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.

image1

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.

image2

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.

image3

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?

image4

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

image5

Advertisements

REVIEW: Baskin Robbins Made with Twix Bars

Twix are an all time top 5 candy bar for me, and with the recent release of the very successful and delicious Twix Dark, it feels like the cookie candy hybrid bar is getting some legit time in the limelight; but still seem very underutilized in the ice cream world.  While it’s fairly common to see M&M’s, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and even Snickers churned into succulent scoops, the layered caramel magic of Twix rarely finds itself mixed into any decent cream – until now.  Following up on their core lineup’s “Made with Snickers” and last years June Flavor of the Month “Made with Milky Way”, Baskin Robbins are back in the candy cream game via Made with Twix Bars, which combines Twix bar cookie pieces, chocolate flakes, and a caramel ribbon with both caramel and chocolate malt ice creams.

image1
The base ice cream is different than I expected, with a bit more cohesion and blending than two separate flavors being put into one scoop.  I anticipated something more along the lines of Gold Medal Ribbon, where there are distinct layers of chocolate and vanilla, but here the caramel and chocolate malt have fused together to make more of an off-white, and ultimately pretty Twix-y flavor.  There are traces of malt, but the chocolate is pretty light and subdued, with some sweet and also subdued caramel notes lingering underneath.  The taste really is reminiscent of a Twix with an overall sweet and slightly bread-y (malt) flavor that channels the marriage of the cookie and caramel in the bar, but overall it’s lacking a little bit of pop.

image3
The caramel swirl is a tasty and straight-forward sweet with no salty or deep burnt tones.  It’s well-executed and again, very reminiscent of the caramel in a Twix, but I wish there was more of it.  The ribbons are a bit thin and too scattered throughout to add the layer of richness that I want, and with caramel being such a prominent note in a Twix I’m searching for more of that gooey goodness, especially with the base not carrying as many strong caramel notes as I would like.

The mix-ins are also a little different than I imagined, and rather than being pieces of chopped up regular Twix bars, it’s just the cookie portion of the Twix covered in chocolate with no caramel.  This was a actually a pretty smart move, as sometimes thicker chunks of caramel can freeze hard in ice cream, and the cookies maintained all of their crunchy crumbly texture without being compromised by anything tough and tooth-threatening.  The chocolate flakes are pretty big by BR standards and do good to add a solid milk chocolate flavor to most bites.

image2
Overall this is a pretty solid interpretation of Twix in ice cream form, with actual Twix mixed in and a base that mirrors the flavors of the candy bar itself.  I really appreciate it when an ice cream can operate on multiple levels rather than just throwing something into vanilla ice cream (an issue I have with BR’s Reese’s flavor), and this scoop is testament that a little extra effort can go a long way.  With more caramel and a couple more cookie pieces this could have been one of Baskin Robbins’ more impressive LTO flavors, but as it stands it falls a bit short of being a classic.

Rating: 7/10
Found at: Baskin Robbins

image4

EGG-POCALYPSE: 17 Egg Chocolate Easter Battle (updated 2018!)

Even though Halloween is the universally loved and official holiday of candy consumption, any true sugar aficionado knows that Easter is a very close second. While you’ve gotta pay respects to the classics, the truth is that the days of stale jelly beans and yellow Peeps are long gone, and the limited candies of spring come in many shapes and sizes – but most notably, eggs. Some eggs are spring staples that only pop up once a year, and some are simply re-shaped versions of year ’round candy classics.

To truly up my husky boy knowledge I decided to embark on a 17 egg Egg-pocalypse pitting all of the commonly available candies against each other that can be found at Safeway, Target, Walgreens, and many other fine sugar-peddling stores in March and April.  When ranking the eggs I kept in mind overall flavor, execution, difference or similarity based non-seasonal versions of the candy, whether or not I felt the need to buy another one before summer comes, and of course, my personal taste bud bias. I also limited it to only full-sized eggs because mini is a whole different war for a different day.  Let the battle BEGIN!

image6

17. Cadbury Chocolate Creme Egg

image3

Thick frosting-esque chocolate filling inside of a milk chocolate shell. Very sweet and becomes fairly single noted after two bites. It’s not disgusting but definitely doesn’t make me want more. Would be better with a darker more bitter filling or some other type of contrast – very forgettable and easy to skip.

16. Cadbury Creme Egg

image2

I used to like these a lot when I was younger but now I find them way too sweet. The creme has a strange not quite marshmallow and not quite caramel texture that is off-putting and tastes like eating an icing made with tons of powdered sugar and lacks any sort of balance.

15. Nestle Crunch Egg

image5

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this egg at all, in fact, it’s pretty awesome, it’s just a relatively straight forward chocolate experience – like the thickest most epic Crunch bar you’ve ever had. While I like Crunch bars quite a bit, I usually just enjoy them in mini size around Halloween and don’t ever seek out a full sized version – that’s kind of how I feel about this egg. Executed really well – sweet and crunchy, but not something I feel the need to buy again.

 

14. Russell Stover Marshmallow Egg

image3

Thin but smooth milk chocolate with a very creamy, almost wet marshmallow center. It’s like a gooey cross between a creme and a marshmallow. Soft hints of vanilla and not too sweet, which wasn’t what I was expecting and was surprisingly good.

13. Russell Stover Coconut Cream Egg

image4

This is like a sweeter, cheaper, marshmallow-y Mounds bar with decent dark chocolate coating and slightly gritty but fluffy coconut insides. The filling is far from pure coconut but has enough flakes to give the proper flavor and is a pretty enjoyable candy. The texture on this one almost reminds me more of marshmallow than in the marshmallow egg.

12. Almond Joy Egg

IMG_9380

This egg is in the exact same vein as the Crunch egg above but slightly better – there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just very similar to the year-round available version. Almond Joy’s already have a bit of an egg shape so this was a very natural progression, just thicker and more intense. Imagine if you stacked both pieces of an Almond Joy on top of each other and removed one of the almonds – that’s pretty much what you get here. Delicious sweet coconut with creamy milk chocolate. It’s classic.

11. Dove Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Egg

image4

High quality smooth milk chocolate with a much more chocolate forward flavor than the Reese’s staple.  It’s lacking some of the peanut butter punch with the PB getting overpowered and almost becomes too rich without any salty relief. It’s a well made product but not super craveable or classic like its competition, although it’s still peanut butter and chocolate so hard to deny.

10. Cadbury Caramel Egg 

image1

Good quality milk chocolate shell filled with thick gooey caramel that has a slight hint of butterscotch. Not salty at all but not as overwhelmingly sweet as the original  Cadbury Egg, and for a sweet Easter basket treat this is definitely my favorite that Cadbury offers.

9. Twix Egg

image1

It’s a Twix. It looks and eats like a slightly less tall more wide version of the original Twix bar. I’m not sure if it’s my recent experience with the giant Twix egg but the cookie seems a little less crunchy than what I expected. It’s a wonderful combination of chocolate, cookie, and caramel that is delicious but less so than the regular longer bar, where the added height gives a bit more textural excitement.

8. Snickers Egg

image2

It’s a snickers. Very similar ratios to a standard bar but just slightly more caramel and slightly less nougat.  For most people I think Snickers is a top 5 candy bar during the regular part of the year so this doesn’t disappoint, but it doesn’t exceed expectations either.  I recall the Christmas Nutcracker having bigger peanuts and more drastically different ratios of caramel and nougat, which I was hoping for here but didn’t get.

7. Turtles Egg

image4

The chocolate shell is thinner than what you get with a Cadbury egg but what’s on the inside is twice as nice. This thing is packed with caramel and pecans so much so that you get both in every bite. The caramel is thick and not too runny, holding the pecans together, which tempers the overall sweetness for a well rounded turtle treat that’s so rich it almost becomes savory with a hint of pecan pie.  Delicious.

6. Lindt Lindor Milk Chocolate Truffle Egg

image5

This is exactly as advertised, and basically, “wow”. It’s a bigger and stretched out version of the Lindor milk chocolate truffle, aka an incredibly smooth and velvety chocolate that is as rich as butter with a perfect amount of sweetness. Very decadent, very delicious, almost feels as though it’s in a different class of quality than all of the other eggs, but, that doesn’t mean it’s the best.

5. Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cup Egg

image3

A crunchy peanut butter cup with salty golden Butterfinger flakes embedded within the butter that pairs really well the milk chocolate. I like their regular cups and I think this one may benefit in the same way that the Reese’s eggs do with a bit more height to give a stronger PB to chocolate ratio.  This egg was an absolute surprise to crack my top 5 but I could not deny its deliciousness.

4. Reese’s 3D Egg

IMG_9379

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are my favorite candy ever, and they have, in my opinion, the perfect balance of sweet and salty PB to chocolate ratio. The only thing that trumps the original is the egg variety, which puts a greater emphasis on the salty peanut butter. The 3D version of a Reese’s egg also changes the ratio, but this time favors chocolate over PB. The thick outer shell of milk chocolate is delicious and creamy but asserts itself a bit strongly for the salty subtleties of the filling. The inside of the egg is also different than your usual Reese’s with a creamier but also gritter consistency than what the tried-and-true “flat” eggs offer. Wonderful egg, and still better than most, but can’t mess with my PB-lovin’ heart.

3. Oreo Egg

image5

Less sweet than a Cadbury egg and more texturally intriguing, this is the 2017 answer to what I thought the Cadbury egg was when I was younger. The slight crunch of the cookies makes it much more interesting with a little bit of contrast and the creme does taste a lot like the inside of an Oreo. The outer milk chocolate is smooth and creamy and on par with Hershey’s, maybe just slightly below Cadbury, but the overall balance is much better.  I’m a big fan of last years Oreo candy bar and this is just like that except bursting with creme filling.

2. White Reese’s Egg

image1

Just like the regular Reese’s egg this is exactly like the white cup but plumper with greater peanut butter to chocolate ratio. It works just as well, popping with sweet salty peanut flavor, but much like with the regular cups, it’s hard to dethrone the original no matter how good a variation can be.

1. Reese’s Egg

image2

It’s a big debate among Reese’s fanatics but the egg is often regarded as the GOAT of all Reese’s seasonal shapes among hearts and pumpkins and I am definitely in that camp. The PB to chocolate ratio is through the roof with more peanut butter than your typical Reese’s cups. While I have no problem with the original at all, these eggs explode with rich sweet peanut butter flavor that is always fresh and worth savoring every bite.  The classic milk chocolate Reese’s egg is a must have every spring and the true champion of my Easter basket heart.

Well, there you have it – my ranking of seventeen different chocolate eggs!  What do you think?  Did I completely mess it up or are my taste buds spot on?  Let me know in the comments what your favorite eggs are and any amazing ones I may have missed!