Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Review: Ben & Jerry's Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream

After hitting Ben & Jerry's hard in the early review history of the blog, reviews have become sporadic over the last year or so as I've tried to become better about how much ice cream that I eat.  Now, I'm far from perfect, so every now and then I'll "slip" and go out and buy a container of ice cream just to fill a craving.  These so-called cravings are often prompted by sales and that's what happened in the case of today's review as Meijer was selling this pint of Ben & Jerry's Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream for $2.99.  I also had a digital coupon that knocked $1.50 off of that, so I was getting a huge deal.  Being the bargain hunter that I am, you can see how I'd manufacture a craving in  my head now, don't you?  Ben & Jerry's introduced these Core products a while ago, but since I've been controlling myself better, today's review is only my second foray into that product line.  This pint is the typical four half-cup servings and clocks in at 270 calories per serving.

Tradition for me is to always let Ben & Jerry's describe these products because they do so much better of a job.  This time, the description is very succinct, but that's certainly a lot better than me fumbling my way through some big verbose description, don't you think?  So here we go..."Sweet Cream Ice Cream with Blonde Brownies & a Salted Caramel Core."  Short and straight to the point.  The only observations I can add to that is that the blonde brownies (blondies) were substantially smaller than I was expecting (I was thinking huge chunks like a lot of their products), but even though they were small, they were amply spread throughout the pint.  As for the salted caramel core, I've got to say, it was incredibly impressive.  It was extremely thick and extremely gooey.  I've seen a lot of cores and injections of caramel into ice cream containers before, but I've never seen anything like this.  It retained it's form so much that it was almost gelatinous.  It was crazy.  It also had a strong caramel smell, so from a presentation perspective, they get an A+ for maintaining the presence of caramel.

First, I'll start with the sweet cream ice cream.  It was basically what you'd expect in that it had mild flavor and that flavor was sweet, but since it was so mild, it wasn't particularly powerful.  That really isn't surprising though as this was setup to be the base for the blondies and the caramel.  Next to taste was the blondies and while I've already complained about how small they were, I do have one more very minor complaint.  These blondies tended to be on the dry side, so they were a bit flakier than I expected.  Maybe that was a by-product of their size (bigger ones would have held moisture better), but that was a bit of a let down.  In terms of flavor, they did have a kick of brown sugar, just like blondies typically do.  The final individual component to taste was the gooey salted caramel and boy was it dense.  It was exceptionally gooey and gelatinous and didn't have any real sweetness at all, thus the salted part of it.  It certainly did have exceptionally strong flavor though and since it didn't have a lot of sweetness, the caramel tended to be toward the burnt caramel  form of taste.  After tasting all individually, it was time to wrap them all together and what I can say is that the caramel still stole the show.  The sweet cream ice cream and the blondies did do a decent job of taming the denseness and burnt-like flavor of the caramel, but it was so potent that it really couldn't be overpowered by anything.  In terms of texture, the blondies did add a bit of graininess and the melting sweet cream ice cream did break up the gooey and gelatious caramel a bit, but once again, this mutant caramel mostly held it's form throughout.  It was kind of like pulling at a piece of Laffy Taffy in how it held together.  I've never experienced that before.

Buy It or Fly By It?  If you are looking for something sweet, it would be best to look elsewhere because this was dense and salty caramel to it's core (like my word play on the name there?).  I prefer sweet things, but I do like to mix it up every now and then and this is a flavor of ice cream that would allow me to do that well, so I'll give it a BUY IT rating.  Plus, the fact that the core of caramel held up so much was oddly intriguing to me, so I'll definitely classify this one as kind of fun.  If you are looking for fun or want something that is not overwhelmingly sweet, this is a very good option.


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