Friday, February 21, 2014

Chips Ahoy - Ice Cream Creations

I pride myself on creating unique graphic designs and banners for each of my posts, so ignore that disaster you see above and let it slide because of time constraints.  One, I have somewhere to be in a few hours and, two, these brand new cookies just can't wait to make their Holidaze debut.  Spending any more minutes designing a banner that pales in comparison to these products is just a waste of time and aint nobody got time for dat!

Today, on my lunch break, a few co-workers and I took a drive over to Target.  I couldn't tell you what they were looking for, but I knew what I was secretly going to search the aisles for.  Whenever I'm at a department store, I'm always scouring up and down in an attempt to find something new and post-worthy.  Sometimes I fall short, but this time I saw something different.  I wasn't expecting to have three cookie posts in a row, but this is worth the repetition.  I walked by the cookie aisle, saw these babies sitting there, and kept on walking.  Yeah, I ignored them as if they didn't even exist because I couldn't let these "manly men" think that I'm about that life.  These guys talk about cars and tools all day while I politely nod and pretend that I have an interest.  Meanwhile, I stared at the clock and counted down the hours before I could go back to Target and leave with new Chips Ahoy! Ice Cream Creations!

There are four different Ice Cream Creations flavors, but I only picked up two because the others didn't necessarily intrigue me.  I can tell you, now that I've tasted two, I may very well have to go back and pick up the others because, I'm not going to stall with this one... These are amazing!!

First, let's talk about Mint Chocolate Chip.  I don't know about you, but this is one of my favorite ice cream flavors so whenever I see a product released, whether it's candy, jelly beans, or potato chips, I'm going to pick it up and give it a try.  Usually, the taste is always on point because, let's face it, Mint Chocolate Chip is pretty hard to mess up.  Throw in mint and chocolate and, boom, you have yourself a hit.  With that said, I never go into it with high expectations because I wouldn't want to let myself down.  Chips Ahoy has disappointed me in the past, particularly with the Chips Ahoy Brownie Cookies, so I didn't want to go all in, especially with the Oreo editions still fresh on my mind.

Open the bag and.. wow.. the aroma is perfect enough to be released as a Yankee Candle.  I'd light it around Christmas to savor the scent, but these cookies should never be kept wrapped up to merely enjoy once or so a year.  No, as soon as you look at these cookies and let your senses start talking to each other, you'll find yourself in a whirlwind that can only be brought to an end with one single bite.  I'm not over exaggerating here, these smell delicious.  Immediately, Thin Mints come to mind and that can only mean good things for our taste buds.  In my opinion, Thin Mints are the perfect cookie when it comes to mint and chocolate.  Well, almost.  See, for me, I've always thought that they'd be better if they weren't so crunchy and more chewy.  Good news for those who agree with me -- Chips Ahoy Mint Chocolate Chip cookies are just that!

They're beautiful! Chewy chocolate chip cookies filled with green and brown mint chocolate chips.  I love how they're put together because they could have simply taken a regular chewy cookie and changed the chocolate chip flavor from chocolate to mint and called it a day.  But they didn't do that -- they went all out and made this look like it could be found in ice cream parlor.  If you walked into an ice cream shop and wanted to leave with a Mint Chocolate Chip cone, you'd most likely have something similar to what you see above.  That's going the extra mile, especially with the green chips, and I'm very happy to see that.  Because of that, I'm going to call it right now and call this St. Patrick's Day's official cookie.  Between the green chips and minty flavor, I'm sure it would go perfect with McDonald's Shamrock Shake.  I've never tried one (but will this year,) but am going out on a limb and making it official.  The Holidaze can do that.. right?

Now, the taste test and it's easy -- this is a 10/10.  No doubt, these are the best Mint Chocolate Chip cookies I've ever had.  In an attempt to describe these to you, I want you to think of what it would be like to bite into Entenman's Little Brownie Bites, but having them taste like Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream.  It's the perfect mix of flavors and texture that creates a junk food hit!  Chips Ahoy has a winner on their hands, here!

When I saw these, I tried not to dance in the middle of Target, but all I could hear in my head was Pitbull singing "Ohhh baby baby! Ohhh baby baby!"  Should Root Beer Float cookies make me feel that way?  Probably not, but you won't find any shame here, brother!  I will always go out of my way to find and try soda flavored food, even if I know they won't taste good.  Dr. Pepper gum?  Yup.  Orange Crush jelly beans?  You know it!  Mountain Dew cupcakes?  If I could find them.  Pepsi Cheetos?  Believe me, they're real, and I'll eventually find them.  So, in reality, Root Beer Float cookies aren't that out of the ordinary, but they're new to me and I might have freaked out more than I should have.  Luckily, it was all internal and my co-workers still have no idea how awesome I really am!

Now, I've heard of Root Beer flavored cookies before, but they're usually found in a bakery or made at home by creative bakers.  However, I've never seen them released on such a large scale by a company as big as Nabisco.  For that reason, I wasn't really sure what to expect.  Were they just cashing in on the idea of others without perfecting the recipe or did they hammer it down and knock it outta the park?  I was excited to find out and opening the bag only added to that excitement because it topped that of the Mint Chocolate Chip bag.  With very low expectations but extremely high hopes, I progressed further while still managing to tease myself.  This is why the rest of the world calls America fat... It's also why we are ;)

Just like the first scoop of cookies, (see what I did there?)  these also look like their respective flavor and I truly appreciate that.  The cookie is lighter and has multiple colored chips to match that of the float.  We have the brown and white representing the soda and foamy top.  It's awesome, not is only the beginning because, like I said, these taste a hell of a lot better than they look and smell and, believe me, that's saying a lot!

I love them -- absolutely love them.  Now remember, I love Root Beer floats and anything soda flavored so I'm very biased, but if you share my love for this flavor, then you're in for a real treat.  Chips Ahoy blew me away with this one because I honestly didn't think they could pull it off.  I never thought the Root Beer flavor could translate so well as a cookie, but I am happily mistaken and it's to all our benefit.  Obviously Root Beer Floats are liquidy and cold so there's going to be a difference in texture.  That goes without saying, but the flavor is spot on and you'll have your taste buds so confused they won't know what season it is.  That's what's so great about these Ice Cream Creations cookies.  They're for anytime of the year and even if they were meant for Spring, they're just as good on a rainy night in February.  These are two of my favorite products to be reviewed on The Holidaze!

Like I said, I didn't pick up the other two flavors - Dulce de Leche and Mocha Chunk - but because the first two were so awesome, I think it's only right that I support the misfits as well.  I didn't think they'd taste much different than caramel and coffee, but hey, even that may be worth the $2.50.  One thing I know for sure is that the two I did buy are a hell of a lot better than the last two Oreo editions I picked up.  I'm not saying they were horrible, but Nabisco did a much better job with Chips Ahoy than they did with Oreo.  But at the end of the day, all of our money is going to the same place as they laugh all the way to the bank.  Meanwhile, I'm sitting here with 4 bags of cookies and an overly full belly.  If you ask me, sounds like a win-win!

Buy them!!  If you see them, pick them up and thank yourself for it later.  These are that good and, if you have the extra money, pick up the other two as well.  Knowing what I know now, I'm willing to bet they're worth the price and I'll be getting them myself within the next few days.  In the meantime, I'll sit back and enjoy these as I hope for a Neapolitan flavor to debut in series two.  I have no doubt there will be more in what should become a very popular line of Chips Ahoy!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Marshmallow Crispy Oreo Cookies

Back again with part two of the new limited-edition Oreo flavor reviews.  Hopefully you enjoyed reading all about the Cookie Dough Oreo cookies because we're about to see how they match up against the new Marshmallow Crispy Oreo cookies.  When I first read about these, I overlooked the flavor name and thought they were "marshmallow" flavored.  That didn't entice me at all because I'm not a fan of marshmallows and usually only have them in the house when we're making marshmallow treats.  Well, what a perfect segue way, because that's exactly what these Oreo cookies really are.  There's a huge difference between "marshmallow" and "marshmallow crispy."  Once I actually took the time and paid attention to the name, I was pretty pumped for these, even more so than the Cookie Dough Oreos!

It wasn't even the name that turned my thoughts around, but that giant marshmallow treat in the background.  As soon as I saw that, I knew what these were supposed to be.  That's proper usage of graphic design and I appreciate that Nabisco went two different routes for two very different flavors.  While Cookie Dough was a chocolate cookie in a blue bag, Crispy Marshmallow is a golden cookie in a yellow bag.  I think that's the appropriate route for each respective flavor because the opposite just wouldn't work.  Besides, I personally like the traditional Golden Oreo cookies better, so this one raised my hopes pretty high.  Are they too high?  Will my expectations be met, exceeded, or will it all come dwindling down?

Open the bag and, whoa, these smell just like marshmallow treats.  Specifically, these smell like the pre-packaged Rice Krispie Treats that you can buy in stores.  That's exactly what I was hoping for so, already, we're going in the right direction.  The Cookie Dough Oreos started to fizzle as soon as we opened the bag and realized it wasn't living up to its name or the hype, but Marshmallow Crispy isn't disappointing, at least not yet, and that's a great sign for this limited-edition flavor.

The creme is thick and creamy, even more so than the Cookie Dough flavor or any other limited-edition that I can remember.  I'm not sure what those tiny pieces in the mix are supposed to be, but there are more than enough of them.  Are they pieces of marshmallow treats?  Are the Rice Krispies?  The bag doesn't state one way or the other, but I can only assume that they're supposed to make this cookie taste more like "Marshmallow Crispy" treats.  Let's find out!

The entire cookie practically falls apart when you bite into it, and I guess that's because there's so much creme, but the amount of creme really doesn't matter because this is a far stretch from a marshmallow treat.  This tastes like nothing more than a basic Golden Oreo cookie.  I mean, maybe you get little hints of marshmallow treats here and there, but that may just be me making things up in my head to justify this purchase.  Those little pieces in the center aren't even anything special, they're just tiny chunks of Golden Oreo cookies.  Even as somebody who isn't a fan of marshmallows, I would have hoped and expected for more of a marshmallow taste than this.  It just doesn't work.

Because I recommend purchasing every and all limited-edition Oreo cookies, just so they'll keep making more, I'm going to do the same for this one.  However, I think you'll agree that there's nothing special aside from the packaging and smell.  After that, it's just the same old cookie you could buy all year-round.  It's disappointing because I had such high hopes for each of these cookie flavors, but neither blew me away.  If I had to pick one over the other, Cookie Dough easily wins in terms of difference and novelty.  But in terms of flavor, I'm still picking Marshmallow Crispy Oreos just because I'd see myself eating more of these in the long run.

I'm sure we'll see more limited-edition Oreo cookies in the near future, and even when they're disappointing, that's never a bad thing.  I love the thrill of searching and finally finding these flavors.  I love the excitement that comes with tasting these and sharing my thoughts with all of you.  Whether they're a hit or a miss, I appreciate Nabisco trying new things with their famous brand of Oreo cookies and attempting to give us all something we never expected.  So, good or bad, keep 'em coming because, like it or not, I'm going to keep on buying.

Cookie Dough Oreo Cookies

Oreo is at it again!  Just when you think M&M's are taking the lead in the "who-can-release-more-flavors" competition, Oreo bounces back with two new limited-editions that have garnered national media attention.  We've talked about Candy Corn, Candy Cane, Watermelon, Lemon Twist, and Creamsicle Oreo flavors and, In addition, there's the elusive Gingerbread Oreo edition that's managed to stay hidden from The Holidaze.  But for Nabisco, they just weren't enough.  No, this time, they've packed shelves with Cookie Dough and Marshmallow Crispy flavors and today, we take a look at the former!

Of course, if you know me, the package art is going to attract my attention and, again, Oreo doesn't disappoint.  In recent releases, the majority of the limited-edition cookies were wrapped in a yellow, resealable bag.  I guess that added a bit more to the specialty of the release, but neither of the new flavors were given that treatment.  Instead, for the Cookie Dough flavor, we have a traditionally blue bag with perfect graphics.

Now, being the way I am, I might have designed this differently.  I might have come up with a brown bag and really focused on the cookie dough colors, similar to what I did with the banner up top, because I'm a stickler.  I tend to go all out in terms of change, but sometimes that isn't always a good thing.  Oreo is known for it's cookie, it's creme, and it's blue bag.  All three of them are equally as famous and, really, you don't have to change a lot to make consumers say wow.  In my opinion, it's always better to go the extra mile, but that tends to apply more to holidays than your regular, out-of-the-blue, limited editions.  So, in this case, Nabisco designed everything just right.  The giant ball of cookie dough and digital chocolate chips let you know exactly what you're getting and just how special this edition is.  It doesn't take much, but it's more than enough.

Upon opening the bag, the smell is strong!  I wouldn't say that it smells like Cookie Dough, but rather that of Chocolate Teddy Grahams.  It's an overwhelming scent of chocolate that doesn't come in your classic bag of Oreo cookies.  It's great, and they look good, too.  The brown creme, which actually does look like Cookie Dough, is about as appealing as it is appetizing.  That's a good thing because I thought it might be a turn off once I saw the real thing, but nope, they look delicious.

Every Oreo deserves a good twist!  When you separate the two cookie pieces to reveal the center creme, it's a bit of a disappointment.  I'm not going to cry over it, but I expected to see more chocolate chips in the mix.  The graphic on the bag implies that there will be plenty in every cookie, but that really isn't the case.  There's maybe one or two spread throughout the creme, but it's definitely not a deal breaker.  Like everything, it all comes down to flavor and if that scent is any indication, we're in for a treat!

The first thing you'll notice, as is common with many of the limited edition flavors, is the difference in creme texture.  Compared to the traditional Oreo cookies, these are much creamier and taste less like icing than the classic white creme.  I think that's a good thing for these and all other limited edition Oreo cookies.  It separates themselves from the legend and doesn't try to be something that it isn't.  It stands alone and lets consumers know that this is different and isn't supposed to be what you're used to.  You need that open mind going in because, if you expect an Oreo cookie, you're going to be disappointed.

In the case of Cookie Dough Oreo Cookies, it's hard to pin point a flavor.  Do they taste like Cookie Dough?  Ehh.. Yes and no.  I definitely taste hints of Cookie Dough and it reminds me of what I'd find in Cookie Dough Ice Cream which is awesome, but there are a few other tastes that come into play.  After the first bite, I instantly thought of Coffee.  I'm no expert, so I don't know if it's an undertone or overtone, but it's definitely there and it tastes great.  It may not be the flavor I was expecting, but it works well with the chocolate and cookie dough flavor.  On top of that, they taste a lot like regular Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Again, that's great.  It's another flavor that works well with everything else and makes this cookie what it is.

It's hard to call this a Cookie Dough cookie because my taste buds are picking up on so many different things, but the name certainly isn't a stretch of the imagination and it tastes great.  If I had to describe this to you without knowing what it's supposed to be, I would have called it Double Chocolate or Chocolate Coffee.  I don't know if Cookie Dough would have been on the top of my list, but knowing what it's supposed to be, I can definitely pick up on that and tell you that it's close enough to at least be compared to the ice cream.  Regardless of what I taste or what it is, I like them a lot and definitely recommend them.

Check back later for the next flavor review - Marshmallow Crispy Oreo!

Monday, February 17, 2014

42 Signs You're a Wrestling Fan

As I've mentioned here before, I grew up and still am a huge wrestling fan.  If you care to look back on my love for the world of professional wrestling, here's a bit of a background, including the time I got to meet Stone Cold Steve Austin and go to dinner with The Rock.  They're highlights of my life and it's a blast looking back on the memories and making new ones in the present, but we all know that professional wrestling is meant to be fun.  For that reason, lots of wrestling fans become the butts of jokes and get made fun of for their passion.  Let's face it, some do take their love a bit too far and take the predetermined world of entertainment too seriously.  I'll admit, at times, I've been there and have certainly marked out over surprise returns and turns.  I guess we all have and that's why there are so many "Signs You're a Wrestling Fan" lists out there.  I've read them, they're funny, and they usually relate to me in one way or another.  To celebrate President's Day, Monday Night Raw and the launch of the WWE Network on 2/24, I wanted to come up with The Holidaze's list of signs.  I've written 42 of them and, yes, a few of these apply to me directly at one point in my life or another.  Whether you watch wrestling every week, haven't in years, or never did and don't plan to, this list is for you.  It opens up a window of laughter, regardless of where you stand on men in spandex tights.

The Holidaze: 42 Signs You're a Wrestling Fan



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