Sunday, June 30, 2013

Good & Delish Caramel Overload (An Ice Cream Review)


In my quest to find the elusive Ben & Jerry’s Walgreens-exclusive Truffle Trifecta, I have now officially visited every Walgreens in the Raleigh-Durham area. (I did talk to the manager of one store, who is trying to get some hopefully just after the July 4 holiday. Until then, the closest carrier is in Morrisville, which is really only 15 minutes away....) After being thwarted out of my ice cream for the third time, I decided I couldn’t just leave empty-handed and grabbed a pint of Good & Delish Caramel Overload.


This is Walgreens’ store brand. They also have a line of premium ice cream, but this one caught my eye with the chunks of chocolate and caramel. Plus, with a name like Caramel Overload, it can’t really go wrong in my book. I mean, “Caramel ice cream with chocolate chips and caramel swirls”? Yum!


Visually, it’s off to a great start with that huge pool of swirl along the outside. The base is a nice tame beige, like you’d expect from caramel flavored ice cream. The chocolate chips are peeking through, too.

Look, here’s the thing. I know it’s not premium ice cream, so I wasn’t expecting something amazing. But even so, I wasn’t all that impressed. The ice cream is light and fluffy, which isn’t a surprise, but it’s also got this icy texture to it. At first I thought maybe it was just on the top, but it persisted throughout the entire pint, which was disappointing. As it melted, it did get a little creamier, but you could say that about pretty much any ice cream and have it be true. The flavor of the ice cream was a rather mild caramel, more milky than anything else.


On to the chocolate chips: they look decent, right? Well, they’re not your quality milk chocolate chips found in other ice creams. They taste like cheap candy, in limbo between dark and milk chocolate, like milk chocolate that’s just not very sweet and creamy. The most disappointing part for me was that they never got that melty texture from sitting in my mouth. They were always hard and crunchy, as if they were frozen, even when they weren’t. I’ve found that frozen chocolate tends to have less flavor, so these didn’t add a whole lot of fudginess to the pint.

The best part was the swirl. That was actually pretty good. It was nicely distributed throughout the pint, and it pooled in some places so that I really did have an overload of caramel flavor. It’s not as gooey and chewy as the swirls from Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs, but it holds its own for sure. I just wish I could say the same for the rest of this ice cream.

Sorry. I’m not trying to hate on this ice cream, it definitely had its moments of greatness. But coming so soon after 2nd Street’s Copper Kettle Caramel, it just seemed sad. If you need something on the lighter side, I’d recommend Stonyfield’s Creme Caramel frozen yogurt for a true caramel overload. Maybe I need to shell out for Walgreens’ premium ice cream next time.

Review: PowerBar Recovery Cookies & Cream Caramel Crisp

After my dad accidentally bought a Peanut Butter Caramel Crisp Recovery PowerBar and I got to eat it, I just had to try the Cookies & Cream Caramel Crisp bars that he usually buys. But this time, instead of swiping his stuff like I usually do, I bought my own.




Since the peanut butter was so good, I was super excited to break this one open. It doesn’t smell like much until you put your nose right up to it, and then you get a nice, sweet caramel scent.


It’s a bit confusing because it looks like cookie dough, not cookies & cream, but it turns out that I like cookie dough better anyway, so I don’t mind. There are crisps mixed in with the caramel, settled on top of the gummy base.

Well, going along with the cookie dough looks, I’d say this tastes more like cookie dough than cookies & cream. It’s very sweet, both from the base and the caramel. The caramel isn’t a huge influence, but it’s still obviously present. The chocolate coating is smooth and creamy and milky, and the chocolate chips in the base (or I guess they’re supposed to be cookies?) provide even more chocolate flavor.

The texture also reminds me a bit of cookie dough; the base is gummy, but not too tough. I like how you can feel the chocolate pieces, as they have a hard crunch. The crisps don’t fit the whole cookie dough illusion, but they’re a nice way to break up the chewy base.

This bar follows in the footsteps of its peanut butter brother, though I think I liked the pb better. While I wouldn’t say it reminds me of Oreos like cookies & cream should, it’s certainly a good approximation of chocolate chip cookies or cookie dough. When it comes down to it, it tastes really good, and that’s one of the main points. Sure, I wish it was a bit cleaner. But we can’t have everything, right?

Taste: 9--more like cookie dough than cookies & cream, but it’s still tasty, sweet and caramelly.
Texture: 9--gummy but not annoyingly so; the crisps and chocolate pieces help break it up.
Health: 8--high in fat and sugar, but then again those are part of what serious athletes look for in the “recovery” phase. Probably helps make it taste so candy-like, too. GoodGuide gives it a 2.4.
Eat Again? Yes.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pop-Tarts Gone Nutty! Chocolate Peanut Butter


I never really thought about it before, but Pop-Tarts are seriously behind the times. I mean, I’ve always complained that their slew of fruity flavors far outweighs the few chocolate/cake flavors they have. But until they actually came out with it, I didn’t even realize that Pop-Tarts don’t come in peanut butter!


Well, now they do--finally! Show me a dessert-ish with that many different flavors that comes in every combination but peanut butter...I can’t even think of one. That’s like Ben & Jerry’s making all their other ice cream flavors, but none that include peanut butter. Peanut butter is one of the best inventions on the planet. It’s just wrong to ignore it for so long.


Anyway, Pop-Tarts have Gone Nutty!, and it’s about time. The two new flavors are (unfrosted) Peanut Butter and (frosted) Chocolate Peanut Butter. As we flew by the display, I made in impulsive choice and grabbed a box of Chocolate Peanut Butter because we all know that the frosting is what makes the Pop-Tart. That, and the filling.

At home, scouting out their website, I started to think I made the wrong choice. See, the unfrosted just-plain-peanut-butter version has a peanut butter crust. But the chocolate ones have a chocolate crust, and if you remember from my previous Pop-Tart posts, I find the chocolate crusts to be especially dry, chalky, and overall not very attractive to eat. Plus, peanut butter crust just sounds really good.


Anyway, it turns out these are a bit different than the Hot Fudge Sundae Pop-Tarts with the yucky crust. They’re a much lighter shade of brown, for one thing, which is encouraging. And sure enough, the crust on these peanut butter wonders isn’t nearly as repulsive as the other chocolate crusts. In some places, as you work your way in closer to the frosting, it even carries some peanut butter taste as the filling infiltrates it.


Chocolate frosting? Standard Pop-Tart frosting fare, crunchy and sweet and why Pop-Tarts are worth eating. It looks fudgy in the pictures, doesn’t it? It’s got that kind of a taste, too, and it works really well with the peanut butter filling, because that combination is just too classic to fail.

Now, these are by no means a Reese’s. The peanut butter is a bit duller, more of a blunted flavor. The chocolate and cocoa-ish crust predominate, with the filling contributing a burnt (maybe roasted?) nutty flavor. I can tell it’s peanut butter, but its not PEANUT BUTTER like some of us pb-diehards will want. But these are not bad at all, in fact I’d easily buy them again. If there were no Cookie Dough ones on the shelf, of course. :)

Just for fun, the Pop-Tart Rankings so far:
  1. Chocolate Peanut Butter

Blue Bell Rockslide Brownie (An Ice Cream Review)

Sometimes an impulsive buy turns out to have more value than you ever knew, like my random purchase of Blue Bell’s Rockslide Brownie at Walmart two days ago. The name piqued my interest; then I read the description. Dark chocolate ice cream with brownies, marshmallows, almonds, pecans, walnuts, and caramel sauce. Sold!


I have never heard of this flavor before, but as soon as I got home and Googled, I learned that it’s Blue Bell’s way of celebrating National Ice Cream month, which, in case you didn’t know, is July. So it’s supposed to come out in July. I guess my Walmart decided to start selling it early.


Anyway, with nothing online to go on for a clue about what to expect, I finally had at it. After removing the lid, you can already see a couple of marshmallows, a pecan, and little pieces of brownie peeking through the surface.


Check that out! Tons of marshmallows here, and a decent amount of brownies, too. In fact, this ice cream is predominantly marshmallows...and nuts. It may sound weird, but I’ve never had actual marshmallows in my ice cream, only marshmallow swirls, so I was sort of expecting them to be chewy or hard or in some way frozen, like you get with chocolate chips. But no, these were just like regular mini marshmallows, very airy and soft. It was honestly a bit strange to feel like I was eating air mixed in with my ice cream, because I’m so used to ice cream being dense all the way through.


The nuts come in three varieties, and at first they were distinguishable (when I only got one per spoonful. But somewhere about halfway through my bowl, they all started tasting the same. I’m not big on nuts in ice cream, so they were a bit too frequent for me--some spoonfuls had up to four, and they hide so it’s hard to eat around them. They do add some crunch to break things up texturewise, but their saltiness tastes a little off next to the sweetness from the marshmallows.

Which leaves the brownies and caramel, the parts I was the most excited about. Well, they didn’t exactly live up to expectations; the caramel sauce, far from being a luxurious swirl, was scattered in little dots that were almost impossible to see and just as hard to taste. Only after analyzing my spoon and verifying by sight that, yes, there was caramel, and then trying really hard, could I taste it. And only if no other mix-ins were present. As for the brownies, there didn’t seem to be enough of them. With the tons of marshmallows and nuts, I was expecting more, but they failed to deliver and were mostly skewed toward the bottom of my bowl. Some were cubes, but the rest seemed to just be brownie crumbs that got lost in the ice cream. They’re certainly chewy and chocolatey, but they’re not moist or fudgy enough to compete with Front Porch, Ben & Jerry’s, etc. I think they’re my least favorite brownie mix-in yet.

The actual base just seemed like chocolate; it was actually really sweet, so I would have pegged it for a milk chocolate. Actually, when combined with the marshmallows, it reminded me strongly of hot chocolate...only cold. Then again, I’ve never had Blue Bell’s regular chocolate ice cream, so maybe this is different. But as far as dark chocolate ice creams go, I wouldn’t call this one of them. It’s creamy enough, but not nearly as dense as Haagen-Dazs or B&J’s, or other super-premium brands. Then again, it’s lighter on the calories, too.

So. Back to the value thing...yes, this pint was valuable in the sense that no one was technically supposed to eat it yet. But would I buy it again? No. I’m particular about texture when it comes to ice cream, and I’m more of a “chew & goo” person. I like my marshmallows in a swirl. My caramel needs to be gooey, and my brownies need to be chewy and moist. I could lose the nuts and still be happy, not that they were a bad addition. This pint just didn’t pull it off for me. Oh well, live and learn I guess.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Archer Farms Triple Chocolate Gelato

It took me a while, but I finally hit the Super Target closest to me down here in North Carolina. The driving factor was a slew of Ben & Jerry’s coupons plus Target-exclusive flavors I’d never had access to. My freezer was already overflowing, and I’d promised myself two pints, max...and then I saw:



How can you resist a transparent container of such beautiful gelato? Archer Farms, I learned, is Target’s brand. See, not having a Super Target with a respectable food section has really stunted my intellectual growth.



Well, now I’ve been introduced, and I like their way of thinking. I mean, those dark, dark swirls were making me drool in public. The whole thing is just so pretty, with the chocolate shavings and the dark/white separation...I almost hate to ruin it.



Almost. It just looked to delicious to resist.

Now, I’m used to Talenti and Haagen-Dazs and, only recently, Ciao Bella. They are my sole experience in the world of gelato. So I was expecting that same dense, creamy, luxurious texture from this stuff. As soon as I started scooping, it became apparent that this was something else. It came off in blocks, rather than rounded scoops. In fact, it was hard to leave any behind because it just sort of peeled away from the container along with what was actually in the scoop.

Eating it was a whole new experience, too. Whatever this is, it sure isn’t like any gelato I’ve ever had. It’s weird. Actually it’s like eating frozen whipped cream. It’s very airy, but it’s not exactly soft; hence the weird scooping. It gets soft pretty fast once you’ve got it into a bowl, but it doesn’t really “melt” like normal ice cream or gelato. It just smears along the side of the glass. There’s none of that pooling of liquid that you normally get. It’s...weird. Really hard to describe. You’re almost chewing it, even though there are no mix-ins to make it chewy. Oh, wait, you know foamy? Or frothy? Like the froth on the top of hot chocolate when you make it with a real hot chocolate maker? It sort of reminds me of that, only frozen.



OK, sorry for the rambling. But this has to be the weirdest thing I’ve ever eaten. (OK, maybe not the weirdest, but close.) On the plus side, I can’t really find fault with the taste. OK, so the chocolate is your basic chocolate. It’s certainly rich, but there’s only so much excitement you can get out of me by confronting me with chocolate ice cream (gelato, in this case). At any rate, it’s more cocoa-y than most chocolate bases, which tend to be sweeter. The white chocolate is much sweeter than the regular chocolate, and softer as well. Personally, I love white chocolate, so this was my favorite part. The swirl, aside from adding visual attractiveness, also contributes a very, very, very deep and dark fudge factor. There’s no question that this is dark chocolate, and it is oh so rich. Rich enough that, even though it doesn’t go through every part of the container, I’m not going to complain about not getting enough.


The little chocolate shavings are mostly for garnish. They add a little bit of crunch and chocolate flavor, but being so thin it’s really not much in the whole scheme of things. This was certainly an adventure. Weird? Yes. Good? Yes. Would I buy it again? ... I’m not sure. Honestly, probably not. But then again, it’s one of those weird things you might get a craving for every once in a while. I’m not sorry it found its way into my basket, that’s for sure.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

2nd Street Creamery Copper Kettle Caramel (An Ice Cream Review)

The very first night I officially moved to North Carolina--not the trip I took with my parents to set up my apartment, but the actual, for-real, drive-myself-eight-hours move--I rewarded myself with some 2nd Street Creamery ice cream. It was my very first ever experience with them, and Tons of Brownies certainly lived up to its name. Of course, it had its drawbacks, although that didn’t stop me from grabbing a pint of Copper Kettle Caramel a week or so later.



Promising “caramel ice cream with caramel ribbon and sea salt caramel fudge truffles,” it grabbed my attention like a magnetic. If I was magnetic. Which I’m not, but you get the point. This flavor sounds just like Haagen-Dazs’ Salted Caramel Truffle, which I loved, and which in turn reminded me of Talenti’s Sea Salt Caramel, which is the world’s best caramel ice cream/gelato ever.



We have a beige base, a hint of swirl, and a truffle peeping through the top. Visual test passed, all components present. We are a go!


Whoa, look at that! I only took one scoop and already I’m getting overrun by truffles. No wonder this one packs in alongside Ben & Jerry’s most calorific offerings, at 310 calories per serving. Keeping that in mind, I was actually able to limit myself to only half a pint. It helped that the truffles made it harder to scoop, even though the actual ice cream was quite soft. :)


Good thing, too, because this is intense. This is a serious freaking LOT of caramel. The base immediately kicks you with its sweet, sugary richness. And then the swirl, well, it just adds even more sweetness and caramel perfection on top of the ice cream. It’s funny, at first it comes across as sort of salty, but then it’s just sweet, sweet, sweet assaulting your taste buds.


And then there’s the truffles. These are made of a quality milk chocolate shell with salty caramel inside. When contrasted with the ice cream and swirl, it’s easy to tell they’re sea salt caramel, because they’re not nearly as sweet--until the chocolate kicks in. Just eating the truffles in themselves is an awesome experience: first, a blast of caramel squirts out, and then as it fades the chocolate kicks in. Surprisingly, the truffles’ major contribution is a super fudgy flavor. I believe they’re a necessary addition to the ice cream, because otherwise this flavor would be a bit too much to take. Maybe their extra fudge factor comes from the fact that amidst all that caramel, any other flavor would be obvious.


Now, we’re already slipping ahead of Talenti here...but, as if I needed more reasons, I just love the texture. It’s dense. It’s creamy. It’s milky and coats your mouth in caramel even after you swallow. It’s just an interesting combination of elements and they all contribute different textural aspects. The swirl is almost liquid, like the fudge in Tons of Brownies. Then there are the truffles, which are crunchy to an extent (when cold), gooey from the caramel, and also have a smooth, chocolate-melt element.

So, do I need to tell you to grab this next time you see it? Hell, if a little old lady is reaching for the last pint, knock her walker out from under her and run for the cash register. Well, maybe not, unless you plan on eating this on the way to the police station so it doesn’t melt. But seriously. Best. Caramel. Ever. Sorry Talenti, you’ve been replaced.

Friendly's Sundae Xtreme Chocolate Fudge Brownie (An Ice Cream Review)


My family is funny. When you look in the freezer, I can always tell who bought the ice cream. If it’s low fat/low calorie, then it was my mom. If it’s a pint of chocolate-based Ben & Jerry’s or Haagen-Dazs that I didn’t buy, then it was my sister. And if it’s Friendly’s, it was my dad. He always comments on how creamy their ice cream is, and I have to agree based on my two past experiences.


Well, I was at Giant the other day and happened by the Friendly’s section of the freezer aisle. I also needed to pick something that the rest of my family would also eat, because it’s really not that much longer until I leave for North Carolina and I can’t just leave a freezer full of ice cream to go bad. Needless to say, the Sundae Xtreme Chocolate Fudge Brownie fit the bill.


Now, look closely. The description in the bottom right corner says, “Chocolate Frozen Dairy Dessert with Fudge Brownie Bits and Fudge Swirl.” So...it’s not ice cream, it’s frozen dairy dessert. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing; I happen to love Breyers’ frozen dairy desserts. But now I don’t know whether to expect the same creamy texture!


I have to admit it looked disappointing at first. No brownies, no swirl.... But digging deeper uncovered...


There’s a ribbon of fudge on the top there, and two brownies (top right and bottom left). There are a good number of brownies, but they’re not littered throughout the ice cream. And that thin little ribbon of swirl was the only one I found.


I’ve always preferred vanilla over chocolate, but I usually won’t say no to a quality chocolate base. However...this frozen dairy dessert tastes like burnt brownies. You know how when you leave them in the oven for too long, how the edges get crunchy and taste...well, burnt? Yeah, it tastes just like that, and I’m known for eating the middle out of the brownie pan and leaving a thin rim around the edges, even when they’re undercooked. The more I ate, the weirder the base got. It alternated between coming off as flat, or too light of a chocolate flavor, then a very dark (as in bittersweet) chocolate, and then back to burnt brownies. Also, being frozen dairy dessert, it melts fairly fast. Texture-wise, there’s nothing to complain about, though--it’s obviously not as creamy as their ice cream, and maybe a little airy, but overall I like its softness and easy scoopability (although that can be dangerous...).

The consequence of a thin chocolate ribbon in a chocolate base is that the swirl gets lost. The only reason I knew it was there is because I saw it. Sure, when I loaded my spoon with only swirl, I could taste it. It’s good enough, pretty much the same fudgey swirl found in Friendly’s Fudge Swirl ice cream. It’s gooey, but its thinness doesn’t allow for much goo factor in the whole scheme of things. It doesn’t add much depth or texture or anything to the overall experience.

The best part is easily the brownies. In fact, they are easily the best brownie mix-in I’ve ever tasted, and that includes the famous slabs that Ben & Jerry use. First of all, let me say that I LOVE buttercream frosting. As in, I will eat it by the spoonful until it’s all gone. Now, these little brownies aren’t just brownies; they’re like little bites of chocolate buttercream. They have a super soft, gritty texture; the ice cream scoop easily cuts through them. It’s not a frosting texture exactly; there is some chew to them, but the taste and grit match. Needless to say, the brownies save this frozen dairy dessert from spoiling in the depths of the freezer.

Despite the brownies, I think I’ll go back to Blue Bunny’s Caramel Fudge Brownie Sundae the next time I want some chocolate ice cream and brownies. It’s sweeter, creamier, with the added bonus of caramel. Unless Friendly’s makes another flavor with brownie mix-ins. Well, I’m off to check their website...and if you like your brownies overdone, with chocolate buttercream icing, this might be the ice cream for you. :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Kroger Deluxe Jammed Cupcake Party (An Ice Cream Review)


After my previous success with Kroger’s store-brand ice cream, I decided to go back for more. Only this time I had done my homework and I knew exactly which flavor I wanted. I’ve always had a love affair going with cake batter and frosting, so Cupcake Party sounded perfect.


They didn’t have it in a pint, but given that the last pint was good and this flavor sounds even better, that’s OK. Again, I don’t exactly know what it’s supposed to taste like, since they fail to give descriptions on their Jammed flavors. But based on the cover art, I think it’s safe to assume (cup)cake-based ice cream, chocolate frosting swirl, and rainbow sprinkles.


Whoops...I forgot to mention, it was a really hot day and I got a little lost on the way home and my drive was a few minutes longer than intended. But still, I had this in a Dairy Queen freezer bag and I didn’t spend that long driving in circles....


That’s frozen dairy dessert for you, very quick to melt. That carries over to scooping, too. This stuff is just like the first pint I tried, just like Breyers’ frozen dairy dessert in its fluffy texture and easy scoopability. Once again, I’d even call it foamy around the edges. But like I’ve said before, I actually kind of like the texture of these non-ice creams. I just tend to scoop way too much of them because of all that air. Another oops.

Anyway, that was an even bigger problem with this stuff because once I had a little taste of the base, I kept wanting more and more and more. Yeah, it’s that good. Because it’s more cake batter than cake...and you know the batter is about a bajillion times better. There is nothing in the world...except brownie batter...that can outshine cake batter.

OK, maybe that’s not totally true, because the chocolate icing gives the base a run for its money. It’s liberally swirled (I would almost say Jammed) into the entire container, and it’s not just thin ribbons. There are places where it’s so thick it’s almost a brownie-like chunk. And I’d hazard a guess that it’s buttercream. And I LOVE buttercream. As in forget the cake and give me the buttercream frosting. I could eat a whole tub of it off the spoon.

The only thing really missing is the sprinkles. They’re a lot less frequent than the picture on the carton would lead you to believe, and very well hidden. But when you find one, it’s really obvious because they are super crunchy! Apart from that and a little bit of sweetness that gets lost in the already sweet base and/or buttercream, they really don’t add much. So it’s not a great loss. The rest of this ice cream is so good I don’t even care.

My only issue is that it melts a lot faster than I want to eat it. I want to savor this delicious concoction, but nooo...maybe I should put freezer packs under my bowl while I eat. Which would make my lap pretty cold as I sit in front of the TV.... But in all seriousness, this is the best non-Ben & Jerry’s cake ice cream out there. Even though it’s not ice cream. I pity my former self for not having a Kroger nearby.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Blue Bunny Fat Free Brownie Sundae (An Ice Cream Review)

I had a crisis in Walmart on Mother’s Day.


My family stopped after an extended-family dinner. We had finished all our other shopping and were ending with a customary trip down the ice cream aisle. Looking at all the choices...I couldn’t decide! A couple of the Breyers Blasts! were tempting, and then I spotted this gem:



Well, I guess I just spoiled the suspense (whatever was left after reading the title of this post). But I enlisted the help of my mom and sister to decide, and neither of them thought twice before pointing to the Blue Bunny Fat Free Brownie Sundae.


Heh, my sister got to this one before I did (but she’s allowed, she’d just gotten her wisdom teeth out). But she unveiled an attractive chocolate swirl and several brownies, much more than I was expecting from something that boasts just 80 calories per 1/2-cup serving (the website says 90). I mean, it does look great on the front of the container, but how often do products really look like their advertisements? But it really does. Compare that picture to this chocolate swirl, a little deeper into the container:


Now, you have to remember that this is fat free, and all the mix-ins in the world aren’t going to make you forget that. The base vanilla is extra-sweet, with a much more powerful flavor than any premium brand I’ve tried, but you can tell it comes in part from trying to make a fat free product pass for ice cream. The same is true of the swirl. While it’s certainly chocolatey, fudgey, and gooey once it warms, you can still tell it’s fake. It’s like the difference between regular and light chocolate syrup. You can tell, but sometimes you just don’t mind. It’s a different taste, but it’s not bad; it just takes some adjusting to.


And the brownies...I don’t know how they make these legit without any fat. They’re at least as good as the brownies in Blue Bunny’s Caramel Fudge Brownie Sundae. In fact, I’m tempted to say they’re better. They aren’t a deep chocolate flavor, but they’re very chewy and chocolatey enough to keep me satisfied. They’re not crunchy like some of the ones in the Caramel Sundae flavor.

I will say that after a few days this ice cream went from creamy and very easy to scoop--just like its premium siblings--to a slightly hardened texture that takes some leverage to remove from the container. But it’s not any harder to dig out than Ben & Jerry’s (though for different reasons), and after it sits out for a bit it’s nice and creamy and soft again.

Maybe I’m weird or something, but I don’t mind the obvious fat-free-ness of this ice cream. I actually kind of enjoy it. And I just love the swirl and brownies. I’m impressed, because I keep getting cravings for it despite the plethora of Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs also in the freezer. We definitely made the right choice in Walmart that day. Though it’s certainly not in the same class as Blue Bunny’s other flavors, it’s great in its own way. You just have to dive in knowing that it’s fat free and setting your expectations accordingly. But I say, buy it!

Monday, June 24, 2013

High Road French Toast Craft Ice Cream (An Ice Cream Review)


It’s time to introduce yet another new ice cream brand to the blog, with High Road Craft Ice Cream. It originally started a few years ago selling ice cream to restaurants, but has since expanded to grocery stores. I found this pint of French Toast at Whole Foods.



Maybe I’m missing something, but I can’t find any hint of this flavor on their website. But there are other mentions online, so I know I’m not hallucinating. Anyway, I like French toast and I don’t get to eat it very often, so I’m pretty excited here.


Uh oh, ice on the top! This stuff is immediately very scoopable, in fact it’s probably best to start scooping right out of the freezer. It does melt fairly fast for a premium ice cream. But I love how you can see the cinnamon flecks, and the cinnamon scent coming off the ice cream reminds me a little bit of Ben & Jerry’s Cinnamon Buns.

Now, coming in at 90 grams per serving, it’s not as dense as B&J’s or Haagen-Dazs, although the tradeoff is a (slightly) lower calorie count. It’s also not quite as creamy; there’s a sort of icy or gritty feel. I’ve gotten this impression before from cinnamon ice creams, so maybe that’s the case here. Either way, it’s not ruining the experience; in fact it kind of works well with this flavor. Now, if my chocolate ice cream was gritty....


...OK, that is officially the best picture of ice cream I’ve ever taken.

But anyway, back on track...this isn’t chocolate, so we’re OK. Nooo, this is spoonful after spoonful of frozen breakfast delight: cinnamon, yes, but a very sweet, sugary cinnamon. It really does taste like French toast, only more cinnamony...but not as cinnamony as B&J’s Cinnamon Buns. It has milky tones, too--it coats your mouth like a glass of 2%. The eggy bread-ness really comes through in the aftertaste and lingers for a while after you finish.

The only thing that’s missing is a mix-in. It’s bordering on boring without anything to break up the uniform sweet-egg-cinnamon-smoothness, but it’s such a unique flavor that I can’t fault them for it...too much, anyway. The name promises a special treat, and this ice cream delivers. Definitely a brand to come back to in the future.

Review: PowerBar Recovery Cookies & Cream Caramel Crisp

After my dad accidentally bought a Peanut Butter Caramel Crisp Recovery PowerBar and I got to eat it, I just had to try the Cookies & Cream Caramel Crisp bars that he usually buys. But this time, instead of swiping his stuff like I usually do, I bought my own.



Since the peanut butter was so good, I was super excited to break this one open. It doesn’t smell like much until you put your nose right up to it, and then you get a nice, sweet caramel scent.


It’s a bit confusing because it looks like cookie dough, not cookies & cream, but it turns out that I like cookie dough better anyway, so I don’t mind. There are crisps in with the caramel layer, settled on top of the gummy base.

Well, going along with the cookie dough looks, I’d say this tastes more like cookie dough than cookies & cream. It’s very sweet, both from the base and the caramel. The caramel isn’t a huge influence, but it’s still obviously present. The chocolate coating is smooth and creamy and milky, and the chocolate chips in the base (or I guess they’re supposed to be cookies?) provide even more chocolate flavor.

The texture also reminds me a bit of cookie dough; the base is gummy, but not too tough. I like how you can feel the chocolate pieces, as they have a hard crunch. The crisps don’t fit the whole cookie dough illusion, but they’re a nice way to break up the chewy base.

This bar follows in the footsteps of its peanut butter brother, though I think I liked the pb better. While I wouldn’t say it reminds me of Oreos like cookies & cream should, it’s certainly a good approximation of chocolate chip cookies or cookie dough. When it comes down to it, it tastes really good, and that’s one of the main points. Sure, I wish it was a bit cleaner. But we can’t have everything, right?


Taste: 9.5--more like cookie dough than cookies & cream, but that
’s ok with me!


Texture: 9--gummy enough to be satisfying, but not too hard to chew; the crisps and cookies make for a good contrast.
Health: 8--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.