Scooter Pie vs Moon Pie

I’ve heard of Moon Pies and not sure if I’ve heard of Scooter Pies but somehow managed not to have any experience with either until today.  I thought it was kind of interesting that both claim to be “the Original”.
These seem to have such tasty potential: Chocolate, cookie and marshmallow.  What could go wrong?

Scooter Pie:
So…I guess something happened on the way home from the store because when I opened the package, the marshmallow was squished out of the “sandwich”.  It turns out it that didn’t really matter.  The marshmallow didn’t have he capability to go far as it’s was like a thick, bouncy glue. 
Ethan and I were surprised that it didn’t taste very good.  The marshmallow was blah, the chocolate was pretty much undetectable and I thought the cookie had kind of a chemical taste, Ethan thought he tasted a hint of banana.
The cookie texture was odd to us too: not crisp but not soft.  Like stale but according to the expiration date, it wasn’t due for the trash until the end of next month.

Moon Pie:
Moon Pie looked better but I guess just because it had a less traumatic ride home from the store.  I haven’t done any research, so I don’t know if these are secretly owned by the same master company  but we found this to taste identically – which we both described as “gross”

Wrap up:
I feel a little bad not liking either of these because I know one of these must be very popular but neither were edible beyond 2 bites.  Fake chocolate, gluey marshmallow and stale-like cookies were all we tasted.
I can imagine a home-made version of these would be fantastic though.

Scooter or Moon Pies?

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Swiss Roll Re-Match:Little Debbie vs Entenmann’s


Since I saw these new Entenmann’s Swiss Rolls I thought it would be a good idea to test them with the winner of the Swiss Roll/Yodel/HoHo battle: the Swiss Roll.  I thought it was kind of ballsy for Entenmann’s to name their product Swiss Roll too but they must be lookin’ for a fight with my girl Debbie so we let them duke it out at my sister’s house with her, our mom my brother-in-law and my 3.5 year old nephew Kyle (and of course Ethan)

Little Debbie:
Everyone agreed that these were very sweet and moist.  my brother-in-law Rick really liked the cream. I like the cream and how the chocolate coating stayed on even when cutting or biting into.  Steph said she liked the consistency and mom said she thought it was okay but would like it if it had more chocolate flavor.
Kyle said he lies it because it’s good.

Despite the orange color the creme has the same vanilla flavor as the Little D rolls.  Mom and Rick though these were more moist.  The cream didn’t seem as sweet as Debbie’s but considering how extremely sweet those were that wasn’t abad thing.  Mom liked that these had more chocolate flavor, although we all noted and weren’t crazy about how easily the cocolate coating flaked off.

Wrap up:
Both were good but Rick and mom preferred Entenmann’s for it’s not-too-sweet creme, moistness and chocolate flavor.  Ethan, Steph, Kyle and myself preferred the Little Debbie version for it’s stong vanilla flavored cream, moist cake and the chocolate coating staying on the roll.

Little Debbie or Entenmann's?

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Nutri-Grain vs Fruit & Grain

A few days ago we went to the beach with my sister (Steph) and her family. As you may have notice (maybe not) Steph usually opts out of any taste testing but this time she said she’d partake. Her husband Rick is a fan of junkfood and always up for an evaluation, we also got their 3 1/2 year old son Kyle to help too.

These have a grainy texture which at least gives you the illusion you’re eating something mildly healthy. I felt like there was a slight chemical taste to them. Rick and Ethan said they were a little dry but really liked the fruit filling. Steph changed her mind didn’t try these saying she knew she liked the other brand better. We asked Kyle if he liked these and he just nodded his head.

Fruit & Grain:
Fruit & Grain was slightly different because of the swirled icing on top. I didn’t really notice much taste from that but Steph said that’s why she likes these bars better. She also said she likes how moist they are. We all agreed they were more moist but to me the extreme softness seemed “un-natural” like it was a doughnut or something. There was also a checmical taste to these like with the Nutri-Grain.
When asked, Kyle said he didn’t like it but ate the whole bar.

Wrap up:
Ethan and I liked the Nutri-Grain bar better for it’s texture and tastier fruit filling. Rick liked the texture of the Fruit & Grain bar better but preferred the fruit filling of Nutri-Grain. Stephs stand by Fruit & Grain even without trying the other one and Kyle kept changing his mind I think just because he liked being asked questions, but he did eat both bars.

Nutri-Grain or Fruit & Grain?

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Oatmeal Creme Pies vs Oatmeal Cremes

This isn’t the first time Lil’ D and Mrs. F have had a showdown on this blog but it’s hard to count one or the other out since I’ve only evaluated these against each other twice and bot have been a winner and a loser.
I think back about how disgusting it was to have the Little Deb version of these in the kitchen closet at all times when I was growing up. They were “Hebrew school friendly” and a common snack to bring to three hours of passing notes and flinging whatever we had in our Trapper Keepers around the room.

Little Debbie:
Opening these individually wrapped cookies releases a Twinkie-like aroma, which is artificial but sweet and characteristic of a mass-produced “bakery” treat.
The cookie is nice and moist and slightly reminiscent of an actual oatmeal cookie. Ethan and I each had a cookie/pie and he asked “what are these supposed to filled with? Marshmallow?” I always thought it was supposed to be something resembling whipped creme but more stable. I guess it’s really more of a frosting than a creme or a marshmallow but somehow doesn’t add too much to the cookies but they okay. Ethan described these as “inoffensive”.

Mrs. Freshly’s:
Mrs. F’s cookies were a little bit dryer, although in comparison to Lil’ D’s ultral moist and slightly oily cookies, this wasn’t a surprise. Also the texture and taste were more “oatmealy” and there was more creme that had a bit more vanilla flavor to it. Ethan said these tasted “more honest” and I agreed that these provided at least more of an illusion of eating an actual oatmeal cookie.

Wrap up:
Mrs. Freshly wins this round bringing the score on this blog to her winning two out of three Little Debbie/Mrs. Freshly battles. I really thought after the Buddy Bar disappointment Mrs. F would forever be the second-rate snack, but after the donut stick challenge, she proved her self as a worthy opponent and slowly gaining credibility in the snack competitions.

Oatmeal Pies: Little Debbie or Mrs. Freshly's

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Devil Dogs vs Devil Cremes

Devil Dogs are one of my brother-in-law Rick’s favorite things. When I saw these Little Debbie “Devil Cremes”, I had to bring them up to New Hampshire and have him give his opinion.
What my sister and I never liked about Devil Dogs is how dry the cake is. I found out that Ethan felt the same way and even Rick admitted they are a bit dry.
I’m actually surprised they’re still made because of how dry they are but I guess enough people don’t mind.

Devil Dogs:
We all agreed the cake was pretty dry. I felt that it also wasn’t very chocolaty and Ethan said both the cake and the creme were artificial tasting and had a slight chemical aftertaste. Steph and mom weren’t impressed either but Rick seemed fine with it even with the admitted dryness of cake.

Devil Cremes:
Mom thought these looked more appealing because they’re darker, I agreed. The cake was soft and moist and Rick pointed out that they were thinner, making for a more balanced creme-to-cake ratio. I liked the creme because it was like what they use in their Swiss Rolls. Mom said she could live without them (as she says about most things) but they weren’t bad.

Wrap up:
Devil Cremes win. Even Rick, who confidently declared Devil Dogs would win even before tasting both, strayed from his favorite and went with Little Deb. Everything was better about these, the cake, creme and overall balance. I guess like mom, I could live without either, but if I had to choose, I’d definitely pick Devil Creme over Devil Dog.

Devil Dogs or Devil Cremes?

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Cupcakes: Hostess vs Little Debbie

Hostess cupcakes and all Hostess products were banned from our house because as I’ve mentioned before, my dad thought he was some sort of half-rabbi and didn’t allow brands that weren’t kosher to be consumed.  This didn’t make a lot of sense because we didn’t go “all the way” and have separate sets of dishes and get our meat from kosher butchers and so on.  Anyway, one of the few times we were allowed such treats, other than the non-kosher wonderlands of eating at friends’ houses, were birthday parties at Roller Rink in Ashland, MA.
Besides having an awesome time skating in circles and trying not to be the cause of a pile-up on the rink floor, when it was “birthday time” the DJ would announce your birthday and tell you and your friends to go in the party room where there were plates with pizza and a Hostess cupcake.  My sister and I seriously were excited to be allowed to eat what “normal” kids ate all the time.
I found a picture at one of the Roller Rink parties where I was excited enough to hold up my cupcake in pride, as if I were thinking “See this?  I’m going to eat a forbidden cupcake!”
So that’s my history with Hostess Cupcakes.  I want to say Little Debbie didn’t have a cupcake at the time because my sister and I were so familiar with her products that we would have got those, but I could be wrong.

By the way, the last time I ate one of these was probably in the above photo but I expected total awesomeness.  Instead, Ethan and I both found these to be a little dry in the cake area and had a very mild chocolate flavor.  In fact they really didn’t taste like anything.  The frosting seemed a kind of waxy and bland and the cream middle had just a hint of vanilla.  Ethan noted there was also a chemical after taste.

Little Debbie:
I really like the mimic of the icing loops on the top of the cupcake.  It’s enough to associate with Hostess but then the hextagonal form of the cupcake says “I’m my own thing!”.  And they were in the way that they actually tasted like chocolate and the cake was moist.  We agreed the cream inside was more enjoyable, as it wasn’t as gritty as Hostess.  Also the outer coating wasn’t as waxy and tasteless too.

Wrap up:
Little D does it again but only because Hostess was lacking so much flavor.  Neither of these were what I remembered craving so much as a kid and since Ethan wasn’t impressed either, I wonder if there has been a change in recipe for Hostess.   Little Debbie seems to have a better formula but still her Swiss Rolls are something I feel are perfected and not so much with her cupcakes.

Cupcakes: Hostess or Lil' Deb?

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Gold n’ Cremes vs Twinkies

I found these Twinkie rip-offs called Gold n’ Cremes at Walgreen’s, who has their own brand of food products called “Cafe W”.  My friends Sara and Marc helped out with this evaluation.  This was the dessert of our “taste test dinner” which I actually do not recommend. An evening of eating ONLY packaged food is too much.  Towards the end of the night, I found my heart racing and felt pretty ill.  But we made it through the Twinkies and the results are as follows:

Gold n’ Cremes:
These had a sweet smell and Marc described them as “Eastery”, I asked him to elaborate and he said they were malty.   The cake was spongy but firm, maybe just a teeny bit dry but not too bad.  The creme was light and airy and had a nice hint of vanilla.  Sara described it as tasting like marshmallow.  In all, this wasn’t too bad and we all agreed this was very similar to a Twinkie.

These had a very strong, sweet smell that seemed to be waiting to jump out of the wrapper.  The cake was denser and the exterior is kind of greasy.  We noticed the filling was heavier than Gold n’ Creme’s and was almost gluey in comparison.  With the intensity of the smell, cake and filling, Marc said these seemed like they were made more for kids than for adults.

Wrap up:
I would say if you were craving a Twinkie and all you had available was a Gold n’ Creme, you would not be disappointed.  The basic elements/flavors are all there, and people like us who don’t eat these on a regular basis probably wouldn’t even notice the difference.  I will say though for Twinkie loyalists, there are enough differences in cake and creme density that if you’re used to Twinkies, you’ll notice the lighter textures of Gold n’ Cremes.

Gold n' Cremes or Twinkies?

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Apple Pie Bake Off

When you can’t get to Grandma’s house for a fresh baked apple pie don’t worry, there are a variety of options that are… nothing like a real homemade apple pie, but these brands have taken a swing at a portable, single serving of something they like to call pie. Finding people to try these was more of a challenge then I thought it would be. Ethan wasn’t interested, so I brought them to work and figured this guy who always has a Mountain Dew at his desk would be up for the challenge. Somehow he was freaked out by these though. So was our intern when I asked her. Finally, the IT guy and a project assistant came through, and so the tasting began…

The crust on these were pretty thick, so was the filling. We felt it had a consistency of “goo” and it was very sweet, almost too sweet. Dave thought it at least smelled like apples. The sugary glaze was okay but seemed unbalanced with the overwhelming sweetness from the filling inside. There was some apple flavor, it wasn’t as disgusting as we thought it would be and might be good for someone who like things really sweet.

This was the only pie that came as two separate pieces. Right away we noticed that the crust on this was harder and had no flavor. Becca thought the filling was “tangy” in some way but we all agreed that the apple bits were little pieces of dehydrated apple preserved in the thickened corn syrup.

We liked the color of this – which is not shown properly in this photo – it was a nice golden brown. The filling wasn’t too goopy and was actually flavorful. It clearly had a good amount of apple pie spices and a nice filling-to-crust ratio. The crust itself was good, and glazed with a light coating of sugar. Also worth noting was that this the only pie of the four we tasted that listed “apples” as its first ingredient.

Little Debbie:
This was shaped like the hostess pie and looked okay on the outside, and even on the inside, but we were unimpressed with its taste. The crust was passable, but the filling had no taste at all and we felt like were just eating flavorless corn syrup with fake apple bits.

Wrap up:
Entenmann’s stood out from the rest. Its decent crust and flavorful filling most resembled apple pie, and the cinnamon smell/taste really contributed to the win. We wondered if the others had added more cinnamon or other spices if they would have been better. Little Debbie is O for 2 so far but I have faith in her since her Swiss Rolls are so awesome – maybe devil food cake (and nutty bars) are her specialty.  So the results are: Entenmann’s on top, followed by Hostess, and then kind of a tie between Drake’s and Little Deb for being the worst.

Apple Pies: Hostess, Drakes, Entenmann's or Little Debbie?

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Donut Sticks: Mrs. Freshley’s vs Little Debbie

Again we have a Little Deb/Mrs. F showdown.  This time Mrs. F didn’t even change the name of her product, they’re both “Donut Sticks”.  I will admit I went into this a little biased because in the spring and summer of ’88 I had an addiction to Little D’s Donut Sticks.  Even now if I’m walking through the grocery store with my sister and she sees these, she’ll point at them, look at me and just say, “you”.  I forget how I kicked them, it probably had something to do with not fitting into my pants anymore, but the break was made and I went on to live a somewhat normal life.  From my last post of a Mrs. F product, we decided to get the worst over with so we tasted her donut sticks first.

Mrs. Freshley’s:
I had to admit it but I thought these looked pretty good.  They had a nice color and the glaze was proportionally distributed across the textured top.  When we opened these from the wrapper, Ethan thought they smelled like McDonald’s cookies. Biting into these, we noticed a slight lemon flavor in the glaze.  The crust was nice and crunchy although the inside didn’t have a lot substance, almost like a dry cup cake but not as bad as I we were expecting.

Little Debbie’s:
Oh Deb, we both done some changing over the years but, what happened?  This stick was very pale and pasty looking.  When we bit into these, they crumbled and fell apart. There is no donut taste, actually none at all, they only tasted like sugar and flour.  I was really surprised that these were no where near the addictive sticks I remembered from the days of yore. I took two small bites and that was all I could handle.

Wrap up:
I have to give Mrs. F some props here because even though it wasn’t as good as I remember Little Debbie’s being, her Donut Stick was much better.  The crispy crust and the glaze that actually had some flavor is what really gives her the win.  I’d say neither had a great inside or was good for dunking into coffee because they both were very dry and crumbly.  As disappointing as Little Deb’s were, I’m glad I don’t have to worry about becoming re-addicted.

Donut Sticks: Mrs Freshley's or Little Debbie?

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Ring Dings vs Ding Dongs

I’ll try to summarize what I found out about these:  Basically, Ring Dings were first, Ding Dongs were second but were originally called King Dongs, then King Dons, then Big Wheels.  Now they’re Ding Dongs but as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I can’t keep up with companies buying each other.  In the end, Hostess bought Drakes but you can read all the sorted details in this Wiki entry.

Ring Dings:
I don’t know when they stopped wrapping Ring Dings individually in foil but they are paired in cellophane now.   The cake was slightly dry but soft and the creme was good; moist and with just enough vanilla flavor.  The outer chocolate coating was ok, not all that chocolaty in taste, but like chocolate it started to melt a little if held too long.

Ding Dongs:
Ding Dongs are noticeably taller than Ring dings.  I cut open a couple of these and neither of them had a continuous creme center, they seemed to be injected in two areas.  Ethan found the creme to be plasticy and we both thought the chocolate coating was wax-like and stuck to our teeth.  The cake was flavorless and dry.

Wrap up:

Bigger isn’t always better.  We weren’t impressed with Ding Dongs, the whole product seemed tasteless in every way.  When he was done tasting, Ethan just said, “These are pretty bad.”  Ring Dings aren’t the awesomeness I remember from childhood but they were definitely better than the Ding Dongs.

Ring Ding or Ding Dong?

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