REVIEW: KIND Frozen Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt Bar

KIND Frozen Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Bar

What is the KIND Frozen Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt Bar?

No, these counterparts to the famous fruit and nut bars aren’t shelved next to the ice cream by mistake. Instead, this Walmart-exclusive novelty requires frozen storage, and features an ample sprinkling of chocolate-drizzled almonds and peanuts atop a creamy almond base.

How is it?

Unassuming appearance aside, one bite is all it takes to realize these are definitely at home sandwiched in-between the frozen dessert aisle’s typical guilty pleasures. Unlike KIND’s flagship line of bars, which I feel generally emulate eating a brick of compressed bird seed, the addition of an almond-based frozen dessert layer, as well as generous amounts of dark chocolate, keep this experience 100% indulgent from beginning to end.

KIND Frozen Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Bar Halved

The almond base is really where KIND hits it out of the park. Rather than resembling an icy, chalky brick like most supposedly “creamy” plant-based frozen desserts, it’s smooth, silky, and melty as soon as it hits your tongue. Part of this superb texture may be attributable to the addition of milkfat, which makes this a rare KIND offering that doesn’t cater to the dairy-intolerant.

KIND Frozen Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Bar Top

The nuts on top provide a pleasant crunch to contrast against the creamy almond layer, and help accentuate the light nutty taste of the base itself. On the bottom, the dark chocolate coating provides an extra bit of snap, and a pleasant bittersweet note to offset the treat’s sweeter aspects.

Is there anything else you need to know?

One not-so-great thing about this treat’s readiness to melt is that it’s nearly impossible to get home without having it going completely soft. Luckily, re-freezing it doesn’t seem to hurt its texture too much, so this shouldn’t be too much of a problem as long as you’re okay with less-than-picture-perfect bars.

Conclusion:

Do the KIND thing for your body and soul by picking up a couple bars the next time you stop by your local Walmart. Just be sure to bring a cooler to carry them home in.

Purchased Price: $1.37
Purchased at: Walmart
Size: 1 bar (49 grams)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts:: (1 bar) 190 calories, 12 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 6 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 11 grams of total sugars, 10 grams of added sugars, and 4 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Special K Cookies & Creme Pastry Crisps

Special K Cookies & Creme Pastry Crisps

Purchased Price: $3.29 (on sale)
Size: 5 pouches
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Tastes similar to Cookies & Creme Pop-Tarts. Light and crispy exterior. 100 calories per pouch. A nice little snack. No need to toast in order for it to be crispy, unlike Pop-Tarts. Nutritionally, two Cookies & Creme Pastry Crisps equal one Oreo cookie. If you eat a lot of Cookies & Creme Pop-Tarts and think to yourself, “Hey, I should cut back on the Cookies & Creme Pop-Tarts” these are the Nicorette Gum that’ll satisfy your Pop-Tart cravings.
Cons: Insides were a bit hollow so maybe they could use a little more cream…I mean, creme. Chocolatey drizzle melts in your mouth and in your hands. They’re pretty much portion control Pop-Tarts. Being addicted to Cookies & Creme Pop-Tarts.

Special K Cookies & Creme Pastry Crisps Closeup

Nutrition Facts: 2 crisps – 100 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Special K Fudge Brownie Bites

Special K Fudge Brownie Bites

Sometimes you’re waiting at the ATM or buying a plunger or watching movers carry a divan into the lobby of an apartment complex and a brownie craving just plum rises out of the Earth’s crust, willing and ready to swallow you in a single gulp, and there you sit, defenses bare, without a bakery, grocery, or Easy Bake Oven in sight. What’re you to do?

Fret not, dear reader, for the hope of relief rests in sight, and it cometh in the form of a 0.74-ounce purple baggie.

Saturday was an exciting day: we survived the Mayan apocalypse, dodged a passing asteroid, and lived to see another National Haiku Day (and what’s more fun than short poetic verse??). In hopes to celebrate all these wonders in a fiscally realistic economic exchange, I skipped-the-doo-da-day down to the local supercenter and found these new-fangled Special K Fudge Brownie Bites.

Prior to opening my factory-sealed satchel, I noticed the special emphasis Mr. Kellogg stamped on the portion represented here.

Hmmm…

Considering the amount of Photoshopping that went in to that picture, I visualized myself opening the bag to find two, maybe three, dinky brownie nubs that would more likely than not remind me of hamster food. Nonetheless, I closed my eyes and reached in…

“Como?!” I uttered under my breath.

These were not the brownie shrapnel I feared. Quite the contrary, they were chewy without a wisp of a factory-sealed grease coating in sight. I was so surprised by my spontaneous bout into brownie-inspired Spanish expression that I had to try another.

And another.

And another.

Ten anothers later, I realized I had eaten the whole bag. After conducting an in-depth psychological analysis and setting my results against years of previous research, I am proud to conclude that these are, indeed, fudge-like in texture, which is an accomplishment in any regard. It got me thinking, “Gee willikers, I wish there were a superhero made of brownies.”

Luckily, I had five more bags of these, so I made one.

Special K Fudge Brownie Bites Brownie Man

Indeed, his name is Brownie Man. He has a theme song:

Brownie Man, Brownie Man
Quicker than
A minivan
Not Raisin Bran
Or made of flan
He’s Brownie Man.

Special K Fudge Brownie Bites  Brownie Man Saves the Day!

One of Brownie Man’s greatest strengths is his convenience. The compact size of these nifty little pouches leads me to believe I could take these brownies just about anywhere. To the hardware store. In a submarine. Lumberjacking through the dense Canadian woods. In fact, due to the compact size and easy disposal, I’m about 87 percent sure they would make excellent space food.

Special K Fudge Brownie Bites Brownies in Space!

Of course, if you’re not a lumberjack or deep-space explorer, I am pleased to announce how excellently these fit in a lunchbox.

Sometimes, I crave a homemade, straight-out-of-the-oven brownie filled with milk chocolate chips that, when pulled, form molten lava ribbons. Other times, I covet a simple, no-fuss brownie that comes in a cellophane bag and requires absolutely no effort other than rip, pluck, and chew. These Brownie Bites fulfill the second.

That said, texture reigns far over flavor here. If you find yourself with a hardcore, exclusive-batch, better-than-the-original-Star-Wars brownie craving, these may not fulfill your inner needs (and, really, what can when talking about the original Star Wars?), but, for those who are just looking for a chewy packaged brownie or, if you’re like me and missing those Hostess Brownie Bites (oh, lonely Hostess, where has your pastry magic gone?!), these are a rainbow of light, guiding the map to a chewy treasure.

Special K Fudge Brownie Bites Brownie Brick Road

So follow the brownie brick road.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bag – 100 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, Less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 7 grams of sugars, and 1 gram of protein..)

Item: Kellogg’s Special K Fudge Brownie Bites
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 1 box/6 pouches
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Soft. Chewy. Lots of little brownies per bag. Lumberjacks. Spontaneous Spanish expressions of delight. Surviving the apocalypse. Space explorers. Haikus.
Cons: Faint on the chocolate flavor. Excessive photoshopping. Not having an Easy Bake Oven when you need one. Buying a plunger.

REVIEW: Special K Pastry Crisps (Chocolatey Delight and Brown Sugar Cinnamon)

Special K Pastry Crisps (Chocolatey Delight and Brown Sugar Cinnamon)

I’m not going to lie. Being a 23-year-old dude does come with a certain amount of biological advantages. Chief among these, of course, is a metabolism fast enough it outrace the Millennium Falcon on the Kessel Run and still have time for a bathroom stop. Twelve parsecs? Please. I burn through Twinkies in ten.

Having said metabolism affords me quite a few liberties when wandering through Walmart. Endcaps and register lanes offering 99-cent fruit pies and bagged chips are child’s play for my appetite, which instead often leads me to entire family-size bags of potato chips and cookies. Now, I realize these little jaunts into junk food bliss will eventually take their toll on me, and in an effort to stave off the advent of full man-boobage development and male pattern baldness, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to at least peek into what any future “diet” might entail.

There are, of course, many options. The Paleo Diet and Atkins Diet are especially attractive to my inner sense of wannabe-machismo, but who am I kidding, I could never give up on the worthless carbs of packaged snacks. That brings up the intriguing option of Fiber One, if only for the shameful premise that eating 7,000 percent of my daily RDA in fake fiber wouldn’t endear me to my co-workers. With these options crossed off the list, I rounded the cereal aisle at Walmart thinking that my experiment in semi-healthy eating wasn’t going to happen. That’s when they hit me. Or rather, I hit them, thanks to dodging an aisle clearing drag race of old people in electric scooters. That’s right friends, Special K.

I have no idea what the “K” stands for in Special K (potassium?), and after more than a decade of eschewing their products, I still have no idea what makes them so special. But when finding myself suddenly facing the new Chocolatey Delight and Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pastry Crisps, I decided to take a little trip into the future and see if the coming years of man-boobage can be staved off with a little help from what looked to be a Pop-Tart in disguise.

I have good news and I have bad news. The bad news is I’m probably going to get man-boobs no matter what. The good news is that the new Special K Pastry Crisps will help me slow that ineluctable fate one portion controlled wrapper at a time.

Special K Chocolatey Delight Pastry Crisps Outtards

The Chocolatey Delight crisps taste somewhere between a chocolate fudge Pop-Tart and a Keebler Fudge Stripe cookie. There’s a pronounced shortbread crisp which lacks the heavy and dull wheat snack bread like crusts of a Pop-Tart, while a lickable portion of chocolatey “icing” provides added sweetness and pronounced cocoa flavor. Is it chocolate? I don’t know for sure, but it’s chocolatey, and hey, we’re not eating for man boobs, remember?

Special K Chocolatey Delight Pastry Crisps Innards

In any case, there’s enough of the sweet glycerin-based filling to keep each bite interesting and moist, and despite the relatively small size, I find myself preferring the crumbly morsels and sweet “crisp” to any ambiguously flavored chocolate Pop-Tart I’ve had in the past. My only complaint is that each wrapper contains two very small pastries. We’re talking slightly larger than a baseball card here and less than a half ounce each, so probably no more than a few man-chomps for a crisp.

Special K Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pastry Crisps Innards

The Brown Sugar Cinnamon flavor isn’t as good, although the smell alone makes it worth buying. It’s that intensely rich, buttery cinnamon sugar spread smell that wafts through malls across these here United States thanks to the Cinnabon franchise. A light drizzle of sweet icing won’t fool even the most diet-food inoculated eaters into thinking it could actually pass for cream cheese icing, but it adds a nice touch to the otherwise crispy pastry.

Special K Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pastry Crisps Wrapper

The taste is standard as far as brown sugar cinnamon goes, with a little extra emphasis on the cinnamon. Nothing life-changing, but at 100 calories per two pastries, one can’t set his sights that high. Again, my only complaint is the size, and in this case, the amount of cinnamon-sugar “goo.” The paste actually has a nice consistency, but it’s tough to appreciate when a scant teaspoon or so fills the shell.

I’m not going to lie. Buying a pack of Special K Pastry Crisps isn’t the most masculine thing I’ve done in the past week. But I can live with that. Just as a I can live with a slow metabolism when I get older, provided Special K continue to disguise Pop-Tarts in the guise of 100-calorie pack Pastry Crisps. Until then though, it’s full steam ahead down the cookie aisle, provided the scooter drag races don’t take me out first.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 crisps – 100 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams to trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 25 milligrams of potassium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Special K Pastry Crisps (Chocolatey Delight and Brown Sugar Cinnamon)
Price: $2.54
Size: 5 pack
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Chocolatey Delight)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Brown Sugar Cinnamon)
Pros: Filling tastes just as good as a Pop-Tart. Chocolatey Delight reminds me of a Keebler cookie. No lame edges. No hydrogenated oils. Icing drizzle provides extra sweetness. Smells great. No toaster required. Portion control. Avoiding man boobs.
Cons: Small, very small. Not real chocolate. Needs more gooey filling. Icing could use more pronounced flavor. Avoiding death by electric scooter at Walmart. A future with a slow metabolism.

REVIEW: Quaker Chewy Chocolatey Mint Granola Bars

Quaker Chewy Chocolatey Mint Granola Bars

O’hi there, lasses and leprechauns!

St. Patrick’s Day is almost upon us, and I’ve chosen to take the fast food company approach to celebrating. As long as it’s a nice, radioactive shade of artificial green and it’s edible, it’s holiday appropriate. This brings us to Quaker’s Chocolatey Mint Granola Bar, one of the new, real cocoa-laden entries into its Chewy line of snackables. It contains eight grams of magical whole grains and absolutely none of that banshee HFCS.

In the past I’ve found that the only thing at the end of granola rainbows is a very dry mouth… and sometimes, if I’m really Irish-level lucky, honey or berries. Quaker, however, has always taken the concept in a very rice-puffed, kid-friendly direction. Chewy bars aren’t meant to see much non-paved wilderness action or to blend serendipitously with Kombucha. These are the snacks that litter the ground below the granola rainbow. That is why I chose them for St. Patrick’s Day instead of Earth Day. For Earth Day, they’d have to ramp it up about a thousand notches, maybe add some actual clover.

The bar itself imparts little to no flavor beyond a whispered hint of cocoa. It’s basically just a whole grain home for the wee little flavor chips, which are left to do all the heavy lifting. While delicious, they’re constantly falling off the bar and finding places to melt at bizarrely low temperatures, so that by the last bite, I’m left with green spotted pants and a bland rolled oat has-been bragging about a cacao tree it once knew.

Quaker Chewy Chocolatey Mint Granola Bars Naked

“Like hell,” I say. “Little cocoa bar, you’ve no more rubbed elbows with Brazilian beans than you’ve hung out on the cliffs of Moher in the late evening mist, pining for your lost love, Little Debbie.”

If that isn’t a woeful pub ballad in the making, I don’t know what is. I’m pretty sure I’m like three green beers away from penning the defining junk food anthem here. Shall we make it two?

In response to my disbelief and persistent need to make this culinary experience all about me, the chewy bar drops several more mint chips onto the carpet in my living room.

Turns out my fridge contains no green beer. My options are Belgian ale or week old two buck chuck with green food coloring. Both seem like fitting choices for this completely non-Irish snack. I graduated from a college that celebrates St. Patrick’s Day two weeks earlier than the rest of the world and, honestly, I’m not even slightly Irish, so I feel neither compelled nor qualified to include anything authentic in my holiday choices. I need a shirt that says, “Kiss me for my minty breath and do not question my heritage.”

Surprisingly, pairing the oat brick and scattered mouthwash chips with a bit of ale actually kind of brought out the missing chocolate flavor, like a secret key. Not that I’m suggesting anything to any of you wee lads and lassies, but to you hardcore, daylong, age-appropriate St. Patty’s celebrants, all I’m going to say is that these are super convenient and breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, especially if the rest of the day’s meals are going to be imbibed in liquid form. Also, let’s face it: Lucky Charms are so passé. And, bonus, you get complimentary minty freshness in this deal, which is vaguely close to attempted personal hygiene. What’s not to love?

Now, if you’ll excuse, I’m going to get back to writing that soon-to-be-beloved folk ditty. Oh, chewy bar, my taste buds they are call-ing!

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – 90 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein, 8% calcium, and 4% iron. Not a significant source of any vitamins whatsoever.)

Item: Quaker Chewy Chocolatey Mint Granola Bars
Price: 3/$5.00 (on sale)
Size: 10 – .84 ounce bars
Purchased at: Albertson’s
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Yummy mint chips liberally sprinkled about. Inspires me to write folk ballads. Pairs well with festive spirits. Unguarded pots of honey and berries. Minty fresh breath.
Cons: Lacks hearts, stars, horseshoes, clovers, and blue moons. Chocolate bar is a tasteless brick. One must eat multiple bars to equal even a child-sized breakfast. Unrequited snack food love.

REVIEW: Quaker Fiber & Omega-3 Dark Chocolate Chunk Chewy Oat Granola Bars

As someone who gets dietary fiber via Pop-Tarts and Omega-3 fatty acids from gummy fish, I should be stoked about the (take a deep breath) Quaker Fiber & Omega-3 Dark Chocolate Chunk Chewy Oat Granola Bars, but I’m not.

Because if an iPhone can be not only a phone, but also a music player, video player, Internet device and portable video game machine, then I should expect more from the (take a deep breath) Quaker Fiber & Omega-3 Dark Chocolate Chunk Chewy Oat Granola Bars.

If Quaker was able to enhance a granola bar with 35 percent of your daily value of dietary fiber and 320 milligrams of ALA Omega-3 fatty acids, then why can’t they also include antioxidants, caffeine, B vitamins, minerals, ginko biloba and fluoride. Because I believe that you either go all the way or go home.

Sure, there aren’t many graphic designer who would want to attempt to design the packaging for a product with the name (take a deep breath), Quaker Fiber, Omega-3, Antioxidants, Caffeine, B Vitamins, Minerals, Ginko Biloba & Fluoride Dark Chocolate Chunk Chewy Oat Granola Bars, but that granola bar, my friends, would truly be considered a superfood.

One granola bar to rule them all.

Each (take a deep breath) Quaker Fiber & Omega-3 Dark Chocolate Chunk Chewy Oat Granola Bars is 3.5 inches long, three-fourths of an inch wide and about half an inch thick, which is kind of small, but also somewhat the norm when it comes to granola bars. The bars get their chocolate flavor from semisweet chocolate chunks in them and a chocolatey drizzle on top, and combined they give it an enjoyable chocolate flavor, which makes me think these could be really bad for me.

The bar’s downfall is how fragile it is. It falls apart faster than a Jenga tower in a game between a drunk Nick Nolte and a coked up Gary Busey, both of whom will think they’re playing against hallucinations of themselves. It’s quite irksome to have the granola bar breaking down in my fingers and possibly causing pieces to fall on the floor; because my DustBuster no longer works, the maid service I use will no longer accept jobs from me due to “sexual harassment” issues and I don’t own a dog or goat that could eat it up off the floor.

To solve this problem, perhaps there needs to be a (take a deep breath) Quaker Fiber, Omega-3, Antioxidants, Caffeine, B Vitamins, Minerals, Ginko Biloba, Fluoride and Elmer’s Glue Dark Chocolate Chunk Chewy Oat Granola Bar.

(Nutrition Facts- 1 bar – 150 calories, 4 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1 gram polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein and 4% iron.)

Item: Quaker Fiber & Omega-3 Dark Chocolate Chunk Chewy Oat Granola Bars
Price: $3.49
Size: 5 bars
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Good chocolate flavor. 35% of daily value of fiber. 320 milligrams of ALA Omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed. Getting fiber from Pop-Tarts and Omega-3 from gummy fish.
Cons: Breaks apart really easily. Kind of small. Only five bars (whatever happened to even numbers). Doesn’t include antioxidants, caffeine, B vitamins, minerals, ginko biloba and fluoride. Long product name. Trying to fit long product names on packaging. Being a Jenga tower in the same room as a drunk Nick Nolte and a coked up Gary Busey.