 2023 arrives with another fresh duo — Bossin’ Cream Pie and Raspberry Cheesecake.

Bossin’ Cream Pie is vanilla custard ice cream with cake pieces and pastry cream swirls topped with milk chocolaty ganache and fudge chips.

Boston Cream Pie is one of those elusive desserts that I’ve had a bunch of spinoffs of but never the actual dessert itself. I know it’s a shame, but I don’t think it’s all that common in California. I’ve had Boston Cream doughnuts, cookies, yogurt, and even the original Ben & Jerry’s Boston Cream Pie Ice Cream from many years ago, but enjoying an actual slice has escaped me…and now I’m sad.

Anyway, the vanilla custard base is notably different than the milker, sweeter, more floral one that I recently wrote (and raved) about in Lights! Caramel! Action! This has a denser texture and eggy flavor that does a good job of feeling and tasting like a custard as opposed to traditional ice cream — think French Vanilla versus Vanilla Bean. It’s good and solid for this flavor profile, but I prefer the standard vanilla overall.

Yellow cake is one of my favorites, and there’s plenty of the soft and sweet mix-in to go around in this pint. The pieces have a notable chew and touch of butteriness that blends in a bit with the base. It’s not the most wow-factor combination, but it works and it’s tasty, if not a touch forgettable due to the lack of contrast, but still good.

What isn’t forgettable is the milk chocolate ganache on top, which may be the best execution of the topping since its inception two years ago. It’s soft, fudge-y, and brilliantly sweet with a silky smooth texture that makes every spoonful it touches absolute gold. The soft ganache gets accented by crunchy bits of fudge chips, and I love it. I don’t really notice the pastry cream swirls that much, and I wish they were more prominent, but the fudge is so good and the base and cake are so classically tried and true that it remains a pint I’m willing to bet almost anyone will enjoy.

Topped Raspberry Cheesecake is cheesecake ice cream with raspberry swirls and graham cracker, topped with white chocolate ganache and graham cracker crumbs.

Finally, a Ben & Jerry’s pint with enough graham cracker! For my whole scooping life, I feel B&J graham is among its strongest mix-ins and I always want more. Here it is, we have more, and it is excellent. The graham cracker on top is dry and crumbly with a slight crunch that combines beautifully with the sweet and creamy white ganache beneath it. The graham inside is ample and much softer with a butteriness and hint of saltiness that caresses my spoon with delight — it’s so good. Can we please get this much graham cracker in Pumpkin Cheesecake? I will levitate if it does.

The cheesecake base is good and pretty unique. It’s not the richest cheesecake base I’ve ever had, but it’s notably funky with some tang and pronounced cheesiness that’s impressive and strong enough to get the point across. Interestingly, the texture isn’t quite as dense as I expect from B&J. It’s not light by any means, but there’s something about the funkiness of the flavoring and inclusion of cheese cultures that gives it a different, mildly thinner texture.

The only slight misfire in this pint is the raspberry swirls, which I didn’t get enough of. When I encounter them, they bring a much needed brightness and acidity that works with the funky ice cream and buttery graham splendidly. A couple of the bites I had were a touch icy, but even then, I wanted more. But there’s a good chance your experience will be fruitier than mine if you pick this one up, which you absolutely should.

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

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: One Pint
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Bossin’ Cream Pie), 8 out of 10 (Raspberry Cheesecake)
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup, 130g) Bossin’ Cream Pie 380 calories, 20 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 39 grams of total sugars, and 5 grams of protein. Raspberry Cheesecake – 410 calories, 23 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 37 grams of total sugars, and 6 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Lights! Caramel! Action! Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s is one of the few companies that make a concerted effort to do the right thing. Whether you agree with its specific politics or not, B&J often uses its platform to raise awareness and money for lesser known causes, and in a world consumed by greed, that’s an admirable trait to have. The latest collaborative ice-cream-for-good comes courtesy of director Ava DuVernay and her ARRAY Alliance, dedicated to advancing social justice through art. Lights! Caramel! Action! is vanilla ice cream with salted caramel swirls, graham cracker swirls, and gobs of chocolate chip cookie dough.

As often as B&J advocates for good, they also like to slightly tweak already tried and true recipes and rebrand them with a celebrity endorsement — I’m looking at you, Mint Chocolate Chance — and that tends to yield mixed results. This pint combines some all-time great components into one container that’s no doubt good, but a bit too familiar.

The vanilla base is excellent, like, really, really good. Very smooth and creamy with a dense floral milky taste that’s as good or better than any B&J vanilla I can recall scooping in the last couple of years. Perhaps I haven’t had straight vanilla from the company in a while, but I’m impressed. I always found B&J vanilla to be satisfactory, and this exceeds that — simply delicious.

The chocolate chip cookie dough is also, unsurprisingly, fantastic. “Gobs” is absolutely the right way to describe them because they are big boulders of gritty brown sugar dough with crunchy chocolate that have been a hit since their inception in 1984. Undeniably delicious, but when paired with the vanilla base, it is exactly like a flavor that’s been on grocery store shelves since 1991 — essentially my whole ice cream-eating life.

Where this flavor switches things up is the dual swirls of salted caramel and graham cracker, and they’re both good but not quite as plentiful as I would like. The graham cracker brings a buttery and slightly salted grit to the profile, which interestingly overlaps with the dough a bit in its texture and pint presence. I always want more graham, but the amount here, although not super heavy, is satisfactory given the epic amount of dough and some of their shared characteristics.

The one component I really want more of is the salted caramel swirl. I’ve been lucky in my many years of reviewing ice cream to get some massive pools of caramel, but this is much more like last year’s Chewy Gooey Cookie — relatively thin and lacking any sticky sweet density. The caramel is there, and I enjoy what little I can taste. But being in the name, I wanted more of a caramel-y kick to take this creation to another level. As great as the vanilla base is, I think this could have been even better, more true-to-name, and unique, with a caramel base to give this flavor more caramelized sugary depth and character to go along with the iconic dough, incredible pun, and gritty graham.

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: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup, 144g) 390 calories, 21 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 33 grams of total sugars, and 5 grams of protein.