Tuesday, October 22, 2013

H.T. Trader's Cookie Dough & Brownies (An Ice Cream Review)

It’s always interesting to see store-brand premium ice cream alongside the mainstream cartons. Kroger has Private Selection, their premium line, and even Wegmans and Walgreens have different lines of premium and lighter options. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that Harris Teeter is the same.

I have to apologize for the lack of pictures to go with this post. I uploaded them to my Picasa album with my fancy-pants new wi-fi camera, but somewhere in cyberspace they got eaten up and never made it to their destination. And I failed to check before deleting the photos from said fancy-pants camera, so alas they are gone forever. :(

Anyway, I was curious about Harris Teeter’s premium line and in a cookie dough mood, so I decided to start with H.T. Trader’s Cookie Dough & Brownies, which is vanilla and chocolate ice creams with brownies and cookie dough pieces. It basically sounds like a slightly lighter version of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked.

To start, the chocolate looks pretty light compared to many premium brands’ deeper brown. This ice cream is also not as dense or creamy as those brands, but that’s not to say it’s not creamy. Actually, it’s kind of hard to describe the texture; it does tend to come away in blocks, but those blocks are not icy at all and are fairly soft and creamy. This stuff melts pretty fast as well, especially the edges of the pint, and it does get creamier as it warms up. To be truly satisfying, though, I’d like it to be denser.

The flavor of the base ice creams is correspondingly mild. The chocolate has a hint of cocoa but otherwise doesn’t pop out at you. The vanilla is just there, and really untasteable except in the occasional odd spoonful. Which leaves the fate of this pint resting on the shoulders of the mix-ins.

I won’t complain about the amount of mix-ins, because there were enough. Not as many as the mix-in kings Ben & Jerry’s, but I wasn’t expecting the monster brownies or cookie dough pieces found in Vermont’s finest. The pieces in H.T. Trader’s are small square-ish things about the size of the eraser on the end of a pencil. Which is fine, I don’t mind, but they need to deliver on taste.

Unfortunately, that’s where it all sort of goes wrong. See, the cookie dough might be small and sufficiently gritty, but the taste is wacky. Almost like there’s too much brown sugar. And that’s saying something, because I looove brown sugar. Like, I eat it plain by the spoonful sometimes.

I wish I could say the brownies are better, but they’re only mediocre. They’re the same size as the cookie dough, and they are chewy. They’re not quite as dense as a fudgy brownie, they’re not exactly moist either, and they don’t carry a whole lot of flavor...basically the opposite of everything I love about brownies.

So, I should have bought a different pint. I haven’t actually had B&J’s Half Baked (just the Froyo version), but I’d bet anything it’s better. I’d be more than willing to spend the extra money for the non-store brand ice cream in this case. Sorry Harris Teeter, I love ya but for the ice cream you carry, not the ice cream you make.
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