REVIEW: Keebler Limited Batch Birthday Cake Fudge Stripes Cookies

Keebler Limited Batch Birthday Cake Fudge Stripes Cookies

During the 45 years or so of the Cold War, the United States and Soviet Union built up massive quantities of nuclear weapons in an effort to counter each other and become the world’s leading super power.

Each had their own spheres of influence, but since separate hemispheres weren’t enough, both nations just kept building more and bigger missiles until one couldn’t keep up any longer.

A quarter century after the Berlin Wall fell, another arms race is occurring. The good news is that the entire existence of the human race is no longer at stake. The bad news is that we are all going to get massively obese.

It’s a trade I am totally cool with.

Gone are the days when Oreo was content with being the world’s leading chocolate sandwich cookie; likewise, Keebler’s elves aspire to an empire greater than just fudge covered shortbreads. The two companies have fought for cookie supremacy in recent limited time offerings of red velvet and pumpkin spice, but the latest flashpoint in the great cookie conflict is one flavor that I never get tired of celebrating: Birthday Cake.

While I give the elves credit for creating a cookie that has all three traditional elements of birthday cake (sprinkles, frosting, and uh, “cake”) I do need to point out that the box artwork features a cupcake. At first I thought this was just a celebration of portion control, but since the package also happens to be non-resalable — thus increasing my chances of inhaling all the cookies in one sitting — I realize the elves probably just suck at making distinctions.

I, however, do not. And to be sure, the distinction of Birthday Cake vs. Cupcake is one I take seriously. If you show me a cupcake, I expect the frosting to steal the show. That’s not the case with these cookies, though.

Keebler Limited Batch Birthday Cake Fudge Stripes Cookies 2

Oh, I mean the shortbread element is fine. It’s buttery with a delectably fine crumb and the non-overpowering element of sweetness I admire about the original Fudge Stripe.

But whereas the original Fudge Stripe can get away with a faux-chocolate glaze that works to balance the shortbread, the frosting glaze on the latest batch of shortbread just tastes like that generic palm oil glaze we’ve all had a million times. It’s not buttercream frosting; it’s not cream cheese frosting; it’s not even a damn Swiss meringue. It’s just way too sweet, and lacks that luscious mouthfeel of an actual frosting element. Likewise, it’s cut off from the sprinkles, which themselves lack the crunchy contrast I want buried in frosting.

Keebler Limited Batch Birthday Cake Fudge Stripes Cookies 3

Fortunately, since my pantry is always willing to celebrate an actual birthday, I had some rainbow chip frosting handy. Now, while I realize this stuff would be good on anything from pancakes to Ritz crackers, I did find it especially wonderful when stuffed between the Fudge Stripe Birthday Cake cookies.

Biting through the crunchy shortbread into actual, sprinkled-filled frosting — even in an artificial, shelf-stable form — reminded me of Oreo’s birthday cake attempt and how providing just a level of textural contrast can go a long way to really making a birthday cake-flavored product worth the purchase.

Does the fact that Oreo makes a better birthday cake cookie than Keebler mean that the Elves are destined to toil in a downtrodden economy until an ex-KGB spy who likes to take his shirt off attempts to assert them as the world’s leading cookie makers? Probably not. But in the arms race of cookie flavors, Keebler’s latest gambit just can’t keep pace.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 130 calories, 6 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: $2.99
Purchased at: Weis Markets
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Delectable shortbread crumb. Crunchy sprinkle pieces. Wonderful vehicle birthday cake frosting.
Cons: Waxy, mostly tasteless frosting element. Too much shortbread taste for a birthday cake product. Non-resalable packaging. Cookie company flavor arms races.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Pepperidge Farm Milk Chocolate Dipped Milano Cookies

Limited Edition Pepperidge Farm Milk Chocolate Dipped Milano Cookies

List of things hard to improve: the Northern Lights, pens that don’t run out of ink, paper dragons, snack mixes, and Jedi mind tricks.

I once thought that Milano cookies, too, should be on this list. Composed of planks of golden sugar cookies sandwiching a thin layer of semisweet chocolate, original Milano toe the line of perfection, and yet the restless, curious minds at Pepperidge Farm are working to propel the cookie into a new realm of supremacy, having now covered the beloved cookie in a bevy of chocolate. Since I could live the rest of my life with nothing but Netflix, a vat of milk, and a constantly streaming Costco-sized bag of the originals, I couldn’t help but give this new chocolate covered variation its time in the spotlight.

Limited Edition Pepperidge Farm Milk Chocolate Dipped Milano Cookies Tray

Well, well, what’s this? Seems these bountiful biscuits have ditched the old flimsy fluted cup for a plastic sleeve. A wise choice, not only because fluted cups remind me of past traumatic experiences with Betty Crocker, but also because the plastic separators prevent them from melting and turning into mish-mosh.

And these cookies aren’t mish-mosh.

Some mass-produced chocolate can taste of sugar and vegetable oil, giving the chocolate all the bizarre flatness of a senator reading rap lines. Not so with these sandwiches. The milk chocolate coating is sugary sweet with a finish of light cocoa. It melts pretty fast, which isn’t good for that white shirt you pressed this morning, but quite good for consuming off the nubs of your chocolate-coated fingers.

But where that chocolate really shines is with the cookie itself. Aside from being covered in cocoa solids, these biscuits haven’t changed a bit. Walking the tightrope between crispy and crunchy with just a hint at an artificial buttery end, these planks serve as the perfect palate to showcase the semisweet chocolate insides. This thin inner core of hardened chocolate starts sweet then leaves just a hint of coffee-like bitterness behind. It is here that I realize how much this cookie thrives on contrasts. This sweet, crunchy, gooey, pleasantly bitter experience has all the sporadic eccentricities akin to listening to the playlist of a late night college radio station: one moment, you’re listening to Sinatra, the next, David Bowie, the next, Bob Marley. A whole range of personalities.

Limited Edition Pepperidge Farm Milk Chocolate Dipped Milano Cookies Closeup

And if sandwich cookies had personalities, the Milano would be the intellectual. The deep thinker. The Nietchze reader who enjoys classic cinema and vintage wine and purple silk robes. Thus I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that I shelled out an Abraham Lincoln for the 7 cookies, but I was a little disappointed with the low cookie count.

While the milk chocolate on these is pretty good, the cookie doesn’t quite offer enough specialty or mystery for such a price. However, the box did fulfill my chocolate quota in the time it would take to get my car washed, and all chocolate has antioxidants and antioxidants are good for your ojos, right? Or wait, maybe that’s carrots.

Limited Edition Pepperidge Farm Milk Chocolate Dipped Milano Cookies The mug says it all

I have a self-imposed superstition that, if you mess with perfection, bad things will happen: your eggs will curdle, your credit card will be debunked, or a clan of vengeful lobsters will arise from the sea and attack you for no apparent reason. Luckily, none of these things happened when these Milano cookies were consumed and, while they were a bit overpriced, these show themselves as a solid example of a chocolate covered cookie.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 160 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 0 milligrams of potassium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.

Item: Limited Edition Pepperidge Farm Milk Chocolate Dipped Milano Cookies
Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 1 box/7 cookies
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Crispy-crunchy texture. Plenty of chocolate. Chocolate that actually tastes of chocolate. Chocolate is good for your ojos. No obtrusive fluted cups. Paper dragons. Jedi mind tricks.
Cons: Some may not enjoy slight artificial butteriness. Chocolate can get messy. Only seven cookies. Traumatic experiences involving Betty Crocker. Being attacked by a clan of vengeful lobsters.