REVIEW: Tastykake Gingerbread Mini Donuts

There’s nothing quite like a powdered mini donut.  Packaged in a roll of six from a dark vending machine or lonely gas station, the tube of sugary delight never fails to deliver a messy Scarface-like experience of pure sweetness.  The only problem with these types of donuts is that despite their fun fluffy texture they’re relatively one dimensional when it comes to flavor – straight sugar.  Just in time for the holidays Tastykake have solved this issue with Gingerbread Mini Donuts.


Unlike their lighter-colored year round sibling, the gingerbread version of Tastykake’s donuts deliver a wallop of spicy layers to back up their already perfect bouncy texture.  Rather than being covered in a dusting of powdered sugar, these donuts are taken up a notch with a robust shaking of ginger and cinnamon that erupts from the bag and translates just as convincingly to the tongue.  You don’t have to search for any traces of gingerbread as you can see the specks of brown all over the donut and the flavors completely smack you in the face to finish with spice-dominance that makes me think they used cloves in the mix as well.  The ginger here isn’t the raw ginger that tingles in your nose, but more of a ground ginger blended with cinnamon that meshes perfectly with the powdered sugar to create the ideal seasonal spice.


Additionally, the clever snack-ologists at Tastykake have put some kind of spice into the donut dough as well, as you can see little brown dots mixed in with a darker-than-usual cake that hints more towards tan than yellow.

The two-toned punch of spiced cake and spiced powder makes these incredibly successful and a worthy shakeup from the usual donette.  Whether it be Tastykake or Hostess or Little Debbie I’ve never found any flavors of mini donuts to be truly worth it aside from the classic powdered or chocolate, but these ones give both of those a run for their money.  More complex than any that have come before them but equally satisfying in their junky splendor, these Gingerbread ‘nuts are a slam dunk worthy of your Christmas calories.

Rating: 8/10

RECIPE: Whole Wheat Spicy Gingerbread Muffins

Happy Holidays! It’s officially the best time of the year – full of foggy breath, peppermint, egg nog, and GINGERBREAD. Yes, one of the greatest flavors of the season is the merry marriage of molasses and spice. These muffins mostly focus on the moist bready aspect of the ginger experience, but one of the best parts of eating a good gingerbread man cookie is the cutting sweetness of the icing on his head, arms, and belly. I add just a touch of white chocolate to emulate that occasional sweetness that gives a little whimsy to your typical ginger muffin.


I like to do my baking in small batches, so when I find recipes in books or online I tend to cut them in half, which takes some math and some guessing – expertly reflected here.  I also like my spice-cake recipes pretty aggressive so here’s my take on some whole wheat, “kinda healthy but let’s not act like it’s not a muffin” gingerbread muffins.  Recipe makes six muffins, to make a full batch of 12 just double all the measurements.

What you’ll need:

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (can substitute all cream or yogurt if preferred)

1 cup white whole wheat flour (or any kind of flour you like)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
A couple cracks fresh black pepper
Turbinado sugar for topping (and/or other coarse sugar)

1/3 cup white chocolate chips/chunks

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Melt the coconut oil and whisk with molasses.


In another bowl whisk egg, maple syrup, sour cream, yogurt, and ginger. Let it come to room temperature or microwave 30-40 seconds. Add the creamy mixture to the molasses and whisk until combined.


In another smaller bowl add the flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, black pepper, and cinnamon.  Mix them together well and then stir into wet ingredients until just combined. Fold in white chocolate.


Spoon evenly into muffin tin sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Top evenly with turbinado sugar and other sugars if you have them (I used turbinado and red decorating sugar). Top each muffin with a little shake of cinnamon.


Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the tops are firm to the touch and a fork/toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Stand over the oven and inhale the insanely delicious smelling warm air taking over your kitchen.


Eat share and enjoy!!!



REVIEW: Fit Joy Iced Gingerbread Cookie

This summer Fit Joy burst onto the protein scene, pecs-a-boomin, and have been relentless in their attempt to dominant the market ever since. I’m not sure who their connect is but based on their prominent displays and promotions at GNC, The Vitamin Shoppe, and others, they really truly have the plug. After launching with six flavors, Fit Joy followed up with a limited seasonal Homemade Pumpkin Pie bar (which was okay), and are now trying to tempt Kris Kringle with additional holiday offerings. The first of these winter collection bars is Iced Gingerbread Cookie.


Visually the bar is the same as all other non-cookie dough and mint Fit Joy‘s – a whey protein rectangle dipped in yogurt and topped with a garnish. The topping on this bar looks like little pieces of gingerbread cookies with the mellow aroma of cinnamon. The overall smell of the bar isn’t much different from the pumpkin pie or cinnamon bun with a sweet and subdued spice.

Biting in, a slightly crunchy texture from little crispy balls hidden inside the protein base gives way to a yogurt-driven sweetness that turns into a wonderful sharp ginger flavor. The ginger tastes authentic and finishes with the perfect spicy tingle that leaves you wanting more. The sweetness is on par with other Fit Joy flavors – definitely a dominant role but not overpowering or fake tasting in any way. The cinnamon crisps on top of the bar do a good job of emulating some of the snap you would get from a ginger cookie while also adding more cinnamon flavor.
What makes this bar successful is that “Organic Ginger” appears in the ingredient list ahead of Stevia, and the experience as a whole feels more like eating a gingerbread cookie and less like a stick of fake sugar, which can’t be said for all protein bars.  Other companies should take notice and try and use more real ingredients when emulating flavors – especially spices.  Fit Joy’s mission statement is to use no artificial preservatives or sweeteners and the resulting experience is clean and refreshing.

Overall this bar is more impressive than their Homemade Pumpkin Pie and ranks among the best of their initial launch line, in the same class as Chocolate Peanut Butter, French Vanilla Almond, and Chocolate Iced Brownie. Great to see a protein bar company tackle a slightly different flavor than what’s on the market and have lots of success.

Rating: 8/10

Quick Nutrition: 220 cals – 10mg Cholesterol – 190mg Sodium – 24g Carbs – 10g Fiber – 5g Sugar – 20g Protein