Sunday, June 23, 2013

Kroger Deluxe Jammed Caramel Candy Crunch (An Ice Cream Review)

It was the first time I had ever shopped at a Kroger, and I really wasn’t looking to buy ice cream. Especially not of the store-brand variety, because I think Kroger is what we call Weis back in Pennsylvania, and I have never been even remotely impressed by Weis quality ice cream. So I’m not quite sure how this baby made it into my basket.

This is Kroger Deluxe Jammed Caramel Candy Crunch. It’s like they stole Turkey Hill’s Stuff’d idea and renamed it. Or Breyers’ Blasts! Anyway, it’s vanilla ice cream with caramel swirl and Baby Ruth candy. I really wish they’d put that in words on the carton, but I looked over all their store-brand ice cream, and the whole Jammed line seems to be lacking any descriptions.

So, not seeing the tiny Baby Ruth logo in the store, I bought it thinking it would be some sort of caramel/truffle thing. Then I got home and realized what it was...and I was significantly less excited about eating it. See, I’ve always thought of Baby Ruth as a less gifted cousin of Snickers, because it’s basically the same thing without the nougat (P.S., I love nougat). There is just no point buying them when you could buy a Snickers instead and have all the same components and then some.

But then I found myself with a weird need to eat peanuts and ice cream. I can’t explain it. Maybe having this in the freezer and thinking about peanuts in ice cream (which I usually don’t do) made me realize how good it sounded.

Now, this is not premium ice cream here, only weighing in at 65 grams per half-cup serving. In fact, it’s not even ice cream at all, it’s frozen dairy dessert. The texture is almost identical to the frozen dairy dessert Breyers uses in most of its Blasts! flavors. Both are airy and light and fluffy, but this is airier. The word foamy comes to mind, oddly enough. Straight out of the freezer, I could squish the pint and feel it give. It melts fast, especially around the edges (yes I ate straight from the pint), but it’s creamy and once again I find myself enjoying the frozen dairy dessert texture.

The vanilla base doesn’t have much flavor; you can tell it’s sweet, but that’s about it. Granted, the little flecks of Baby Ruth are everywhere so it’s a bit hard to tell. The first impression you get is of very sweet caramel and peanuts, which is a good start considering what a Baby Ruth is. The peanuts add crunch, but they aren’t really salty--more of a sweet peanut, or maybe that’s just the combination of peanuts and ice cream messing with me.

The only thing that’s missing is chocolate. It’s mostly just little speckles, like those black flecks in vanilla bean ice cream. They just aren’t big enough to have that chocolate-chip-like frozen crunch. If you get a larger piece, it might melt down and coat your teeth, which is cool. But that is a rare occurrence. I wish the candy pieces were bigger, so you could get more of the overall taste of a Baby Ruth, chocolate included. The biggest chunk I found was a small whole peanut.

So, even though it’s light (and light on the chocolate), I was really satisfied after finishing this. I don’t know, it just really hit the spot. Maybe my inner candy-eater is telling me it’s been too long since I’ve have a Baby Ruth. But the peanuts and caramel just balance each other out nicely in this flavor. It was a pleasant surprise.
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