REVIEW: Milk Bar Chocolate Mint Cookies N’ Cream

Another Milk Bar ice cream…another mixed bag. I rambled on about my relationship with the growing gourmet grocery brand in my last review so I won’t go on about it here. In short, it’s complicated, and this latest creation featuring another flavor combination I adore isn’t making it any easier. Chocolate Mint Cookies N’ Cream is chocolate mint ice cream with chocolate cookie batter, cookies n’ cream crunch, and creamy mint swirl.

I love the idea behind this pint (14 ounces, I know, but for simplicity’s sake) but it has the same foundational issue as the last couple that I have scooped: dual flavored bases. Milk needs to get away from this because it rarely works, and it doesn’t work here. Chocolate mint should be one of the few dual flavored bases that can be pulled off with ease, like in Ben & Jerry’s excellent Minter Wonderland, but just like in Milk’s PB pint, this one tastes off. Specifically I’m tasting spearmint, which is not the type of mint I want to taste with chocolate. It’s cloyingly fragrant with a strange herbaceous quality, lacking any sharp minty punch to contrast the rich chocolate. Don’t get it twisted, the texture is still fantastic, I really love a lot of Milk Bar’s attention to high quality ingredients, but the flavor is bizarre and not at all what I wanted from this gorgeous green-streaked ice cream.

Speaking of gorgeous green, the most intriguing part of this container going into it was the creamy mint swirl, and I’m sad the mint flavor is very much the same spearmint-y adjacent oddity from the base, minus the chocolate. I find the spearmint a little less off-putting when on its own and paired with the sweet syrupy texture of condensed milk, but its creme de menthe hue still feels out of place against the sea of chocolate.

As always with Milk Bar, aside from the smooth silky texture of their bases, the real standout are the swirls. The chocolate cookie batter is the same as PB Cookie Crush and it’s just as phenomenal here as it was there. Bittersweet, gritty, and full of rich chocolate flavor, it’s the component that keeps me digging and digging for every last bit of its cake batter-y divinity. The moment Milk Bar put this swirl into a more straight ahead and determined base with a complimentary mix-in is the day it changes the grocery ice cream game — it’s so good. The cookies n’ cream crunch is what you’d expect, essentially pieces of Oreo cookies dispersed throughout with a softened texture and slight crunch; nothing special or new but essential for the concept.

As I finish the container the spearmint fades more to the back of the profile, partially from the flavor fatigue of the base and partially from the mint swirl being absent in the last 1/3 of the pint. There is an abundance of potential with this ice cream but its flaws make it one I’m not likely to ever revisit, despite some really high moments of brilliant execution in the base texture and cookie batter swirl. Maybe whatever mint extract this is is like cilantro and my tongue is cursed, so your mileage may vary, but as it stands, I would approach this wintery profile with caution.

Rating: 6/10

Found at: Whole Foods ($6.99)

REVIEW: Cookies & Screeem M&M’s

In my youthful trick or treating heyday there was definitely a hierarchy when it came to the candy come-up. Not including the occasional full sized candy bar, individual Reese’s cups were always number one, followed by Snickers, Twix, and Milky Way, with all non-chocolate candies being lesser than chocolate – unless they came in big-seeming ‘fun sized’ bags. There was something about the small bags of candy that seemed like a real victory, most notably Skittles and M&M’s.

A bag of M&M’s, usually milk chocolate or peanut, felt like it had twice the value of all other candies that weren’t orange and written in cursive, and getting a couple of those in my hollowed pumpkin head was a real treat. Now, as an adult, I continue to be impressed by bags of M&M’s, as their graphic design game has been incredibly on point, and I still marvel at their size, being forced to buy giant bags to try the limited editions. This year Mars dropped a new particularly eye-pleasing package with Cookies and Screeem M&M’s.

image1

These spooky poppable treats have one of my favorite packages I’ve ever seen, and I nearly bought them on the visual appeal alone. Despite what the name and image might imply, these M&M’s don’t actually have any cookies in them, which seems like a missed opportunity to really knock this cookie-themed flavor out of the park.

image2

The candies are a really cool looking black and white speckled shell with a layer of dark chocolate and an inner ball of white chocolate – one of the cooler looking M&M’s – I’m sensing a theme here. The dark semisweet chocolate is slightly bitter but still pretty sweet with a very smooth and melty consistency. It’s clear that it isn’t milk chocolate, but once I hit the bigger, more prominent white chocolate part, it gives me a much more milky essence with cool, creamy, buttery notes. The combo of semisweet and white has a different sensation than either of them on their own, and in construction does emulate the sandwich cookie format of an Oreo.

image3

They’re chocolate and sweet so they’re good, but why isn’t there any crunchy texture? The cupcake Kisses and Pretzel M&M’s have both been successful with some added crunch inside, and I wish I got some of that here. As the flavor finishes I do get a touch of wafer-y cookie taste that’s more than pure chocolate, a trick that must be embedded within the ominous “natural and artificial flavors”.  For how great the packaging is, I wanted more to truly make my tastebuds screeeeeem, and these ultimately end up feeling like opening the big-looking ‘fun sized’ bags in Halloween night to reveal just 4 or 5 candies – tasty, but simultaneously a bit of a letdown too.

Rating: 7/10
Found at: Target Exclusive ($3.49)
Quick Nutrition: 1 oz – 140 cal – 7g fat – 4g sat fat – 10mg sodium – 20g carb – 18g sugar

image4

REVIEW: Little G Chocolate Milk and Cookies

For those of you not in the know about Little G Ice Cream Company, here’s a brief background.  Little G is the brainchild of Grace Connor, a 17 year old entrepreneur and cancer survivor from Boston, MA who hit the ground running in 2016 with wild ice cream flavors that broke the internet with their photogenic swirls and fresh innovation.  Unless you live in the greater Massachusetts area you have to get your Little G fix from an online order via Goldbely , and while it is pricey, it is definitely worth it.  Grace bakes all of the cakes, pies, and cookies that fill her tubs and hand makes all of the batches on the weekend while still balancing high school.

Eating Little G ice cream is a completely different experience than most.  While the usual appeal of grabbing a premium pint is a smooth rich base complimented by flavorful and texturally exciting mix ins, Little G flips the ratio on its head and delivers an insane amount of sweet, crunchy, and diverse mix ins complimented by high quality thoughtful ice cream.  Opening up a container of Grace’s creations is like unearthing the visually accurate pint of all the ice cream descriptions you’ve read and been disappointed in throughout your life.  When a label says “cookie dough” or “candy pieces” or “cookies” she really really means it, and you won’t have to look hard at all to find everything that the description promises.

Chocolate Milk and Cookies combines a chocolate ice cream with chocolate sandwich cookies and cookie dough, for a rich, decadent, chocolatey-abyss experience you will not soon forget.

image1
Digging into the pint reveals a painters pallet of the shades of decadence.  Rich dark brown ice cream, massive tan chunks of cookie dough, and deep black Oreo cookies with the occasional white pop from a giant glop of creme filling.

image2

The chocolate ice cream is smooth and delicious with a flavor that leans more towards milk than dark, especially when eaten in tandem with the Oreo cookies (every bite) which have a deeper more bitter cocoa-forward flavor.  You could essentially call the base ice cream “chocolate cookie” with how many Oreo’s are integrated here, as you will rarely find a bite that is just plain chocolate ice cream.  This flavor eats like a tall glass of milk that has been filled with Oreo cookies, smashed into creamy perfection, mixed, frozen, and served in a cup.

image3
The cookie dough chunks are huge and plentiful, taking up half of the spoon as you go through gleefully.  They are very fresh and soft with a texture that gives easily as you chew and make your way to a large crunchy chocolate chip.  The pieces of dough are big and soft enough that you can break them in half and they keep their form.  The dough doesn’t have much saltiness to it but is still less sweet than the other components and leans towards a buttery savory note for some contrast.  When getting a bite with ice cream, cookie, and dough, your tastebuds are sent to chocolate cookie heaven making you wonder “am I dead?”

image4
This ice cream is hard to stop eating.  It combines some of the best elements of sugary snacking all into one – cookies with milk, cookie dough, and chocolate, for an experience that slaps most cookies and cream flavors in the face and simply says “get outta here”.

Rating: 9/10

REVIEW: Grenade Carb Killa White Chocolate Cookie

Grenade is a United Kingdom based protein supplement company founded in 2010, apparently dominating everyone’s post-workout fix world wide except me.  As someone who does most of his whey protein intake through bars I’m always looking for new flavors and textures to entice my palate.  When the Carb Killa bars popped up at my local GNC the packaging was interesting and I grabbed two of the available flavors.  The first one I tried, Caramel Chaos, had really great texture but was generally lacking in any notable flavors, despite the fact that it was the only protein bar I’ve had to actually have caramel.  The second bar – White Chocolate Cookie – changed everything.

white1

Carb Killa’s are triple-layered bars combining a whey protein base with gooey caramel and crunchy bits, then dipped in either a white or milk chocolate.  The White Chocolate Cookie bar has a milky white caramel beneath pieces of chocolate cookies and looks almost identical to the Hershey’s Cookies and Cream candy bar.  It is without a doubt one of the most uniquely flavored and well executed protein bars I have ever had.

white2

The three textures interact with each other to create a seamless snacking experience, leaving almost nothing to be desired.  White chocolate is the first ingredient, and the flavor is strong and pronounced with the use of cocoa butter and whole milk powder.  Many of the issues that plague protein bars – grainy bases, overly sweet fake sugars, or too much fake fiber, are all nonexistent here.  The bar is just sweet enough to emulate the candy bar it looks up to without becoming over the top or artificial.

white3

This might be one of the rare cases where a protein supplement trying to mimic an established junk food product actually surpasses the real thing.  The addition of the caramel offers a more complex mouth feel than the Hershey’s bar and with 22 grams of protein and only 2 grams of sugar I can’t imagine myself ever choosing the candy over the killa.

In the United States Carb Killa bars are available in four flavors – Caramel Chaos, Chocolate Cream, Chocolate Crunch, and the sensational White Chocolate Cookie.  I plan on trying the two chocolate flavors as soon as possible, and being on the lookout for some of the more obscure UK-available flavors like Banana Armour and White Chocolate Mocha to make a Stateside appearance soon.

Rating: 9.5/10

Quick Nutrition: Calories: 220 – Fat Cal: 70 – Fat: 8g – Sat Fat: 4g – Sodium: 150mg – Total Carb: 21g – Fiber: 6g – Sugars: 2g – Sugar Alcohol: 13g – Protein: 22g