Thursday, May 31, 2018

Oreo Cookie Reviews: A Handy Reference Guide

My friend, Helen and her husband, Gavin, recently started a podcast, Common Language, where they discuss differences and similarities that exist in her American culture vs. his Scottish culture.

Their first episode tackled that age-old debate: Cookies or Biscuits?  (Definitely worth a listen, especially if you're interested in learning more about the types of cookies (or is it biscuits?) that are popular in Europe. 

During the course of the podcast, they mentioned my reviews of the limited edition Oreo flavors.  Helen subsequently asked me if I had links to the reviews that I've done so far.  Rather than just have her search around the blog, I decided to compile the list of all of the flavors I've tried up to this point.

Whoa: I've test-tasted more than two dozen different flavors since 2014.  I had no idea it was that many! 

Here's the list of flavors I've reviewed thus far, in reverse order.  I'll update the list each time I try out a new one:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, May 2018

Kettle Korn, Cherry Cola, Piña Colada, April 2018

Peep Marshmallow, February 2018

Hot and Spicy Cinnamon and Chocolate Hazelnut, January, 2018

Peanut Butter & Jelly, November 2017

Hot Cocoa, November 2017

Cookie Butter, Mystery Flavor, October 2017

Apple Pie, August, 2017

Dunkin Donuts Mocha, July 2017

Jelly Donut, June, 2017

Waffles & Syrup, May 2017

Fireworks (with popping candy crème), May 2017

Chocolate Covered Strawberry, December 2016

Blueberry Pie, October 2016

Chocolate Chip, July 2016

Cupcake Filled, February 2016

Cinnamon Bun, January 2016

Toasted Coconut, November 2015

Marshmallow Krispy, July 2015

S'mores, May 2015

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, March 2015

Red Velvet, February 2015

Root Beer Float, September 2014

Pumpkin Spice, September 2014

Review: Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Oreos

It's gotten to the point where, the moment a new Limited Edition Oreo flavor is announced, I receive texts and get tagged in posts from friends who want to make sure I'm aware of the new addition, so that I can blog about it once the flavor is released. (Most recently, I was made aware of the upcoming "Mickey Mouse Birthday" Oreos, expected this Fall, featuring chocolate cookies and birthday cake flavored creme center. Sounds promising!)

So, it came as quite the surprise to stumble up on Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Oreos at my local Acme supermarket this afternoon.  Unlike some of the "what were they thinking?" flavors they've rolled out in the past (I'm looking at you, Cherry Cola Oreos), this one seemed to make a lot of sense. I was excited to give them a try--but not before scolding my alleged "friends" on Facebook for failing to make me aware of them ahead of time. Slackers. ;)

As soon as you open the bag, the aroma of chocolate and peanut butter wafts out--a pleasant, promising start.

The cookie itself is said to be graham flavored, but its so subtle, that note gets lost in the overall cookie.  Sadly, the same can be said for the chocolate creme filling--even though most of the cookies I opened up looked as though there was a larger ratio of chocolate creme to peanut butter creme, the peanut butter flavor completely overwhelms the chocolate.

Overall, the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Oreo tastes pretty close to a round Nutter Butter Cookie. Although you can smell the chocolate aroma straight away, and you can certainly taste the chocolate if you eat just that side of the creme filling separately, the chocolate is barely perceptible when you bite into the whole cookie, and the peanut butter creme has that same artificial peanut taste that you get from the creme inside of a Nutter Butter. The difference is that genuine Nutter Butter cookies are made with real peanut butter (probably in the cookie part itself). Both products are made by Nabisco, and I'm betting it's the exact same filling for both.

So, the answer to the question, "Are they any good?" depends upon your threshold for artificial flavors.  If you enjoy the faux peanut creme flavor of Nutter Butters, you're probably going to love this. If you're more of a peanut butter purist, you might find them a little too cloying.

My recommendation to Nabisco/Mondelez would be to try releasing these with chocolate sandwich cookies, rather than graham flavored ones, to help balance out the flavor more...or just discontinue this Limited Edition altogether, and stick with those tried-and-true Nutter Butters.  Nevertheless, I give this effort a solid B--they're not bad, but they're not something I'd buy again.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

This is Not the Bag You're Looking For - - Printable Luggage Tag!

Several years ago, I started using a homemade luggage tag to keep other travelers from grabbing my bag off of the carousel at baggage claim.  It's a photo of Alec Guinness as Jedi Master Obi-wan Kenobi, using the Force to get people to back off because "This is Not the Bag You're Looking For."

As I loaded up my luggage yesterday in Florida for the trip back home, I snapped a photo of the tag and posted it on Twitter, tagging Mark Hamill a.k.a. Luke Skywalker. 

When I finally opened Twitter again after a long day's travel, I had a bunch of notifications, because Mark Hamill "liked" the tweet, and a bunch of his followers (of which I am one, of course) ended up re-tweeting it.

The comments have been very positive, and several people said, "I'm going to do that!" so I decided to go ahead and upload a pdf template that you can print out and use.

Note: My tag is printed on plain paper, and laminated with a heat laminator (I used the 5ml thickness laminating sheet for durability--so far so good). My business card is on the flip side of the Obi-wan photo, but for the purposes of the pdf, I added blank lines where folks can write their name and contact info.  You can print it out and cut it horizontally, folding the lines back behind the photo, or trim it vertically if you just want the photo and caption. I used a hole punch after laminating to feed a ribbon through. The tag itself has held up quite nicely, but I do end up switching out the ribbon every few trips, because it starts to fray.

If you'd like to print your own version, here's a LINK to the free pdf file that you can download.  I'll just have to keep using a unique ribbon to tie it to my luggage, in case these start popping up at baggage claim from here on.

May the Force Be With You!