REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Fudge Croissant Donut

Dunkin' Donuts Fudge Croissant Donut

I sometimes allow myself to think that maybe, just maybe, some research and development person in the fast casual industry will hear my ideas and implement them. Usually this isn’t the case, but my 2014 review of Dunkin’ Donuts’ Croissant Donut might’ve been the catalyst for Dunkin’s new Fudge Croissant Donut.

…the single-flavor fails to capitalize on a host of sweet croissant fillings, while coming across as overpriced and, yes, mass-produced. There was a part of me which wanted more distinctiveness in the interior layers, wishing for a truly pick-apart dough which was layered with chocolate or marzipan or any number of fillings.

Ok, so maybe attributing Dunkin’s latest donut to me and me alone is arrogant and presumptuous. But I know I wasn’t the only one who liked the original “Cronut” imitator but also thought it could be better. And since chocolate croissants are the logical first step from plain croissants, it only made sense that if Dunkin just added a chocolate filling to their Croissant Donut, it would be a game-changer.

Dunkin' Donuts Fudge Croissant Donut 2

Unfortunately, what Dunkin Donuts is piping into the many laminated layers of flaky croissant-donut dough is not fudge. There is definitely a strong, almost-dark cocoa flavor on the back-end, but the mixture itself is far from the buttery, milky, and intensely chocolaty experience you should get from fudge. It’s also not the hardened and concentrated pain au chocolat filling you might see in a real pastry. Instead, it’s somewhat viscous and tastes like artificially-thickened chocolate syrup. But most of all, it immediately comes across as far too sweet.

Also too sweet are the chocolate and white icings, which lack richness and taste mostly of hardened sugar. Granted, each drizzle is applied with impeccable craftsmanship, but for $2.49, I would hope the Croissant Donut’s value exceeds the aesthetic.

The cloying taste of the icing and the faux fudge might offset a genuine croissant, but because the Croissant Donut is already glazed with a thick and hardened coating of donut glaze, each bite is just sugar on top of sugar. Where the original version of Dunkin’s mashup had some of the savory, buttery aftertaste of croissant dough, this version betrayed too much of its mass-produced donut origins.

Dunkin' Donuts Fudge Croissant Donut 3

Speaking of donut origins, the texture definitely takes a step back from the original croissant donut; the layers are there, but they’re more fluffy than crispy, giving way with even the slightest pressure.

If Dunkin Donuts’s Fudge Croissant Donut was a hit, I’d for sure take credit for its existence and possibly even sue the company for copyright infringement. As it stands, I’ll save myself the legal hassle and just call it like I taste it: the Fudge Croissant Donut is an overpriced sugar bomb, and does neither a chocolate croissant nor a chocolate-iced donut justice.

(Nutritional Facts – 400 calories, 20 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 300 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 25 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Fudge Croissant Donut
Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Addition of chocolate filling into Croissant Donut. Indulgent dark cocoa flavored filling gets good coverage throughout the interior layers. Possible hope that fast casual research and development people read my reviews. Saving money on legal fees.
Cons: Chocolate filling doesn’t taste buttery or milky like “fudge”. Novelty of the croissant layers gets lost in the overly cloying icing and donut glaze. Too much donut taste and not enough buttery balance. More than half a day’s saturated fat.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Cookie Dough Iced Coffee

Dunkin’ Donuts Cookie Dough Iced Coffee

I remember when Cookie Monster was able to do whatever the hell he wanted. Cookies were a breakfast, cookies were a condiment, and if he wanted to sit in the greenroom scarfing down cookies like Joey Chestnut does hot dogs on the 4th of July, nobody was gonna kill his vibe. C was for cookie, and that was good enough for him.

Then after 40 years of letting him live like a free man, PBS had to get parental and alter his diet to reflect more moderate and healthy lifestyle choices. Through clenched teeth, the Cookie Monster was forced to declare that cookies were really just a “sometimes” food and that eggplant was cool too.

Now that The Man has killed his one pride and joy, I’m guessing you can find Cookie Monster spending every off the clock hour in a Dunkin’ Donuts, inhaling these Cookie Dough Iced Coffees to try to get back the feeling of his lost love.

These probably do not taste enough like cookie dough to completely fill the void, but they do taste close enough to temporarily soothe the heartbreak.

I was excited to try this new Baskin-Robbins inspired Dunkin’ Donuts product, not just because the two names fit easily into my accent that makes me drop the g’s at the end of my -ing verbs. I also was desperate to know what their interpretation of the cookie dough flavor would be. Earlier this year, the world brought us Cookie Dough Oreo cookies, and the overwhelming Internet consensus seemed to be that they tasted like coffee. So I was perplexed. Would this Cookie Dough Iced Coffee also taste like coffee? Would it taste like an Oreo?

No, but the people over at Dunkin’ have a better handle on the cookie dough flavor than the folks at Nabisco (although I would not have been disappointed had this tasted like an Oreo.) I can’t say that I would’ve immediately recognized this as cookie dough in a blind taste test. However, in my opinion the cookie dough experience is like 75 percent texture, so I don’t think I’d recognize anything as immediately having the flavor. When told that this is a Cookie Dough Iced Coffee, I have no trouble believing them.

Dunkin’ Donuts Cookie Dough Iced Coffee Top

The drink has a strong vanilla flavor, with a little bit of a chocolate aftertaste. It is very sweet, but I find that this is much more tolerable in cold coffee drinks than hot ones. You could probably ask for less syrup if you were inclined. I did not, since I also ordered it with skim milk, and already felt high maintenance enough for my local Dunkin’ Donuts that is tucked inside of a gas station.

Sadly, I do not live near a Baskin-Robbins, so I could not try the corresponding Cookie Dough Ice Cream and compare the two. I think you could probably do something great with the two together though. At one of my first jobs I learned that ice cream makes for an incredible coffee creamer, so I imagine that the combination of the coffee and the ice cream it was inspired by would be unreal. Your blood sugar would probably describe the spike it would get in the same way.

All in all, this is good, and I will probably order it again. It is not ice cream or actual cookie dough, but it is relatively close and is disguised as something acceptable to be having at 9 a.m. Stay strong, Cookie Monster, and keep drinking the iced coffees. They’ll never know the truth.

(Nutrition Facts – 16 oz with cream – 170 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 135 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 24 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Cookie Dough Iced Coffee
Purchased Price: $2.17
Size: 16 fl oz.
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Actually tastes reminiscent of cookie dough. Baskin-Robbins Dunkin’ Donuts is fun to say five times fast. Cold and sweet and refreshing. You can feel like you’re having cookie dough ice cream while everyone else thinks you’re a responsible adult. The Cookie Monster that didn’t answer to anyone. Caffeine boosts.
Cons: Potentially obnoxious coffee shop orders. Lack of Oreo flavored iced coffee. The plight of The Cookie Monster. Blood sugar spikes. 

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Old Fashioned Butter Pecan Iced Coffee

Dunkin' Donuts Old Fashioned Butter Pecan Iced Coffee

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always struggled with walking into Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s not that I’m drunk and end up stumbling into glass doors or anything like that, but rather, it’s the unfortunate predisposition I have to being both very, very indecisive, as well as having insatiable cravings for the kinds of things that keep dentists working overtime.

Never mind the fact that Dunkin’ Donuts presents me with a sugary catalogue filled with fried dough in all shapes and sizes, but I oftentimes find myself in a Dunkin’ that shares their space with the 31 flavors of Baskin-Robbins.

What starts out as a late afternoon coffee pick-me-up can easily turn into three scoops of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, followed by the inevitable and actual physical struggle of walking out of Dunkin’ Donuts thanks to a sugar high not seen since that fat kid in Matilda ate that whole chocolate cake.

The way I see it, the new Baskin-Robbins-inspired iced coffee flavors from Dunkin’ are, or at least should be, the ideal way to kill two birds with one stone and get both my coffee kick and ice cream sugar fix (as for working donut ingestion into that mix, I leave that up to Baskin-Robbins’ R&D).

Since I recently returned from a business trip in which I experienced the full brunt of that sweet southern concoction of nuts, butter, cream, and sugar known as pralines, I felt like the Old Fashioned Butter Pecan Iced Coffee was calling my name. And because I stress the utmost in scientific and accurate reporting on all things tooth decaying and artery clogging, I made sure to grab a cone of Baskin-Robbins’ Old Fashioned Butter Pecan Ice Cream at the same time.

Dunkin' Donuts Old Fashioned Butter Pecan Iced Coffee with Ice Cream

The Old Fashioned Butter Pecan Iced Coffee didn’t taste exactly like the ice cream flavor that shares its name, but the former is still very good. Because I wish for my iced coffee to have the rich taste of actual milk fat and not just the watery and dull taste of lactic acid, I chose to have my iced coffee with cream instead of skim milk. I highly suggest this.

The syrup itself is plenty sweet, but not cloying in the way you’d expect from the stuff that gives snow cones their flavor. It’s actually remarkably balanced when taken with the rest of the beverage, with a roasted pecan flavor that’s only heightened by the mellow and smooth Dunkin’ coffee. There’s also a depth of sweetness that tastes like brown sugar or maple syrup.

Dunkin' Donuts Old Fashioned Butter Pecan Iced Coffee Topsies

Taking turns sipping from my iced coffee and licking my Butter Pecan Ice Cream cone, I found both products enjoyable, if moderately different in flavor. The iced coffee focused the pecan flavor more in terms of what I would call a “creamery fresh” sensation with a sophisticated roasted vibe, while the ice cream drew most of its flavor from the buttery and oily flavors of the big ass pecan sticking out of the cone.

Dunkin' Donuts Old Fashioned Butter Pecan Iced Coffee Dunking

I didn’t find Dunkin’ Donuts’ take on sister chain Baskin-Robbins’ Old Fashioned Butter Pecan Ice Cream to be an exact replication, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a bold and interesting new take in the overcrowded fast food iced coffee market which screams for flavors beyond vanilla, hazelnut, and caramel. The roasted and full-flavored coffee notes, as well as the brown sugar, give the Old Fashioned Butter Pecan Iced Coffee a kind of pralines and cream flavor that’s in some ways preferable to the “Old Fashioned” Butter Pecan flavor of the Baskin-Robbins ice cream, and much more lively than the par-for-the-course shot of vanilla-flavored syrup.

(Nutrition Facts – small – 140 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, and 6% calcium.)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Old Fashioned Butter Pecan Iced Coffee
Purchased Price: $1.69
Size: Small
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Much better than standard iced coffee syrup. Tastes like butter pecan. Creamery fresh taste has roasted pecan flavor thanks to the smoky notes of coffee. Pralines ‘n Cream thing going on. Killing two birds with one stone. Dunking ice cream in coffee gives new meaning to the ‘Dunkin’ in Dunkin Donuts.
Cons: Doesn’t have actual pecans in it. Butter flavor could use some work. Finding a way to work donuts into the equation

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Frozen Hot Chocolate

Dunkin Donuts Frozen Hot Chocolate

Summer is upon us, which means it’s time for me to scatter mousetraps in the grass and encourage neighborhood children to run barefoot through my lawn.  But it also means it’s time for Dunkin’ Donuts’ annual annoying commercials touting their cool, refreshing products, because seasonal slumps are bad and we all associate donuts and coffee with winter, and also AA meetings.  But mostly winter. 

Now, I’ve liked plenty of DD’s warm weather offerings (Vanilla Bean Coolattas are my crack), and you can’t fault them for wanting to keep profits up during the time of year when you’re statistically least likely to crave hot coffee and a Boston Kreme.  But do their ads have to be so damn lame?  On the list of things I never thought I’d be nostalgic for, John Goodman’s voice is pretty close to the top, right under “swimming until I feel like puking.” 

Seriously, I’d rather they shoot a spot featuring the desiccated corpse of the “Time to make the donuts!” guy than keep up with their current crop.  And does this failure to connect with me as a consumer have any correlation with their repeated inability to comprehend the phrase “small iced coffee, skim milk and sugar”?  So many questions.

But we’re not here to answer them, we’re here to talk about DD’s latest offering, Frozen Hot Chocolate, and also probably to kill some time at work.  (No one is judging.  You’re worth more than what they pay you anyway.  Bastards.)  On the surface it sounds completely incongruous — the appeal of hot chocolate is that it’s, well, hot, or at least warm enough to melt those tiny marshmallows — but it wouldn’t be the first pair of opposites that somehow manage to make it work.  Right, Paula Abdul and MC Skat Kat?  Right.

That being said, I’m not going to lie — I went in with some skepticism.  Your mileage may vary, but to me part of the inherent comfort factor of hot chocolate is tied to its visual appearance.  A truly great hot chocolate must be served in a mug, ideally one you grew up with or that was given to you by family or friends, with marshmallows dotting the surface and visible steam rising from the top.  Ideally you should still be able to see the wet gloves you used to make an anatomically correct snowman in your neighbor’s backyard while he was shoveling his driveway. 

With that in mind, I’m afraid the standard clear DD cup that my frozen hot chocolate came in was a poor substitute, but in the interest of reviewer integrity, I made a point not to knock down the score simply because of its subpar visual appearance.  Although I still blew on the top a few times before taking a drink.  Force of habit.

Dunkin Donuts Frozen Hot Chocolate Top

My first impression of the taste was that it was pleasant, but also distinctly familiar.  Obviously it’s sweet, very much so, with a relatively creamy milk chocolate flavor that gets a little darker in some parts of the drink than in others, likely due to it not having been mixed thoroughly.  The texture is deceptively thin — appearances to the contrary, you’re definitely drinking a full-on beverage, not a Frosty or milkshake.  I highly recommend getting it with the whipped cream if you’re willing to stomach the calories, if only to maintain the illusion that you are drinking something vaguely hot chocolate-y.

Oh, as for that familiar taste I mentioned?  I didn’t figure it out until I was almost finished, at which point it became both obvious and impossible to ignore, like when you first realize C-3PO is gay.  The big revelation is that the frozen hot chocolate tastes almost exactly like not-completely-mixed chocolate milk.  For all I know maybe regular hot chocolate would taste the same way if you iced it, but I wasn’t expecting that and it surprised me.

It’s worth pointing out that DD’s Frozen Hot Chocolate isn’t bad, just a bit underwhelming.  I can’t quite shake the suspicion that when they take the empty cup behind that vaguely sinister-looking equipment lining the counter, they’re just dumping a few cups of Nestle Quik and some milk in it, spraying on some Reddi Whip and calling it a day.  (You laugh, but sub-contracting out of things is a proud American tradition.)  Still, as long as you’re willing to pay three bucks plus for some very cold, very creamy chocolate milk with whipped cream, you can’t go wrong.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 small cup – 430 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of total fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 220 milligrams of sodium, 95 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 77 grams of sugars, 7 grams of protein, 4% vitamin A, 2% vitamin C, 25% calcium, and 8% iron)

Other Dunkin’ Donuts Frozen Hot Chocolate reviews:
Grub Grade
Freezer Burns

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Frozen Hot Chocolate
Price: $3.17
Size: 16 fl. oz.
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: “Time to make the donuts!” guy.  Wasting time at work.   Anatomically correct snowmen.  Creamy chocolate.  Plentiful whipped cream (if requested).  Nestle Quik.
Cons: Current DD commercials.  Not as visually appealing as regular hot chocolate.  Doesn’t taste fully mixed.  You can make and freeze your own chocolate milk for a lot less money.  The continued absence of MC Skat Kat on today’s music scene.