Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Three weeks off gluten, and only one transgression so far. But life isn’t all neatly highlighted casebooks, amaranth flour, and health clubs. There’s the extremely important matter of dessert, which I confess I wasn’t too concerned with until 90% of it was off-limits. It’s gotten to a point where I’m shipping the Cookie Monster hardcore and clicking through the Betty Crocker product page before I go to bed, restless, dissatisfied. 

Speaking of Betty Crocker, she now has a new line of gluten-free desserts that are not only anointed by the gods of Putting Things on Shelves I can reach, but are actually tasty, too. At $4.79 for a box of rice flour and chocolate chips, the thought of paying mid-2008 gas prices for cookies was irritating, but intriguing. The cookies are easy to prepare and even easier to screw up- unless you use a few good tricks.

I read reports of these that were ridiculously varying- from crispy, flat cookies that had to be scraped off the pan to puffy, barely baked dough, so I tried to be preemptive. I didn’t change any of the ingredients, but did chill the dough for about two hours before baking.

Baked, the cookies range in size from penny to pasty, and are soft enough to cover a stripper’s nipple. They’re gorgeous and came out exactly like they did on the box. It seemed that despite the light color on top, the flour cooked much more quickly on the bottom, and didn’t absorb as much butter as regular cookies do. They left the pan greasy– personal injury greasy. I’d advise you use a non-stick pan in addition to butter, though, as they were inexplicably sticky after and were difficult to remove from the pan.
The flavor is extremely buttery. Combined with the very toasty, salty flavor of the rice flour, it almost tastes like a thick, more crumbly pancake, like Bisquick. With milk, the nutty flavor comes out even more, the resulting sips after each dunk tasting like the bottom of a bowl of cereal. I realized later that they reminded me of Rice Chex because they’re effectively made with the same base. They aren’t really viable for dunking. They hold together well enough, but the milk just gets absorbed into the cookie and makes it unpleasantly soggy. All in all, I really liked them. They weren’t spectacular, and they are still really expensive, at approximately 30 cents for a very small cookie, compared to those giant $2 buckets of chocolate chip cookies at the store for about 8 cents a cookie, but are much more pleasant of an alternative than I thought possible.

Liddabit Sweets Dorie Bar

I just joined a new fitness club in town. It’s pretty tony, with warm towel service, and private showers and changing rooms, and not a single meathead or college student in sight. That’s the most impressive part- or at least it was, until I saw the cat video. In addition to individual televisions, the gym also has a communal one with a slightly creepy, Big Brother-esque set of rotating messages like, ‘stretch before you exercise!’ ‘drink lots of water!’, and the ever-popular, ‘Planet Fitness is the enemy! Down with Planet Fitness! Glory to Supreme New York Sports Club!’ Sometimes they show videos or tips for women’s fitness, but today was something special. They showed a music video that looked more akin to something you’d see on Buzzfeed’s list of 28 Cat-Related Exercise Videos You Must See In Your Twenties- a fake advertisement slash music video for cat exercises, like the ab cruncher and paw extensions. It was mesmerizing, and absolutely nobody but me made any notice of it.

In other news, this is a candy bar I tried a while ago, back before the gluten sensitivity bullshit kicked in. This stuck out like a delicious sore thumb at the Fancy Food Show, with one of the more fascinating flavor combinations and packages that I’d seen. Liddabit Sweets has been around for a while, famous for their gourmet takes on classic candy bars. The Dorie, their newest bar, features a dark cocoa cookie base with a salted caramel ganache topping and chunks of sauteed dried apricots with black pepper, surrounded by milk chocolate. As I expected, the flavors were extremely ambitious, but not nearly as cohesive as I wanted them to be. The black pepper and interestingly, cardamom, are front and present, followed by jammy dried apricots and chocolate last. The cookies, salt, and caramel get lost in the more strong, spicy flavors.

I can’t say this is entirely surprising, but like the popcorn with brown butter, the overarching need to balance the richer, desserty flavors of chocolate and caramel with citrus and fruit elements leads to an imbalance in favor of the more acidic ingredients. It tastes like a piece of fruit cake, with the softness of the cookie acting as somewhat of a pastry. It’s much messier than I expected, which makes it difficult to share. Not bad, but lacking the distinction the ingredients lead me to believe it would have to set it apart from your average Cadbury Fruit and Nut bar.

Rosa Mexicano’s 10th Annual Ice Cream Festival, Boston, MA

Recently, on the eve of Whitey Bulger’s trial verdict, as it were, the Bedfellow and I made our way out to Boston. Boston and I are complicated. I see it as a lumbering, boorish, insouciant version of Manhattan with worse transit, and it hates me because I’m pretty. Unfortunately, it’s closer to my area than New York, and when we were offered the opportunity to test the Ice Cream Festival menu at Rosa Mexicano, it was more prudent to go to the Boston Seaport location.
Four hours and three changed reservations later, there we were, complimentary agua fresca in hand. My go-to-hell outfit may have been preemptive, but it certainly wasn’t in vain. Damn you, Boston, and your terrible drivers and perpetually sneered co-eds. The Seaport location is the newest of the Rosa franchise. 
We started off our dinner outside, right next to the water, with two cocktails and our ‘appetizer’ ice cream, a guacamole treat based off the tableside guacamole Rosa Mexicano is famous for. This guacamole is similar to its savory counterpart in name and key ingredient only—the avocado element is kept the same, replaced with avocado ice cream, and the savory add-ins are swapped out for white chocolate, raspberries, coconut crumble, fresh mint, and two types of sauces, served with cinnamon and sugar bunuelo chips.
Visually, it’s an impressive end to a meal that presumably includes guacamole, something I’d like to try the next time I go to Rosa. It’s served in the same molcajete, with the same giant serving spoon and the red, white, and green colors mimic all the colorful veggies inside the guac itself. Flavorwise, I can’t say that I felt the same balance. Some of the mix-ins worked brilliantly. I’m speaking to the mint and raspberries especially, providing an acidic and bright element that really coaxed out the light vegetal note of the avocado ice cream. Some lime juice or zest would have been perfect. However, the remaining toppings and bunuelos overwhelmed the ice cream, especially the raspberry sauce, which inexplicably caused the ice cream to have a strangely astringent flavor, and it ended up tasting too much like a generic sundae. 
Luckily, the sauces are served on the side, so you can add as much or as little as you please, or do as we did and just dip the bunuelos in them. The bunuelos are too fragile to hold up to the weight of the ice cream and serve more as visual props than key components. Also worth noting is that this will make a cumbersome, if playful date dessert. The chips are caked with cinnamon sugar and come with a written guarantee of spilling all over your shirt, skirt, or in my case, bow tie.
We followed that with the ice-cream stuffed churros. They come three to a plate, in three different flavors, underneath three different crumbles. The first was cajeta and sweet cream with chocolate ganache and chocolate crumbles. The ice cream was virtually indistinguishable beneath the fried pastry, but the chocolate crumbles stole the show, with a dark, deep, unsweetened flavor. A rose and hibiscus ice cream followed. This was the strongest in flavor, but would have been better sans churro. 
My favorite was the plantain and peanut butter, with peanut butter crumbles. This was the most balanced and had the most indulgent flavor. Unfortunately, the size made them difficult to eat in one bite or share, as each was rather leaky.
We took a break from ice cream to have a few drinks. The Silverado, with blood orange, blueberries, mint, and tequila, was summery, if a little vapid in flavor, but the Rosa take on the classic Michaelada was outstanding. The few sips I had were amazing- the drink was served with a tomato, cucumber, habanero, and pepper popsicle that melted with each sip. 
It was like drinking a boozy gazpacho, and the fresh vegetable flavors tempered the rich beer. My chief complaint was the amount of chile salt atop the glass- visually impressive, but far too intense for the size and components of the drink.
We finished our tasting with three paletas, or Mexican popsicles. These were served in vintage glasses, with various flavored crumbles at the bottom, fruit slices, and a white chocolate and spice rim. Fun additions, but ones that unfortunately took away from the fresh, intense fruit flavors of the popsicles themselves. We were encouraged to dip the popsicles into the crumble, which we’d somewhat wearied of at this juncture, but they wouldn’t stick to the pops and sat lifelessly at the bottom. The flavors were entertaining, especially the horchata-inspired popsicle, with soft, frozen pieces of cinnamon-infused rice.
There are some definite remediable inconsistencies, from dish to dish and even within individual plates, but overall, the menu is light and creative, and follows well with the theme of contemporary Mexican food. Service was fine, although my request for a small palate cleanser of the gherkin and jalapeno sorbet was forgotten amidst the deluge of richer fare. Rosa is always great for splashy, creative events, and I was happy to have made it over to enjoy this one. Much thanks to Rosa’s PR team and staff for hosting us.

2013 Summer Fancy Food Show, Day 1

Wow! What a year! We just returned from the 2013 Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City. And boy, are our mouths tired.

Another amazing show, another great summer event filled with old friends, new ones, tons of food, and plenty of new and exciting products to showcase before I get my cholesterol checked. We have come back with one of the craziest bounties yet, and are extremely excited to show you what’s in store.

We started our day out bright and early, leaving Connecticut on the train to New York. We were lucky enough to catch a little of the NY Pride excitement, too!
The first day was significantly less eventful than it’s been in previous years, likely due partially to the lack of sleep we’d had at the murder-y motel the evening before. At least we got to have Pepe’s summer tomato and sausage pie…

And a sweet lobster tail for dessert!
It could have also been because the first floor, typically the largest, was very quiet. Comprised mainly of international and some larger US sections, it just lacked the energy and excitement of the floor below. Still, we found some great products and spent some time at my personal favorite, Mexico’s cocktail booth with Junior Merino.

Here, we tried a knockout of a sweet corn, elderflower, hibiscus, pineapple, tequila, and lemongrass cocktail. Absolutely insane!

Pallini’s famous limoncello was next, along with a raspberry and a peach liqueur.

After getting our drink on, we admired some of the classic big shot products of the show, like huge legs of proscuitto from Fermin and 5J. 

Always a great snack!

This year had some of the prettiest packaging I’ve seen yet. From these brightly colored bottles and cans of olive oil from Italy, to some jewel-like bottles of balsamic vinegar inspired by perfume, the designs were sharp and pristine.

Cans that fly off the shelf!

Balsamic no. 20…for the lady and discerning gentleman.

Overall, our first day definitely swayed more toward the savory than the sweet side. We sampled more artisanal meats than our stomachs could handle, and checked out the latest from all of the cheese producers, too.

It seemed like the organization was tighter, but definitely led to a bit of monotony. There’s only so many square miles of cheese a person can eat in a day before she needs a break!

The Ginger People had a sauce fountain with their zippy ginger chili sauce for all to dip in. I was more amazed that I was able to sample the sauce without getting any on my shirt.

We bid the day goodbye with some dan dan noodles and a hot bath as the city moved below us.
Still, we had a great first day and met some wonderful new people with incredible products- stay tuned when we give you a peek of our second day, the two after-parties we checked out after the show, and finally, the top 15 sweet and savory products of 2013!

Sneak Peak and Trend Prediction for the 2013 Summer Fancy Food Show

Four solid years and here we are – the Summer Fancy Food Show is easily my favorite event of the entire year, birthdays, new car days, and No-Pants Thursday notwithstanding. We’ve been preparing, rejecting outfits, schmoozing with the finest of friends, and receiving samples left and right before the show to give you a sneak peek of what to expect from this year’s new products.

PS- I’ll give you the final update of Day 3 of my Cleanse tomorrow!

Trend Prediction

Here are the top five trends I anticipate seeing. In checking out the sofi nominees, perusing the exhibitor list, and receiving press releases, it looks like the surge of healthy ingredients in foods has not ebbed (although I’m still waiting for Cheetos to make a glorious return) but in the interest of separating from the gluten-free and ‘light’ trends of the past, now, fresh ingredients are taking a stand. We’ve been seeing tons of snacks and drinks that have been including coconut and supergreens/fruits. Here’s a breakdown at the top five trends I anticipate seeing throughout the year.

1.     Healthier/artisanal instant beverages

This is a particular favorite of mine as I absolutely adore instant drinks. Companies like Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen are crafting gourmet instant coffee packets, a trend I’d love to see with other microbrew coffee brands. Agave nectar from True Agave is making its debut, and also featured are a few variations of instant coconut water, and coconut water ice treats to cool your beverages down.

2.    Versatile, curious teas 

Savory teas and bi-temperature curious iced and hot teas are making their debut at the show from Numi and more.

3.      Sundried tomatoes

What used to be an afterthought on Italian-esque sandwiches is making a bold, flavorful comeback in condiment form. Pesto, ketchup, mayonnaise, tomato sauce, and more are being featured – I’m still waiting on chocolate-covered tomatoes.
4.      Exotic spices and alcohol in ice cream and candies

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams featured a meringue and absinthe ice cream this spring, and now Three Twins is bringing their cardamom ice cream to the show. Gelato Petrini is also showcasing their pistachio cardamom chip gelato and pineapple prosecco sorbet. Above, Marich debuts their coconut-curry cashews and dark chocolate chipotle and caramel almonds. And cat packaging from Monty Bojangles.


5.      Goat’s milk and sheep’s milk in various desserts and products

Greek yogurt has had its day in the sun, but how about sheep yogurt? Bellwether Farms is bringing their sheep’s milk yogurt to the show, along with goat cheese cheesecake and breakfast cheese from Belle Chevre, goat cheese pearls from Artisan Biscuits, and Rogue Creamery’s Blue Heaven blue cheese powder.


Here’s a small sample of the treats I’ve been receiving lately—no doubt you will see many more as the show continues! From this selection, I think this is going to be one of the best shows yet. There are some real knockout products here!

Cookies, candies, and confections abound- these seasonal cookies from Dr. Lucy’s were excellent, and packed with pumpkin puree. As were the other seasonal varieties, Merry Mint, Holiday Sugar, and Maple Crunch. I ate them in mere days!

Chuao is debuting their latest flavors at the show, too, in Orange-A-Go-Go and Pop Corn Pop. The latter really excited me, as it seeks to provide not only the flavor of popcorn, but the sensation of popcorn popping. Meta, anyone? I think it’s the best bar from Chuao yet, but you’ll have to read my deeper analysis after the show!

Tonewood’s exquisite maple wafers are up for a sofi- sweet, melting maple flavors in gorgeous packaging.

Hella Bitters from Brooklyn- perfect for the Old Fashioneds I’ve been dying to make the Bedfellow.

Brownie Points sent this gigantic red velvet brownie over along with about fifty other delicious treats- from this alone, I’m really impressed. It’s a massive, gooey confection with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting, like a portable layer cake, and wasn’t too sweet at all.


Queen City is back again, with more delicious schnecken! They’re bringing tons of flavors with them this year, like pumpkin, chocolate, and mallow magic, too.

Kelapo Coconut Oil, good for the skin, good for the food. And extra-good for the paleo banana pancakes I made this morning.

Last, but not least, butter and oat shortbread from Duchy’s.

Also, this. See you at the Fancy Food Show, everyone! I’ll be Instagramming, photographing, recapping, and stuffing my face. Juice cleanse who?

Cherrywood Kitchen, New York, NY

Cherrywood, in Soho, was a breath of fresh air, both from the overwhelming crowds of Mercer Street and the stifling afternoon heat last Wednesday. A new addition to a quieter part of town, Cherrywood offers a gilded interpretation of classic Asian and American flavors.

The décor is understated, almost a little generic with its blood-red curtains and eponymous wood accents strewn about the restaurant, high-ceilinged and classic like a more minimal boudoir. It is sprawling in all aspects and ends up feeling a little less intimate than the name Cherrywood Kitchen would suggest, but Cherrywood Study or Cherrywood Living Room ends up making more of a mouthful than the food. The upper catwalk of the main room had bookshelves and oddities along the shelves, which I craved more of than the small peek I received in gazing around.

The drink menu offers six cocktails, perfect for two to sample throughout an evening, and a reliable, if basic wine selection. The cocktails were what piqued my curiosity, utilizing an array of fresh fruits and ingredients, from the simple, but vibrant Botanical Gimlet, with Hendrick’s, tonic, lime, and cucumber, to the clever in the Cherrywood margarita, whose flavors were reminiscent of a craft cherry limeade. The vodka cider was my personal favorite – simple, clean flavors that perfectly complemented the ribs, with a punch of Cointreau to withstand the strong flavors of the meat. 

The Bedfellow was partial to her Manhattan, made with smoked orange peel. A serviceable sangria and delicate blood orange prosecco finished out the meal, before coffee and dessert wine. (Clockwise: Cherrywood margarita, vodka cider, blood orange prosecco, Manhattan, and Taylor Fladgate)

Our meal began with a selection of small appetizers and bread, the latter of which put other bread baskets to shame. Freshly baked ciabatta with whipped bleu cheese butter was en point, crispy and ethereally light on the inside, with a tender, flaky crunch. Tearing into it with our hands increased the satisfaction. Smeared with the earthy, equally light butter, we unabashedly ate two loaves in the blink of an eye.
We shared three small plates in lieu of larger appetizers – the miniature lobster ‘tacos’ with Old Bay hollandaise, short rib spring rolls, and housemade pickles. Syntactically, my eyes always gravitate toward interpretive dishes that riff off other dishes, it appeals to my meta aesthetics and inability to let go of my childhood whimsy. Luckily, this trend is rampant in modern cuisine, and even luckier, the lobster ‘tacos’ actually were tacos, served in petite hard taco shells made of spring roll dough, brimming with large, tender chunks of lobster. The egginess of the hollandaise disappeared amidst the bolder spices, the Old Bay reigned supreme. Three was an unwieldy number, and a contentious battle followed between the Bedfellow and I for the last bite.
The bite-sized spring rolls were devils in disguise, the crispy outer shells yielding to savory, succulent pieces of short rib, but they were elevated to a new level of appetizer elation with the au jus on the side, silky and deep with a slow-roasted flavor that we dipped the rolls, bread, tacos, and sneakily, our fingers in before we’d had enough.
Our final plate, the housemade pickles, were surprisingly varied in color and variety. I was expecting something of the bread and butter variety and received a Crayola-colored selection of snackable vegetables with a pungent, sweet set of flavors. Paired with crisp butter-roasted peanuts, it brought to mind a deconstructed Pad Thai.
The entrée selection sways from tastefully flashy to wriggling, almost uncomfortable levels of excitement – the tuna belly, caviar, heirloom tomato, and foie gras stuffed ribeye had an air of attention-seeking decadence whose description alone could have filled and killed us. It is easier to find satisfaction on the quirkier side of Cherrywood’s menu – the freshly killed, smoked chicken stuffed with eel, though technically apprehensive at times (tougher pieces of fat left on the bone and spines left in some parts of the eel) was robust both in portion and flavor.
We found greater harmony in the cherrywood-smoked ribs, intertwining Asian and American flavors with a deft, tender hand. The ribs had been cooked to perfection, nary a piece of fat or gristle left atop them, and carried a courageous, bold flavor balanced with soy, fish sauce and ginger to counteract the richer barbecue notes – ribs that have traveled, but do not forget their roots in Americana. Alongside a cool apple slaw (made with ‘local’ apples whose lineage I’m a hair inclined to dispute, as the Big Apple is more likely to outsource its apples to upstate rather than grow them in the metropolitan area itself), they were minimally garnished and correct in preparation.
After a brief repose to finish the last of our cocktails and gather our minds and stomachs for dessert, we studied the dessert menu, whose Franco-American-Asian pastries carried even more of a globe trot rather than a layover. Chef Cheung proves his hand in sweet as well as savory, especially with the cookies and cream, banana macaron, and coconut ice cream dessert, where caramelized bananas and milk chocolate mousse are nestled in light macaron shells in lieu of buttercream, alongside a pleasant, if somewhat redundant cookie crumble on the bottom, which, if nothing else, made for a decent textural diversion. The macaron shells are better sized to an American palate, far larger than their French descendants, but no less delicate and finely made.
The sesame fritters, recommended by our server, were baffling with an unexpected beauty. I was expecting a dessert dripping with honey, something similar to a Moroccan halwa chebakia, but was pleased to be presented with compact, dense balls covered in sesame with an unidentifiable, but glutinous, doughy interior similar to mochi, a stud of bittersweet chocolate in the center.The Taylor Fladgate 20, a classically sweet conclusion, mirrored the nutty, chocolatey flavors of the dessert.

Cherrywood is an approachably luxurious repose in the heat of the summer, and makes for a great dinner if you’re in the area and need a break from shopping or running around. They’ve been open for around six weeks and are already creating fascinating, innovative dishes that left us hungry for more from this Soho smoker. (Thanks to the team for having us by!)

Oreo’s Wonderfilled Campaign

Oreo’s latest ad campaign, Wonderfilled, features a song by a man who literally goes by the name Owl City! That’s the most absurd thing I’ve found out all week, outside of the realization that I am going to have to obtain internet via exposure therapy. Seriously, Starbucks is my ninth level of hell. I hope that’s how he’s billed at Jiffy Lube and how the servers shout his order at Five Guys. Owl City. On the plus side, the hipster swooning that elicits must be insane. In any case, I received the press package for the campaign this week, which contained an Oreo book, and a set of three things to play, learn, and share: an iPod loaded up with the new Owl City song, an Oreo-shaped thumbdrive, and Oreos. I sense a theme!

Having already forced my latest bedfellow (henceforth known as Bedfellow) to read the book with me, which made for an entirely awkward evening, I decided to focus on the song bright and early in the morning, while my ears were at their keenest. The campaign is pretty cute and centers around aggressively tying the abstract concept of ‘wonder’ to America’s favorite cookie. “Wonder can be twisted, licked, dunked, stacked, rolled, crunched, nibbled, and savored,” which makes me wonder (see what I did there?) if I ought to change my name to Wonder. Wonder Watsky has a swell ring to it.

I’m a food critic, but I decided, then and there, that I could also be a music critic. The song is obviously called ‘Wonderfilled,’ not to be confused with ‘Wonderwall,’ or ‘Wonderful’ from Wicked, and starts off ominously, as the only file on the iPod is called ‘OREO WONDERFILLED ANTHEM’ which makes me wonder if I’ve stumbled onto a top-secret plot to take over the world with Oreo cookies. If so, it would totally work. Bitches love Oreos.
But not with this song. Oreo City lays down a thick beat that I immediately want to snort a line of cookie crumbs to, then quickly transitions into some straight-up autotuned jams. There is a story, and the ending leads to roads paved of cookies and cream and triangle-accented syllables. It’s precious. Too precious. I mean, it’s literally the most twee thing I’ve ever set eyes to, and I willingly read Kristin Chenoweth’s entire memoir. I’m not sure that Oreo should have something more saccharine than its cookies advertising them.
Owl Cookie puts a friendly flair on some dour dope fairy tales. I was definitely not aware of the fact that the three little pigs were killed in any non-Oreo related versions of the story, but now that I do, I’m damned glad I have some Oreos to eat away the post-traumatic stress with. Wonderfill my belly! Vampires turn vegetarian, sharks share things and ‘cuddle up with giant squids for a friendly meal’ that apparently consists of nothing but cookies, and I end up dying from diabetic shock from the sheer campiness of the song alone. It’s cute, catchy, and dreadfully unsubstantial.

Now that I’ve wholly established that I’m not going to be the next Ben Brantley, let’s move to an Oreo product I picked up at the grocery store, Oreo Cookies ‘n’ Cream Jell-O Pudding! Full FCC/blogger disclosure: I ate this out of a Tupperware container and I have no regrets, because it’s one of the best Oreo-flavored products on the market.

So many of these lose that iconic flavor, even, in some cases, the Oreos themselves when they’re flavored with berries or sorbet, so it was a real pleasure to dig into this and find that the flavor of the cookies was as bold as ever. The pudding is extremely thick, at least it was when I made it, and features huge chunks of cookies that vary in size, so some are soft and cake-like when you eat the pudding, and others are still crispy.
The flavor is great- the pudding itself doesn’t overshadow the salty, sweet cookies with too much sugar or flavor, despite the huge imbalance in between the ‘crème’ and the cookie component. What I liked best was that it appeared that Kraft only used the wafer part instead of crushing up Oreos with crème inside, which would have certainly upset the balanced flavor.

A great treat, and a fun one for stuffing inside Oreos and mouths.

Betty Crocker Cotton Candy Cookies

I’m back! I have approximately 200 words and 2 billion citations (CMS, natch) in between me and a shiny, special undergraduate degree, and I can guarantee you those 200 words will literally be the death of me. I am going to die with my hands frozen in the position of typing the word ‘gendered’ as a result of this paper. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing more that I love in God’s beautiful world than writing about feminism, food, gender ambiguity, and psychology, but a girl needs to eat and see the light of day every so often.

A recent adventure to Target yielded this gem of a product, the likes of which can be found in no other place on the internet, including the venerable Ms. Crocker’s website. The package tells me these, along with their frosting, are a Target exclusive. They’re easy to prepare- one stick of butter and an egg and they’re set. Unfortunately, I now know the psychological implications of these additions as a result of reading way too much Freudian psychology comingled with Crocker history. The egg is supposed to satisfy my need to have many, many babies. Thanks, Ernst Dichter!
The mix is classic unicorn cocaine plus sprinkles. There is the option to add frosting, if you want to undergo death by dental assistant.

I like these, but I can’t quite tell why. I think the sweet, vague resemblance to other sweet things- maple syrup, raspberry donut filling, and bubble gum, with the lemony undertones, make them enjoyable cookies, but they don’t distinguish themselves in the same way other aggressively flavored, sweet confections, like Thin Mints or cotton candy itself do. Their texture is almost perfect- grainy, obviously sugar-heavy, and incorporates the unusual addition of corn cereal which gives the cookies a layered, flaky heft, but they crumble so easily in both cooked and uncooked form that they’re difficult to eat.

They’re fun cookies, but on my current fun scale of my life, with ‘finals and uncomfortable family gatherings’ at one end of the spectrum and ‘spontaneous fauxhawks’ at the other end, these rank somewhere in the middle, lumped alongside walking to school and talking to professors. Do I enjoy these activities? I suppose. Would I willingly do them? Rarely. These cookies are just good enough to give to my neighbors- the ones who didn’t egg my front door.

HannahMax Baking Sea Salted Peanut Butter Crunchy Cookie Chips

Peanut butter cookies! For my day off. And by ‘day off,’ I mean, ‘day to do more work,’ and by ‘work,’ I mean, ‘drink and halfheartedly peck out a paper on feminism and cookbooks.’ But I’m drinking responsibly, MOM, by eating as I sip. And I am eating these cookies from HannahMax. I do not recommend pairing them with gin. Also, if you’re like me and have repeatedly confused HannahMax with Ashley Madison, you’ll be pleased to discover the former is about as wholesome as the latter is not. All natural ingredients and delicious flavors. The only obvious flaw is that cookies that are as thin and easy to eat as chips are potentially life-destroying.

Sea salt and peanut butter almost takes on a savory flavor. It’s the least sweet of the four flavors I tried, and was my personal favorite. While as with most products advertising a salted component, I would have liked to see more salt, this was still a solid cookie, especially with the addition of salted chopped peanuts.

The packaging is the only flaw I personally had trouble with. While I enjoy the concept of dessert as chips, roughly 60% of each package was cookie crumbs. I feel as if this had less to do with the cookie itself as it did with the container, a malleable, resealable bag. Something similar to a Pringles can would allow the cookies to stay within their concept of chips and not get so frustratingly mashed up in the process. It just made it messier and a little more shameful to eat in one serving while watching Twin Peaks. I mean, sitting around in a sweatshirt. I mean, working?

Dole Fruit Crisps Apple Cinnamon

Does the idea of following through with a recipe send you into a shock so cataclysmic that you enter a catatonic state? Are you so fearful of measurements and temperatures that your psyche literally shuts down? If so, Dole Fruit Crisps may be diagnostically appropriate for you. Filled with chunks of real fruit, a delicious oat and brown sugar crisp, and the comforting, calming effect of a Valium placebo, these innovative instant desserts allow you to escape to a blissful, premade fantasy world both inside your mind and mouth.

Dole sent over a selection of their new Fruit Crisps, along with a pair of fluffy socks, a cozy scarf, and an aromatic candle specifically for this purpose. I’ll admit, I was confused at first- did they want me to eat the Fruit Crisp or seduce it? But on a more serious note, I’d like to personally thank Dole for rescuing me from the brink of this existential suicide. I, too, was afraid to cook or bake because I saw no point in the exhaustive motions and eventual, self-hatred motivated caloric binge, but now I don’t have to. Not only does each Fruit Crisp only have 120 calories, it actually tastes like dessert.
As many critics drink water or eat a neutral food so their palate is objective and cleansed, so did I with the supplemental comforting clothing, stripping down to nothing but the scarf and comfortable socks. I observed both to be very cozy and was immediately lulled to a relaxed state, as they reminded me of beds and grandmothers, with the notable exception of my lonely nudity. I lit the candle, too (from a local New York candlemaker, which I wholly commend) and within mere hours, my studio was filled with the tantalizing scent of fresh apple crisp. Bam, it smelled like I actually did something for three hours. I felt accomplished and very cozy. With that in mind, I highly recommend setting the mood in such a fashion.
Then, I cracked open the Fruit Crisp. I decided to try Apple Cinnamon, as I was feeling frisky and spicy from all of the new things I’d done.Dole recommends trying their Fruit Crisps warm—personally, I prescribe them that way. Frankly, there’s no other way they should be eaten, as the difference in heating is the difference between crying yourself to sleep and writing a motivational Tweet. They taste awful when they’re cold. But warm, these are fantastic.  
The fruit is soft, and the base sauce, though weirdly gelatinous, is filled with spices and lets the flavor of the apples shine through without overpowering them. The crisp is heavily spiced in this – I can’t speak for the other flavors, but in this one, it was perfect, with a heavy cinnamon and nutmeg flavor. Dole nailed all of the aspects of a crisp in bite-sized, two-minute form. Both my hunger and mental stability are back to a maintained, relaxed state. Thanks, Dole! Remember, do not use Dole Fruit Crisps if you are in any way sensitive to delicious fruit, dazed with ennui, or allergic to fluffy, fuzzy socks.