REVIEW: The Lion’s Pack Edible Cookie Dough (Chocolate Chip, Monster Cookie, Snickerdoodle, Teddy Dough, Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tart, Oreo Cake Batter, Snickers Candy Bar)

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As big of a consumer as I am of protein bars and powders, I’m a bit wary of the massive smattering of novelty protein items hitting the shelves these days. Cookies, cakes, and candies don’t tend to work as well, both in terms of nutrition and taste, and the macro-to-taste enjoyment ratio is usually off. I first got wind of The Lion’s Pack last year and ordered a couple of their protein peanut butter spreads, which I thought were fine tasting but texturally pretty off. At the time they also offered a number of protein cookie dough’s, but they looked odd and didn’t seem very appealing at all. In the last six or so months the company have been aggressively promoting the reformulating of their dough recipe, and from what I’ve seen it looks solid. The dough’s are all vegan, gluten free, and made-to-order, with over 20 flavors to choose from.

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REVIEW: Baskin Robbins Candy Bar Mashup

This review is a big one for me, as it marks the one year anniversary of Sean’s Skillet. While the actual day isn’t until the end of the month, this blog began on October 30, 2016 with a review of Baskin Robbins’ Treat Oreo Treat Dark, and since then writing about the Flavor of the Month has been the only constant recurring series I’ve done – a true labor of love. Although BR are the biggest scoop shop chain in the world, they get largely overlooked by real ice cream aficionados, and a lot of the folks that I observe frequenting the shop stick to the classics or one of the 30-40 varieties that are familiar in the dip case.

I love Baskin Robbins, I grew up going there and have always been fascinated by the limited flavors and some of the incredible seasonal’s like America’s Birthday Cake. For years my October would truly feel real at the sight of Oreo’s with orange creme, and they are put to no better use than in the Baskin staple Trick Oreo Treat. Much like last year, BR are keeping the original TOT as a seasonal offering and bringing us an all new Halloween themed scoop to welcome the spookiest time of year. Candy Bar Mashup combines Snickers, Milky Way, and Twix in chocolate ice cream swirled with a caramel ribbon.

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The chocolate base is very standard in terms of its flavor, but immediately jumps out at me as feeling lighter than what I’m used to. It has a mellow, creamy chocolate presence that isn’t very exciting or offensive, but the lighter texture is a bit distracting. While I would never consider BR to be super premium, I am used to them being fairly close to the density of Ben & Jerry’s, at around 15 grams of fat per serving, and this is inching closer towards Dreyers territory (but not nearly that thin, and not gummy at all). Baskin Robbins do offer some amazing chocolate in Mississippi Mud and Superfudge Truffle, but this base is incredibly basic, and unfortunately, boring.

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The mix-ins bring a bit of halloween flair, but let’s be honest, where are the peanut butter cups? The Twix pieces are exactly the same as this years’ Made with Twix, which utilized separate pieces of the shortbread cookie covered in chocolate with no caramel. These pieces are the most prominent mix-in, at least in my scoop, and have the wonderful buttery crumbly crunch of the Twix cookies that add a little bit of intrigue to the relatively flat chocolate. The caramel swirl is minimal but present with the occasional gooey sweet highlight that naturally compliments the cookie very well.

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Snickers and Milky Way are definitely the co-stars here, and make only a few appearances in my cup. The pieces are significantly smaller than the Twix, and the Milky Way are only identifiable by their oddly hardened nougat-caramel combination and don’t really stand out against the already present chocolate and caramel. The baby chunks of Snickers bring a slight fatty peanut pop, which is great, but leaves me asking again – WHERE are the PB cups?

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While Candy Bar Mashup isn’t a failure by any means, it feels pretty safe, uninspired, and lacking in any true spooky holiday whimsy. I wish Baskin Robbins had brought back Trick Oreo Treat Dark, who’s dark fudge ribbon really set the flavor off to indulgent depths that this mashup only wishes it could touch.

Rating: 7/10
Found at: Baskin Robbins ($2.99)
Quick Nutrition: 290 cal – 15g fat – 9g sat fat – 150mg sodium – 35g carbs – 1g fiber – 28g sugar – 5g protein

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BAR BATTLE: Grenade Carb Killa Chocolate Cream vs. Chocolate Crunch

After the insanely impressive success of the White Chocolate Cookie bar and the relative letdown of Caramel Chaos, it seemed only fitting to pit Grenade’s two U.S. available chocolate flavored bars – cream and crunch – in a completely irrelevant and awesome bar battle to the death.  In reality this is just two reviews crammed into one, but all that sounds pretty fun doesn’t it?

First up – Chocolate Cream.

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This bar has a chocolate cream center with a layer of caramel coated in milk chocolate, all revolving around a whey protein base.  Unfortunately, this bar was neither creamy or particularly chocolatey and resulted in immediate disappointment.

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The inside looked gorgeous, with a fluffy protein core topped by thin whispy caramel and was very similar to the Caramel Chaos without the elements that made that bar redeemable – the caramel flavor and crisp crunch.  The promised flavor fell completely flat and left me searching for more bite after bite.

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This bar is fine, as in passable, but it isn’t adding anything new to the protein bar game, which a truly creamy chocolate bar would.  When I hear chocolate cream I think of truffles or the center of a Cadbury egg, or at the very least a rich deep cocoa flavor, and none of those were present in this bar.  What’s good about this bar is the same thing that makes white cookie so great without any notable strong flavors or inventiveness.  Ultimately it’s perfectly edible and has solid macros but isn’t replacing any of the other established chocolate protein bars (Combat Crunch, Quest) that have been doing it for years.

Rating: 6/10

And the challenger – Chocolate Crunch.

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This bar comes in a golden wrapper – does that mean it’s actually the reigning champ and not the challenger?  Is this foreshadowing?  Yes.  This bar is solid.

The name “Chocolate Crunch” is a bit misleading because a prominent flavor in this bar is peanuts.  Listed in the description, peanuts, in both their taste and texture, play a bigger role in making this bar successful than the chocolate, which is present but greatly amplified by the nuts.  The half real, half artificial (you know the taste) flavor of peanuts is the first and last thing you taste, rounded out very nicely by the coating of chocolate.
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Speaking of successful, the caramel here is very different than the other three bars – it’s thick and solid with a chewy texture that is new and awesome.

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This bar, much like its white chocolate all star, is channeling a liquor store classic – SNICKERS.  The peanuty protein base becomes distinctly like the texture of nougat and the nuts and caramel work together to complete the package.  This isn’t as dead-on of a copy as the white cookie but it took me by pleasant surprise that this bar tasted nothing like I expected.  I didn’t anticipate the bar to taste bad I just had no idea it would take me back to the candy aisle and eager to reach for another.

Rating: 8/10

Chocolate Crunch absolutely destroys Chocolate Cream and will earn its slot in any Snickers-loving protein bar munchers’ rotation with ease.  A great nutritional profile with flavor to back it up, the gold wrapper is a fitting home for a bar that channels one of the greatest candies of all time.

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OOEY GOOEY CHAMPION!