REVIEW: Baskin Robbins Oreo ‘n Caramel

The marriage of Oreo and Baskin Robbins is a bonafide summertime tradition, and very much in line with our whacky-ass global warming patterns, this year’s team up is coming early. 2017 gave us the okay All About Oreo and surprisingly good Oreo Cheesecake, while past flavors like Oreo Malt Madness (2015) and Oreo Birthday Cake (2016) ran away with BR’s best limited scoops of the year. Whether this means we’ll be getting three or more Oreo collabs in 2018 or if Baskin Robbins has bigger plans for the hottest scooping months of the calendar year is unknown, but to kick off the Oreo-sanity the brand went back to the drawing board for a flavor that seems so obvious it’s hard to believe it’s brand new. Oreo ‘n Caramel features salty caramel ice cream with Oreo cookie pieces and a caramel swirl.

IMG_8940

Continue reading

REVIEW: Baskin Robbins Bobsled Brownie

January is a pretty down month. After the swirling excitement and chaos of the holidays it feels like everyone is universally broke, bloated, and burnt out. The weather is cold without any Christmas carols to make it seem cute, and most of us are just sitting tight waiting for warm weather and a tax return to get the new year actually in motion. That being said, I will take anything I can get to hold onto some of that winter whimsy I’m secretly missing, and to kick off 2018 Baskin Robbins are giving me just that. Bobsled Brownie combines milk chocolate mousse and butter caramel ice creams with a fudge crackle ribbon and pieces of blonde brownies.

IMG_8337 Continue reading

REVIEW: Baskin Robbins Belgian Waffle

In my funny fantasy food mind I’ve got a number of dream ice cream flavors. A truly satisfying spin on peanut butter banana, white chocolate blueberry basil, popcorn and anything, a caramel ice cream that utilizes real peanut butter as a swirl, and the list goes on and on. Above all else though, I’ve always wanted a pancakes and syrup ice cream, and this year, my dreams nearly come true. The September Flavor of the Month at Baskin Robbins is Belgian Waffle, which combines a maple praline ice cream with Belgian waffle pieces, pralined pecans, and a creamy caramel swirl.

image1

On my first spoonful this ice cream is already fantastic. The maple praline ice cream is smooth and rich with a wonderfully balanced maple flavor that is present but not too over the top sweet. The addition of the praline brings some richness and depth so there is a touch of nuttiness that pushes beyond just a pure syrupy sugar flavor that maple can fall victim to. Maple bases are few and far in between for mainstream companies, and this is one that I would love to see offered on a more regular basis.

image2

The pralines, just like in one of my favorite BR core flavors, Pralines ‘N Cream, are positively top notch. Super gritty and sugar-coated crispy crunchy, they bring huge textural contrast and a big burst of sweet yet fatty pecan flavor that is nostalgic magic to my tongue. They work very well in tandem with the thin and sweet caramel that weaves its way in and out of every bite, adding syrupy depth to the base and more fun melty contrast. The caramel seems to enjoy pooling itself around the big chunks of toffee-ed nuts for an extra sweet pop of indulgent breakfast delight.

image5

The most intriguing and risky part of this flavor is the waffles themselves – and overall they work pretty damn well. The waffle pieces are soft and fluffy chunks of Saturday mornings finest, and have the chewy cakey texture most baked goods take on in ice cream. They’re mostly small to medium sized and integrate themselves into bites rather than take over like a massive mix-in. It’s hard to distinguish any particular buttery or eggy nuances, but there is an airy-ness to them that signals waffles, and given the context of the maple and praline it all makes sense and tastes truly delicious.

image4

When I manage to isolate one of the waffle pieces and eat it on its own, there’s a bit of maple flavor that comes through in the dough as well, which helps drive the overall waffle experience to new heights. While my fantasy flavor may have been pancakes and syrup, I will admit that I think the slightly tougher exterior of a waffle is a better fit for ice cream, and the execution here is about as good as I could hope for.

image6

I had very high expectations for this scoop and it really lived up to them. Baskin Robbins essentially took one of their top five best flavors and added maple and waffles to it – brilliant. This is one that is worth the trip to the shop to try, and my favorite monthly special so far this year.

Rating: 9.5/10
Found at: Baskin Robbins ($2.99)
Quick Nutrition: 4 oz scoop – 280 cal – 14g fat – 260mg sodium – 34g carb – 27g sugar – 4g protein

image3

REVIEW: Baskin Robbins Chocolate Hazelnut

For as long as I can remember Baskin Robbins’ flavor of the month in February has been Love Potion #31, but this year, much like they did in October with Trick Oreo Treat, they have made their love potion a seasonal flavor and brought back Chocolate Hazelnut as the February special.  It’s no secret that chocolate is a sensual aphrodisiac, but is there some romantic allure to the hazelnut as well?  I’ve noticed it popping up more frequently this time of year, and with February 5 being named “World Nutella Day” (apparently since 2007), there may be a consumer conspiracy at hand.  Baskin Robbins’ ode to the apparent love nut is chocolate ice cream and hazelnuts covered with chocolate flavored coating swirled with a hazelnut cookie fudge ribbon.

image1
The chocolate ice cream is just as expected – smooth, decadent, and creamy with a wonderful milk finish that isn’t too dark or bitter.  It’s that classic high quality chocolate flavor that isn’t remarkable or complex but serves as a great foundation to building a solid scoop. The hazelnuts are ample and give big bursts of genuine nutty flavor.  They aren’t tiny pieces either – they’re entire chocolate covered nuts that bring not only a solid richness and big textural crunch, but extra sweetness as well because of the coating.  Hazelnut is not one of my favorite nuts but their unique, almost bitter flavor really shines in the sea of sweet chocolate.

image3
While the ice cream and hazelnuts are both very good, the real star of the show here is the hazelnut cookie fudge ribbon; a thick fudgey ganache with crunched up cookie grit and fantastic pops of saltiness.  The darkness of the ribbon flourishes against the lighter chocolate base and the salt cuts through the dominant sweet flavors bringing the whole experience together.  I’ve always felt that BR does ribbons really well and this one truly makes all of the flavors sing and elevates it beyond what would have been a fairly basic scoop.

image4
If you love Nutella you’re going to love this flavor; there are no if ands or buts that this scoop delivers huge chocolate hazelnut satisfaction.  If you’re like me, and think Nutella is good but a touch overrated and you really fist pump for team peanut butter, you will likely also find this February offering surprisingly delicious.  I went into this expecting to be slightly underwhelmed but the variance in texture and layers of chocolate made it much more interesting than I thought it would be, and is a worthy side piece to Love Potion #31.

Rating: 8.5/10

REVIEW: Baskin Robbin’s Superfudge Truffle

New year, new flavors, new excitement.  Even though they didn’t close out the year with the strongest choices, I will always look forward to the Baskin Robbin’s flavor of the month.  January 2017 sees a return of a former featured favorite from BR’s past, Superfudge Truffle, which combines a rich chocolate fudge ice cream with decadent chocolate truffle and toffee truffle pieces.

image1
Are you a fan of chocolate?  Meet your new heroin.  This is one of the richest, thickest, chocolate on chocolate onslaughts I have ever scooped into and it is GOOD.  There’s no beating around the bush with the decadence in this ice cream – the chocolate fudge base is so fully loaded with chocolate it’s nearly black with a sticky brownie-batter like texture.  The base, while called fudge, is actually better than most fudge’s I’ve had because it isn’t so overwhelmingly sweet that it’ll give you a headache (like most fudges are).  Just when you think you’ve hit the ceiling of chocolate indulgence you frequently run into a chocolate truffle, which melts with the luxurious texture you’d expect, and stands up to the deep darkness of the fudge cream.

image2
One of my concerns going into this flavor was that there would be no reprieve from the chocolate, but the use of the toffee truffles works surprisingly well.  While still chocolate in nature, the toffee truffles give a slight crunch and burst of saltiness that not only provides the palate a break from the cocoa but highlights its full bodied brilliance even more.  Because toffee has a buttery and salty profile, as opposed to the pure sweetness of caramel or white chocolate, the alternating types of truffles keep the flavor fresh and insanely addictive.  Some of them have a crunch like a giant chocolate chip and some of them blend their way into the chocolate fudge backdrop.

This flavor is very similar to another Baskin Robbin’s classic that flows in and out of rotation – Mississippi Mud – which combines chocolate fudge ice cream with regular chocolate ice cream, fudge chunks, and a fudge ribbon.  Mississippi Mud was my go-to for total chocolate annihilation when it was available, and Superfudge might even best it because of the use of only the fudge base and the inclusion of the toffee truffles.  Superfudge Truffle is on par with the best flavors Baskin Robbin’s have released the last couple of years, AND, when it’s all gone it leaves dark chocolate psychedelic artwork in your cup.  Double win.

Rating: 9/10

image3

REVIEW: Baskin Robbin’s Peppermint Bark in the Dark

Although still technically autumn, the flavor gods have officially decided it’s time to be immersed in a wintery mintery wonderland as crisp and cool as the air outside.  For the last week or so it feels like the air may as well be peppermint flavored as that has been the dominant taste every time I’ve opened my mouth.  Baskin Robbins have decided to fittingly join the party with their December flavor of the month Peppermint Bark in the Dark.

image11

Originally released in December of 2013, the flavor is as straight forward as it sounds – peppermint bark in chocolate ice cream.  The pairing of chocolate and mint is one of the most classic holiday flavors around, so classic that unlike eggnog or pecan pie it can be found year round in everything from York Peppermint Patties to BR’s own Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream.  It’s this common-place profile that makes this flavor a little bit of a letdown as the headliner of a year that brought both a new spin on a Halloween flavor (Trick Oreo Treat Dark) and cookies and cream mashed up with Frosted Flakes (Oreo Milk ’N Cereal).

The ice cream is good – a rich chocolate base that carries the essence of peppermint in every bite, with the occasional bursts of very strong peppermint and crunch from the bark – it’s just not anything particularly new or exciting.  The pieces of bark hold their own and deliver cool bursts that fill your mouth with Christmas cheer, floating along in a chocolate river with glassy-smooth texture.  The scoop that I got did not have nearly as many, or as big, chunks of peppermint bark in it as the promotional picture which is a bit of a rare letdown for Baskin Robbins.  The picture on their site and ingredients also imply some kind of ribbon which I didn’t have any of.  Again, the ice cream is solid and of high quality, just not as good as the previous two years’ December Flavors of the Month – York Peppermint Pattie and Oreo Cool Mint Chocolate – both of which had more elements to keep them exciting.

image2

Searching for them chunks and swirl – not so much

What would make this a more successful flavor?  One more component – a ribbon or swirl or additional mix-in (maybe it was supposed to be there, Baskin HR were of no help trying to figure this out), and maybe something less predictable.  Toss a marshmallow swirl in to highlight the white chocolate and call it “Santa’s Rocky Sleigh” or some spiced cookies and caramel and call it “Peppermint Stocking Stuffer” – something along those lines.  A perfectly suitable flavor for the holiday’s, just a tad bit boring and not anything you should rush to the scoop shop to try ahead of any other chocolate mint mash ups from other brands in grocery or otherwise.

Rating: 7/10