REVIEW: Java Chip Oreo and Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo Cookies

Java Chip Oreo Cookies Package

Everyone loves a comeback story. Like the Buffalo Bills 1993 wild card victory, or Diana Nyad finally completing the 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida after several failed attempts, or fat (yeah, fat, it’s allowed now). These are victories we can stand behind, nodding and muttering, “Well, I’ll be damned. They did it.”

With the love of a comeback in mind, I’d like to introduce you to the Rocky Balboa of cookies, the Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo, and the 2007–2008 Chicago Cubs of cookies (they’re not QUITE there yet), the Java Chip Oreo.

Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo Cookies Package

Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane to consider Oreo’s initial attempts. In 2018, Nabisco launched a Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo using Golden cookies and a chocolate cream that had a nearly undetectable hazelnut flavor, the cookies’ greatest flaw. Similarly, Nabisco is not new to coffee flavor combinations, having launched Dunkin’ Mocha Oreo, Latte Oreo Thins, and Tiramisu Oreo with varying degrees of success.

Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo Cookies Open

Java Chip Oreo Cookies Open

Upon opening, the Hazelnut Oreo had me concerned. These mostly smelled of chocolate, maybe even just plain Oreo. However, the Java Chip package had a robust and pleasant coffee aroma that immediately reminded me of coffee ice cream, perhaps because of how sugary sweet it was.

Because coffee can be a strong flavor, I decided to try the Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo first. To be fair (TO BE FAIR), the pressure was ON. Launching a chocolate hazelnut flavor is a huge challenge in a confectioner world dominated mainly by Nutella, a mammoth of a product that’s often imitated but never duplicated, and Oreo had already failed that test once. BUT. NOT. THIS. TIME.

Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo Cookies Closeup

Friends, these updated Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo are a dream. The hazelnut flavor in the cream filling is POWERFUL, and the slightly darker, more bitter chocolate cookie rounds out the flavor delivery into an irrefutable success. I think I might have said “wow” out loud.

The flavor is not overwhelming or artificial tasting. It’s nutty, balanced, and definitely there. These might be my new favorite Oreo. I’m already thinking up what kinds of baked goods I’d like to make with them. Yum. I’m not giving them a perfect score because the creme is the standard Oreo texture, where I think hazelnut spread is usually impeccably smooth.

Java Chip Oreo Cookies Closeup

As mentioned earlier, however, the story is not as sweet for Java Chip. These cookies are certainly tasty. Using Oreo cream to emulate ice cream is definitely strategic and, in my opinion, a closer flavor match than aiming for coffee alone. But overall, I wasn’t that impressed.

The little added texture element of the tiny chocolate chips throughout the Java Chip cream certainly aided the experience. If java chip is your favorite ice cream, I can see a Dairy Queen coffee Blizzard with chopped up pieces of Java Chip Oreo Cookies being GREAT. But I wouldn’t seek these out again. There are just too many more exciting options available.

Java Chip Oreo and Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo Cookies Together

Overall, these are good, but the Chocolate Hazelnut Oreo stands out. Nabisco had some ground to recover from its 2018 miscue, and I think it’s done so here. Time will tell if it can better impress us with a coffee, java, or espresso iteration in the future.

Purchased Price: $3.67 each
Size: 17 oz (Family Size)

Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out 10 (Chocolate Hazelnut), 6 out of 10 (Java Chip)
Nutrition Facts: (2 cookies) 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of total sugars, and less than 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Brookie-O Oreo Cookies

Limited Edition Brookie O Oreo Cookies Package

Oreo cookies are iconic. The sweet cream snuggled between two crunchy chocolate wafers is one of the (if not the) most recognizable cookies on the market. Yet, in the past decade, we’ve seen Nabisco move out of its comfort zone into a new world of unique offerings. Two of those discontinued varieties, Cookie Dough and Brownie Batter, have joined forces to return in a new form: Brookie-O.

For those unfamiliar with what a brookie is, it is when you layer brownie batter and cookie dough to create an extra decadent treat. I love fresh chocolate chip cookies and I love ooey-gooey brownies, but not usually together. They almost always end up competing against one another for flavor dominance in a Highlander-like fight where the brownie layer will scream, “THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE!”

The Brookie-O Oreo is described as “Brownie, Original Creme, & Cookie Dough Triple Layered Creme between two chocolate wafer cookies.” I was worried that having three creme layers were going to be too much. Luckily, the food research and development department managed to deliver an enjoyable and balanced flavor experience.

Limited Edition Brookie O Oreo Cookies Open

The first thing I noticed upon opening the packaging was the cookies’ size seemed to be equivalent to the Double Stuf. At first bite, the overwhelming flavor is that of the original Oreo. The sweet cream and chocolate cookies almost seem aggressively loud, but then magic happened. As I continued to chew, the cookie dough flavor started to chime in. Another bite saw the entrance of the brownie batter. Nabisco managed to layer the creme flavors in a way that blended perfectly.

Limited Edition Brookie O Oreo Cookies Top Off

Upon taking the Oreo apart, you can see the distinct layers even more clearly. I attempted to separate them (there was a whole thing with tweezers and trying to freeze them), but they are fairly well stuck together. Going the old fashioned route (licking them), I was able to taste each. Brownie had that taste of when you sneak a lick of the batter off the spoon. Fudgey and rich, it worked really well in the context of this variety, but I could see it being too much on its own.

Limited Edition Brookie O Oreo Cookies Creme Only

The middle layer was that of the original creme. I had questioned why this would be included at all as I assumed the brownie and cookie dough would be more than enough, but I’m glad it was there. As mentioned previously, brookies tend to feel like they have two strong flavors competing for your attention. The original creme acts like a great equalizer to the two flavors.

Finally reaching the cookie dough layer, I was greeted with the familiar flavor of cookie dough you’d find in ice cream. It is not quite the flavor of homemade stuff, but a pretty good approximation. Of the three layers, it was my least favorite on its own.

Limited Edition Brookie O Oreo Cookies Side

Overall this Oreo was like a good chorus: each voice on its own can shine, but together they make beautiful music. As they are marketing them as a limited edition, I’d encourage you to grab them while you can. I’m debating if I should get a second package so that I can make the most meta baked good ever: Oreo Brookies made with Brookie-O Oreo.

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 13.2 oz
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 cookies) 180 calories, 9 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 95 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Lemon Nilla Wafers

Lemon Nilla Wafers

Nilla Wafers are boring. I’d actually say they’re a historically boring cookie.

Here’s the thing, I don’t mind a boring cookie. Sometimes ya just want a boring cookie.

I always have a “boring” snack hidden in the back of my pantry. Whether it’s Ritz or Saltine crackers, a bag of Goldfish, or some good ol’ Nilla Wafers, I have a weird affinity for what I refer to as “desperation snacks.”

You’re probably wondering what the heck I’m even talking about. These are snacks I buy intentionally for when I run out of all the primo stuff and I’m too lazy to get more.

That’s where Nilla Wafers come into play. They’re never my top choice, but when everything else is gone, a few of those can curb a sugar craving. I’m never gonna eat a whole box in one sitting. But then again, with a new lemon flavor on shelves, maybe that’ll change?

Nah, that won’t change.

Lemon Nilla Wafers 2

When I popped open the foil bag of Lemon Nilla Wafers, there wasn’t much of a departure from what I remember. I’d say there’s a minuscule lemon Pez scent. The smell did resonate with me though.

I never realized how much Nilla Wafers smelled like those little boxes of Barnum’s Animal Crackers. It makes sense since they’re both Nabisco staples, I just never noticed. It really brought back fond childhood memories.

Lemon Nilla Wafers 3

Nilla Wafers always have a texture that makes them seem borderline stale even when they’re fresh. These were no different. I’ve always preferred to let them melt in my mouth.

They didn’t taste far off from the originals. There’s a hint of lemon flavor at best. As a fan of lemon desserts, I was disappointed, but in terms of Nilla Wafers I actually think I prefer these. I could definitely see myself eating more of them at once, but they’d still fall into my desperation snack category.

Just for fun, I used Mystery Oreo creme to make Lemon Nilla Wafer Sandwiches.

Lemon Nilla Wafers 4

Turns out, the Lemon Nilla Wafer worked better with the (my dark horse guess) Fruity Pebbles Treat-flavored creme than the chocolate Oreo cookie did. Take note, Nabisco.

All in all, I’d say Lemon Nilla Wafers make a strong case for “back of the pantry desperation” snack. That’s if I don’t use them all to make more sandwich cookies first.

(Nutrition Facts – 8 wafers – 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.29
Size: 11 oz. box
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 6 out of 10 (8 out of 10 with Mystery Oreo creme)
Pros: One of the all time great “desperation snacks.” Melt in your mouth. Better than the originals. Excellent Mystery Oreo cookie substitute. Animal Cracker nostalgia.
Cons: Lemon is faint at best. Better supporting player than standalone cookie. No actual lemon in the ingredients. A little pricey.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Nutmeg & Cinnamon Triscuit Crackers

Limited Edition Nutmeg  Cinnamon Triscuit Crackers

I’ve got to admit, I only eat Triscuit once or twice a year.

My family has a tradition at holiday gatherings to make one of the simplest yet most delicious appetizers you’ll ever try. A block of Philadelphia cream cheese covered with a jar of salsa and served with Triscuit. I know, it might sound kind of bizarre, but don’t dog it ’til you’ve tried it cause it’s damn delicious. I love Triscuit in this setting, they’re perfect. Better than Wheat Thins or any other chip when combined with this dip, but I don’t ever buy them for myself.

Popcorn, Cheez-Its, Doritos – these things all find their way into my snack cabinet, but I’ve never felt compelled to buy the hard little squares of shredded wheat on my own…until now. My inner spice sense began tingling the second I saw the new and autumn-kissed Nutmeg & Cinnamon Triscuit.

Limited Edition Nutmeg  Cinnamon Triscuit Crackers 2

The crackers look no different than your average Triscuit – square, brown, and wheat-y. The aroma is similarly familiar – wheat with a hint of lingering sweetness.

The flavor, though, is surprisingly soft and very good. The overwhelming feeling I get when biting into these crackers is warmth. The presence of the spice doesn’t smack you over the face with artificiality or some kind of sweet pumpkin spice foil – they simply elevate the flavor of the wheat and add a wonderful spicy flourish to the already established successful profile.

Cinnamon and nutmeg are definitely the key players in the mix, but I also get a nice tingle of ginger. Nothing about the flavor is harsh and, shockingly, the crackers aren’t sweet either. In fact, they aren’t even really salty, less so than the original. Being devoid of sweet and salty would imply that they’re bland, but the spices make up for it.

Limited Edition Nutmeg  Cinnamon Triscuit Crackers 3

Since the flavor comes off as more of a warm feeling than bold tongue-tingling taste, they lend themselves very well to different applications. Smeared with some cream cheese? Awesome. Topped with peanut butter? Delicious. Garnished with a bit of medium cheddar? Divine. The spices don’t bully their way to the forefront of the experience and yet they stay there in the background like lovely jazz in a cozy coffee shop – never taking over the conversation, but elevating the atmosphere immensely.

If you’re a Triscuit fan and are looking for a slight festive twist on something you already love – look no further than Nutmeg & Cinnamon. They’re subtly complex and fitting for your next holiday gathering, and hey, maybe even try topping them with cream cheese and salsa – you might be pleasantly surprised.

(Nutrition Facts – 6 crackers – 120 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 8.5 oz. box
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Nice subtle but complex blend of cinnamon and nutmeg. Hints of ginger. Not sweet. Flavors work well with variety of toppings.
Cons: A Triscuit can only be so good. They will never be Cheez-Its or Sweetos

REVIEW: Limited Edition Gingerbread belVita Breakfast Biscuits

Limited Edition Gingerbread belVita Breakfast Biscuits

Is it just me, or have the food companies gotten lazy with their limited-edition offerings?

The big holiday flavors this year appear to be hot cocoa and gingerbread. For hot cocoa, all you do is take chocolate – usually an already existing flavor – and add marshmallows. It doesn’t even have to be hot, yet it still qualifies as hot cocoa.

Gingerbread is a little more innovative, but not much. It seems like most brands that have gingerbread also have pumpkin spice. Just swap out the pumpkin for molasses (if it even had pumpkin in the first place), add some ginger (if it didn’t already have some), and boom. Gingerbread.

Limited Edition Gingerbread belVita Breakfast Biscuits 2

Unfortunately, these Limited Edition Gingerbread belVita Breakfast Biscuits are another lazy product. To me, they taste just like the pumpkin spice variety. (In fairness, I did not compare them side by side.)

They have a vague spiciness, and if I concentrate, I can taste the ginger. But I don’t taste molasses, even though it’s in the ingredients list.

Limited Edition Gingerbread belVita Breakfast Biscuits 3

Here’s the problem I see: Gingerbread is a cookie, right? And breakfast biscuits are basically cookies, right? It shouldn’t be hard to make a cookie taste like a cookie. Yet these don’t taste like gingerbread.

I understand that it might not be practical to put in too much molasses. Gram for gram, these biscuits have less sugar than a lot of cereals, and if they put in molasses, it might exceed their desired sugar count—they would switch from being breakfast biscuits to being dessert biscuits. Plus, molasses is one of those weird ingredients with a distinctive, almost pungent, odor.

But at the very least, they could have stepped up their game with the spices. Ginger is the only spice mentioned by name in the ingredients, and the biscuits would have benefitted from actual cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or clove -— not just whatever is in “natural flavor.”

If these were simply marketed as a new belVita flavor that is not gingerbread, I would give them a 7 or 8. They have a pleasant oaty flavor and a satisfying crispness. They might not be enough as a meal, but they’re fulfilling as a snack. You get that preschool nostalgia of eating graham crackers, yet feel like an adult because they’re not actually graham crackers. I like ’em.

But since they call themselves gingerbread, they set a higher standard —- a standard they fail to reach.

(Nutrition Facts – 4 biscuits (50 grams) – 230 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 95 milligrams of potassium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 8.8 oz. box (5 packs)
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Cute packaging. A tasty, satisfying biscuit. You can taste the ginger if you concentrate. Pretending cookies are breakfast.
Cons: Doesn’t taste like gingerbread. Lazy limited edition foods.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Brownie Batter Oreo Cookies

Nabisco Limited Edition Brownie Batter Oreo Cookies

These Limited Edition Brownie Batter Oreo Cookies are dark.

The creme in these cookies is so dark that the cookie looks like it’s made with three chocolate wafers. These cookies are so dark that I’m afraid to eat these outside at night because if I drop one, I don’t think I can find it before the five second rule goes into effect. The cookies are so dark that I’m surprised they’re not a Sith Lord named Darth Atter.

Unlike many of the new limited edition flavors this year, Nabisco didn’t do anything special with the crunchy wafers. There’s no food coloring (red velvet). There’s no special flavor (s’mores and key lime pie). It’s the standard chocolate Oreo we all know and we all love, except for the folks who made Hydrox, and in between the wafers is a brownie batter-flavored creme.

Nabisco Limited Edition Brownie Batter Oreo Cookies Comparison

Before trying these, I wondered how different they would taste compared with Chocolate Oreo Cookies and their Jedi robe brown-colored creme. So I did something I rarely do. I bought a package of regular Chocolate Oreo. (Seriously, including the package I bought for this review, I believe I’ve only purchase Chocolate Oreo twice in my life.) And after trying the two, I have to say Brownie Batter Oreo is much better.

The extremely busy labcoat-wearing folks in the Nabisco test kitchens did a wonderful job with these cookies. The aroma that comes out of the package after opening it smells like brownie batter, and it also reminds me of the hot fudge on a McDonald’s sundae. The creme itself tastes like I’m risking the chance of getting salmonella by licking clean a wooden spoon covered with prepared brownie mix. It has a richer and fudgier flavor than the Chocolate Oreo creme. It’s delightful and I’d recommend licking it, if you’re into that.

Nabisco Limited Edition Brownie Batter Oreo Cookies Closeup

But the chocolate wafers do get in the way of the brownie batter creme. When eaten whole, I taste more of the wafers than the creme. But it does get a bit more noticeable in the aftertaste. Of course, if you were to eat these in an unconventional way, with one of the wafers removed, the brownie batter flavor definitely stands out.

If you love licking brownie batter off a spoon or, if you’re civilized, run your finger along the spoon’s head to get some of that brownie batter goodness, I think you’ll love the flavor of these Limited Edition Brownie Batter Oreo Cookies.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 70 milligrams of potassium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Limited Edition Brownie Batter Oreo Cookies
Purchased Price: N/A
Size: 10.7 oz.
Purchased at: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: That brownie batter creme is wonderful. Brownie batter flavor without the brownie batter hazards. Better than Chocolate Oreo. Better than Cookie Dough Oreo. Cream licking.
Cons: Wafers can get in the way of the creme’s flavor. Might be on the dark side of the Force. Forcing a weak Jedi reference into this review.