REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert (P.B. & Cookies, Coffee Caramel Fudge, Caramel Almond Brittle)

I’ll be honest – non-dairy ice cream really isn’t a priority for me. I have nothing against it, but the higher price tag and generally less delicious outcome isn’t something that I feel the need to seek out and spend my hard earned money on. The only Ben & Jerry’s dairy free flavor I really gave a shot prior to 2018 was the vegan exclusive Seven Layer Bar, but for some unknown reason the availability and price of B&J’s almond milk-based pints have become much more reasonable this year and I now feel compelled to give them their due. While vegan-ified versions of staple but subpar flavors like Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey don’t get me too pumped, these three pints that don’t exist with cows milk have me kinda stoked. Let’s spoon.

P.B. & Cookies

Vanilla with chocolate sandwich cookies & crunchy peanut butter swirls

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REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Moo-Phoria Light Ice Cream (P.B. Dough, Caramel Cookie Fix, Chocolate Milk & Cookies)

If Halo Top are going to stake the claim as the best selling ice cream pint in 2017, then my god the big dawgs better come to play. I have nothing against Halo or any of the lighter dessert options that have exploded in recent years, but if they’re going to take command over the market and shelf space away from the rich beautifully crafted ice cream of my dreams, then it’s up to the titans to respond. There’s no bigger player in the vast grocery ice cream game than Ben & Jerry’s, and to kick off a loaded 2018 lineup of decadent pints, they’ve also rolled out a new line of light ice cream’s called Moo-Phoria. This is not the protein-enriched artificial sweetener-leaning stuff that’s dominating the frozen aisle right now, but a lower sugar, lower fat alternative that hints towards some of B&J’s staples.

P.B. Dough

Chocolate with gobs of chocolate chip peanut butter cookie dough

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REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Chillin’ the Roast Truffles

Caffeine is the most widely abused drug in the world, and I’ve got to imagine alcohol isn’t too far behind it. Most people start their day with a steaming cup of coffee and end it with an ice cold brewski or glass of wine; and the two beverages allow us to get our days rollin’ and then wind them down, respectively. In my funny little world, I would rather start my day off with the coffee and end it with a nice creamy scoop of some high quality ice cream. Ben & Jerry’s Truffles line has a new solution to all of my problems with Chillin’ the Roast, which combines cold brew coffee ice cream with chocolate cookie-covered coffee liqueur truffles and a fudge swirl.

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REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Glampfire Trail Mix

Until today I had no idea what “glamping” was, and there’s a decent chance you don’t either, so I’ll get ya up to speed. Glamping is short for “glamour camping” and is the hybrid of the lovely outdoor freshness of traditional camping and more posh resort-style hotel amenities of regular vacationing. It truly is the hypothetical best of both world’s, where you can go on a long mind-clearing hike and take a poop into something that flushes before roasting some marshmallows over an easy-to-ignite outdoor fire pit. Speaking of marshmallows, and similarly to my lack of knowledge about glamping, I had no clue Target was getting a new exclusive flavor from Ben & Jerry’s, and was stopped in my tracks when doing my daily perusing of the frozen aisle at my favorite red-clad establishment. Apparently inspired by faux-camping and uber decadent hiking snacks, Glampfire Trail Mix combines chocolate ice cream with crunchy pretzel swirls, marshmallow swirls, and fudge-covered almonds.

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REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Keep Caramel and Cookie On

Malted milk powder is a combination of barley malt, wheat flour, milk powder, and salt. Somehow that combination, originally developed as an infant formula in the early 1900’s, makes for one helluva tasty marriage with lusciously sweet ice cream. Although not seen too often in grocery store pints, the allure and boom of malt has outlasted its soda jerk peak of the 1940’s and still finds ways to sneak into our creamy fantasies every so often. Brand new for 2017, Ben & Jerry’s are inviting us all to chill the eff out with Keep Caramel and Cookie On, which combines a malted caramel ice cream with shortbread cookies, fudge flakes, and a caramel swirl.

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When I think about malt I think about a roast-y funk and when I think about caramel I think about sweet, and this malted caramel base has a nice balance of the two. There’s a noticeable wheat-y funkiness that cuts through the usual hyper-sweet intensity of caramel and creates a flavor very similar to a sweet cream with a little extra pizazz. The malt is less heavy than the vanilla malt in B&J’s Chubby Hubby but more interesting than your standard variety vanilla or B&J’s regular caramel base. I like it, it’s smooth, creamy, fun, and not too sweet, which leaves room for the real caramel to do its purely sugary job with authority.

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The caramel and fudge flakes both serve their purpose – bringing sweetness, texture, and overall variety to the predominantly tan pint. The caramel is straight forward – no salty or burnt notes to be found – integrating itself in thin wispiness throughout the container, and the fudge flakes are in perfect ratio with the other components. Some of the recent flavors from B&J’s have had way too many flakes for their own good, but here they are slightly smaller and less prominent and their melty semi-sweet cocoa presence is very welcome to the equation.

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My favorite component of this calming ice cream are the shortbread cookies. While they don’t stand out as particularly shortbread-y, aka crumbly and slightly firm, they have a great buttery, flour-forward semi-salty flavor with softened baked texture that goes really well with the double caramel profile. The pieces could honestly be sugar cookies or even cake with the way they’ve interacted with the cream, but I’m a sucker for both cake and cookies in frozen form and their mellow flavor really works.

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This is another release from Ben & Jerry’s that’s pretty safe but overall very enjoyable. It isn’t breaking any boundaries but it isn’t disappointing either. The malt in the base adds a bit of intrigue and the balance between all the components, at least in my pint, were spot on. At the very least it’s a far superior flavor to the other Target exclusive it replaced – A Swirled of Difference.

Rating: 8/10
Found at: Target ($4.49)

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REVIEW: Three Twins’ Banana Nut Confetti

Apparently I really like banana ice cream. Or maybe I’m just drawn to the less-commonly flavored base that still packs a big sweet punch and doesn’t drown out the elements it’s paired with like chocolate can do. Either way, I was surprised as I was dipping into my cream-stash that this was my fourth banana review in four months. Impressive.

Cali-proud organic churners Three Twins celebrated their 10 year anniversary in 2015 with two ice creams going right for the throat of Ben & Jerry’s – recreating some of their signature flavors with all natural organic ingredients. Banana Nut Confetti combines banana ice cream with walnuts and dark chocolate “confetti” flecks.

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The banana flavor in this ice cream is present but relatively mild. It reminds me of a fruit that is almost perfectly ripe but could still use a day or two to fully bloom. You know, it’s not green but it’s pretty firm and there are zero spots to be found. Texturally it’s a bit on the thin and icy side without any dominant creamy mouthfeel or dairy slick. It isn’t awful but it’s pretty underwhelming, and is definitely my least favorite banana ice cream I’ve had this year.

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The pieces of walnut are small to medium sized and similarly bland. They’re roasted but not salted and aren’t big enough to translate their unique fatty nut flavor to the spoon. There are hints of that wonderful walnut earthiness but they pop and fade so quickly it’s barely noticeable. I like walnuts in ice cream quite a bit, but they’re so mild here that I wish they were bigger and gave more depth to the pint.

Similarly, the chocolate confetti is in such small pieces there’s no real chocolate presence either. I usually like this kind of flaked chocolate, and it works well in other TT Confetti flavors, but here the pieces add almost nothing to the equation, especially in a situation where the base needs some help. Again, there’s nothing “bad” tasting about the flakes, they’re just incredibly boring.

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It’s been a long time since I’ve had Chunky Monkey, and I don’t remember being too impressed by it, but I feel like it has got to be better than this. As admirable as it is to try and show how organic ingredients can be used to make quality ice cream, I think Three Twins should stick to creating their own flavors. The only other time I’ve been this let down by Three Twins was when they put their own spin on Cherry Garcia with Cherry Chocolate Chunk – and that was a disappointing snooze-fest as well.

Rating: 6/10
Found at: Safeway ($4.99)
Quick Nutrition: 1/2 cup (85g) – 180 cal – 11g fat – 6g sat fat – 30mg sodium – 19g carb – 1g fiber – 18g sugar – 1g protein

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