Friday, August 31, 2012

Review: Metragenix 2:1 Bar Granola Oatmeal

I love free stuff. It makes me feel less guilty about spending so much money on granola/protein bars, protein powder, and, yes, chocolate and peanut butter. Not to mention the $1,000+ MacBook I bought because Apple has made it a criminal offense to run their software on non-Apple hardware.

Anyway, I’ve been subscribing to freestufftimes.com for a while now, and even though it’s annoying to get 20 emails a day that are about paper towels or Kindle downloads, every once in a while something comes along that’s good. I’ve already signed up for some free samples of Luna fiber, peanut butter, and a few other things (although I have yet to see them--apparently fast shipping isn’t a priority, or it was all just a hoax). However, this arrived in the form of a coupon presentable at my local GNC.

Well, there are three local GNCs around here, and I stupidly ended up at the one next to Walmart on move-in day. You’d think, after how many years of avoiding Walmart at all costs while Penn State students are crowding the aisles and clearing the shelves, I would have learned not to go within a 20-mile radius of the place. But, my coupon was expiring that weekend and I WANTED A FREE PROTEIN BAR, DAMMIT!

You have no idea how hard it was to settle on just one, but I finally picked one I’d never heard of: Metragenix’s 2:1 Granola Oatmeal protein bar, which as a whopping 30g of protein, 250 calories, and just 15g of active carbs. I was really excited, and here’s why:


This thing is HUGE! Now that’s my kind of protein bar! The sad thing is, most of the huge ones are worse than candy bars in terms of sugar content, so I steer clear. This one is actually reasonable. Although it’s more of a meal than a snack.


For some reason this reminds me of a banana. ;) I think it’s the off-white coloring combined with the extra length...either way, I like the look of that yogurt coating. It smells faintly like oatmeal, but not enough to convince me it’ll amaze me with its taste. But you can’t judge a book by its cover, or a protein bar by its wrapper, you actually have to taste it!


The first thing that stands out is the texture. I was expecting it to be crunchy, like granola, but it’s not. It’s actually quite soft and chewy, akin to a Balance or thinkThin bar. There is not gumminess, and the coating is very creamy, which I love. The bar is easy to break; it bends rather than snaps. If you were eating it in a big hurry, it might make you tired, but overall the texture isn’t far off from an oatmeal cookie.

It tastes a bit like one, too. There is definitely an oatmeal flavor to this bar, but I also think I detect a bit of cinnamon. I don’t really notice any granola presence, though. Maybe if it was a little bit crunchy it would be more obvious (or, for that matter, existent). For so much protein and so little extra crap, this actually tastes pretty good. Which is a relief, because I wouldn’t want to eat something that big if it tasted horrible.

I looked at the ingredients and sure enough, it lists cinnamon and raisin paste. It also lists granola flavor...hmm, I guess my taste buds aren’t up to par. Maybe real granola would do the trick. But that yummy yogurt coating? It’s high protein yogurt coating! So maybe the trick here is to up the protein by stuffing it other places than just the middle. Either way, it works. I would eat this one again...or maybe half of it, anyway. My only quibble is with the lack of crunch.

Taste: 8--lacking in the granola department, but the oatmeal and cinnamon are there.
Texture: 9--like an oatmeal cookie.
Health: 9--I was amazed at the protein content along with lack of other garbage.
Eat Again? Maybe, especially if it
’s free. :)

[nutrition information]

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Review: Quest Protein Bar Apple Pie

I have to start this review off with a warning: I have not had apple pie in years, so I may not remember precisely what it tastes like. Therefore, you may not want to take my words to heart when I compare the Apple Pie Quest bar to real apple pie.

I got this bar from Netrition, along with two whole boxes of flavors I know I like and another single bar to try (the PB&J). It sounded promising, because I do like apple pie--I just like other desserts better. And since my family doesn’t “do” pie unless it has chocolate, the only place I can get apple pie is somewhere I could also get cake or brownies or something peanut buttery...you get the point. For me, apple pie is almost always doomed to be dumped in favor of something far less “healthy.”

What totally works is when you can have your apple pie AND chocolate, because the apple pie doesn’t count as dessert! That’s where this Quest bar comes in!


It’s another brownish one--you know how I like those! Just from unwrapping this bar, I could tell it was one of the softer ones (another plus).


On top of that, there are real apples inside! Admittedly, freeze-dried apples don’t add the best texture, but it’s nice to see real fruit instead of just a bunch of processed stuff.

The apples definitely contribute to the flavor. In fact if you get an apple with your bite it pretty much takes over. And it’s impossible to get only part of an apple chunk, because the rest slides out, leaving a chunk-sized hole in the bar. The base is very sweet, with a hint of cinnamon, just like real apple pie (from what I remember). I love cinnamon, so I loved the base. Actually, I would have been happy with just the base and no apples at all, although I wouldn’t have called it Apple Pie then.

In texture, this bar is one of the softest. Maybe the softest, or tied with Coconut Cashew for that title. It’s moist and juicy, although it does stick to things (namely teeth and fingers and, by transfer, your keyboard). Because it’s so soft, it’s really easy to take a big bite of this and not feel like you’re working your jaws off.

OK, microwave test: after 10 seconds, it’s still holding its own shape. In fact, it’s still firm to the touch, but amazingly soft when you bite into it. It reminds me of a brownie just out of the oven (in texture, anyway), which really makes the apples stand out from the base because they give more resistance. Definitely even more apple pie-ish than at room temperature!

Overall, this is a really good take on apple pie. I’d definitely eat it again, maybe even before I’d eat the peanut butter/chocolate flavors. I love the texture and the sweet/cinnamon base. Quest could totally sell me on just the base, but...after all, you can’t have apple pie without apples!

Taste: 9--I almost want to say the apples get in the way of the base, but if you’re going for apple pie this is just about right.
Texture: 10--one of the softer bars, so it’s not a workout at room temperature; warmed up, it’s like a pie-flavored brownie.
Health: 10--really, you can
’t go wrong with Quest.
Eat Again? Yes.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Are You a Mac or a PC?

Confession time: I’m writing this post from my new MacBook.


Now, I am totally a PC person. My family has owned one in my entire life; I can vaguely remember messing around with “the Macintosh,” as we called it, when I was about four. It had a primitive blue-gray user interface and a huge, clunky, white-plastic-turning-yellow monitor. Since then, we’ve been all PC. Now, I have a DROID Razr. Anti-Apple all the way…or at least, I was.

In general, I’m against their policies and principles. You can develop for Android from any operating system, get your apps onto a device (and into the market) for free, and mess around all you want, for free. Apple doesn’t let you (legally) even test your apps on a device without paying a $99 developer’s fee. On top of that, you can’t develop for iOS devices without Xcode, Apple’s coding program, which of course will only run on a Mac operating system. By the way, did you know it’s illegal to install OS X on a non-Apple computer?

This has presented a bit of a moral dilemma for me. I really, really, really don’t want to give Apple 1,000 of my hard-earned dollars, because that feels too much like supporting the company. Which I don’t. On the other hand, the computer science geek in me is excited about owning such a flipping beautiful machine. Really, you can’t fault Apple on its hardware, and I do like the operating system. It’s like family, right? You can’t choose it. It’s not the computer’s fault it was made by Apple.

Having used a Mac Mini all summer (as well as a sad excuse for a PC with less computing power than my calculator), I do appreciate the design of OS X. I love how easy they’ve made designing user interfaces for apps. In some ways, developing for iOS is a lot easier than for Android—minus the week it took, after FINALLY getting the developer’s license, to figure out how to get an app onto my test iPad.

I finally caved in and bought the MacBook yesterday after work, because my PC has now crashed two days in a row and it was making me nervous—not to mention trying my patience when it took five minutes to load a webpage. And then reload the same webpage because Flash stopped working. It was time for something new.

So am I now a Mac? I’m still not sure. Can I be a hybrid? A Pac, maybe? Just because I have a Mac doesn’t mean I support Apple, does it? It just means their need to control every detail and their inability to be flexible will have forced one more person to overpay for their hardware. So, I may own a Mac; but I am still a PC.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review: Quest Protein Bar Peanut Butter & Jelly

Is there anything more classic than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? It’s a staple of every American kid’s diet (excepting ones with peanut allergies), as well as countless adults looking for a tasty snack to remind them of their younger days. But it can also be the bane of your existence, because peanut butter is a veritable calorie bomb that, when not used in moderation, can expand your waistline just as quickly as Ben & Jerry’s. And we all know peanut butter is almost impossible to use in moderation. ;)

But what if you could get the same experience in just 210 calories AND throw in 20g of protein and 17g of fiber? That’s what Quest aims to do with its Peanut Butter and Jelly protein bar.


If you read my review of the Peanut Butter Supreme bar, you’ll recognize this one because it looks pretty similar. It also feels similar, being less sticky than the others and also a lot firmer. Must be the peanut butter. ;) The only difference is, this one smells like jelly. Big time.


Hmm...tastes like jelly, too. I think it’s strawberry, which is good because I don’t like grape. At least, the packaging has a picture of strawberries. The truth is, I have no clue, but initially I was disappointed because when I make PB&J, I use minimal jelly. Actually, I usually just leave it out altogether because it gets in the way of the peanut butter.

But this bar is actually a good mix. There are some bites--like my first few--that taste purely like the jelly, some that are mostly peanut butter, and some that are an even mix (those are the best ones). It’s like they put an uneven jelly swirl throughout the bar, although it’s all the same color. The peanut butter bits are by far the most peanut buttery of any Quest bar so far.

As for texture, this one isn’t the softest. It’s firm, but not hard to chew; in fact that helps it not stick to your teeth! While I love the soft and gritty texture of the Cinnamon Roll & Friends, this works in its own way. It’s not the soft bread of a sandwich, but you really shouldn’t expect it to be.

Well, that was the first half of the bar, and as always, the nuke test is next. I stuck it in for 11 seconds (OK, my finger accidentally hit the button twice and how different is 11 from 10?). The result: I would HIGHLY recommend microwaving this one because it really brings out the peanut butter without totally muting the jelly. Maybe it was just the way my bar was swirled, but the flavor seems better distributed. The bar gets soft and cookie-like, which also makes the crunchy nuts stand out. Warmed up, this really does taste like a PB&J.

Taste: 9--a little too much jelly in places, but warmed up it will definitely remind you of the classic sandwich.
Texture: 8--I’d like it to be a little softer, to remind me of bread...but heating it up takes care of that.
Health: 10--fiber, protein, blah blah blah...even I’m getting tired of hearing myself repeat the virtues of Quest bars.
Eat Again? Yes, although I’d choose other flavors first.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Fresh Start


Wow—first day back at class! It’s weird seeing campus so full after biking to work along empty streets all summer, as well as frustrating having to avoid killing pedestrians and still be on time for class. But no matter how strange all that is, it’s weirder still to think that this is my last year in school.
               
I had an hour-plus break after my first two classes this morning, so I sat munching on a Luna bar (which should appear with a post of its very own sometime soon) on a bench in the HUB, trying (unsuccessfully) to get wireless on my computer. And then I heard my name.

Who should appear but a guy I met last fall in my Computer Engineering class. We worked together on the last few projects—two computer science majors trying hopelessly to design a processor to the professor’s specifications.

So the last time I saw him was last winter. In fact, in one of the last conversations I remember having with him, I told him I was finally healed, had just started running again, and was loving every minute of it.

So when, like any normal person, he asked, “What have you been up to since last fall?” I just sort of gaped at him like an idiot. How could I tell him that I’d taken the final unknowingly nursing two fractured heels? That I’d been through doctor after doctor—sports doctor, regular doctor, nutritionist—been given EKGs, unable to break the cycle of appointments? That, after finally leaving all that behind and getting back into running again, I’d broken my pelvis falling from a midget pony?

So I just said, “Working.”

We talked for a while. This guy is totally awesome, and not just because he spent so much time saying my help got him an A-minus in that course. I told him about my courses, and he said he’d wanted to sign up for one—iOS app development—that I’m taking now, but it conflicted with another class. Which happened to be one I took last fall and hated. So we spent a long time trading advice. It was so easy to talk to him, so nice that he was genuinely glad to see me. Sometimes you have a class with someone and then never talk to them again.

But what was really great? He talked to me exactly like he did last fall. Like I was the exact same person. Like I hadn’t put my body through hell and ended up broken. Like I was a normal person.

It was so refreshing, I’m glad I didn’t utter a word about what really happened between last fall and now. I’ve spent so much time around people who know my history, who are always watching, always weighing, always careful about what they say (or don’t say), that this one little chat totally made my day. I couldn’t ask for a better start to a new school year.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Review: Kashi goLean Crunchy! (Crisp!) Chocolate Pretzel

I really don’t know what to think about pretzels. Sometimes I’m in the mood for them, but really...they’re just boring. Either that, or they have lots of salt or seasoning or some other decoration (e.g., chocolate) that makes them worse for you. So to sum it up, I’m not a huge fan of pretzels and I don’t eat them often.

Nonetheless, once I started eating Kashi’s goLean Crunchy! bars, I was seized with a mad desire to try all of them...OK, that’s an exaggeration, but I do want to know if there’s one out there that I like more than Chocolate Caramel, which is why I picked up the Chocolate Pretzel flavor when we were at the beach.

“Lightly salted, toasted pretzels with rich chocolate for a salty-sweet all-natural snack bar that is sure to please your taste buds.”
Kashi recently rebranded some of their bars, and these are no longer Crunchy! but Crisp! bars. So in honor of what may very well be the last goLean Crunchy! bar:


They are still exactly the same bar, just with a different name and new packaging. If you need evidence, look no further:


It looks just like the others, with the obvious difference of the pretzel bits. I was a bit disappointed with the chocolate coating on the bottom, though, which was really thin.


Which is why I was surprised that the dominant taste of this bar was...chocolate! It must be from the chocolate chips; they’re really plentiful and spread throughout the bar, not just on top. The oats made up most of the rest of the flavor, with the pretzels coming in last. They’re there, especially in texture, but they’re not glaringly obvious. In fact I’d almost say the name of the product is deceiving, because it implies that the pretzels play a big role. They don’t.

Maybe if the pretzels were bigger, you could taste them more. Or maybe if they were actually salty. The description claims they’re “lightly salted,” but there isn’t even a hint of salt. Which is, of course, my favorite part of pretzels. These pretzels are just thin, short rods with no visible salt and are actually pretty boring.

In texture, this one is just like the other Kashi Crisp! flavors: crispy (duh), like you’d expect a granola bar to be, although Crunchy! is also an accurate description. The pretzels add a slightly harder crunch when you encounter them, but overall it’s just standard granola-bar fare.

Taste: 8--mostly chocolate, which is fine with me, but minus points for not living up to its name.
Texture: 9--crispy, not hard to chew, standard granola bar. The pretzels do add a harder crunch now and then.
Health: 7--protein and fiber to “help you stay full,” but some people aren’t crazy about the sugar content. GoodGuide gives this a 5.6 for health.
Eat Again? Eat, yes. Buy...probably not.




Saturday, August 25, 2012

Review: Balance Bar Original Double Chocolate Brownie

Do you have any idea how hard it is to find an interesting way to start every review? I could talk how many Balance Bars I’ve tried already, or how they usually have the same protein taste, or how all of my souvenirs from vacation were (like this one) edible. But I would just be repeating myself. So let’s just be simple and to the point.

I ate another Balance Bar. It was called Double Chocolate Brownie.

Word of warning, the entire review isn’t going to be that succinct. If you want to quit while you’re ahead, now’s the time.


Long description, from the website:
“Talk about a trip to chocolate heaven! Rich chocolate brownie flavor with decadent chocolate chips is topped with yet another drizzle of chocolatey goodness, creating this on-the-go high energy bar without the sugar crash of a candy bar.”
So you’re still with me? Well, having found the Chocolate Craze version one of the more palatable flavors, I was hoping this one would be similar. But it had to be the odd one out, didn’t it? Take a close look:


No coating!! I don’t know if there is another Balance Bar in the Original/Gold line that doesn’t have one! Now I’m getting nervous, because it was the chocolate that covered up the proteiny taste in the Chocolate Craze bar, and this one is lacking at least 50% of that chocolate (there are still chocolate chips and a chocolate drizzle). It’s also not as tall as the other bars. Apparently that coating adds some bulk.



On the inside it looks pretty much the same as the Chocolate Craze. There are some chocolate chips in there, but it’s mostly just the protein mixture.

I really don’t know what the final verdict is with this bar. On the one hand, the texture is awesome. It’s very rich and fudgy, with the chocolate chips to break it up with a hard crunch (and burst of chocolate flavor). I’d give this a ten for mimicking a dense brownie in texture.

On the other hand, the taste isn’t the greatest. It starts out like the Chocolate Craze, pretty chocolatey, but then the protein taste comes through pretty strongly. There’s nothing (well, almost nothing) to cover it up, just that measly chocolatey drizzle that doesn’t help much. Actually, I can’t taste the drizzle at all. The chocolate chips help a bit, but I can still taste the bitterness underneath it all.

In the end, I’d say the Chocolate Craze is better, but I like this flavor more than the peanut butter ones. It could just be that I’m getting used to Balance Bars. There’s definitely an element of “learn to like” when it comes to eating protein bars, and I never thought I could choke them down...but look how far I’ve come. Give me another year or so and maybe I’ll be ready for a third attempt at the PowerBars. ;)

Taste: 6.5--it’s pretty chocolatey at first, but the lack of coating allows the protein flavor to really shine.
Texture: 10--it really is just like a very fudgy brownie.
Health: 8--as with most “protein bars,” there is quite a bit of sugar and saturated fats. But, it’s better for you than a brownie.
Eat Again? Probably not.



Friday, August 24, 2012

Review: Luna Bar Peanut Butter Cookie

Have you noticed the peanut butter section of this blog growing? If you haven’t...it’s currently second only to reviews. Since this is a review about a peanut butter-flavored product, I won’t be giving an edge to either one with this post.

Anyway, the above-mentioned peanut butter-flavored product happens to be Luna’s Peanut Butter Cookie bar, as is mentioned even further above. ;) This is my fourth Luna bar (including one protein bar), and I’ve found them mostly to be successes. Then again, I’d also already read the Crazy Food Dude’s take on this bar (seriously, it is amazing how much stuff he reviews!), and he wasn’t impressed with it. So I had reservations.

Peanut buttery delight with hints of creaminess and a light peanut crunch.
The lack of pretty drizzle didn’t surprise me this time like it did with the Nutz Over Chocolate bar. I guess I was prepared for it, but I do wonder what makes them decide a flavor deserves to look nice too?

What I wasn’t expecting was for the base coating to be...well, non-chocolate. I know peanut butter cookies don
’t usually use chocolate, but I’ve become so used to having chocolate on the bottom of a granola bar that I never stopped to think it could be something different. I should have known better, though, because I really like Nature Valley’s yogurt bars, which have yogurt on the bottom...

Wait, let’s get back on track. That coating is great. It’s some sort of sugary peanut butter-ish flavor, very creamy and smooth in your mouth. I think it adds most of the peanut butter taste to the bar. I have to say, it doesn’t matter what the brand...the coating is always the best part.

The overall flavor is sort of peanut buttery and sort of plain old nutty. But it’s not a very strong taste. Like I said before, it’s mostly from the coating and the coating is a small percentage of the whole thing, so it does get overruled here. I wouldn’t call it bland, but if you really really REALLY want peanut butter this might not do it for you. Then again, the baseline for my definition of “peanut buttery” is just eating it off the spoon.

The texture is your typical granola bar. A chewy/crispy combination that doesn’t make you feel like your jaws are about to fall off. I wouldn’t call it “crunchy.” It was very consistent throughout, although it did get a little monotonous.

This bar is respectable, but I think Luna could make it really shine if they added something to the mix. Like chocolate chips, or even some big nut chunks. It would break of the texture and flavor a bit, make it more exciting. As it is, you just kind of mindlessly eat it because every bite is exactly the same. Where’s the fun in that?

Taste: 8--a mild peanut butter with a sweet touch, mostly from the coating. I can definitely taste nuts, too.
Texture: 9--crispy, chewy, the usual.
Health: 9--Luna bars are 70% organic and designed to give women the nutrition they need. GoodGuide only warns about the sugar content, and overall gives this bar an 8.9.
Eat Again? Yes, but it’s not going on my list of “regulars.”


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review: Quest Protein Bar Coconut Cashew

With only a few days left to go until classes start again, I’m stocking up on reviews. You know, just in case I don’t have time to write a fresh one, I can just hit “Publish” on one of the five drafts in my Blogger list and voila--easy blog post for the day! Hopefully I can keep posting regularly along with school, work, and relaxing...I really don’t know what to expect from this semester.

What I do know is that even though I’m stocking up on reviews, which means eating a bunch of the new products I got at the beach, I still have a ton of bars left to try. I don’t think I’ve eaten half of them yet, and it’s been a couple of weeks. The bag I brought home now fills up an old Kashi goLean box. Plus the stuff that’s on top of the box because it won’t fit inside.

The good news is the four (well, now three) of them are new Quest bars. I’ve made a goal to try every flavor at least once, because not only are they incredibly clean, but when they hit a good flavor they are magical!

Actually, pretty often the Quest bars aren’t what I expect. For example, I ended up liking the Strawberry Cheesecake better than the Peanut Butter Supreme. If you remember, my very first Quest bar surprised me, too--with how amazingly good it was!

The Coconut Cashew was a similar story. See, neither coconuts or cashews are things I get excited about. I do like the sweetness of coconut, and cashews are my favorite kind of nuts that come in those mixed canisters. But let’s just say I don’t eat many nuts, and a Mounds is probably my least favorite candy bar aside from Almond Joy. BUT this bar got off to a good start right away.


The coconut smell wafting from this bar was really strong and sweet. It was flatter than the other Quest bars I’ve had, but I don’t know if that was just a fluke or if it’s universal with this flavor. For some reason, I’m partial to the off-white/tan bars...it must be because they make me think of the Cinnamon Roll, my personal favorite.


The second picture is a little bit truer to the actual color--the first one made it look darker than it really was. Plus, you can see that big chunk of coconut on the bottom right, so this picture is a really good representation of the bar.

That’s right--it was reeeeeally coconutty! So much so that I didn’t really notice any cashews, but I didn’t care because it was superb without them. As someone with a perpetually active sweet tooth, this was amazing. It’s one of the sweetest bars I’ve ever had. Like the Cinnamon Roll, it has some juiciness to it that really releases the full burst of sweetness the longer you chew. I can’t think of anything else to describe it except amazing.

In texture, it’s softer than the chocolate-based flavors (which seem to generally be a bit tough). It was a little gritty, too, which I actually liked. It was like a softer version of the Cinnamon Roll.

I microwaved the last bit for 10 seconds, and it transformed from a chewy, firm bar into something I couldn’t hold by the end without it succumbing to gravity and curling over! It was tongue-squishable, almost falling apart in my hands gooey and OH SO GOOD. The taste didn’t change much, but the warm-cookie texture blew me away.

This one is great either with or without the microwave, and why I keep raving about Quest bars so much. It’s a match for the Cinnamon Roll...I think I found my new favorite protein bar!

Taste: 10--sweet, sweet, sweet! This is coconut perfection!
Texture: 10--fine on its own, but the microwave turns it into a freaking dessert!
Health: 10--the best dessert you ever ate: high fiber, high protein, low active carbs, and it’s sugar free, too.
Eat Again? OMG YES!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Review: Luna Protein Cookie Dough

I am woman, hear me roar.



Haha. Just kidding, although I do have my own nutrition bar. But did you know Luna makes protein bars too?

OK, probably, but I didn’t, and when I saw it I was curious...on top of the fact that it was labeled “cookie dough,” which is pretty much code for “pick me up!” Or, as Luna says,

“Chocolate chips and cookie-dough pieces swirled in soft nougat with a flourish of vanilla.”
I’m having an internal debate: Is this a protein bar? Not, “Is this a protein bar?” because with 12 grams of protein it’s almost up there with Balance Bars (but nowhere near Quest/Life Choice, of course). The question is, “Is this a protein bar?”



I mean, I guess it is. It just doesn’t strike me as a “bar,” more of a stick. Even though it has the dimensions of a candy bar, albeit one of those fun-sized ones.

Whatever. I’m trying to say it’s small. About the thickness of a fun-size Milky Way and only slightly longer. So I was disappointed about that. Who has ever been filled up with just one Milky Way?

Well, on to the insides. Basically, it looks just like a slimmed-down version of Balance Bar’s cookie dough flavor:



It definitely looks like cookie dough! It was fairly easy to break, but the chocolate shell did give a little resistance before it cracked. Which is cool, because I like chocolate.

I have to say, though, it sort of got in the way here. I was anticipating chocolatey doughey heaven, but the thick chocolate sort of wiped everything out. It was really dominating, which made it hard to evaluate the cookie dough stuff inside. My first impression, though, was salty but very close to real cookie dough in taste. There was a little bit of a weird aftertaste, a hint of what I got with the Balance Bar--but it was very slight, and ignorable, especially if you just shoved another bite in your mouth. And the final bites (if you’re eating it like a normal person, anyway) are mostly the chocolate coating, which covers up anything. So we’re good to go.

The texture was...interesting. On one hand, it was close to actual cookie dough. It was soft and easy to bite and chew. That is, except for the crispy pieces inside. These were actually really disconcerting, and prevented me from really enjoying the cookie dough experience. Use real chocolate chips! Aside from the weird crisp, it is a little gummy in that it sticks in your mouth, but that would be a whole lot more annoying if it tasted worse. As it was, I didn’t really mind.

Overall, I think this is the best impression a protein bar has done of cookie dough yet (Life Choice’s Cookies & Cream energy bar still gets the ultimate prize). I still like their original bars better, though, mostly because of size. For the same amount of calories I can get something with almost twice the protein and more than twice the size (yes I am talking about Quest bars!).

Taste: 8--the closest a protein bar has come to cookie dough yet.
Texture: 7.5--soft and chewy, but the crispy pieces ruin the experience. I’d prefer chocolate chips.
Health: 7.5--with 12g of protein it’s close to some of the “high protein” bars out there. But it has more saturated fat and sugar than the original Luna bars. Still, it’s 70% organic and MUCH better for you than real cookie dough. GoodGuide gives it a 6.6.
Eat Again? Yeah, if there was one readily available. But I don’t think I’d buy it regularly.