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.

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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.

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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 Fruity Crisp Oreo Cookies

Nabisco Limited Edition Fruity Crisp Oreo Cookies

Well, I guess this is how it starts.

Yes, “it.”

Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s only the single worst thing in the universe; the thing people have been warning us about for years. It’s the reason why I’ve been stocking up the shelves in my basement, quietly prepping for the disaster I knew would eventually befall us. And to think the harbinger of the impending doom is America’s most beloved cookie company.

The cerealapocalypse.

After tasting the new Fruity Crisp Oreo Cookies I’m convinced the end of cereal eating as we know could be near. We already knew people were ditching cereal because they’ve been too damn lazy to wash out their bowls, but now that Oreo has managed to pack the flavor of Fruity Pebbles in between their Golden wafers, well, Post might as well file Chapter 11.

Every time Oreo releases a new flavor people say things like, “This is a game-changer.” But I’m not here to tell you what is and is not a gamer changer; I’m here to tell you these cookies taste exactly like Fruity freaking Pebbles, right on down to that initial Paleolithic burst of cloying artificial fruit flavor.

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From the moment I opened the bag the unmistakable aroma of Fruity Pebbles assaulted my nostrils like a friendly prehistoric child with a large club, while an initial sampling of the Golden Oreo base revealed the distinct aftertaste of the Fruity Pebbles cereal we all remember from the days when we smuggled it into our mommies’ shopping carts at the supermarket.

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After effortlessly separating the filling from the cookies, I sampled the frosting-like creme on its own. This is not your standard Oreo creme. It’s not as chalky or stiff as regular Oreo creme, and it has a shelf-stable frosting like quality in the way you can pluck it from the cookie with your finger. The taste, bursting with crispy, fruity cereal pieces, is unmistakably milky and sweet, like cereal that’s been steeped in milk for the better part of a day. If I was going to make an ice cream out of cereal, I imagine it would taste a lot like the creme.

Yes, the cerealapocalypse is upon us.

Biting into each cookie, you get every element of a bowl of Fruity Pebbles; the milk is there, the crispy cereal texture is there, and of course, the hypersweet fruity taste dominates. Basically, each cookie renders the cereal box and carton of milk a relic from the past. As a traditional cereal eater, even I will admit it tastes insanely awesome.

But there may be one hope for those of us used to eating cereal the old fashioned way. For as much as I enjoyed the first couple of cookies, I couldn’t get into the same kind of mindless cookie eating groove that I can get into with a standard Oreo. I mean, you have to really love Fruity Pebbles to make it through an entire package, mostly because the overwhelmingly sweet, artificial taste of Fruity Pebbles is so accurate that you feel like you’ve just eaten 3-4 bowls of Fruity Pebbles after just 3-4 cookies. With that in mind, I can see some Oreo fanatics loving these cookies, but not making them a repeat purchase.

In any case, that’s my only hope for the cereal industry, because these cookies are so accurate in copying the taste of Fruity Pebbles, they’ll make you forget Fred Flintstone existed.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 80 mg of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugars, and less than 1 gram of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 10.7 oz
Purchased at: Giant
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Perfectly captures the taste of Fruity Pebbles in every bite. Milky, frosting-like creme. Crispy textural contrast. Golden wafers that have fruity cereal taste.
Cons: Exceptionally sweet and artificial, to the point where the Fruity Pebbles taste can wear on you. Packaging literally out of the Stone Age. Not as good as some of the other limited edition Oreo flavors. Needs a chocolate lovers equivalent with chocolate wafers and Cocoa Pebbles.

REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Banana Chocolate Milano Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Banana Chocolate Milano Cookies

As I sit here gazing out at mounds of dirty snow piled as far as the eye can see, I dream of a better place.

So disillusioned, I choose to believe a bite into Pepperidge Farm’s new Banana Chocolate Milano cookie will result in a reverse York Peppermint Patty effect and I will be whisked away to beautiful Milan, Italy.

Perhaps one single bite will send me to a tropical island, where I can pluck ripe bananas straight from a tree. We’ll soon find out.

It seems wild to call a cookie that is shelved right next to fish-shaped crackers aimed at children “decadent,” but that’s the word that comes to mind when I think of a Milano.

I’m of the opinion you can’t screw up a Milano. I’ve tried plenty of varieties and liked em all. I’m also a massive banana groupie (that doesn’t sound right) so I have no doubts these would be winners.

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I don’t know what it is with Pepperidge Farm’s packaging, but I never seem to open it properly. After tearing the bag to shreds, I was hit with an unmistakable banana scent that perked me up. It reminded me of the smell when you walk into a bakery. I was now ready to be whisked away.

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When I took the first bite into the wafer, nothing happened. The world isn’t fair.

It tasted as if the wafer had a bit of banana flavor baked in. But I couldn’t really tell if it was the banana filling bleeding through. I’m pleading ignorance here. I think it just tasted that way since it’s such an airy wafer. That’s one of the best parts about Milano, the crunchy, but not at all dense cookie.

I put it in my mouth and inhaled it like a total weirdo. Who does that? I essentially tried to smoke a cookie. I can tell you there is a nice banana…um, air when you try to smoke a cookie. Don’t smoke cookies, kids.

It wasn’t until I hit the center that the banana flavor come out in full force.

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There’s a thin layer of banana filling with the familiar chocolate layer. It had a similar texture to the chocolate. The bag actually refers to it as “banana flavored chocolate.”

Here’s my question: Where has “banana flavored chocolate” been my entire life? This was a revelation for me. I mean, I’m sure plenty of products have used a similar substance before, but why wasn’t I aware of it? I feel like I’ve missed so much. “Banana flavored chocolate” is awesome. I want more of this banana chocolate concoction in my life.

The banana is strong but not overly so. I think banana bread is very dependent on texture, but these should remind you of that flavor. Few things top a nice fresh slice of banana bread, but these are a great attempt at imitating the flavor in cookie form, with the added bonus of chocolate mixed in.

After the initial tasting, I kept a few aside to have with my morning coffee, and it was naturally a delicious pairing. Banana Chocolate Milano Cookies are a home run. As far as I’m concerned, Pepperidge Farm still hasn’t made a bad Milano.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Banana Chocolate Milano Cookies
Purchased Price: $3.59
Size: 7 oz. (about 16 cookies)
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Banana flavored chocolate. Milano’s consistency. Airy wafer. Great for dipping. No artificial flavors or preservatives. A short reprieve from the winter blues.
Cons: No instant transportation properties in each bite. A rapidly growing cookie smoking habit. Fear of missing out on more banana flavored chocolate treats. Pain in the neck packaging. Limited edition.

REVIEW: Nabisco Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies

Nabisco Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies

Here’s a fun fact: a Cinnabon Classic Roll has 880 calories, 37 grams of fat, 17 grams of saturated fat, 820 milligrams of sodium, 127 grams of carbohydrates, 58 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein.

Here’s another fun fact: the amount trees needed to make the napkins used per year by those eating the messy Cinnabon Classic Roll equals to 197,000,000 square miles of rainforests.

Okay, that last “fun fact” is a complete lie and the entire surface of the Earth is 197,000,000 square miles, but, I swear, I use five or six napkins whenever I eat Cinnabon.

Cinnabon’s huge Classic Rolls are yummy, but they have the nutritional content of a meal and make my hands sticky enough that I wonder if I could climb walls with them. But what if you want cinnamon bun flavor without the huge amount of calories and mess?

Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies might work.

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The new variety is the first with a cinnamon flavored cookie, which looks like a Golden Oreo wafer that’s spent some time in a tanning salon. There are red specks baked throughout the cookie, but, even though the sweet spice is listed as an ingredient, I’m not sure if they’re cinnamon, just red specks to give it the appearance of cinnamon, or if my cookies have the measles. Whatever they are, they make the cookie taste similar to Cinnamon Teddy Grahams.

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As for the creme, it looks like plain ol’ Oreo stuff, but softer. So if you’re one of those people who likes to twist off a wafer and lick the creme, it probably won’t come off clean. The creme’s flavor is also a bit like what’s on a plain ol’ Oreo, but lighter, not as sweet, and with maybe a tinge of cinnamon.

When I lick the creme, all I think about are glazed donuts. Mmm…donuts. I was hoping these had the cream cheese-flavored creme found in the Red Velvet Oreo, but the creme is still great.

The cookie as a whole tastes Holy Cow Awesome and I think it does a great job at getting the right balance between cinnamon and frosting. They also smell wonderful. Although if you’re a Cinnabon employee, they probably smell like work.

But if you want to make them slightly more Holy Cow Awesome, heat one up for 10 seconds in the microwave oven. (Hat tip to the anonymous commenter who suggested that.) The creme gets a little gooey and it’s warm like an actual cinnamon bun.

With new Oreo flavors there’s usually a “Limited Edition” printed on the package, but that’s not the case with these. They’re a new regular flavor, like original Oreo, Cool Mint, Peanut Butter, and Birthday Cake, which I’m glad about because I would hate to have to send angry, profanity-filled emails to Nabisco demanding they bring them back if these delicious cookies were limited edition.

I’ve tried two dozen Oreo flavors over the past few years. Most of them are good to great, and a few are mediocre. But none of them are horrible. And none have been unbelievably spectacular…until now.

I think the Cinnamon Bun Oreo stands above all the flavors. Not only does it have the flavor, but just the little things like those red specks in the wafer and the use of softer creme to emulate a cinnamon bun’s frosting make eating the cookie more of an experience. These are my new favorite Oreo cookies and I think you’ll love them too.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 150 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 15 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, less than 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Nabisco Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies
Purchased Price: $3.50
Size: 12.2 oz.
Purchased at: Times Supermarket
Rating: 10 out of 10
Pros: Unbelievably spectacular. Flavor does remind me of a cinnamon bun. Not a limited edition. Tastes slightly better when warmed up. Red specks in wafer and softer creme are a nice touch.
Cons: The nutritional numbers for a Cinnabon Classic Roll. Softer creme makes it harder to cleanly twist off wafer.

REVIEW: Keebler Limited Batch Pumpkin Spice Fudge Stripe Cookies

Keebler Limited Batch Pumpkin Spice Fudge Stripe Cookies

Let it be known that if you come over to my apartment at 7:30 with a voracious appetite, an empty plate, and a demand to be filled with a joy that surpasses that of a ghost hunter finding the apparition of Aristotle at the back of a gas station, then you are liable to get dished a plate of cookies for dinner.

If you like spice cake, crunchy things, and a dauntingly bountiful amount of orange-checkered packaging, you probably wouldn’t mind if you came over today.

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Before chomping in, let us admire the contrasting aesthetics of the Fudge Stripe: the parallel lines, the perfect ring shape, the little geometric bibbelty-bobs that pock the surface.

It’s a pattern that could rival the most intricate of doilies and possibly compete for the world’s best cross-stitching design, although I’m not 100 percent certain of that last statement. The only time I tried cross-stitching, I ended up with a “scarf” that looked like a beach towel gnawed off by Godzilla.

What I do know is that, after over 30 years, Ernie Keebler still knows how to make a mighty fine stripe cookie. Never one to hold back on the sugar intake, the cookie’s been generously shoveled with three variants of the sweet stuff, highlighting the earthy molasses against all the varieties of fructose. Combine that woodsy taste with a crunchy base, some sweet, mildly flavored white fudge stripes, and a zip of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg and this bugger might as well be the perfect pumpkin pie crust.

But heed my warning, fellow pumpkin maniacs: there is no actual pumpkin here. I was a little bummed out before acknowledging that, as with all goods of the “Pumpkin Spice” ilk, I am only promised spices, not necessarily squash, and, with a cookie so fine and limited in its presence, how can I complain? (I can’t.)

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Welp, that was a fine dinner. If you fall head over heels for the warm spices of autumn and enjoy a depth of sweetness with your spice, these are worth picking up, if only to test them out on your own taste buds. Could the cookie be crispier? Could the soft, sweet fudge benefit from less hydrogenated oil and more vanilla? Could the Keebler elfin army deliver these to my door, equipped with complimentary magical talking woodland creatures?

Sure, but, far above these idealistic visions, my need for cookies reigns. As it always should.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 gram of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Keebler Limited Batch Pumpkin Spice Fudge Stripe Cookies
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 11.5 oz
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Crunchy cookie. Just enough molasses. Zippy ginger. Fudge is everywhere. Geometry! The experience of using “bibbelty-bob” in a sentence. Finding the ghost of Aristotle at the back of a gas station.
Cons: No pumpkin involved. Fudge could use more vanilla. Hydrogenated oils crush dreams. Not delivered by a magical elfin army. Failed cross-stitching projects that look like they were gnawed off by an overgrown prehistoric lizard.