Thursday, June 27, 2013

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.”’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. :)
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