Friday, May 31, 2013

The Ultimate Pop-Tart Post

I know I said I don’t really like Pop-Tarts, but when my sister brought home the Cookie Dough ones, they renewed my faith in Kellogg’s attempt at getting parents to let their kids eat dessert for breakfast.

Which is code for, they sent me on a Pop-Tart buying spree. Not all at once; but after I ate a few packets of the Red Velvet ones, then I remembered how much I’d always wanted to try the Hot Fudge Sundae. Which brings us to the ultimate Pop-Tart review.

First off: Red Velvet. On the one hand, I love red velvet. On the other, the confetti cupcake Pop-Tarts were a bit of a letdown. So I approached these with cautious optimism. And they already have one point in their favor: the frosting. Whereas every other Pop-Tart I can ever remember eating has way too much uncovered pastry around the edges.

The main point, though, is taste, and these actually do a decent job of mimicking red velvet cake. They’re not anywhere near the real thing--or the cookie dough Pop-Tarts, for that matter--but they’re good. They just moved into second place in my All-Time Favorite Pop-Tarts Standings, right behind Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

Now on to Hot Fudge Sundae. Unfortunately, they aren’t as impressive as the Red Velvet. I’m willing to overlook the fact that they have less frosting, but even if they had more, they still wouldn’t compare. There’s something about chocolate-based Pop-Tarts that I’ve never liked. Here, the pastry part is exceptionally dry and chalky, and really mostly just reminds me of sawdust. NOT chocolate. The only tolerable part is the center, where the filling and frosting are the thickest and there’s no uncovered pastry to be seen. Even then, the filling just tastes like sweet goo, and the frosting is similarly generic. They are decent by themselves and fine in concert, but they in no way remind me of a hot fudge sundae. And they don’t really make up for the pastry part you have to choke down with them.

Needless to say, Hot Fudge Sundae hits the bottom of the standings. Rock bottom. In recent memory, I haven’t had anything worse, although I’d hazard a guess that my reactions to the Cookies & Cream and Chocolate Fudge flavors would be the same. (I’ve had them both before and was never convinced.) Nonetheless, they may appear at some point, just for completeness’ sake. Until then...I’m sticking with the Cookie Dough.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Blue Bell Creamery Krazy Kookie Dough: This is Why I Moved to North Carolina! (An Epic Ice Cream Review)

My trip to North Carolina to set up my apartment with my parents was a huge success--not only did we get all the furniture moved in and properly assembled, but I also got my North Carolina driver’s license, insurance, a bank account, cable and wi-fi...and I got to shop at about five different Walmarts! They are literally everywhere down there, I think there are four or five with in six-mile radius of my apartment!

Anyway, Walmarts in the Triangle area carry products we don’t have in Pennsylvania, so you know I had to try at least one. And here it is, something I’ve been fantasizing about for months now, ever since I learned of its existence: Blue Bell Creamery’s Krazy Kookie Dough ice cream!

Intrigued? I couldn’t keep myself from jumping up and down in the freezer aisle. It’s “Artificially flavored cake batter ice cream with sugar cookie dough pieces.” First of all, I LOVE cake batter, and my own attempts to recreate it with my ice cream maker have been less than premium. Second, I love cookie dough of all kinds, but sugar cookie dough in ice cream is so unique, and I usually eat chocolate chip cookie dough, so Blue Bell already has major points going for it.

Plus, the actual ice cream looks just like the decorations on the pint! It really is “Krazy”--that bright shade of yellow, plus all the pastel-colored cookie dough chunks make it look like a circus in a pint.

I scooped eagerly, though I did notice that the scoops came out in chunks in the shape of the container, rather than being creamy. But now it’s time for a little digression...OK, so we picked this up at Walmart, right? Then we stopped at Panera to get something to take back to the apartment, in the heat. Then we put our groceries away, assembled the bed, dresser, recliner, etc. And then, probably at least two hours later, I went to raid the freezer...which was set low! All the ice cream I tried (I didn’t try this one that night) were softer than butter, though not technically melted.... So the true texture of Blue Bell’s ice cream remains a mystery to me, but I must report what I observed. And that was an ice cream that was slightly less creamy and considerably lighter than Ben & Jerry’s or Haagen-Dazs. (A serving is 81g, versus 100-some average for the other two brands.) It also melts a lot faster.

Anyway, I don’t care about the texture that much because this is some awesome stuff. I could get addicted easily, waaay too easily. It’s a super-sweet cake battery flavor, an exact replica of yellow cake batter you’d lick out of the pan. In that respect, it’s similar to B&J’s Cake Batter, though without the chocolate frosting swirl to override the delicious rawness. For that, I love it, because NOTHING should interfere with my cake batter!

Unless that something is also raw--in this case, cookie dough. I love all cookie dough, but I’ve only ever had the traditional chocolate chip cookie dough (in ice cream anyway). These colorful hunks of sugar cookie dough are completely different. They’re buttery and sugary, just like those ready-to-bake Pillsbury cookies before they’re baked. But the key difference is in the texture: whereas I’m used to gritty cookie dough pieces, these are smooth, soft, and chewy. None of that grit that I associate with the brown sugar of chocolate chip cookie dough, and also no chocolate chips in the dough (but that’s obvious!). That grittiness is part of what I love about cookie dough, but I found that I didn’t really miss it here; it continues the smooth, well-put-together feel of this ice cream.

Plus, they’re EVERYWHERE! There are smaller flakes that don’t really add much, but the big balls are prevalent enough that you have to scoop around them if you just want the cake batter base. But that’s a good problem to have! Since I love things that are supposed to be cooked but aren’t, this ice cream was pretty much guaranteed to be a success. Maybe it’s not as dense and creamy as Ben & Jerry’s or Haagen-Dazs, but it’s pretty epic. Blue Bell definitely gets the award for one of the most inventive, sugary, awesome flavors out there. I can assure you this will take up quite a bit of my now-precious freezer space.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Getting Set in NC

I’m back in State College! Well, for three days, at least. Then I am flying to Yellowstone with my parents for a week! None of us have ever been there, but I’ve heard it’s awesome, so I’m pretty excited. Plus, it will be a challenge for me not having access to a stationary bike or other form of gym equipment, but rather having an active vacation and getting my “exercise” that way. I don’t expect it to be easy, but I don’t doubt it will be good for me.

But. Back to North Carolina...I absolutely love it there already! We spent pretty much all day, every day running around buying things, getting official documents (insurance, my driver’s license, etc.), and assembling and moving furniture, so we didn’t get much time to just relax--we didn’t even get to try the pool! But still, by the time we got home last night, I was already missing it there. I can’t almost can’t wait to go back in two(ish) weeks. Except that my horsey is still here. :(

We did snoop around a few stables--or we tried, but two of the three we found online wouldn’t let people onto the property without appointments. The third looked nice and the horses were in really good condition, but the pastures were dry and the driveway was literally several miles long, rutted, and unpaved. So we decided it would be best to ask around once I start work, and then plan for Sydney’s arrival. I’m going to miss him so much...but hopefully it’s only for a short time.

Anyway, the apartment! It’s pretty awesome. Unloading the Penske was the hardest part, but it was totally worth it. When we got done the first day, we had the bedroom finished.

The living room looked okay, except for the TV on what was meant to be the coffee table.

And the sunroom was just plain awesome, because it contained my epic chair.

But we did more shopping on Monday (Walmart and Office Depot!), ended up with a desk, end table, and TV table, and so the living room finally looked like it was supposed to.

Also, bathroom:

And kitchen:

...with laundry off to the left!

Oh, wait--I mentioned Walmart, right? Well, Walmart is also great for groceries, so the first night we went shopping, I had to browse all the things they have in North Carolina Walmarts that we’re lacking in State College. Just a preview of what I found:

Pretty wild, right? I promise a review is coming soon (super soon, I just need to add the pictures), because this was some epic ice cream. We didn’t even get near any of the self-serve froyo bars, but I do plan on doing the tour sometime once I’m down there for good. And I need to explore all the stores that we don’t’s so weird not seeing any Giants or Wegmans, but having Harris Teeters, Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe, Krogers, etc. Oh yeah, and a crapload of Walmarts just within five or so miles. Basically any direction you happen to be going, there’s a Walmart on the way. And up here, where a “Supercenter” is the one with groceries the Triangle, even the non-supercenters have groceries! In fact, the only difference I noticed between the Supercenter we hit the first night and the others was less selection in every other department except for food!

Then there’s the culture to get used to. We didn’t meet a single person who was less than friendly or eager to please. Even at the PNC, we all loved the guy who set up my account, and everyone at the Allstate office was pretty cool. When things take a while, they apologize for making you wait. And while I’d normally get impatient, for some reason down there I didn’t mind waiting for these people at all. They’re just...awesome. It’s totally different from State College, where everyone’s always thinking about the next thing, or rushing around. Durham was so relaxed. It didn’t even feel like the same country; more like another planet. But we all loved it. Between the people and the weather--today has been a bit of a shock, we were all complaining about the awful humidity and heat in PA, after coming from the south!--I love it. Now I hope I love my job as much!!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Moving Day

Tomorrow is the big day! Our rented Penske is sitting out in the driveway, all the furniture is wedged in with pots and pans and sentimental items...and I could probably turn this into a deep post about leaving my old life behind and starting anew, but I have no more energy (mental or physical). Missy was a big help loading everything, of course!

That was about 30 seconds before the box spring, mattress, headboard, and footboard behind us fell right on top of us...well, me. Missy was agile enough to get out of the way. As for me, only minor injuries sustained. :)

Anyway, we leave early tomorrow morning and we’ll hopefully get there around 3 o’clock, in time to get my key from the office before they close. Then Sunday and Monday are moving-in and buying-stuff days, plus the wi-fi guy is coming Monday to set up my internet. And Tuesday is the really crazy day, getting my North Carolina driver’s license, opening a bank account, etc. once everything is open after the holiday weekend.

I’ll come back to State College Tuesday night with my family, because we’re all flying out of here for a vacation to Yellowstone next Saturday. (So excited!) So I’m not really moving “for good.” But it’s so much more real now. There’s not much time left...only two or so weeks. I’m not sure what to feel. Excited. Scared. Nervous. I know I’ll miss everything here, but there’s a lot of opportunity and so many adventures up ahead. This is just the beginning.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Review: Clif Builder's Bar S'mores

Since my dad swears by the Clif Builder’s Bars for his protein bar of choice, I finally decided to try one of his Chocolate Mint bars a few weeks ago. Ironically enough, I already had a single bar sitting in my stash. Since the mint bar was pretty good, I decided to pull that other one out and see how it measured up.

Here we have the S’mores Builder’s Bar. This one is a little older than the mint bar I had, and the coating seems like it’s taken a hit. But I’m willing to take full responsibility for that.

On this inside, it’s a crispy base with a gummy layer on top, which I guess is supposed to simulate the marshmallow. It smells sweet, and not just because of the coating: there’s a generic sugary smell that, again, I’m attributing to the marshmallow component of s’mores.

The taste pretty much mirrors this initial impression. There is a sweetish tinge which could pass for marshmallow. The crisps have a mild graham taste that comes through in moments of greatness, but there’s still something slightly off about the whole ensemble. Maybe a bit of a sour aftertaste, just something to remind you it’s fake and manufactured in some huge industrial plant with a billion other protein bars. It’s disconcerting; one minute it hits you like, “YEAH! This is really s’mores!” and the next...well, I had one bite that tasted like Chapstick?! So it’s a trip, that’s for sure. The chocolate coating is fine, but it doesn’t stand out against the other components.

I do like the texture contrast between the crispy base and the gummy marshmallow layer. Flavoring the crisps like graham crackers was a good move, because they’re closer to the same crunchy texture. I wouldn’t mind having a gooier, creamier marshmallow layer, because, well I love marshmallow fluff and gooey toasted marshmallows as much as the next girl.

Overall, I’d call this a B effort. I certainly know what they’re getting at here, and it has moments where it really does taste like s’mores. But it could be better. This bar definitely won’t become a regular, but I won’t say no to eating it again.

Taste: 7.5--really does remind me of s’mores at times; other times, more like Chapstick.
Texture: 9--good contrast between the crisps and gummy marshmallow layer, but I would have liked more of a goo factor.
Health: 8--depending on your needs, there might be too much fat and sugar. But it is marketed toward people who need those kinds of things pre- or post-workout. This is a new flavor, but GoodGuide gives the other Builder’s bars around a 6.7 for health.
Eat Again? Yeah, occasionally.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Veggie Burgers!

Earlier this week I was trolling Pinterest yet again for fun recipes when I found broccoli and cheese bites from Stacey Snacks. I’ve been wanting to make them since Tuesday, when I braved the construction work that is blocking off every grocery store in State College to get frozen chopped broccoli. But my dad was out of town on a business trip, until late Wednesday, and then my mom went out to dinner with a friend, so tonight was the first opportunity I had to make them for everybody to enjoy.

You might have guessed that I tweaked the recipe. Quite a bit. It started out as just using Egg Beaters instead of eggs, but then I realized that I only had a 10-ounce package of broccoli. So I just sort of made it up as I went along. The final recipe:
  • 1 (10-oz.) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
  • 9 tbsp Egg Beaters
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs (mine were unseasoned, but seasoned would be delicious)
  • 1/2 cup cheese (I used the Mexican cheese left over from my enchiladas)

I was nervous that they wouldn’t stick together as patties, but they worked fairly well. I decided to make them broccoli burgers instead of bites, because bigger is always better. My little package of broccoli made 11 burgers. I found that the best way to from them was to smoosh them onto the parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet with my hands. It made a mess, but it worked!

The funny thing is, they looked exactly the same before they baked as they did after. They cook at 375 F for 25 minutes, flipping after the first 15.

I can’t wait to fry one up in a pan tomorrow (yes, there were plenty left after we attacked them) and get it nice and crispy! Obviously, they tasted mostly like broccoli--I’m sure there wasn’t nearly enough cheese in them for the rest of my cheese-loving family--but that’s perfectly fine with me. With a little salt, they’re delicious. They got a little brown, but mostly they were just like cooked or steamed veggies. Veggie burgers! :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Haagen-Dazs Limited Edition Salted Caramel Truffle (An Ice Cream Review)

Haagen-Dazs has failed to impress me much so far, at least as far as competing with Ben & Jerry’s for the supreme maker of premium ice cream. Sure, they get points because Ben & Jerry never thought of combining Speculoos (Biscoff) cookies with ice cream...but that doesn’t change the fact that the ice cream isn’t nearly as creamy. I just like B&J’s texture so much better.

That’s not to say that H-D isn’t good, just that it’s not as good as B&J...and I can assure you that there’s no bias from my newly established Penn State-alum status. :)

BUT, I hadn’t yet tried...

...the limited edition Salted Caramel Truffle ice cream from H-D. According to the website, “classic French fleur de sel is the inspiration for our salted caramel truffle ice cream. we blend smooth, sweet cream ice cream, ribbons of rich salted caramel, and decadent chocolaty truffles to create this indulgent delight.” It sounds a lot like Talenti’s Sea Salt Caramel gelato, in ice cream from. Bring it on!

Oh, yesss...I haven’t even scooped and already there are truffles and caramel poking through. And they’re not just clustered near the surface; the entire pint is littered with truffles. Even about halfway down:

The caramel swirl is also much more frequent than the swirl in Dulce de Leche, although being a caramel fiend, I wouldn’t have minded more, or a thicker ribbon, or something. Whereas Dulce de Leche was a sweet caramel, this one is definitely distinctly salty. It’s deceptive because it appears thin and/or weak in color--very light and sort of watery-looking--but it really slams you with flavor. It complements the mild, milky sweet cream base nicely.

The truffles are my favorite part. They are super fudgy, while still imparting a strong caramel flavor that is slightly less salty than the swirl. They are exactly the kind of chocolate candy I can’t have in the house because I would eat them all at once. They’re basically the same thing you’ll find in Talenti’s Sea Salt Caramel.

While the base ice cream still doesn’t compare in texture to Ben & Jerry’s, Haagen-Dazs has a winner of a flavor here. I would DEFINITELY buy this again...soon! It’s the truffles and swirl that really make it hard to do this flavor justice in writing. It’s better than the Dulce de Leche by miles, and despite my love of Biscoff (another food I can’t have in the house), I’d prefer this over the Spiced Caramel Biscuit as well. Good job H-D on this awesome creation.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Confetti Cake Froyo, a Second Attempt

I feel silly only using the ice cream maker twice since we bought it, but with my move to North Carolina looming, I’ve been trying to eat what’s already in my freezer stash (at least the stuff that my family won’t eat once I’m gone, like the peanut butter). But I once again found myself running up against the problem that originally led to the ice cream maker: Funfetti. Cake batter. Why does no one make a cake batter ice cream that isn’t gut-busting--and is easily accessible? As in, not from a scoop shop like Cold Stone, and not Ben & Jerry’s?

So. I wanted cake batter and I wanted it frozen in creamy form. But after my brownie batter ice cream attempt turned into something more like really hard brownie batter Italian ice, I decided I should go back to froyo, only this time with a slightly different recipe than the original Funfetti froyo.

Here it is, taken from The Trunk Blog and adapted, despite having learned my lesson before about messing with ice cream recipes. I only wanted 3/4 of the original recipe, so the measurements are different, and I used vanilla yogurt, so I omitted the vanilla from the original:
  • 3 cups (about 1 tub) Dannon Light & Fit Vanilla (or whatever yogurt you prefer)
  • 3 tbsp fat free half and half
  • 7 tbsp Betty Crocker Shake & Pour Confetti Cupcake mix
  • 2 packets Truvia
  • (1 tsp vanilla if using plain yogurt)

I can
’t call it Funfetti this time because Pillsbury has that trademark, and I used Betty Crocker
s just-add-water confetti version...and then found out that there are eggs in the mix...oops, I should have noticed all those warnings not to eat the raw batter on the container. And realized that, if all I need to add is water, there is something bad about just eating the mix. Oh well, I
’m still alive the next day, so no harm done. Anywho, back to the froyo....

I dumped it all in the blender and off we went! Keep tasting as you mix; I originally only had 6 tbsp of cake mix and 1 packet of Truvia, but after blending it still wasn’t sweet or flavorful enough for me (i.e. it still tasted too much like yogurt). The best part about making your own froyo is that you can add just as much flavor as you want. (I’ve read that the frozen result is usually less sweet than the batter, though--just a heads-up).

Anyway, the mixture has to chill for at least two hours before you put it in the ice cream maker. And there’s no waiting worse than waiting for ice cream to be ready for consumption....

Fast forward about two hours and I discover that pouring the mixture into the ice cream maker is so much easier from the blender pitcher than from a mixing bowl. Except for the smell, you wouldn’t even recognize this stuff as yogurt; the liquefy setting on the blender really does work, because this just looks like milk (even the confetti pieces are gone!). But a half hour in the ice cream maker turned it into perfect soft-serve consistency!

Now, there is definitely still a yogurt tang, but I like this recipe better than the first one I made. There’s a bit more cake-mix flavor, though still nowhere near the commercial cake batter products. I think adding the half and half, even if it was only a little bit, made the texture slightly smoother this time. Because I didn’t want to wait for it to harden up in the freezer, I ate it when it was still really soft--almost like a Frosty--and very easy to blow right through. But I’m proud to say, I didn’t eat the whole batch this time! So I can report back on what happens after a day of storage.

24 hours’s like a froyo brick! I’m not surprised, since there’s no fat in the yogurt or the half and half, and fat is what makes ice cream, well, creamy. But if you let it sit out for a while before you try to scoop, or microwave it for 15-20 seconds, it’s fine. It still tastes great, which is the important part! Next step is to try the same recipe with brownie mix instead.... :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: PowerBar Recovery Peanut Butter Caramel Crisp

Sometimes accidents happen for a reason. And I’m pretty sure this is one of those times. See, my dad usually buys the individual PowerBar Cookies & Cream Recovery bars (to go along with his Clif Chocolate Mint Builder’s Bars, I guess), but apparently one day there was a Peanut Butter Caramel Crisp bar in the Cookies & Cream box. Which he didn’t notice until he got home. Which means, since I’m the only person in our house who eats peanut butter, that I got another bar to review!

It smells really peanut buttery, almost reminding me of a Butterfingers. And that was even before I broke it. The coating isn’t really that dark; the lighting just got a little messed up.

There are crisps on top of the base layer, resting in a river of caramel. While the caramel isn’t super stringy or gooey, I do appreciate that it’s at least visible. A lot of peanut butter-caramel bars just add caramel flavoring to the base, and it gets totally lost in the other flavors.

Anyway, back on track. This bar proves that there’s hope for PowerBar yet, because I loved it. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, since the Pria line isn’t bad either. But this is a whole new level. The peanut butter taste is very strong. The chocolate coating is smooth and rich, sort of like a Reese’s. And the caramel is even detectable as a sweet undercurrent, complementing the peanut butter and making this feel pretty much like eating a candy bar.

The texture is great, too. The base has a soft gummy feel like nougat, and the crisps give a cool contrast. Then there’s a slight goo factor from the thin caramel layer. There’s a slight gritty feel left over in your molars, but I really don’t mind because it just prolongs the whole experience. Plus, there’s no protein taste at all.

For once, I find myself agreeing with my dad when he says the Recovery bars are a lot better than the protein bars. Because this bar is just awesome. Peanut butter candy all the way. Of course, you’ll probably find healthier, “cleaner” options out there...but they’re not likely to taste this good! I may have to swipe one of my dad’s Cookies & Cream ones next!

Taste: 10--it’s basically a peanut butter-caramel candy bar
Texture: 9--a nougaty base topped with crisps that add variety and caramel for a gooey component.
Health: 8--well, some things are too good to be true. It has a lot of saturated fat and sugar, which probably accounts for the great taste. GoodGuide gives it a low health score of 2.4.
Eat Again? Yes.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

My Enchilada Experiment

I love Pinterest. At first I thought it would be useless, but once I finally got an account and started trolling the Food & Drink category, I was hooked. I now have a board dedicated completely to recipes I want to try. Most of them are desserts that I’ll probably never make. A lot of them are just for drooling over the pictures. Way too many of them are things I want to come back to later but then forget about. Some are healthier versions of not-so-healthy foods.

These enchiladas fall into the latter category. Seeing as it’s garage sale weekend in my neighborhood and I didn’t help my parents at all with our garage sale (in my defense, I did have an appointment with the eye doctor today), it seemed only right that I should let them relax while I made dinner.

So, here we go. The original recipe is from SkinnyMom; my only changes were substituting yellow onions for white (does it matter?) and to use just one can of enchilada sauce, because...well, I don’t really like enchilada sauce. In all:
  • 8 tortillas
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 3/4 cup chopped onions (I used yellow)
  • 2 tbsp chopped green chilies
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
  • 1 small can enchilada sauce

First, mix up the ricotta, cottage cheese, onions, chilies, and 1/2 cup of the Mexican cheese (I added the shredded cheese after all the other ingredients were well-mixed). It looks a bit gross, but it smells amazing!

Then I poured about half the enchilada sauce into my pan and spooned the mixture out evenly onto the tortillas. That’s the hardest part for a perfectionist like me...I had to be all type-A about making sure they were equal!

Then wrap ‘em up and plop them into the pan and cover with the remaining enchilada sauce! (That’s a 9 x 13 pan.) Make sure all the surfaces at least get a thin coating. I had to go back with a spoon once my can was empty and redistribute some, almost like painting the tortillas. Yeah, back to that type-A thing.

They bake at 350 F for 15 minutes; then take them out and top with the rest of the Mexican cheese. (Another type-A moment trying to evenly cover them with cheese....) Then put them back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

The cheese didn’t really melt in 10 minutes (probably because it was reduced-fat, oops), but there were three very hungry people in the next room, so we just dug in.

Mmmm...definitely worth the wait. And when the rest of my family started to moan about the two (or three) enchiladas they ate, I told them that each one only had about 150 calories...and they were in shock. Per enchilada? Yes, PER ENCHILADA! Oh, I’m so glad I signed up for a Pinterest account.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Review: Pria Bar Mint Chocolate Cookie

Way back before I tolerated protein bars, PowerBars (the 30-gram bar) made me gag. They still do, despite my love of all things protein. But their Pria line, which is geared toward women much like Clif’s Luna bars, haven’t been nearly as offensive. The French Vanilla Crisp bar was actually pretty good, if cloyingly sweet. Which led me to buy the Mint Chocolate Cookie bar the next time I was at Wegmans.

Granted, that was probably at least four months ago. And this bar has sat in the basement with the rest of my stash ever since.

As a result, I can’t tell if the chocolate coating is dark, or if it has just aged to the point where it looks dark. But it smells minty as soon as it’s unwrapped, an overpowering smell for such a small, light bar.

Biting into this bar, the lack of minty assault is a bit shocking after the smell. It’s certainly pepperminty, but it’s very mild. The taste leans more toward sweet chocolate from the coating; but when the coating dissolves, you’re left with a sour aftertaste. You can definitely tell it’s a nutrition bar, not a Thin Mint. But the mint flavor that there is also delivers its kick at the end, which somewhat mitigates the nutritional taste.

The crisps in this bar are not airy like a Rice Krispies Treat, but are denser and almost soggy. They get stuck in your teeth, and since they carry the protein/nutrition taste, that’s a bit of a downer. But the denseness of the crisps mimics a Girl Scout cookie better than a Rice Krispies Treat would, so it has that going for it, at least.

Overall, the mint flavor is pleasant enough, and I’m thoroughly impressed by the ability of this bar to hold up in cold, central Pennsylvania basement conditions for so long without coming across as stale in any way (unless that’s why the crisps seemed soggy...). Still, I probably wouldn’t eat this bar again; there are other, mintier bars that are also much more satisfying. Of course, if you’re looking for a light 100-ish calories, this might be your best choice. It’s not a bad little bar, just not up my alley.

Taste: 7--at first, it’s mostly chocolate, but there is a slight bitterness. The mint is fairly subtle.
Texture: 8--crispy but not too airy; too light to be satisfying.
Health: 8--it’s good for a small snack, but I wouldn’t qualify it as a whole meal. It would be a good replacement for a candy bar or Rice Krispies Treat. GoodGuide gives it a resounding 10.
Eat Again? Maybe, if I had one laying around, but I’m not sure I’d have much use for them since they’re so small.