It’s the last week of July, which in commercial snack land means Halloween is right around the corner. Yes, even though in California, and especially in the Bay, we have yet to hit our temperature max, I know in my spooky spicy cinnamon-pumping heart that once that second week of August rolls around there will be pumpkins EVERYWHERE. So before I start spiraling into the autumnal abyss, it seems fitting to cap things off with one last summery s’mores treat, especially since I’m a pretty big cheerleader for Little Debbie’s Pumpkin Spice Rolls. Little Debbie’s S’mores Cake Rolls combine a graham cake with crème filling and a chocolate drizzle.
There are little things in life that shouldn’t make me as happy as they do but I can’t deny the legitimate excitement they bring me. Finding my first pint of Blue Bunny is one such thing, and I am gleaming. Ice cream is at the top of my “I could eat this forever” pyramid, but I love variety, and as such, I prefer pints over all other sizes of larger containers. Blue Bunny usually comes in much bigger tubs, and since I barely get a chance to come across BB in San Francisco anyway, I’ll take whatever I can get. But a pint? Of Blue Bunny? This is amazing. PB ‘N Cones combines vanilla ice cream with peanut butter swirls and dipped cone pieces.
The vanilla ice cream is exceptionally smooth and creamy with a beautiful light and refreshing mouthfeel. Not light in a bad, fluffy, low calorie kind of way, but light on the tongue like a perfect soft serve with more richness. The vanilla flavor is subdued but present with a classic sweetness that’s just right for putting back in joy without blinking an eye.
The chocolate covered cone pieces are executed flawlessly. They’ve kept all of their crunch and pop through the smooth dairy with a wonderful brown sugar flavor accented by creamy milk chocolate. Waffle cones are one of the most iconic ice cream accompaniments, and their success being a mix-in relies almost exclusively on their execution. With no soggy-ness in sight Blue Bunny really nailed it.
Peanut butter will always be a welcome addition to any pint in my freezer and that rule of thumb is no different here. The swirl is present but not dominant with a nice saltiness that cuts through all the other predominantly sweet components. It isn’t the saltiest peanut butter swirl I’ve had but brings the necessary contrast and wonderful fatty nutty notes that make it one of the greatest things ever. Since I’m such a fiend I wouldn’t mind a little more ribbon action, but it weaves in and out of bites pleasantly, perfectly tempered and creamy without seizing up.
Once again Blue Bunny have shown that they are the kings of the lower calorie ice cream game. No, it’s not light ice cream, but it’s a far cry from the 300 calorie per serving offerings from Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs; and eating BB is just as enjoyable as the more fattening options with lotsa fun factor to boot. PB ‘N Cones doesn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to overall flavor profile, but it delivers exactly what it promises and makes me a real happy bunny, er…boy.
Found at: Grocery Outlet ($1.99)
Earlier this year I was approached about the opportunity to design my own protein bar with The Bar Shack. I did that and really enjoyed it, and now that same company have developed a line of ready-to-buy protein snack bars under the name Macaw! Bars. The bars are made of all natural ingredients with a base of date paste and various nut butters, supplemented by protein powder, organic dark chocolate, and a myriad of flavorful accents. Each bar is more of a nutrient-dense snack than a true protein supplement for me, clocking in with 12 grams of fat and just 10-11 grams of protein for a 240 calorie treat. For my intake, a protein bar is usually only worth it when it has 20 grams of protein for 200-230 calories, but those also come with the presence of heavy artificial sweeteners and preservatives. These may be for you, they may not, but from Chocolate Brownie to Lemon Poppy there’s something for everyone, and I’ve broken down a bunch of flavors today on the skillet.
Baskin Robbins have been really slackin’ off lately. I made it my mission when I started the skillet to review every Flavor of the Month and be the ultimate go-to for anyone curious about BR’s creations. You may have noticed the last two months have been silent on this site for the 31 flavored brand, and that’s not because of personal fatigue, but because of BR’s rare back to back months of repeats. May brought back the solid Mom’s Makin’ Cookies and last month saw a second dip of Caramel Macchiato. I was sure that for July, National Ice Cream Month, and a month that has become synonymous with epic Oreo collabs, would yield a new scoop for me to dig into. Nope. It’s back to back to back repeats, but there is a caveat with this month’s call back.
July 2018 see’s the return of Oreo ‘N Cake, a flavor that proceeded the birth of the skillet and one that I really enjoyed when it came out in 2015. In fact, I liked it so much that during that hot July three years ago I scooped it three times, and according to BR’s website, this is their most popular Flavor of the Month of all time. Oreo ‘N Cake combines a cake flavored ice cream with Oreo cookie pieces and a chocolate cake batter ribbon.
You would never know by lurking this site, but I actually really like Enlightened ice cream. I’ve been a fan of theirs for nearly two years but never wrote about them because I had this grand scheme of ranking all of their flavors and being a super completest about it. Problem is, their distribution in the bay area has been pretty spotty, and only a handful of flavors are available, especially since it seems like they’ve released about 43 varieties in the last year. All that hooplah aside, I would be pretty short sited to overlook one of the biggest trends in the frozen grocery game during National Ice Cream Month, so it’s time to finally break my silence. In March Enlightened made their strongest push yet, rolling out five new pints backed with a strong PR presence and inventive flavors that set the internet off with hype. While I still haven’t been able to track all of them down, and the ones I did get I had to leave San Francisco for, I’m stoked to introduce the skillet to three new high protein low fat low sugar alternatives to get your creamy fix. Movie Night, French Toast, and S’mores.
Popcorn ice cream with chocolate bits and a caramel swirl.
Salt & Straw are a pretty amazing company. If you weren’t aware, every time they open in a new city that city gets a menu that includes some S&S classics as well as some city-specific exclusives that you can’t get anywhere else. When they expanded to San Francisco last year they made some amazing flavors, including Roasted Strawberry Tres Leches and Salted Honey Marshmallows & Walnuts (RIP), but sometimes even great new things need to be revised. To kick off National Ice Cream Month, Salt & Straw added a handful of new SF-only flavors to their menu, including the tantalizing-sounding vegan friendly Dandelion Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies and Cream – a dark chocolate ice cream made with coconut and hazelnut milk with stacciatella ribbons of Dandelion chocolate and chunks of homemade gluten free vegan oreos.
Happy National Ice Cream Month! Or more specifically, happy week-of National Ice Cream Day! As has become a mini tradition on this site, the week of the day that celebrates one of the finest culinary delights of all time will be fully dedicated to nothing but ice cream. I realize over the last year there have been many weeks where I only posted about ice cream, but that was an accident and more reflects what I was eating than what we should be celebrating. To kick off the festivities we’re digging into a new flavor from Tillamook – one of the most underrated fine dairy churners on the West Coast now in many grocery stores including Target. Sea Salt & Honeycomb Toffee combines a honey custard with crunchy pieces of crunchy honeycomb toffee and a touch of sea salt.