REVIEW: Blue Bell Salted Caramel Brownie Ice Cream

Blue Bell Salted Caramel Brownie Ice Cream Pint

What is it?

Continuing the Blue Bell tradition of generally using the most straightforward name possible, the new Salted Caramel Brownie flavor contains exactly what you would expect: chocolate brownie pieces with a salted caramel swirl in vanilla ice cream.

How is it?

It’s good.

Blue Bell Salted Caramel Brownie Ice Cream Brownie

OK, I guess I’m contractually obligated to provide a longer answer, so let me expound a bit. The brownies are the best part of this, although they seemed to be somewhat sparsely mixed into my pint. When I did get a brownie piece in a bite, it was perfectly chewy and chocolatey. The problem was most bites didn’t have any brownies.

The caramel swirl was also pleasant. It had only a subtle saltiness and a nice creaminess that reminded me of a Werther’s Original caramel, even though I can’t remember the last time I’ve actually had one of those.

The vanilla ice cream was kind of just there to hold the brownies and caramel. This might have been a bit better if the ice cream base was either chocolate or caramel, but Blue Bell didn’t consult with me for some reason.

Anything else you need to know?

Blue Bell Salted Caramel Brownie Ice Cream Swirl

The “swirl” part was a bit different than I expected. Especially with caramel, it seems like a swirl usually consists of significant pockets of the gooey stuff that looks like rivers flowing through the ice cream. But for this flavor, you don’t get those big pools of caramel in different spots. Instead, it’s more evenly dispersed, so you get some in virtually every bite, even if it’s a little hard to see the caramel. As much as I like finding those nice mother lodes of swirl, I also enjoyed this version where it’s almost blended in.

Conclusion:

Blue Bell Salted Caramel Brownie Ice Cream Top

This flavor falls into the broad category of PGBF, or Pretty Good But Forgettable. The brownies are good, the caramel swirl is good, and the vanilla ice cream is good, but this one doesn’t really differentiate itself from any other caramel brownie options that are out there.

Purchased Price: $3.29
Size: One Pint
Purchased at: H-E-B
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 240 calories, 12 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 25 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Dairy Queen Snickers Brownie Blizzard

Dairy Queen Snickers Brownie Blizzard Top

Dairy Queen’s website says that the Snickers Brownie Blizzard will “transform your taste buds forever.” Maybe it means you’ll be working so hard to determine the flavor that your taste buds will level up from sheer exertion? Maybe I can now be one of those people who can taste “notes of honeysuckle” in a glass of wine because I’ve become a flavor detective? It would be nice to think I got something out of this experience.

I had this twice and had a different reaction the second time. The first time, the brownie bits were missing chocolate flavor, and I was complaining that it was too bland. The second time, the brownie bits seemed much more flavorful. Was my palette fatigued the first time, or maybe I just got a few bigger brownie chunks in my mix the second time? The second event sounds more likely. When I properly tasted them, the brownie bits had a satisfying unctuousness and chocolatey bitterness.

Moving on to the Snickers, I think this would have worked if the candy bar pieces were a little bigger, but as it stands, it’s hard to discern much flavor. I didn’t taste major Snickers components like nougat and peanuts; there was caramel flavor, but it was kind of muted. The caramel did stick to my teeth though, so at least it was definitely present.

Dairy Queen Snickers Brownie Blizzard Spoon

The DQ description states that the Blizzard has “caramel topping,” which in this case means that the topping was mixed into the vanilla soft serve ice cream. This manages to make the soft serve even sweeter than normal, but it doesn’t really register as caramel flavor; it just amps up the vanilla.

Because of the brownie bits’ chewiness and the caramel’s sticky nature, there was textural variation, so the treat has that going for it. It’s just a little underpowered in the flavor department. This is the first Blizzard I can remember having where I felt the vanilla soft serve, bolstered by the caramel bits in the mix, completely overpowered any other flavors.

Look, Dairy Queen has a lot of Blizzards on its menu, and most of them are pretty darn good. Everyone has an off day once in a while, and I have compassion for that. I allow Dairy Queen a swing-and-a-miss, and that’s what we have here. If you want a Blizzard and are tempted to get this, unless you’ve got a real yen for brownie bits, you may want to get an Oreo Blizzard instead. In that treat, the bitterness of the chocolate contrasts with the vanilla soft serve in a truly delightful way, consistently. I’m actually sitting here feeling kind of cheated because I could have got an Oreo Blizzard (twice!) but got this instead. Blizzard Remorse is a sad, sad thing.

Purchased Price: $5.19
Size: Small
Purchased at: Dairy Queen
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 410 calories, 15 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 200 milligrams of sodium, 60 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 48 grams of sugar, and 9 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Van Leeuwen Tapatio Mexican Hot Chocolate Ice Cream

Van Leeuwen Tapatio Mexican Hot Chocolate Ice Cream Pint

After toiling away on reviews of Van Leeuwen’s seasonal offerings (this past Summer’s releases and the very recent Fall releases), I finally got my hands on one of the “weird” ones. And while I haven’t even actually tried one of the previous novelty concoctions, I’ve read and watched enough reviews that I get the gist: the pizza, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Grey Poupon ice creams all taste exactly like what they’re supposed to taste like, it’s honestly not as off-putting as the reviewer thought it would be, and they’re glad they tried it but probably wouldn’t do it again.

So, then, what about Van Leeuwen’s Mexican Hot Chocolate featuring Tapatio Hot Sauce? Would it follow this extremely established and scientifically vetted pattern?

Not really. I’ll explain.

First, I didn’t think it sounded very off-putting at all, really, maybe owing to the fact that, unlike pizza or cheesy pasta, hot chocolate (even spicy hot chocolate) is already pretty dessert-y.

Van Leeuwen Tapatio Mexican Hot Chocolate Ice Cream Top

Second, I’ve never actually had Mexican hot chocolate, so I cannot tell you whether the taste of the ice cream mimics the beverage in question. What I can tell you is that, 1) there was a lake of fudge, 2) there was a mountain of marshmallows, and 3) the ice cream was standard chocolate, until, you know, the heat.

Van Leeuwen Tapatio Mexican Hot Chocolate Ice Cream Marshmallows

And let’s talk about the heat. I wouldn’t call it a distinctly Tapatio taste, at least not at first. Things get warm with the first bite, sure, starting in the back of the throat where your swallow bones are located. Then it spreads forward like an army of angry villagers carrying torches up to the tip of your tongue. While I never found myself needing to drink milk and/or blow my nose, I could feel it up through my sinuses after only a minute or two. And it stayed. After a while, though, the vinegary flavor of the Tapatio began to register. That wasn’t my favorite part, honestly, but I will say that it made for a good place to stop my consumption.

Up to that point, it was all quite enjoyable. The marshmallows and fudge were very reminiscent of Van Leeuwen’s Campfire S’mores, which I absolutely loved. (I’m not sure anyone in the freezer aisle does those two inclusions better than Van Leeuwen, honestly.) The ice cream, too, was nice; I’ve not previously had their chocolate base, and they do it well.

This brings me to the third point of the review pattern: Jun K. Reviewer thought it was fine and interesting and all, but they wouldn’t eat it again. And, okay. Maybe I’m in agreement here. While this is a perfectly fine ice cream, I’m not sure if the mood will ever strike me to buy it again. I guess maybe I’m just not a “spicy chocolate” person. But maybe you are! And I feel like if you are, there’s a good chance you’ll really like what they’ve done here.

Purchased Price: $4.98
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 280 calories, 14 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 130 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates,0 grams of fiber, 30 grams of sugar (18 grams added sugar), 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Van Leeuwen Walmart Fall 2022 Ice Cream Flavors

Van Leeuwen 2022 Fall Flavors Pints

Update 9/9/22: We also tried the Tapatio Mexican Hot Chocolate one! Click here to read our review.

Don’t look now, but the madmen and madladies in the Van Leeuwen Ice Cream flavor factory are at it again. From the demented dessert doctors who previously brought you Mac & Cheese, Pizza, and mustard-inspired ice creams comes their new limited edition Fall offerings at Walmart that are positively… pedestrian?

Well, mostly pedestrian.

See, there’s a Mexican Hot Chocolate version featuring Tapatio Hot Sauce (which wasn’t available during my first Walmart visit, but psssst, check back here in a day or two.) The fact is, other than the Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Casserole variety, these are all kind of straightforward. They even snuck in a Strawberry release (which I couldn’t find, so it’s not reviewed here) and the only weird thing about it is that “strawberry” is one of the least fall flavors imaginable.

Before I tried each flavor myself, and for no real reason other than “this might be funny,” I did a blind taste test with three children — my daughter (Stella, 8) and two of her friends (Emrie, 7, and her sister Norah, 5). “From the mouths of babies,” or whatever that saying is.

Wildberry Layer Cake

Van Leeuwen 2022 Fall Flavors Wildberry Layer Cake

While I couldn’t distinguish individual berry flavors, this was overtly berryish. There weren’t really any large chunks, but almost every bite was fruitful. The yellow cake was there, but it didn’t do much, flavor-wise. Texturally, it added an odd chew; it frankly seemed like an unnecessary inclusion. Norah shouted, “RASPBERRY BREAD!” And one of the other two made a puking noise. I actually enjoyed it a bit more than “puking noise.”

Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 270 calories, 16 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 24 grams of sugar (18 grams of added sugar), and 4 grams of protein.

Hazelnut Fudge Cookie

Van Leeuwen 2022 Fall Flavors Hazelnut Fudge Cookie

Okay, so the kids’ reviews on this one ranged from “it tastes red” (?) to “cinnamon? Or chocolate-vanilla-banana!” Kids are bad at this. Anyway, the fudge here is overwhelming, but in a delightful way. (But is there any other way for fudge to be overwhelming?) That said, I couldn’t detect much in the way of hazelnut. The “cookies,” according to the label, are “Speculoos,” which I had to Google. They are a “Belgian shortbread biscuit” with a gingerbread-like flavor. Mostly, they just tasted like crumbled-up cookie bits. Still a winner, though.

Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 310 calories, 17 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 27 grams of sugar (22 grams of added sugar), and 5 grams of protein.

Sweet Potato Marshmallow Casserole

Van Leeuwen 2022 Fall Flavors Sweet Potato Marshmallow Casserole

The one I expected to like the least turned out to be my favorite. With whole mini marshmallows (taking me back to their Campfire S’mores variety, which I passionately love) and mild notes of cinnamon and caramel that carry throughout, SPMC is creamy and sweet and sinfully delicious, a surprise given that I generally don’t care for the actual Thanksgiving side dish. All of the girls picked up on the caramel and marshmallows (obvious flavors), and they all loved it until I told them what it was. Then it was “disgusting” and “are you kidding me?!” Kids are the worst.

Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 290 calories, 15 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 33 grams of sugar (20 grams of added sugar), and 4 grams of protein.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll

Van Leeuwen 2022 Fall Flavors Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll

And now, the one that I was expecting to like the most, but… okay, well, I didn’t like it the least, but I will say that I was pretty disappointed. See, I’m a Pumpkin Guy. I’m a Cinnamon Roll Guy. Ergo… I mean, come on! But here’s the deal— there was a TON of caramel. And that’s fine, but what WASN’T fine was the complete lack of pumpkin. And while there were cinnamon roll bits, they were small and muted in taste, leaving me once again pining for my beloved Ben & Jerry’s Cinnamon Buns (aka the worst discontinuation they’ve ever made). On paper, this had the chance to be amazing. In reality, it was only meh. One of the girls said it tasted like “caramel corn,” and my daughter, weirdly, said this one sounded gross. Like… the actual sound in the bowl. Yeah, I don’t know.

Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 300 calories, 17 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 29 grams of sugar (24 grams of added sugar), and 4 grams of protein.

Purchased Price: $4.98 each
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Walmart

REVIEW: Dairy Queen Cinnamon Roll Centers Blizzard

Dairy Queen Cinnamon Roll Centers Blizzard Cup

What is it?

Dairy Queen’s Cinnamon Roll Centers Blizzard is the Co-September Blizzard of the Month (along with the Pumpkin Pie Blizzard) and also part of the Fall Blizzard Menu. This one has soft cinnamon roll center pieces with brown butter cinnamon topping and DQ soft serve.

Dairy Queen Cinnamon Roll Centers Blizzard Top

How is it?

I’ve never met a Blizzard that I didn’t like…until now. I thought this new flavor might be good after reading the description, but I was wrong. Very wrong.

Dairy Queen Cinnamon Roll Centers Blizzard Center

I think we can all agree that the center is the best part of a cinnamon roll. To me, the center part is wonderful because it’s soft, gooey and decadent. But these pieces had a strange texture and taste. They were a bit gritty, not really soft and didn’t even taste much like a cinnamon roll. They just tasted like semi-sweet pieces of cookie dough.

Dairy Queen Cinnamon Roll Centers Blizzard Spoon

And things did not get any better by avoiding the cinnamon roll pieces and just eating the ice cream with the cinnamon topping. I could tell the topping was in there because of the color, but it had only a faint cinnamon taste. This one was just disappointing all around.

Anything else you need to know?

Since this Blizzard isn’t particularly good to eat, perhaps you’d prefer it as a scented pillow? While the details are somewhat vague, the DQ website is promoting “The Fall Blizzard Menu Pillow Fight,” which is a collection of pillows that are supposed to smell like Blizzards. Most of the pillows appear to the standard square variety, but there’s also one in the form of a slice of pumpkin pie and another in the shape of a cinnamon roll. The website says to check back on September 7 for more information on how to order, or maybe win a set as there looks to be a sweepstakes component to this promotion.

Conclusion:

Dairy Queen Cinnamon Roll Centers Blizzard Digging

I’m guessing I’ve had at least 100 varieties of Blizzards over the years, and this might be the first one that I didn’t not finish. It’s just not good. But I will happily forgive DQ for this dud considering all the delicious Blizzards I have previously enjoyed.

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: Small
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Small) 620 calories, 22 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 270 milligrams of sodium, 93 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 75 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein.