Just wanted to share some of the snacks I’ve purchased over the course of the past couple of months. There were a few snacks new to the market and some that have been around for quite awhile but all were new to me. Some were good, some were bad but I had a great time trying all of them.
Archer Farms Chocolate Peanut Pretzel Snack Bites ($3.99 at Target) Now these were really tasty. If you love salty sweet snacks, love milk chocolate and pretzels and aren’t allergic to peanuts then you’ll really dig these. I’ve yet to come across a mass market chocolate covered pretzel snack that isn’t a bit on the stale side, so that’s the one downside to this product but I think the only way you can have a chocolate dipped pretzel that still retains the fresh crunch of a pretzel is if you hand dip them yourself and eat them right away. Otherwise, the moisture from the melted chocolate sort of seeps into the pretzel and makes the pretzel stale as it hardens. However, if you don’t mind the slightest bit of staleness (thankfully the crunch of the chopped peanuts helps mitigate the staleness), the Archer Farms snack bites are delish.
Big Lots has become my new go-to place to find snacks, mainly odd or interesting flavors that I don’t usually see available at my regular supermarkets where I shop for groceries. A lot of their snacks are less than $2 and those are generally the ones I gravitate towards. I don’t mind splurging $40+ on eye shadow palettes but for some reason I always balk at snacks that cost over $2. I have to be really, really intrigued by a snack to pay more than $2 for it. I’m weird like that.
The Snyder’s Honey Mustard & Onion Pretzel Pieces are an old favorite but they’re much cheaper at Big Lots — $1.90 if I remember correctly — versus the upwards of $2.50 price tag at a regular supermarket. The Honey Mustard & Onion flavor is okay, as is the Buttermilk Ranch (now called Zesty Ranch, I believe), but my favorite remains the Cheddar Cheese flavor. It’s like Combos Nacho Cheese Pretzel Snacks without the burned, overbaked flavor. In other words, much better.
Gave the Salsitas Spicy Salsa tortilla chips a try. They were okay but a bit too heavy on the cilantro flavor for my liking and I generally like cilantro.
I’m not a big fan of Herr’s potato chips (too salty in my opinion) but this was the first time I’d ever seen Herr’s cheese puffs and the flavors sounded interesting. I believe the snacks were $1.90 per bag. The Jalapeno Poppers flavor was as expected if a bit salty but I really liked the Bacon Cheddar flavor. It’s like your standard cheese puff but with a hint of smoke and it’s not as salty as the Jalapeno Poppers.
I’ve heard of Takis before but I’ve never come across the snacks in all these years (which is odd because I live in NY which has a rather large Latin presence. Not in my particular area but in general.) until recently and suddenly I feel like everyone’s coming out with their version of rolled tortilla snacks. I spotted the Takis Xplosion Cheese and Chilli Pepper flavor at Big Lots and it’s different from anything I’ve ever tried. It’s tangier than I expected but the sharpness is undercut by a creamy, almost buttery flavor. It’s more of a sour flavor than anything; I don’t get a whole lot of spiciness from it despite “chilli” being in the flavor name. If you like tangy snacks such as salt & vinegar chips, you might like these. As for texture, the actual tortilla snacks are thicker and harder than your average tortilla chips (e.g. Doritos, Tostitos) but if you’re craving something crunchy these would definitely satisfy.
I also came across the limited edition Fruity Crisp Oreo cookies at Big Lots. They cost $2.50 and the package is smaller than the standard package of Oreos but Fruity Pebbles is my all time favorite cereal (I prefer rice cereals in general like Special K and Rice Chex for their unique texture and flavor). I was lucky enough to find the limited edition Pumpkin Spice Oreos last year which I enjoyed surprisingly but I don’t often spot the limited edition Oreos in time, so I knew I had to get the Fruity Crisp Oreos while I could despite the price tag. They’re basically Oreo cream speckled with Fruity Pebbles dust sandwiched in between two vanilla cookies. The texture of the cream is a bit disconcerting. I think the makers were going for bits of crispy cereal (imagine the crumbs that gather at the bottom of a box of cereal) mixed into the cream but it almost feels like crushed Nerds or Pop Rocks candy instead. In other words, more of a hard, crystallized crunchy versus a crisp crunchy. And the lemony flavor is intense, like Fruity Pebbles on steroids. Way too sweet and strong for me. You definitely want to eat these with a glass of milk to take away the cloying sweetness. I can only eat one of these at a time. The cream is sooooooooooooo sweet, cavity inducing sweet, I think sweeter than regular Oreo cream. I purchased these during a heat wave which is why the cream looks so soft in the picture.
I had a sudden craving for oatmeal cookies but it was much too hot to do any baking so I purchased a pack of Oatmeal Raisin Soft Baked Cookies from Duane Reade. They were on sale for $0.88 which was cool. They weren’t amazing (I didn’t expect them to be) but they satisfied my craving. On the same shopping trip I spotted the Doritos Dinamita Chile Limon flavor, obviously a flavor intended specifically for the Latin market as the packaging is entirely in Spanish. Now these were sour, like mouth puckering, hits you in the sides of your jaw sour. And compared to Takis that I mentioned above, these actually had some spiciness that made my tongue tingle a bit. I love sour candies and snacks but these were intense and I could only eat 4 or 5 of these at a time. Think Warheads or Cry Baby gumball sour. No way I could eat the whole bag in one sitting and this was one of those smaller, individual serving size bags. Compared to the texture of Takis, these have a thinner, crispier, more brittle texture that I associate with the regular triangular Doritos tortilla chips.
I don’t know why it’s taken me so long but I finally got around to trying Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. I feel like people always talk about it. Well, I finally tried them and I have to say I’m not impressed. The texture was expected (classic Cheetos) but the flavor wasn’t really hot and I’m not even someone who can handle intense spice (habaneros and ghost peppers? No can do.). Apparently there’s an even spicier, Xxtra Flamin’ Hot Cheetos flavor. Maybe those deliver on the hotness. One thing I can say is that the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos stain my fingertips like no other cheese snack I’ve ever tried before.
Dollar Tree is another great place to find snacks, both name brands and off-brands, for cheap. For example, it’s a great place to find Wise Crunchy Cheez Doodles. Much cheaper than at the grocery store. On this run I also spotted the Cheez-It Crunch’d Cheddar Cheese and Cheez-It Crunch’d Hot & Spicy snacks. Do not recommend. The actual texture of the snacks is familiar — sort of like Funyuns, not so much like cheese puffs — but in my opinion the flavors are horrible, especially the Hot & Spicy which tastes like really pungent, sour, stinky cheese mixed with rotting veg. Bleh. If you like buffalo wings with blue cheese dressing, you might possibly like these. The Cheddar Cheese flavor was better but only because it didn’t have that stinky flavor; for a Cheez-It snack, it’s not really all that cheesy, to be honest. The crunchy texture of these snacks is the only redeeming factor.
I also got some off-brand Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips — think Doritos except less cheesy — and Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets. Not a fan of the Krimpets. The icing is too sweet and the cake is rather dry and artificial in flavor. Pretty ho-hum.
I also scooped up several newer flavors of Snyder’s pretzel snacks at Target. The Peanut Butter Filled Pieces are strangely addictive but not mind blowing. I’ve tried similar, less expensive, store brand versions before. These are basically a hollow pretzel filled with a tiny, dried-up smear of peanut butter. They’re good for when you’re craving a crunchy snack that’s subtly sweet.
I was so excited when I saw these S’mores Sweet & Salty Pretzel Pieces but they were underwhelming. I don’t get the hints of cinnamon or brown sugar that I associate with graham crackers. These pretzels are pretty straight forward cocoa powder with a hint of vanilla and not particularly sweet. Good but not very exciting.
The Salted Caramel Sweet & Salty Pretzel Pieces are a thousand times better than the S’mores and Peanut Butter Filled Pieces. I definitely get the caramel flavor. The pieces are dusted generously with sugar crystals but the sweetness is lessened by the saltiness of the actual pretzels. It strikes the right balance: not too sweet, not too salty. Totally yum!