A few months ago, I reviewed a seven-flavor lineup of Little Debbie-themed ice creams exclusively available at Walmart. Despite a few instances of bare shelves, the original seven can now regularly be found at my local Wally World just in time for Miss Deborah and Hudsonville Creamery to grace us with two more line extensions: Star Crunch Ice Cream and Sparkling Strawberry Unicorn Cake Ice Cream.
I had high hopes for these two additions because they both contain a textural element (the crunchy rice puffs in Star Crunch and the candy sprinkles in the Unicorn Cakes).
The Star Crunch Ice Cream has a chocolate ribbon swirl and chocolate-coated puffed rice. There was also, I’ll call it, an adjacent swirl that was very similar to the chocolate but tasted a bit more like the center of the Star Crunch. That amalgam of cookie and caramel wasn’t super strong, and it didn’t hit me over the head with caramel flavor, but I liked that it didn’t seem like there was one single chocolate swirl. The chocolate-coated puffed rice pieces were crunchy, and the chocolate flavor was well balanced against the vanilla ice cream. The Star Crunch itself is a tricky flavor to make stand out in ice cream, but I think the puffed rice pieces helped elevate this without a doubt.
Next up was Unicorn Cakes, and, gosh, did it have several wow factors. Upon opening, WOW that looks like psychedelic chicken pox! Bright blue sprinkles were EVERYWHERE and stood out against a pink strawberry-flavored ice cream base. The candies were crunchy and super sweet, and I think the candy made the ice cream overwhelmingly sweet, but the crunch was an impressive texture variant.
Like the Zebra Cake, Swiss Roll, and Strawberry Shortcake Roll ice cream flavors, this one also had little vanilla cake pieces. I found them to be a little saturated but authentic.
The final wow factor in this ice cream was the bright blue swirl, representing the icing design of its cake counterpart. My inner child was delighted by the vibrant colors. The adult in me was instantly concerned for the rest of my day after realizing I was eating something that tasted remarkably like strawberry cotton candy made into ice cream. What a trip.
Overall, I think these two are welcome and unique additions to the Little Debbie ice cream lineup. I preferred the balance and texture of the Star Crunch, but I can see how Unicorn Cake could delight the masses the way only something with crazy colors and candy can.
Purchased Price: $2.50 each Size: One pint Purchased at: Walmart Rating: 8 out of 10 (Star Crunch), 6 out of 10 (Unicorn Cakes) Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) Star Crunch – 250 calories, 13 grams of total fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 95 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 grams of dietary fiber, 25 grams of total sugars, 19 grams of added sugars, and 4 gram of protein.
Unicorn Cakes – 240 calories, 12 grams of total fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 23 grams of total sugars, 18 grams of added sugars, and 4 gram of protein.
There aren’t many independently-owned companies with a brand as well-known and emotionally coveted as Little Debbie. Maybe it’s the vast and varied number of snack cake, donut, and bakery items. But I think Little Debbie has managed to package up some processed snack food magic in its little boxes, and when I heard it had collaborated to create Little Debbie-themed ice creams, my Cosmic-Brownie-loving heart did a flutter.
I realize there are a lot of nostalgic ties to Little Debbie treats. People have strong opinions about their favorites. My review aims to evaluate each ice cream for its overall representation of the snack cake and the total quality as a stand-alone ice cream. I purchased as many of the accompanying snack cakes as I could find but could not track down a Honey Bun or Swiss Roll IRL. (Supply chain shortages, UGH!)
I started my journey with the Nutty Bars one and immediately noticed the foil lid with a Hudsonville Ice Cream label. In my excitement to find these, I had missed the fantastic detail that these are all truly “ice creams” and not “frozen desserts,” “light ice creams,” or “soft serves.” The first three ingredients in every variety are milk, cream, and sugar (and then many other ingredients, but still, I was delighted and hopeful).
Nutty Bars Ice Cream
The Nutty Bars variety is a peanut butter ice cream with chocolate swirls and small Nutty Bar-type inclusions. The pieces were wafer squares covered in chocolate which had a more dense texture than the Nutty Bars themselves but were still pretty representative and delivered a wafer crunch. I was smitten. The flavors were clear and balanced, and the ice cream had enough flavor and texture elements to make it enjoyable while also definitely reminding me of a Nutty Bar.
Rating: 10 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (1/3 of the container) 280 Calories, 16 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fiber, 21 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.
Zebra Cakes Ice Cream
Next up, I dug into the Zebra Cakes version, stopping to admire the zebra-striped lid and familiar graphics. It has a vanilla ice cream base with chocolate fudge swirls and vanilla cake pieces. The base tasted remarkably similar to the cake and frosting of the actual snack. The fudge swirl was a great addition, though I think it overrepresented the chocolate note compared to the snack cake’s decorative chocolate swirl. The pieces were more saturated than the Zebra Cake cake, which somehow made them better. This reminded me of the Christmas Tree Cakes Ice Cream, but with the welcome addition of the over-achieving chocolate swirl. Also, yeah, the only Zebra Cake I could locate was a Zebra Cakes ROLL, but the flavor, for comparison’s sake, was the same.
Rating: 9 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (1/3 of the container) 220 Calories, 10 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 23 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.
Strawberry Shortcake Rolls Ice Cream
After the Zebra Cakes, I went for the similar Strawberry Shortcake Rolls Ice Cream. This was vanilla-based with a strawberry swirl and vanilla cake pieces. This flavor made it clear that Little Debbie was an active participant in this collaboration because the strawberry swirl tasted IDENTICAL to the strawberry cream in the snack cake version. Like, WOW. There were lots of vanilla cake inclusions, and once again, the base had a bit of that vanilla cream flavor as well. In terms of tasting like the snack cake, this one felt about as close as you could get in an ice cream form. I’m not typically a strawberry ice cream fan, but there isn’t anything I don’t like about this.
Rating: 10 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (1/3 of the container) 220 Calories, 10 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 21 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.
Oatmeal Creme Pies Ice Cream
Having established a heightened level of expectation, I chose the Oatmeal Creme Pies one next. This flavor had a lot of pressure, as it’s one of Little Debbie’s most well-known and best-selling treats (according to the internet). The ice cream base was a nice clean vanilla, and the mix-in was marble-sized gobs of cinnamon cookie pieces that didn’t appear to have any oats. Still, they were certainly representative. My biggest qualm is that there were too few cookies since they were the only inclusion. They also tasted too heavily of cinnamon and ginger. They were delicious, yes, but they didn’t taste as close to the Oatmeal Creme Pie cookie as I thought they would. Once I found and ate the cookie pieces, I was left with too much plain vanilla ice cream.
Rating: 7 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (1/3 of the container) 220 Calories, 9 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 25 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.
Honey Buns Ice Cream
Honey Buns Ice Cream was next, and I have to say, I was really disappointed I couldn’t find an actual Honey Bun to compare. I did find a Hostess Jumbo Honey Bun, but that’s a different brand, and I was dedicated to the accuracy! When trying this, the first words out of my mouth were, “Holy crap! How’d they do that?” This delivers on the donut flavor. The base tasted exactly like a Honey Bun (again, maybe this is the magic of shared artificial flavors, and if so, I’m ALL for it!). There were cinnamon sugar swirls and sugar-coated fried dough chunks, which were slightly CRUNCHY like an old-fashioned donut. This ice cream blew my freaking mind. I will buy this again. The cinnamon might have been a tiny bit heavy, but those donut pieces, whoa.
Rating: 10 out of 10 with enthusiasm. Nutrition Facts: (1/3 of the container) 240 Calories, 13 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 95 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 21 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.
Swiss Rolls Ice Cream
Heading back to the cake roll realm, I tried Swiss Rolls Ice Cream next. Again, pathetically, I couldn’t find an actual Swiss Roll to compare it with and had to go a bit on memory for this one. This featured a chocolate base which, again, tasted remarkably similar to the specific chocolate frosting found on Swiss Rolls. There were chocolate cake pieces and a white swirl to represent the sweet cream filling which had sort of a marshmallowy flavor. It might have just been my pint, but I thought the cake pieces were noticeably smaller than those in the Zebra Cake or Strawberry Shortcake varieties, and that made it hard to taste/notice them. When I did encounter some cake, it was dry and gritty. Overall, I still think this came close to representing a Swiss Roll, but as a stand-alone ice cream, the quality wasn’t as high as the others.
Rating: 6 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (1/3 of the container) 210 Calories, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 23 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.
Cosmic Brownies Ice Cream
And to round out this crossover launch, there’s Cosmic Brownies Ice Cream. Bright-colored chocolate sprinkles and gobs of chewy chocolate brownie were scattered against a background of chocolate ice cream. I honestly think the base’s flavor could have been stronger, but that might have taken it closer to the taste of Cosmic Brownie frosting. Maybe they could have also added a chocolate swirl? The brownie pieces, however, were fantastic. Chewy, chocolatey, and plentiful, the only thing wrong with them is that I think I liked them better than an actual Cosmic Brownie, and that made me feel like a traitor. The vibrant sprinkles are a little bit lost and muted when submerged in ice cream, but I was surprised that they still did deliver a candy flavor of their own. A pretty decent match with the popular treat and not at all a bad stand-alone ice cream.
Rating: 8 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (1/3 of the container) 230 Calories, 10 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fiber, 22 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.
I was pretty blown away by this lineup. I told A LOT of friends and family to go find them. I don’t think many other brand crossover launches like this have done this well at replicating flavor profiles, and I tip my hat to the ingenuity of McKee Foods and Hudsonville Ice Cream. I was particularly impressed with the quality, especially at a $2.50 price point. As mentioned above, the only disappointment was when I occasionally realized I might like one or two of these better than their bakery counterpart. Heaven forbid.
What is Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes Ice Cream?
Per the carton, “Two family-owned brands, Little Debbie and Hudsonville®, have come together to craft this cold and creamy Christmas Tree Cake® inspired ice cream, making holiday moments even sweeter.”
It features ice cream, red icing, green sugar sprinkles, and pieces of pound cake.
Oh, and it’s exclusive to Walmart.
How is it?
It’s so festive that I have to remind myself that it’s not going to taste like peppermint.
The red icing has a nice flavor, definitely better than the waxy coating on Little Debbie cakes. I also like the cake pieces mixed in with the ice cream. They are soft enough that the two elements work together nicely.
You know when you have cake and ice cream at a birthday party, and you mix the leftover ice cream with the cake crumbs on your plate? This ice cream is like that. In fact, swap out the colors, and this could be a birthday cake ice cream.
Anything else you need to know?
There are basically two things I don’t like:
The green sprinkles. They are fine on the actual cakes, but the gritty texture clashes with the soft ice cream and cake. I can see how some people might like the textural contrast, but I don’t. They’re not a deal-breaker, but I do wish they weren’t there.
This product is good, but it’s just kind of boring. It’s basically vanilla ice cream flavored like vanilla cakes.
I like Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes Ice Cream more than I like actual Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes. The flavor might not be very exciting, but visually, the ice cream screams Christmas, and the cake provides a pleasing texture.
Purchased Price: $2.50 Size: 1 pint Purchased at: Walmart Rating: 7 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 230 calories, 10 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 26 grams of sugar, 21 grams of added sugar, and 3 grams of protein.
What is Kellogg’s Little Debbie Cosmic Brownie Cereal?
It seems like everything is getting a reboot these days. Maybe it’s your favorite old movie, maybe it’s a nostalgic toy… or maybe, just maybe, it’s a beloved childhood treat. If you’re excited for option three, then we have news for you. Little Debbie, maker of the classic Cosmic Brownies, is teaming up with Kellogg’s on a new Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies cereal. It’s mini brownie squares complete with rainbow pieces to look like the original.
How is it?
As I opened the bag, I first noted this: If you were conducting a blind sniff test, I’d think this was a bag of Cocoa Puffs. It’s a strong whiff of chocolate. Now, obviously, I had to buy a box of the original Cosmic Brownies for true comparison. (I was surprised to find out that my husband had NEVER tried the brownies, which makes me wonder how sad his sack lunches were growing up…) I tried the brownie and immediately followed it with the cereal.
While the texture of the actual brownie is very fudgy and soft, what you’re getting here is a standard, crunchy cereal that feels like anything else you find on grocery shelves. You might as well close your eyes and play eeny, meeny, miny, mo with a handful of chocolate-based cereals, and you wouldn’t know this was supposed to mimic the brownie.
I noticed a strong cocoa taste that is sweet without being TOO sweet, which I liked. The nutrition facts back it up – only 14 grams of sugar in a serving. Sadly, the rainbow pieces are so small that they added no impact or flavor to the cereal.
In terms of rating – while it doesn’t taste exactly like the original brownie, it still tasted pretty good for a fun cereal. I knocked points off for the comparison, but not for the taste alone when you separate that concept.
Anything else you need to know?
Definitely add milk if you do want it to have any semblance to the brownie. A splash of milk helps soften the cereal and bring out the fudgier taste I was desiring. Unfortunately, the flavor stayed mostly with the cereal, so the milk at the bottom of the bowl ended up being not very chocolatey.
If you like chocolate cereal, Kellogg’s Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies is worth a try. But if you’re coming for a replica of the original, you might be disappointed.
DISCLOSURE: I received a free product sample from Kellogg’s. Doing so did not influence my review.
Purchased Price: FREE Size: 8.2 oz box Purchased at: Received from Kellogg’s Rating: 6 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (per 1 1/3 cup) 150 calories, 2 grams of total fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 14 grams of total sugars, and 3 grams of protein.
What is Kellogg’s Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies Cereal
Spiced oatmeal cookie cereal pieces with a creme-flavored coating.
How is it?
Like many of you, I have several oddly specific, debatable food opinions. For example, cereal is better at night, and Reese’s cups are best consumed edge first. However, there are few beliefs that I hold more closely than this: Oatmeal Creme Pies are the best — and most underrated — Little Debbie product.
What makes the convenience store delicacy so irresistible? The tender molasses cookie, enhanced by raisin paste? The generous creamy filling? A mix of nostalgia and the undeniable allure of the forbidden? (Rarely allowed packaged snacks as a kid, I instead enjoyed them at my best friend’s house, with Little Debbie as the third member of our junk food girl gang. FYI: We are now accepting new members.) Either way, I was thrilled to learn that Oatmeal Creme Pies were coming to my breakfast table.
The big question: Does the cereal taste like Oatmeal Creme Pies?
The second big question: Does it taste good?
Alone or with milk, this cereal is flavorful and satisfying. The pieces are large, bagel-shaped puffs made of corn and oat flours, resulting in a light and crispy texture. The dominant flavors are cinnamon and nutmeg with a faint hint of molasses. Each piece is coated lightly in a sweet vanilla powder that complements the spice nicely. I liken the flavors to those of a cinnamon bun or doughnut, especially with the vanilla powder, which tastes like a simple glaze that could coat either pastry.
Yet, the cereal’s main strength — its warm spice flavor — is what makes it less successful as a substitute for your Creme Pie cravings. The strong cinnamon is not really reminiscent of an Oatmeal Creme Pie’s dark, caramelized molasses flavor, and the sweet vanilla notes don’t do enough to create a much-missed creamy element. More molasses or even a cream filling (a la Fillows) would bring the cereal closer to resembling a Creme Pie.
Anything else you need to know?
While Post and Hostess brought us Honey Bun, Donettes, and Twinkies cereal, Kellogg’s is the first to team up with Little Debbie, coinciding with the brand’s 60th anniversary.
Kellogg’s Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies Cereal does not convincingly recreate the flavors or texture of its inspiration. However, the result — a mix of warm spices, subtle vanilla, and a little molasses — is still delicious.
DISCLOSURE: I received a free sample of this product. Doing so did not influence my review in any way.
Purchased Price: Free Size: 9.1 oz. box Purchased at: Received from Kellogg’s Rating: 7 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (per 1 1/4 cup) 170 calories, 3 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.