I am not a keto guy, if anything I’m a bit of a keto skeptic. My philosophy towards diet, exercise, and carbohydrates is all about balance, and I personally couldn’t imagine a life without carbs. I am, however, a big time ice cream guy, so when Enlightened hit me up about trying their newest Keto pints I absolutely stepped up to the challenge.
Although the calories are a hit higher than normal Enlightened “light” ice cream pints, which usually clock in at 400 calories, I decided to review and rate these against other light ice cream rather than real full fat full sugar ice cream. As a whole, because I’m not concerned about carbs, I would rather have the 400 calorie pint with more protein than the 600+ calorie pint with more fat, but there’s no denying that this latest line has some bangers and a couple of surprises.
Chocolate Peanut Butter
Chocolate ice cream with peanut butter swirl.
Somehow this base manages to be both light and bitter at the same time, like some odd artificial sweetener hybrid of milk and dark chocolate. It’s not inedible but I’m not a fan. I was never a fan of Enlightened’s chocolate base in their normal “light” ice cream so I’m not surprised that the flavor doesn’t work for me here either, but it’s worse. The texture is impressive though. After a decent 15-20 minutes of tempering the higher fat content really shows with a pleasantly silky mouthfeel that makes the flavor profile a little more bearable.
Fortunately for this pint the peanut butter swirl is fantastic. It’s pretty much on par with any PB swirl from a grocery brand — thick and fatty and salty with an irresistible perfect peanut butter taste like it came straight from the jar. There’s a decent amount of the swirl too, popping up in admirable chunks that really do a LOT to drive the somewhat redeemable quality of this pint.
P.B. Cookie & Brownie Dough
Vanilla ice cream with chunks of peanut butter cookie dough and brownie dough, plus chocolate chips and a peanut butter swirl.
Much the same with their initial, now called “light” pints, Enlightened’s vanilla base is much better than their chocolate, and the added fat only improves upon the original formula. Surprisingly rich with a nice floral vanilla flavor it comes together pretty well when tempered, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — you MUST temper the HELL out of these pints (the texture is awful from the freezer). The peanut butter swirl in this vanilla base is a home run, but there isn’t as much as there is in Chocolate Peanut Butter to make room for the other mix-ins.
The other mix-ins are pretty solid too. The peanut butter cookie dough is the standout for me, with a noticeable nutty pop that stands out against the vanilla. The brownie dough didn’t deliver as impressively, with a harder chew that doesn’t really channel brownies, but it doesn’t ruin the pint either. I would leave them on the table for more chocolate chips which are simpler but more effective, and maybe a little more PB too. It’s no surprise that the pint with the highest calories has such a high ceiling.
Ice Cream Cake
Vanilla and chocolate ice cream swirled with birthday cake dough bites and a fudge icing swirl.
I know I bashed the Enlightened chocolate base and I stand by that but it’s WAY better when it’s split 50/50 with vanilla. The harsh bitter flavor is greatly reduced and I actually enjoy the two of them in tandem, creating a milky and sweet light chocolate that’s a nice foundation for some mix-ins.
Speaking of mix-ins, the birthday cake dough bites are AWESOME. I think these might be the best mix-in I’ve ever had from Enlightened (not counting swirls). They taste exactly as they should – like little pieces of yellow cake dough with a sweet crumble and touch of grit. I love them. Enlightened tends to knock it out of the park with their swirls and the fudge icing in this one was kind of weird. I still enjoyed it but it was very thick, almost chunky, and felt more like a part of the base that a swirl.
Classic butter pecan ice cream with the crunch of roasted pecans.
Their description has the word “classic” in it and that’s all you really need to know, this is butter pecan ice cream, nothing more, nothing less. The base is nice and creamy like the others with a mild nutty flavor and a surprising maple flavor akin to breakfast syrup. There are a pretty epic amount of pecans and they have a gentle roasted flavor and mild crunch that add some much needed nuance and texture as the sole mix-in.
I like Butter Pecan but when it comes to OG scoops I’m more into Pralines and Cream, and even if they didn’t candy the pecans a caramel swirl here would have been awesome. I know the keto label limits what can be done with ooey gooey-ness but Enlightened does such a great job with caramel in their light pints I can see, and wish I could taste, the potential. Without a swirl it’s a touch savory for me to crave again but it’s an admirable keto-friendly rendition of an old school staple.
Big thanks to Enlightened for sending me these pints, along with some others which I’ve posted about and will post sporadically on Instagram. Although I received these items for free it in no way shaped my review of them. If you’re interested in trying these yourself, Enlightened can be found in most grocery stores or shipped straight to your door on their website with FREE SHIPPING when you spend $50.