Fig Newtons vs Fig Bars

I’ve always liked Fig Newtons, they remind me of family outings at the beach. Their fruit and cookie combo always felt like a substantial snack that rally satisfies – and tastes good too! Ethan doesn’t feel the same way but agreed to taste test because he’s such a good sport.
I found these Gonzo brand knock-offs at a gas station in Bellingham, MA. I haven’t seen them anywhere else, but maybe I just never noticed them.

Fig Newtons:
Fig Newtons have a nice golden brown color on the outside of the cookie. I haven’t had these in a while but the cookie seemed kind of dry, Ethan agreed but liked the sweet flavor of it anyway. The fig filling had a nice thick texture and dense fig flavor. I think it’s the best part of the Newton.

Fig Bars:
These were a little lighter, the cookie was thicker and not as well proportioned as far as cookie-to-fig ratio. I know it doesn’t look like it but the cookie was so thick, it masked the fig “experience”. I detected a weird chemical taste too. Ethan didn’t seemed to be bothered by it and liked the sweetness of the cookie

Wrap up:
I’d stick with Fig Newtons for the fig flavor and more natural taste. Ethan felt the Newtons were more natural tasting but the Gonzo brand was better as a tasty treat. I will say I like Gonzo’s packaging though. The scalloped lines at the top looks like a curtain rising to reveal the treat inside.  Nice font for “fig bars” too.

Fig Newtons or Fig Bars?

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Chips Ahoy vs Chips A Plenty

Normally I’m not a fan of packaged chocolate chip cookies (except Entenmann’s and even then, they’re not like they used to be) but Ethan and I saw these Chips A Plenty and had to evaluate. The two packages are similar and both have a red and white logo in the upper left corner. I had high expectations for any cookie made by a company called “Rippin’ Good”. I can’t help but think that it must be an awesome place to work at where everyone constantly high-fives each other and drinks beer at their desks. Anyway, on to the evaluation…

Chips Ahoy:
As these are known for, they’re pretty dry and crumbly. Despite that, they have a pleasant crunch and actually taste like a chocolate chip cookie. I think the best part of the cookie is the chocolate chips, they had a nice chocolate flavor and there was plenty of them throughout the cookie.

Chips A Plenty:
These are just as dry and crumbly but with much less flavor.
I was so confused, these weren’t Rippin’ Good at all! The dough had a pasty, chemical taste and the chocolate chips were like bland tasteless, waxy pellets. All these were A-Plenty of was blah.

Wrap up:
Ahoy! We have to say that the crew at Nabisco makes a better, dry crumbly cookie than the yahoos at Rippin’ Good. Even though they pretty much had the same texture the flavor of Chips Ahoy made it a much better product.

Chips Ahoy or Chips A Plenty?

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Snackwells vs Great Taste

I’ve never tried either of these but I thought SnackWell’s was the first of this kind of cookie and the clear second-rater was the challenger which I can’t even tell what the brand name is “Oven Baked” or “Great Taste” but they do boast on their box that they’re “The Original”. Both are Devil food cake coated with marshmallow and chocolate.

Biting into these we discovered that they’re not just soft but chewy. the chocolate coating kind of cracks but is held together by the rather gluey marshmallow, which doesn’t look like much but the amount of marshmallow is perfectly balanced with the chocolate coating and fluffy cookie. We notice these have a chemical/artificial taste to them but do have the chocolate and marshmallow flavor that you expect, it’s just a little weird.

Great Taste(?):
These were amazingly identical, the only difference was that they seemed a teeeeny bit dryer in the cake park but other than that they had the same chewiness and chemical taste.

Wrap up:
SnackWell’s by an inch, just because Great Taste or whatever it’s called is a little dryer. Honestly though I think if you don’t mind the chemical taste anyway of SnackWell’s you will enjoy the same flavor with Great Taste and probably not even notice the minuscule difference in cake dryness if you’re not comparing one right after the other.

SnackWell's or Great Taste

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Teddy Grahams vs Teddy Bear Cookies

Unfortunately I didn’t get to see my 3 year old nephew who likes Teddy Grahams to have him compare these but I get the feeling he’s not too picky when it comes to second rate versions of snacks.  Ethan and I evaluated these on our own.   Admittedly we’re not graham cracker connoisseurs, and I’ve never had either of these products but it looked like a perfect showdown waiting to happen.

Teddy Grahams:
These little cookies are probably about an inch high with a shiny glaze of sugar/honey/high fructose corn syrup.  I felt they were a little bland but Ethan said  he thought graham crackers are supposed to be bland anyway. So there was really nothing too noteworthy about these, I didn’t really taste any honey flavor but  we did both like that they had a good satisfying crunch.

Teddy Bear Cookies:
Right off I wasn’t crazy about these because they look like this lady I used to work with that would come into my office and complain all day.  Although they were larger, we both found these to be even more tasteless than Teddy Grahams.  These had the taste and softer crunch similar to an animal cracker.  There was some weird, unnatural aftertaste that we just couldn’t put out finger on but we didn’t like it.

Wrap up:
Teddy Grahams wins for having a good hearty crunch and no weird aftertaste. Other than that they’re pretty bland, but in this case not questioning what flavor you’re tasting is a winning factor. Plus the fact they they didn’t remind me of long days in the office listing to Ruth ramble on about how she gets no respect from her work-study students might have had something to do with it but I do have Ethan’s opinion to back me up on the decision.  

Teddy Grahams or Teddy Bear Cookies

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Twix vs Carmel Cookie Bars

I think it’s safe to say that Twix is one of the all-time greatest candy bars out there (to me anyway).  Much like Reece’s PB cups, it’s a simple, yet perfect, combination of ingredients. Cookie, caramel, chocolate. Done.
As Twix suggests, the two bars are good for sharing, or not and gives a mild feeling of getting a deal, like TWO candy bars for the price of one!
Ethan found these Little Debbie Caramel Cookie Bars at the CVS outlet in lovely Woonsocket, RI and although their format is a single bar the same basic idea of cookie, caramel and chocolate are replicated.

I’m not usually one for milk chocolate but I feel this is really the best choice for this bar, it’s nice and soft (although prone to melting quickly if left in the car or something) and biting into these is very satisfying.  There something about the gentle yield of the caramel and then crunching into the firm but not too hard cookie bar at the bottom.
We both felt the cookie-caramel-chocolate ratio was perfect and the caramel had a nice flavor.  Also, I will classify it as a “friendly” caramel that doesn’t want to rip your teeth out, which is always nice to not worry about.

Lil’ Deb:
These are similar but when we bit into these, we could tell that the ingredient ratio was a little off.  Although it doesn’t look like it, Ethan felt there was too much caramel in these and I agreed.  Also, the chocolate coating was too thin, as well as having a weaker flavor.  The cookie part is more crumbly than Twix and tastes like an animal cracker.  Ethan thought it tasted like a donut.  The caramel had a weird, papery non-flavor to it.  Also noted that this was much sweeter than Twix and actually too much for Ethan to finish.

Wrap up:
Twix.  They really know what their doing both in taste and ingredient balance.  The Little Deb’s were just too bland and I think they tried to make up for that by adding more corn syrup.  I would honestly say if you’re craving a Twix, this will not be a suitable replacement.

Twix or Little Deb's Caramel Cookie Bar?

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Fudge Stripes vs Fudge Striped

As I wander the isles of supermarkets, I look for future post material.  Fudge Stripes have always been on the “to do” list and I forget what was the potential SNS I had lined up was but when I was in a shady mini-mart and saw Robert’s “Fudge Striped” cookies, they made it to the top of the list.

Fudge Stripes:
We started off with the name brand thinking it would be awesome.  These cookies are not amazing.  I can see them being popular in gradeschool classrooms or something but found these to be a bit dry and tasteless.  The “fudge” is some sort of platicy, tasteless drizzle with a coating on the bottom.   They do have a fair crunch so I’d say what this has going for it is texture over taste.  Ethan said these tasted like a crunchy, dry fudgesicle.

Fudge Striped:
The same non-chocolatey chocolate stripes the top and covers the bottom.
The cookie is even dryer or crunchier, however you want to look at it and somehow even more tasteless.  Although Ethan said this tastes like the stick of a fudgesicle, and it actually did.  So perhaps it gets points for tasting like something(?)

Wrap up:
Tie.  Both are very bland and use plasticy chocolate.  If you’re looking to save money, go with Robert’s Fudge Striped because you won’t be missing and intense flavor or favorable texture experience.  I think Girl Scouts sell a similar cookie but I’m not sure.  I will definitely check out the offering next time someone from work brings their daughter in to guilt me into buy a few boxes.

Fudge Stripes or Fudge Striped?

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Vienna Fingers vs Cameos

Nabisco and Keebler go at it with their own versions of oval, vanilla creme filled cookies.
I don’t remember having either of these before but it was suggested by a reader and fellow Hollistonian (hometown) to evaluate these since he and his brother have feuded between these two products. Ethan and I tasted and then I brought them into work for further evaluation.

Vienna Fingers:
I felt the cookie part of these were a little dry and tasted like animal crackers.  The creme was okay, nothing great but not a disappointment. Ethan thought these were bland and had a weird aftertaste from the creme.
The two people at worksaid they liked these better than Cameo.

I liked these better. I thought the cookie was more flavorful and the creme was more vanilla-y.  Plus the design on the cookie is all fancy and has a pretty, William Morris-like design.
Ethan didn’t think these were better but liked the overal texture of cookie and creme.  Someone at work said these are “Yummy like Grandma’s house.”

Wrap up:
Depends who you ask.  People at work seemed to like Vienna Fingers more and I really liked Cameos better. Ethan said if they could marry the flavor of Vienna Fingers and the texture of Cameo’s you’d have a perfect product.

Vienna Fingers or Cameos?

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Nilla Wafers vs Vanilla Wafers

From looking at these boxes, I imagine the package designer for Stauffer’s is a disgruntled former Nabisco worker who vowed his revenge by fooling pre-occupied shoppers into grabbing Vanilla instead of Nilla wafers.  “Not creative enough, huh?  I’ll show them!”    Just a thought : )
It’s been at least 20 years since I’ve had a Nilla wafer and never had a knock off, but when I saw the Vanilla wafers at Job Lot, I couldn’t resist leaving them on the shelf.  This evaluation involved myself and Ethan and then I brought them into work where people wrote thier feedback on a piece of paper. 

Nilla Wafer:
We noted the pleasant vanilla aroma right from opening the bag.  These have a soft crunch and a couple of co-workers noted that these “melt in the mouth”.  These were a little too delicate for dunking but I liked to take a bite and drink some milk and let it dissolve that way.  One co-worker described these as “too soft”.  It seemed everyone agreed that these had very good vanilla flavor which Ethan said was “very inoffensive” (?)   Another comment from work was “You think of Nilla when you think of wafers!”

Vanilla Wafer:
These had a much rougher texture. They felt dryer just by touching them and had a very loud crunch when bitten into and it crumbled into hard pieces.  This cookie did not absorb milk well at all.  The vanilla flavor was too strong and artificial.  Ethan described these wafers as the bottom of a soft serve cone with vanilla ice cream in the grid at the bottom, which is good but does not work as a cookie. 
Some comments from co-workers were that these were stale tasting (although the date on the box said it was good for another 6 months) too hard, too crunchy, too rough.  The same person who wrote the Nilla Wafers were “too soft” wrote that these were “crunchy and good”.

Wrap up:
Nilla Wafers were the clear winner.  It won people over with it’s subtle texture and mild flavor.  The Stauffer’s version was too rough and dry with a poor quality vanilla flavor so it just didn’t have a lot going for it.  Although they did have one fan at work.
I’ve scanned the feedback sheet because I know I left some comments out, but if interested you can read for yourself by clicking here.

Nilla or Vanilla?

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Entenmann’s vs Freihofer’s

I didn’t think of comparing these at first but I was hanging out with my cousins one day and we were talking about cookies and Entenmann’s came up and I said how they don’t seem to taste as awesome as I remember.  My cousins told me that Freihofer’s taste like how Entenmann’s used to taste so I went out looking for a box of  Freihofer’s and these were surprisingly a challenge to find.  I tried supermarkets and Target and then finally a bakery outlet featuring Friehofer’s products but they didn’t have the cookies.  A few weeks later, I tried there again and got the last box, which was a little smushed but still sealed.  The lady at the counter said they always sell out early when they get them in.

First up, Entenmann’s:
Like I mentioned before, these aren’t as good as I remembered from the days of yore.   These are just ok but really bland.  Ethan said they don’t taste “real”.  The only taste was from the chocolate chips which were very sweet, especially with the blandness of the cookie.  The texture was a little dry too.

These were also just ok.  They were very similar, bland cookie but the chips were not as sweet and there was a teeny bit of saltiness detected but it was good.  The cookie is a little more moist too, which gave it an extra points.

Wrap up:
Going by what my cousins told me, I was expecting Freifofer’s to blow Entenmann’s away but that was not the case.  We felt that these were pretty much identical except that the Freihofer’s cookie texture is better.  Neither of these are something we’d get again, but if we were going to a party and the host said “Oh and can you pick up a package of some soft, bite-size cookies?  Thanks!” – we’d get a box of Freihofer’s.

Entenmann's or Freihofer's?

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Hydrox vs Oreo

Hydrox v Oreo
One of the great classic debates.  Are you a Hydrox or Oreo loyalist?  I haven’t eaten either of these in eons and by eons I mean the early 80’s.  My dad was annoyingly quasi-kosher and didn’t allow us to eat Nabisco products so we were limited to Sunshine and Drakes- which isn’t a bad thing, but we only had Hydrox in the house – not that we even had them that much, and Oreos were a treat to be indulged in the safety of friends’ houses.
So earlier this month, when I got the idea for this blog, I thought of this pair of creme-filled cookie facing off, only to learn Hydrox had been discontinued(!).  The timing just happened to be right though.  Kraft (who now owns Sunshine) was planning on bringing back Hydrox this month for a limited time for their 100th anniversary.  Yes, I never knew Hydrox came before Oreos.  I always assumed that because we were only allowed Hydrox growing up that they (like everything else we had) must have been the rip-off.  You learn something new everyday!

Anyway, on to the taste test…

First up was Hydrox
For this tasting I had Ethan and I tried them at home and I then brought the rest in to work to get the opinion of my co-workers in a group tasting.
The work crew found Hydrox to twist off nicely, leaving one cookie side with complete creme intact, which some found as a plus.
The cookie has a nice crunch and good chocolate flavor.  One taster commented she didn’t like the creme but the majority thought it was ok.  Also noted that when dunked in milk, Hydrox crumbled but this was mentioned as good thing.

The group agreed that Oero was “smoother” when biting into.  The cookie was a bit softer and didn’t crumble as much in milk.  Also we found we could not get it to twist off with the creme on one side as easily as it’s Hydrox counterpart.
The group also agreed there was a nice creme-to-cookie ratio.  Some found the Oreo cookie to be too strong in chocolate flavor and a bit overwhelming.

These are both very similar,  but each had qualities that the group felt made them their own.  In general they felt Hydrox had a lesser quality creme but a higher quality cookie.  Oreo had clearer brand loyalty and one person had to be convinced to try a Hydrox but was pleasantly surprised it wasn’t terrible.  Also, I’d like to add that with the resurrection of Hydrox, they have tweaked the recipe to leave out trans-fats. So in Hydrox’s defense to people not liking the creme as much, at least they are being a little more health-conscious.  Although that’s not really a prioity when eating any of this stuff anyway.

Are you a Hydrox or an Oreo person?

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