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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Archer Farms Old-Fashioned Cruller Donuts

I've had crullers in the past, but I never really looked into their history before now. Wikipedia states that they've been eaten in New England since the time the Pilgrims lived there.

Although, perusing the photos on that page, this Archer Farms offering seems to most greatly approximate the "French cruller," as have all of the previous incarnations of crullers that I've tried. In fact, I think most of those former specimens were actually labeled as "French crullers." Why Target doesn't directly credit our amis les Fran├žais in this case, I can't say.

Aside from the obvious braided look about them, there doesn't seem to be a substantial difference between these and traditional glazed donuts. They're slightly less puffy, and thus, seem a little more dense than other common donut selections.

They've got a lovely, sweet flavor, with perhaps just a tad more sugary glaze as I would have preferred. There's also a nice taste to the dough, and I think a little less sugar on the outside might have brought that flavor out more. But all in all, they're very good, flavor-wise.

As far as the texture, they're a little stiff on the outside and softer on the inside. I think they're supposed to be that way, but that's just a layman's guess. I'm certainly no pastry aficionado.

When I hear the word "cruller," I can't help but think of that awful 80's sci-fi movie Krull, featuring a young Liam Neeson. Wouldn't the inhabitants of the planet be called Krullers? Even the swirly throwing-star type weapon on the cover art seems to echo the twisted braided look of the cruller donut. I'll take "Science Fiction Films Inspired by Pastries" for $1000, Alex.

Please forgive my digression.

I give this product 8 out of 10 stars.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Simply Balanced Crunchy Peanut Cookies

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea that these are peanut cookies, NOT peanut butter cookies. In fact, I've never heard of "peanut cookies" without the "butter" prior to discovering this happy blue box at the local Target.

But I'm glad I did discover them—or glad my wife discovered them, at least. I guess she should get the credit since she snagged them off the shelf and tossed them in our basket. I didn't actually realize these weren't peanut butter cookies until I was contently munching the contents in our kitchen a day or two after we purchased them.

They're a little less sweet than traditional peanut butter cookies. And for a guy with a sweet tooth, I was surprised how much I didn't mind that. It might seem obvious, but these cookies taste like peanuts where peanut butter cookies taste like peanut butter. It's a subtle difference, but an important one. Instead of being full of peanut butter, they're chock full guessed it: peanuts!

Also possibly obvious to you astute readers and cookie aficionados, these cookies are less "buttery" than most peanut butter cookies. I've had crispy peanut butter cookies before—and this offering is most definitely crispy—but there's a decided lack of butteriness. It's a drier flavor and texture, but somehow, it totally works.

I mean, I still prefer soft cookies to crispy ones in general, but it's pretty hard to make a decent shelf-stable soft cookie without adding a bunch of scary preservatives. And these cookies have fairly simple, natural ingredients. Generally, we've found products bearing the Simply Balanced moniker have healthy ingredients.

Speaking of healthy ingredients, let's talk about quinoa. It might be one of those "fad" foods, but it does add some welcome graininess to the texture and flavor of the cookies—and maybe some fiber, too. One gram per serving is better than none I suppose.

Complaints? Well, maybe a few. It might sound like nitpicking, but I always hate crumby cookies. And these guys were super crumby. They dropped crumbs if you looked at them wrong. Also, some of the cookies were in pieces before I even opened the package. I'm not sure if that's due to some careless shipping and stocking practices or because of the inherent brittleness of the product. Also, as I've hinted at earlier in the review, these cookies aren't super indulgent. They're sweet enough to be considered dessert food, but they're not ultra-decadent at all. That's not really a complaint, but I could see some folks being disappointed if they think they're in for something other than what they're getting.

All in all, I was quite impressed with this Simply Balanced snack. Might be a repeat buy here.

I give these cookies 8 out of 10 stars.

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