Oreo Chestnut Crunch Bar

I’m lucky to know the people I know. I’m aware that everyone has a great set of friends and family members, but trust me, mine are the best. There are a lot of annoying, boring dickholes in the world, and I pride myself in having an automatic filter that sorts them out of my pack. I like ’em weird. I like ’em smart. Eating the Oreo Chestnut Crunch bar sort of solidified this affirmation in my head. I like what I like, and the rest can go to hell.
J-List’s wonderful scouts sent this bar, along with some other fantastic treats, over to us. I was incredibly excited to try this because nothing stokes my fires, and that includes Michelin stars, like foreign versions of American products. Give me taro pies from McDonald’s and karaage-flavored Doritos- Cooler Ranch has nothing on that. Chestnuts and Oreos seem like it would do well on the consumer market, especially around winter time. If New York vendors are still able to consider roasted chestnuts a lucrative treat despite being somewhat obsolete, how bad could this be?
The Oreo base has a texture somewhere between an actual Oreo and an Oreo truffle- dense, with a slight crunch, and that waxy almond bark-style coating I tend to enjoy when paired with cookies. The crunch is pleasant and I found myself really enjoying the crispiness of the bar and that addictive bittersweet Oreo cookie flavor that makes them so delicious. The chestnut flavor was pretty hit-or-miss. While it had a buttery, creamy flavor that real nuts sometimes have, the flavor manifested itself in more of an artificial syrup, like the kind you’d typically see in a latte. But while that has its place paired with coffee, a drink bitter on its own, paired with Oreos and chocolate makes it a little saccharine. If I hadn’t known this was chestnut-flavored, I would have guessed mocha. It has that sweet coffee flavor that I’m somewhat endeared to. Nevertheless tasty. I’m really liking Oreos in bar format- they just have a more grainy, crunchy texture and lend themselves to more flavor additives.Check out this and other awesome snacks at www.j-list.com!

Trader Joe’s Lemon and Triple Ginger Snap Ice Cream

Trader Joe’s and I are in the honeymoon phase of consumer relations. Every time I go I’m enamored by 90% of their new products, be they things I’d actually use, like chicken sausages, or things I don’t need or will never need, like gingerbread dog treats. Comparatively, every time I enter a Marshall’s, my previous score for weird, fancy products, God kills a kitten and I start frowning loudly. While it’s undoubtedly not in my best interest to buy my weight in salted caramel cookies or chocolate truffle brownies, this ice cream seemed too good to leave on the shelf. I’m generally not a huge fan of ice cream, so for a frozen confection to leave this big of an impression on me was a fairly big deal. And I totally dig the retro Trader Vic’s style font. The funny thing was, this was hardly a random sighting at the store. I’d seen a very positive review of this ice cream over the summer on What’s Good at TJ’s? and was hell-bent on finding some for my own consumption.

I like stepping outside of my comfort zone, even if it seems like a small step sometimes. Lemon and ginger, while tasty, just don’t stroke my tastebuds in the same way that chocolate and peanut butter do, or salt, or caramel, but this practically blew most of those thoughts out of the water. It’s difficult to find lemon-flavored confections with a dairy base- that is, non-sorbet or Italian ice versions of frozen treats. I have no idea why more companies aren’t honing in on this, because lemon ice cream is damned good. Think of a pudding-like, velvety texture cut by the slight tartness of lemon with a candied fruitiness and you’re scratching the surface of eating this ice cream.
But of course, I’d have never bought it if it was just plain old lemon. Its ambrosial scents were amplified with the addition of what Trader Joe’s called triple ginger, an element that’s more than just a totally badass name. The cookie mix-ins in this are lifted directly from Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Cookies, which contain powdered, crystallized, and fresh ginger, and the quart says that each container has no less than fifteen cookies inside. A bold claim, harkening back to the BS of Chips Ahoy! claiming that there were 1,000 chips in each package of cookies. 1,000 chips, my ass. Someone missed out on a killer class action lawsuit there.
Honestly, though, the Trader Joe’s claim? I believe it. In almost every bite there are quarter-sized chunks of soft cookies, and at the very least, each bite has an underlying crumbly sediment from the cookie crumbs. In a few rare, beautiful bites, we unearthed preserved cookies that were nearly whole. Ben and Jerry’s, take heed. This is how you do mix-ins.
One out of two Asian cat breeds approves of this ice cream.
The flavor of the cookies mingles nicely with the ice cream, as it brings a slightly spicy, comforting thickness to the soft and airy base with strong molasses and clove influences. I don’t really get the heat from the crystallized ginger, but it’s definitely there in the crunch and somewhat dry denseness of the cookies. Of course, no Asian-inspired ice cream is complete without a little experimentation. Sriracha? Yes, please. The certified condiment choice of hipsters and the homeless doesn’t quite work with this, but the heat was all I needed to convince me that this ice cream was freaking incredible. For two non-fruit lovers indifferent to ice cream, we’ve had this for a day and have eaten half the quart already. Now we’re going to go have a pillow fight and play Bloody Mary with our pants off. YOU JELLY.

Holiday Listicles!

Because we’re in the beginning of December and many people are looking for cool gifts, I thought I’d do a product roundup of some of my favorites throughout the last few years. I’m using some of these for gifts for my family and friends. See what neat treats you can put together and what ingredients you can use to make your holiday parties special and your preparation a cinch.