Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ben & Jerry's Peanut Brittle (An Ice Cream Review)

I don’t usually shop at Harris Teeter, unless I want something I can only get from Harris Teeter, because it’s so much more expensive than Kroger or Food Lion. But, after all the excitement on Tuesday of getting Syd moved in, I was looking for a Food Lion and ended up accidentally turning into the parking lot of a Harris Teeter about halfway there (long story involving my GPS...). So I figured, it’s late, this is good enough, and I only need a few things, so what’s the harm in paying more for my bread this one time?

Harris Teeter is also, it happens, the only chain around here that sells Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Brittle ice cream.

This is “Peanut Brittle Ice Cream with Peanut Brittle Pieces & a Caramel Swirl.” Sort of like High Road’s Peanut Butter Brittle, only without the peanut butter. This is all about the brittle.

There are a few hints of the peanut brittle, and I believe that shinier mix-in dead center is the caramel swirl peeking through. As usual there are plenty of chunks in here, but they’re one of B&J’s smaller ingredients. Not much bigger than a peanut, the peanut brittle pieces still manage to overpower just about everything else. This entire ice cream tastes like sweetened or caramelized peanuts, which is basically what peanut brittle is. The pieces themselves are crunchy in a gritty way (I love grit). And wow, they are sugary! The milder pieces taste like honey-roasted peanuts. I did get a few plain peanuts, but even then they had a sweet tinge to them. No salted peanuts here!

The base is pretty much a milder version of the brittle pieces. Which means that if you’re not the biggest fan of peanut brittle, you’re out of luck. I wish I could combine High Road’s version with this one, because for me this was just a little too much peanut brittle. Some peanut butter would be appreciated.

The caramel swirl is easy to overlook. There’s just already a ton of sweetness in this pint, what’s a little bit more? That said, it comes in thick pockets that make it pop, and they are perfectly rich and gooey. Surprisingly, though, I found myself thinking that the salty caramel swirl found in Late Night Snack would actually go better with this ice cream than the usual sweet swirl. Which was a first for me, because usually I like the sweet caramel. But I guess it’s only fair, given that I’m used to salty peanuts, so I was expecting a bit of salt somewhere and...nope.

Still, it’s good. In fact I think I prefer it to High Road, partly for the creamy, dense Ben & Jerry’s texture and partly for the brittle pieces. Even though I’ve had this before, there was still an adjustment period at the beginning before I started enjoying it more. The farther in I got, the more it grew on me. It’s unique. I mean, there are lots of flavors just within B&J’s that include chocolate or marshmallow or cheesecake or peanut butter, but this one is different from all the others. You can’t get the same fix from another flavor. For that, I’ll probably buy it again the next time I get lost and end up at a Harris Teeter.
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