REVIEW: Cracker Jack Holiday Sugar Cookie Popcorn

Cracker Jack Holiday Sugar Cookie Popcorn

The Christmas and holiday food season is filled with minefields of discontent. Like the hand-knit Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer sweater your grandma has given you every year since you were seven, it means well with its eggnog this and candy cane that, but for some of us, it’s all just too much of the same old same old.

A man’s pants can only expand so much between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day; and really, do you want another slice of pumpkin pie since you’ve been eating pumpkin spice everything since September?

There’s one exception: sugar cookies. I’ve never met someone who has grown tired of sugar cookies. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking crisp snowman-shaped cutouts with royal icing or chewy circles sprinkled with demerara sugar, the fact is that sugar cookies are nearly impossible to resist.

Just think about it; if Santa can eat millions of them in a single night year after year, you know there has gotta be something ineffably transcendent about the combination of sugar, butter, and flour. Or, Cracker Jack might say, sugar, sprinkles, and popcorn.

What is this, you say. An early present in my stocking, or a lump of coal to fan the flame on the pyre of holiday themed food trends past? In the case of Cracker Jack’s Holiday Sugar Cookie popcorn, it’s not just a present, it’s a present with a prize.

Now that’s a win-win.

Cracker Jack Holiday Sugar Cookie Popcorn 2

The line between sugar cookie and birthday cake flavoring seems to be getting blurrier each year, and this faux-frosting coated Cracker Jack doesn’t help separate the two. Not that frosting is bad, because the one on this popcorn is excellent. It’s sweet, crunchy, and it has everything the glaze of normal Cracker Jack’s have, including those trademarked hints of molasses and caramel flavor.

While molasses might not be the first pairing that comes to mind with sugar cookie, in this case it works, It’s made even better by a pleasant artificiality of sprinkles and those cute little nonpareils the Pillsbury Dough Boy manages to bake into every Funfetti product this side of Fourth of July.

Cracker Jack Holiday Sugar Cookie Popcorn 3

Sweeter than an actual sugar cookie, each crunchy, perfectly popped kernel may lack the grainy chew of flour and butter, but it’s still highly enjoyable to munch on. There’s still that lingering taste of salty popcorn on the backend, which, although far from the traditional sugar cookie experience, makes the popcorn all the better. It’s as if sugar cookie has finally picked up some of the synergy created by the sea salt chocolate chip or peanut butter cookie fads, and even though the popcorn isn’t as rich, it works.

There’s only one downside, as far as I’m concerned: the glorious prize, so beautifully advertised on the bag to suggest images of unwrapping gifts around the tree, is nothing more than a sticker. But I won’t complain too much. After all, it could have been a Rudolph sweater, which now that I think about it may have been worse than coal.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz. – 110 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 15 grams of sugars, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Cracker Jack Holiday Sugar Cookie Popcorn
Purchased Price: $1.28
Size: 4 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Like having frosting coated popcorn. Crunchy popcorn mimics light give of sugar cookie. Salty-sweet combination with back notes of molasses and caramel. SPRINKLES.
Cons: Typically weak Cracker Jack prize. Doesn’t come in cute holiday cut-out shapes like snowmen or Santa Clauses stuck in chimneys. No peanuts.

REVIEW: Cracker Jack’D Power Bites (Cocoa Java and Vanilla Mocha)

Cracker Jack'D Power Bites

Cracker Jack.

The name itself conjures up thoughts of small town nostalgia, fireworks, Dixieland jazz, and old grainy footage of smiling baseball greats with voiceovers saying nonsense stuff like, “Get your lemonade here!” or “He put some mustard on that fastball.” Cracker Jack is so innocent and simple in design. It’s just caramel corn, peanuts, the “aw-shucks” Sailor Boy mascot and his dog Bingo. Is there anything more inviting than caramel drenched popcorn?

Yes, thick slabs of bacon and foamy root beer are more inviting, but you know what I’m getting at.

However, it looks like Cracker Jack traded all of its innocence and simplicity for its post-modern apocalyptic Cracker Jack’D Power Bites line, switching out caramel corn for large pellets that I can only describe as cat droppings. One thing I should tell you…these Power Bites are not like the other Cracker Jack’D lines which are amped up party snack mixes. I’ve eaten those and you can do worse, like with these Power Bites.

Oh, and the Cracker Jack toy surprise?

Not to fret because the Cracker Jack’D Power Bites do have a “toy surprise” that comes in the form of caffeine (Yay chemicals!). The package touts one two-ounce bag has the caffeine equivalent of one cup of coffee. I believe it should be more specific and say, “This bag of cat poopies have the same amount of caffeine as one cup of that cheap ass coffee your tree-hugging jerk brother buys that sits in the cupboard for years because he only drinks green tea and says stupid things like ‘Namaste’.”

Namaste indeed.

These Power Bites are made with real coffee and come in two flavors: Cocoa Java and Vanilla Mocha. Frito Lay promises these are “snacks with impact” and it makes sense somebody thought of these considering how successful the energy drink market is.

Cracker Jack’D Power Bites Cocoa Java

Cracker Jack'D Cocoa Java

The chocolate coating on these have a cheap waxy texture, but it opens its way to a pleasant flaky wafer cookie with a nice roasted coffee taste. The roast is complex and deep with a hint of saltiness. The cookie is slightly sweet to almost savory, almost… I like the bitter finish the cookie presents, but it may be a bit too bitter for most. However, if you like espressos, whiskey, and other harsher flavors of the world (like unrequited love) this will be a good surprise.

The snack did not give me a buzz, but a conscience…as in health conscience. With a package containing 290 calories and 14 grams of fat, it makes me wonder why I didn’t just get one of those disgustingly sweet fatty Starbucks mochalochachocolatabarataventiburgs?

Cracker Jack’D Power Bites Vanilla Mocha

Cracker Jack'D Vanilla Mocha

For every Sylvester Stallone there’s a Frank Stallone. Meet the Frank Stallone of the two Power Bites. While the Cocoa Java did not yield a total success for me, these are way worse. The same cheap waxy chocolate coating, but the complex roast is muted by this overly sweet, almost chai-like flavor. The cookie also has a mealy finish and any “mocha” flavor is flushed away into taste bud hell. There’s no way to say it but these are just fucking miserable. I wanted to microwave them into a mush and napalm the Sailor Kid with it.

Overall, the Cracker Jack’D Power Bites are purely a novelty to make your friends go “What’s that?” I think you’re better off drinking an actual cup of coffee. Even if that coffee has been sitting in a cupboard for years next to your jerk brother’s lavender sea salt.


(Nutritional Facts – 1 package – Cocoa Java – 290 calories, 14 grams of fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 180 mg of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 21 grams of sugars, and 3 grams of protein. Vanilla Mocha – 290 calories, 15 grams of fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 120 mg of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 20 grams of sugars, and 3 grams of protein)

Other Cracker Jack’D reviews:
Allison Meets World
Junk Food Guy (not Power Bites)

Item: Cracker Jack’D Power Bites (Cocoa Java and Vanilla Mocha)
Purchased Price: $1.99 each
Size: 2 oz. bag
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Cocoa Java)
Rating: 3 out of 10 (Vanilla Mocha)
Pros: Cocoa Java’s complex roasted bitterness. Texture is good. Cracker Jack toy surprises, even if they are cheap paper things now. The slight salty edge Cocoa Java has. Old timey voiceovers.
Cons: Everything about Vanilla Mocha. The poop shape of these nuggets is gross. The fat, the calories, the cheap waxy chocolate coating. Lavender sea salt. Produced no caffeine buzz. People who say “Namaste.”