Thursday, June 25, 2015

Burning Mouth Feel: Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars

As a lifetime reader, I am continually bombarded with proverbs warning me to seize the day, count my blessings and manage my expectations. I spend hours each week reading and not only reading but mulling over the contents of the books in my head as if to absorb some deeper meaning. Since I spend so much time reading, you would think that I would be impacted, no? Well apparently not. I’m the product that I’m about to review’s fool. My hopes were sky high and the fall was brutal. Ick, flashbacks….

Blessed are those who have portion control. Having self-control is like winning some type of behavioral lottery where you’re actually in control of your actions and decision making. I can only imagine. Summer is here and I am eating like the famine will be here any day now, so I took it upon myself to review a lighter option this time around. I have no problem eating more than one ice cream bar in a sitting and if they are only 100 calories each and there are 4 in the box, then I have no issue with the stigma associated with eating an entire box either.

Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars have the type of labeling on the box where you actually feel good about buying them. They’re high in protein, rBST-free (wtf), all natural ingredients and the list goes on. I think they’re even some type of Kosher. I’m a huge fan of cookie dough, so I was feeling optimistic coming home with this frozen yogurt. Life looked good; my first attempt at being practical.

It was no surprise to me that the box was light. I know what 100 calories of dessert is. It’s not much and it’s more a tease than anything. The box feels like it’s filled with air and there are supposed to be four bars in there. Stay tuned to find out why that was actually a good thing.

The wrapper itself is cute - cheeky even. It’s promising me that I won’t have any regrets unlike that haircut in college. The company doesn’t know me.  A bad haircut would make all of my other college regrets look like a walk in the park, but I digress. All I will say is that whoever chose “No regrets” as the slogan for this frozen yogurt bar most certainly did not put this thing in their mouth.

For most of my desserts, I team it up with a cup of black coffee. It’s not just insulin that my body has probably become resistant to as a result from eating dessert so often. A lot of flavors are dull to me, most likely because of how much sugar is in my diet. This photo serves to show you exactly how small the frozen yogurt bar is. It’s smaller than the circumference of the average coffee cup. One wouldn’t satisfy anybody except for maybe a small child or somebody who is lactose intolerant and looking for a tiny thrill.

Well let’s get on with it. I won’t lie. At first, I absolutely was in love with this. The vanilla was cool and light and there was nothing about the cookie dough that tasted low fat. Sure, the pieces of cookie dough were small, but it’s 100 calories. You can’t pay $15 and stay at the Ritz Carlton. There were probably three blissful moments where I believed that these would become a common place in my freezer to balance out all of the Ben & Jerry’s I eat.

But then, after three minutes and one second my mouth was bombarded with a terrible chemical taste and what felt like a light burn. There may have been a flash of panic across my face. I had nearly inhaled the entire bar when it came to this and I was stunned. How could this be? How could the tides turn in such an instant? Just when I was getting comfortable. I ran to the sink and started to rinse my mouth out, but the damage was done. I’ve searched reviews to see if anyone else has had this experience and while there are mixed reviews, nobody was as deeply disturbed palette-wise as I was. The other three bars were tossed into my trash. The first time in the history of my existence that I voluntarily disposed of ice cream. Let that be a testament to the product.

Want a hot tip? Never eat these unless you’re a masochist with a penchant for eating chemicals. Buyer beware.

Friday, June 12, 2015

First Bite: Milky Way Marshmallow with Caramel

It’s June and a Friday and that means that my news feed is filled with friends bragging about their “Summer Fridays” where they are either off from work of working half days. So your job has some perks and good for you. Do you know what my job has? Apparently my job has limited time candy available in our vending machine before it hits shelves across America on a national scale. That’s right. You read that correctly. Please don’t all apply to the company that I work for all at once.

Every night I read two food blogs like it’s the news or some type of Bible and my interest was piqued when I discovered that there is a new limited edition Milky Way Marshmallow with Caramel coming in July. Second to Reeses, Milky Way is my favorite type of candy bar so naturally I knew that I was going to have to try this. My office has a vending machine in our break room that doesn’t really see too much action. When I walk by, I always take a look but I can count on one hand how many times I’ve actually dropped a few coins into that thing.

Yesterday I just so happened to walk by the machine and I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the landscape changed. Was the Twix situated a little higher? Was the stock just a little bit fuller? No. Well maybe that could have been the case, but I wouldn’t know it because I was too intrigued by the appearance of a wrapper that I had never seen before. Do not bother to ask me how, but the vending machine Gods were smiling down on the package food groupies of Stamford, CT. It was June 11, 2015 and this limited time pre-release candy is in our vending machine, so good luck topping that.

This new candy bar features marshmallow nougat topped with a layer of caramel that is then covered in milk chocolate. The label itself is white and you almost can’t read the caramel part because of the way the wrapper is folded. It’s a clean looking label that apparently is supposed to be indicative of marshmallow and I will explain a bit further into the review why that’s entirely appropriate.

So let’s get to it. As a woman who loves her Milky Way, I wasn’t able to associate the flavors here with the traditional version. The nougat mentioned in the description was completely undetectable to my eyes, as well as my palette. Upon first bite, I felt like I was being slapped in the mouth with marshmallow; so strongly in fact that I wasn’t even able to taste the chocolate which coated the bar. The marshmallow itself was very melty and far from solid. It impressed me that the bar stayed together as well as it had in the wrapper, most likely from the chocolate shell alone.

Normally not being much of a big caramel fan, I can say earnestly that it was a very welcomed addition to breaking up the profound marshmallow taste. To be frank, the sweetness of the marshmallow completely overwhelmed me. For me, the bar would have been better with a greater proportion of caramel, any detectable nougat whatsoever and far less marshmallow. I always find it very ambitious when companies re-do their big common candy bars, because any variation will have to be pretty impressive to be appreciated by the regular fans. What I would like to do is to think of a creative way to get this candy bar to a campfire and turn this candy bar into the chocolate and marshmallow of a smore. Yes I would.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Hot & Cold: Steve’s Thai Peanut Butter Pretzel Ice Cream

Steve’s Thai Peanut Butter Pretzel Ice Cream for me is a lot like the movie Human Centipede appearing on Netflix. It’s one of those things that you can’t help but notice with intense curiosity, but you are reluctant to commit to all that’s involved in choosing to proceed with it. It’s been on my radar for some time now and it’s like an itch that just won’t go away. I just needed to know. But here’s the thought I have had a dozen times, “What’s Thai peanut butter?” The label sure doesn’t give it away. This is a pint and if I commit to this and don’t like it, then what does it mean for the rest of my dessert that night? I draw the line at becoming "Crazy Ice Cream Lady" by buying a safety backup pint just in case.

On this past Saturday night when feeling a bit wild, it was time to saddle up and commit to the experience. The pint itself comes in a thick plastic pint and it’s certainly more enjoyable than a paper carton to hold. There’s no waxy film and people who eat most of the pint and hold it for a while will likely know what I mean in my appreciation for that fact. As the pint touts, the ice cream itself is made with grass fed dairy accounting for the super premium creamy rich texture. As a Ben & Jerry’s fanatic, all good ice cream is premium in the fat content and just the mouth feel alone increases the luxury of each spoonful so of course a plus for that.

The most surprising part of this ice cream is the accumulating heat. Forgive me for my lack of cultural knowledge here, but holy hell Thai Peanut Butter is hot. I wish I had the foresight to take a picture of the ingredients to see what accounted for that, but even now as I type I am too lazy to Google the ingredients. Not even the milk in the ice cream was enough to cool my burning palette towards the end. The peanut butter is rich and understated, calling up savory notes like those you find in a chicken satay. The pretzels are very chewy and that seems to be the case with any frozen bread product placed into ice cream. What would have enhanced the flavor here for me was the addition of salt on the pretzels. For me personally, salt brings out the flavor in everything. When you're eating out of a pint of ice cream, I think you can kiss all of your sodium concerns goodbye.

Overall, this pint was so interesting. I can’t think of the last time that I had an ice cream with such an intriguing depth of flavors. The one thing to note is that this ice cream was not sweet. I honestly was in the mood for ice cream after this ice cream, so I can’t say it would satisfy my sweet tooth (although yet to date I guess nothing really has.) I highly recommend trying this, particularly so we can talk about this. Since eating it a few days ago, I continue to mull over the complexity of flavors. Should you find this ice cream on your spoon, please do let me know your thoughts.