REVIEW: Keebler Limited Batch Pumpkin Spice Fudge Stripes

Autumn is my favorite time of year, and thank goodness it is officially HERE! Not just for the more relaxed weather, longer periods of darkness, and constant swirl of spices in the air, but the landscape simply looks prettier. There’s something stunningly gorgeous about the environment dying and evolving everywhere you turn, and I’ve got to imagine there would be no more shockingly gorgeous transformation than in the mystical land of Hollow Tree. Yes, rumor has it, the small, incredibly dangerous tree-kitchen where the Keebler Elves do all of their baking, is quite the site to be seen come October, evolving from bright greens and yellows to a wash of orange, red, and brown. It is with this spectacular autumnal view that for the last few years Ernie and his clan of miniature baking enthusiasts have rolled out Limited Batch Pumpkin Spice Fudge Stripes, and this year they’ve arrived well before the leaves have fallen.

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The cookies carry a soft, creamy, vanilla, and spicy smell that doesn’t immediately register “pumpkin” in my mind but definitely conjures up “spice”. It’s funny how such an odd squash can have a particular smell and taste, but it does, and I don’t get any of that here. The deep brown-orange color is pleasant on the eye and the drizzle/pattern work is par the course for all Fudge Stripes.

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The flavor is a little bit different than I anticipated and surprisingly ginger-forward, followed by nutmeg, and then least represented is the cinnamon and a touch of cloves. This is pretty refreshing as many companies will label something “pumpkin spice” and just toss cinnamon into the mix, but Keebler went with the less common fall components to be the star of this stripe show. Even though ginger is unmistakably the lead flavor, it doesn’t have the usual accompanying tongue sizzle, as the taste is mellowed out by the creamy vanilla-y sweet stripe and slightly tamer nutmeg. Texturally they’re exactly the same as other Stripes – soft and crumbly with a gentle snap that falls somewhere in between your average grocery cookie and real deal shortbread.

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As is the case with all Limited Batch Fudge Stripes aside from Cinnamon Roll (which were decently cinnamon spicy), these cookies offer a full but subdued take on the flavor they’re aiming for. Even though they’re labeled as being a pumpkin cookie, I get more of a mellow gingersnap vibe from them, which is delicious and a very snack-able gateway into the seasons more intensely spiced options.

Rating: 8.5/10
Found at: Target ($2.99)
Quick Nutrition: 2 cookies – 140 cal – 7g fat – 4.5g sat fat – 85mg sodium – 18g carbs – 10g sugar

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REVIEW: Keebler Limited Batch Strawberry Cheesecake Fudge Stripes

Within any collective community or “scene” there are always different levels of dedication. There are casual sports fans who might don a team’s hat when they’re doing well, and then the guy who shows up shirtless to every game painted in the team’s colors. There are listeners of metal music that may fancy themselves a nice studded bracelet, and then there are those true-to-the-core metalhead badasses who don’t own a single piece of non-black clothing. There are part-timers who punch in 23 hours at their workplace, and then those who crawl their way in on Sunday’s and never push less than 60. There are the Taco Bell’s who are dedicated to the insanity and the McDonald’s who never stray too far from the path. You get the picture.

In the junk food world the levels of dedication can be measured by limited time offerings, and while Oreo reigns supreme in coming out with kooky cookies (Swedish Fish, Cotton Candy), Keebler have yet to really take any risks since delving into the LTO-iverse last year…until now. While they’ve played it generally close to the vest with Pumpkin Spice, Lemon, and Cinnamon, this summer the Elves took their first step towards true dedication, trying a flavor that is no easy task and could ultimately lead to Fudge Stripe failure – Strawberry Cheesecake.

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Ripping open the soft pink and off-white packaging reveals a distinctly tangy and cheesecake-y aroma. It’s mellow but sharp, and surprisingly less strawberry-forward than what I expected. These cookies were shipped to me straight from the Elfin land of Keebler’s Hollow Tree, and quite a few of them took a crumble tumble in travel, but that shouldn’t effect the taste at all. The intact cookies share in the same rosy pink as the package with the signature white “fudge” stripes on the top.

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Wow – these cookies are awesome. Much like the initial smell, the flavor that I get smacked with immediately is cheesecake, and to be honest I wasn’t expecting these to taste like cheesecake at all. I was anticipating a wallop of too-sweet artificial strawberry flavor with a hint of nondescript creaminess, more akin to a strawberries and cream, but these are tangy and cheesy with a great balance of sweetness. I’m not a big fan of fake strawberry, and I don’t get much of that flavor here at all, it may even be closer to cherry, as it just has a slightly tart fruity essence beneath the layer of cheesecake.

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The texture, like all Fudge Stripes, is a soft-yet-crumbly shortbread that brings a nice hit of butteriness beneath the cheesy berry flavors. Much like the Lemon Stripes, the flavors here are all around a bit muted, but with such notoriously bold tart and tangy potential I really appreciate the subtly they come across with. The ratios are spot on with the berry taking the backseat, because no one ever eats a slice of cheesecake drowning in sauce, it acts as the acidic highlight to the decadent cake, and that’s exactly what these cookies do.

Rating: 8.5/10
Found at: Sent to me from Keebler but can be found in stores and online (approx. $3)

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