Haagen-Dazs recently released a new City Sweets collection, comprised of both bars and “pints” (14 ounce containers instead of what should be 16, but they’ve been doing this since 2009 so it’s no new controversy). The new ice creams go for a straight forward dessert-centric and “indulgent” profile, paying homage to black and white cookies, cake pops, and one that called my name immediately: Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel — chocolate ice cream with creamy peanut butter swirls and lightly salted pretzel pieces.
This “pint” is…confusing. Chocolate Peanut Butter is one of the stand out staples from HD, so adding the hit-or-miss pretzels should make its success dependent on the mix-in, but this is not the HD chocolate I thought I knew. Simply put, this ice cream tempers like shit.
As you can see in the pictures it stayed really firm and hard to scoop after over 10 minutes on the counter, nearly 15. To peel behind the curtain: when I review a pint I’ll usually let it soften for 5-10 minutes, do some scooping and picture taking, then let it sit in the bowl for another 5 or so before it’s at its perfect temperature. This ice cream simply never let up, I couldn’t get a decent spoon shot and it was frustrating; but eventually I figured it out — peanut butter overload!
There is so much peanut butter mixed throughout that it never found its smooth and creamy sweet spot. If that was the only issue I would have been fine with it, but the base doesn’t taste right either. It’s extremely light. The chocolate flavor is mild and boring and lacking any kind of character that can stand up to the salty magnificence of PB and pretzels. A lot of my fellow reviewers complain about B&J’s chocolate (I actually like it!) but THIS is a true mediocre chocolate, especially coming from a company known for having some of the best base quality in the grocery store.
That being said — the mix-in game here is stronger than anticipated. As mentioned earlier, tons of peanut butter, maybe to the detriment of the pint as a whole, and also lot’s of pretzels. The pretzels have an admirable success rate of crunchiness too, probably 80%, which I’ve learned over the years is on the higher end of realistic. This flavor feels like HD tried to take more of a B&J approach and hit on the mix-ins but missed on the foundation that makes their company great — the quality of the ice cream.
Peanut butter and chocolate. One of the greatest flavor combinations known to man and no stranger to the magical melty world of ice cream. It’s that hard to top yin and yang of sweet and salty and creamy and fatty that ultimately just equates to yummy and delicious. As many times as companies have put their own stamp on the classic team up, we’re seventeen years into the 21st century and STILL getting new takes. Brand new for this year, Haagen-Dazs try another spin on the sweet treat all star with Peanut Butter Salted Fudge, which combines peanut butter ice cream with chocolate covered peanuts and a salted fudge swirl.
The peanut butter ice cream is smooth and sweet with a notable salty shine that immediately reminds me of biting into the iconic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Despite trying to emulate peanut butter, the base itself isn’t too heavy or dense and has a very nice light and creamy mouthfeel that is neither too soft or dense.
The salted fudge ribbons help aid in the execution of the light yet decadent experience in that they start with a sweet cocoa flavor and finish with a strong saltiness that lingers with a little dance on my tongue. The ribbon is mostly integrated throughout in thin sheets which gives most bites a much more chocolate peanut butter flavor than pure peanut butter, with neither flavor becoming too dominant over the other. There are occasional larger chunks of the salted chocolate that deliver a quick burst of sweetness before melting away and beg me to keep on digging.
As good as the other two components are, the real star of the show here is the chocolate covered peanuts. I don’t think I’ve ever had chocolate covered peanuts in ice cream before and I’ll be damned if I don’t feel like I’ve been robbed of an incredible mix in for nearly 30 years of my life. The peanuts have kept all the snap and crunch that makes them such an undeniable snack and work in perfect harmony with the ribbons and cream to emulate the frozen experience of eating the world’s best chocolate cup. The flavor and texture immediately reminds me of Hershey’s Mr. Goodbar and all the elements combined taste exactly like Mr. Goodbar seduced a fine young Mrs. Reese’s and spawned the baby that is Peanut Butter Salted Fudge.
This new release from Haagen-Dazs isn’t reinventing the wheel by any means but it delivers a fantastic take on chocolate peanut butter that is a welcome addition to a freezer aisle with many variations on the classic combo.