As big of a consumer as I am of protein bars and powders, I’m a bit wary of the massive smattering of novelty protein items hitting the shelves these days. Cookies, cakes, and candies don’t tend to work as well, both in terms of nutrition and taste, and the macro-to-taste enjoyment ratio is usually off. I first got wind of The Lion’s Pack last year and ordered a couple of their protein peanut butter spreads, which I thought were fine tasting but texturally pretty off. At the time they also offered a number of protein cookie dough’s, but they looked odd and didn’t seem very appealing at all. In the last six or so months the company have been aggressively promoting the reformulating of their dough recipe, and from what I’ve seen it looks solid. The dough’s are all vegan, gluten free, and made-to-order, with over 20 flavors to choose from.
Similarly, as much as I love baking cookies, and believe that eating the dough is truly one of the high points of the experience, I’m not too tempted by the latest trend of edible cookie dough. Sure, it’s tasty stuff, but I would rather have a scoop of ice cream or a cupcake and just scarf the dough properly when I’m baking and have earned it. So what happens when two food trends collide? Either a hot dumpster fire of hype, or some seriously indulgent-yet-healthy-ish magic.
Chocolate Chip Edible Cookie Dough:
When going in to a new category of food fun you’ve gotta start with a classic, and there’s no more classic dough than chocolate chip. In fact, I would argue that chocolate chip is really the ONLY dough anyone really cared about or craved before the edible dough trend started to boom, which has lead to the insane amount of flavors offered by The Lions Pack.
Simply put – this stuff is a smashing success. It’s smooth and predominately creamy with a wonderful touch of grittiness just like the real stuff. The base tastes like brown sugar with hints of molasses and vanilla. The sweetness is spot on. Definitely a bit less sweet than real dough, but that helps with the snack-ability, as I don’t feel like this is going to give me a head or stomach ache after a couple spoonfuls. The mini chocolate chips seal the deal on making the dough-sperience authentic, with lovely little bursts of bittersweet crunch. There is no weird aftertaste or artificial sweetener presence and it’s honestly so damn good I had to stop myself from crushing the whole jar on multiple occasions.
UPDATE: I originally gave this one a 9 out of 10, but with the new reworked (for a second time) formula I actually found it a little less good than my first jar. The chocolate chips seem smaller, and while the texture is creamier, the sunflower butter flavor comes through much stronger and tastes less like the brown sugar of the real stuff. It’s still good, but not as mind blowing as my initial expereince.
Monster Cookie Edible Cookie Dough:
This one is a little bit less straight forward – a peanut butter oatmeal cookie base with chocolate chips, dairy free mini “M&M’s”, and cookie clusters. As expected, from my experience eating real peanut butter cookie dough, this one is much dryer and less smooth than the chocolate chip. The flavor is big and full of authentic peanut butter flair with accents of honey and vanilla. And while it isn’t super smooth or rich there’s a distinct butteriness to it as well. The cookie clusters aren’t present in terms of chunks, but much more integrated into the base, working in tandem with the oatmeal to make it a bit toothier and heartier. The sweetness is once again very on point with no odd aftertaste or artificial notes to be found anywhere.
The chocolate chips are great, and while the mini “M&M’s” aren’t as satisfying as the big boys in real monster cookies, they have a legitimate candy shell crunch that brings more depth to the experience and reminds me of the candy-clad cookies. While it isn’t as smooth or instantly recognizable and classic as the chocolate chip, monster cookie brings more dynamic and touch more saltiness that makes it equally crave-able and delicious.
UPDATE: I originally gave this one a 9 out of 10 but have recently re-ordered since they changed their formula for a third time and it is even better. This base as as well as the Reese’s one, both peanut butter dominant, are through the roof perfection now. Tons of huge peanut flavor and super creamy dough texture. Awesome!
Snickerdoodle Edible Cookie Dough
It’s very fitting that a cookie with no mix-ins has a dough with no mix-ins…sort of. The dough is almost entirely smooth but there are little pieces of “crunchy cookie bits” that add a slight variance to the texture. The little bits remind me of the crispy exterior of a snickerdoodle, so props to Lion’s Pack for incorporating one of the signature elements of one of my favorite cookies.
The dough has a robust slightly spicy cinnamon flavor rounded out by a buttery sweet finish with the smooth-yet-gritty texture of the regular CCCD. It’s tricky capturing the nuances of such a simple cookie into a jar of dough but the effort here is beyond impressive, it truly tastes like sugar, butter, and cinnamon.
Teddy-Dough Edible Cookie Dough:
Who doesn’t love a good graham cracker? This dough is by far the smoothest and creamiest of them all with virtually no grit in site. The flavor is very sweet with some soft honey notes that channel the shiny exterior of the Teddy Graham’s well. Interestingly the sunflower seed butter flavor comes through pretty clearly here, and compliments the honey notes.
While the texture is spot-on velvety deliciousness, the lack of mix-ins and more intense sweetness makes it a little less crush-able than some of the others. Still, this is a really good sugary snack with truly decadent creaminess.
Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tart Edible Cookie Dough:
Lion’s Pack have done it again, and this time they’ve captured the distinct flavor of Pop Tart’s brown sugar cinnamon filling. No, there’s no buttery salty pastry crust going on, but the dough tastes almost identical to the gooey brown insides of the classic toaster treat.
Brown sugar and molasses mingle with spices and the natural syrupy sweetness of agave pokes through to round out a flavor that is surprisingly accurate. The lack of any crunchy chunks make it a bit of a texture one tricky pony, but its flavors are perfectly suited to be spread on some warm toast – accentuating the Pop Tart experience wonderfully.
Oreo Cake Batter
I’m not sure what it is about companies thinking that cake batter or birthday cake should taste like lemon, but there’s a distinct lemon zing to this one that’s also present in the bday cake bars from Fit Crunch and Combat Crunch. The texture is good, nice and creamy with some crunch from the sprinkles that makes it pretty fun to eat, but it’s much more lemon poppyseed than cake batter.
The cookie pieces aren’t as big and dominant as I would like but they certainly make their point and add a touch of cocoa of the profile as a whole with occasional bigger chunks. There’s no doubt that I will eat this whole container happily, but I’m missing anything truly cake-y or vanilla to make it a real winner.
Snickers Candy Bar
Opening the lid on this one I get the overwhelming aroma of peanut butter with a stunningly smooth, almost greasy sheen to the whole top. Much like the new formula on the Monster cookie, the peanut butter flavor here is huge with immaculate texture. The base is PB dominant but has a slight caramel sweetness to it that makes it stand out. The biggest difference in this one from the others is inclusion of full peanuts, which definitely drives the Snickers experience home.
To be a a true representation of the of the greatest candy bars of all time it could use some more chocolate, even in the form of chocolate chips, but for a nut-packed sweet butter it’s a pretty decent attempt, and overall really delicious. What’s also really impressive about this one and the other PB-based butters is that they deliver the satisfaction of peanut butter with around half the calories, a third of the fat, and almost the same protein. Winner.