Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Round-Up of Little Debbie's HALLOWEEN-themed Snack Foods!

What would Halloween be without some limited-time only offerings from America's number one Seventh Day Adventist-founded purveyors of sugary baked goods?

Little Debbie is a brand that knows how to get into the holiday spirit, by golly, whether that spirit is in honor of the Son of God's birth, the Son of God's death, or, uh, Valentine's Day. With Halloween right around the corner, it's not at all surprising that LD has released quite a few snack cakes with a particular All Hallow's Eve bent, and what better way to get into full-on Samhain mode than reviewing each and every one of their limited-time only autumnal offerings? Well, the ones I haven't covered previously, anyway -- for those of you that want to know how I feel about Bat Brownies and Pumpkin Delights...well, there you go right there, I suppose. 

Fall Party Cakes!

Also available in a palette-swapped chocolate form (imagine my disappointment the next time I walked into Publix, and realized I could have had the scientifically-proven to be superior choco-flavor instead), these "Fall Party Cakes" are one of Little Debbie's go-to seasonal offerings. Pretty much every holiday, they re-release these things, with some mild variation -- usually, they just sprinkle holiday-corresponding  "confetti" atop the sponge cakes, and say "that'll do." It may not get points for creativity, but as far as texture and taste go, you really can't argue too much here. 

The colors here are quite expected -- orange, black, brown, yellow and kind of an off-blue. The hexagonal cakes are your standard spongey delicacy, I suppose -- lots of shellacked frosting up top, some bright decorative sprinkles that really don't taste all that much different from the frosting, and of course, a creamy, molten center of vanilla sugar paste. All in all, they may not be the best treats out there, but they are decent enough. I mean, it's spongy and sugary, after could you possibly lose out there?

Fall Marshmallow Treats!

Speaking of tried-and-true products, did you really think we'd be able to pass through an autumnal season without Little Debbie trotting out some Halloween-themed marshmallow squares?

Without fail, these things are guaranteed to be re-released every holiday season. I've already tried them in Valentine's Day and Easter form, and while these Halloween-themed variations are almost assuredly the exact same product, I couldn't help but detect something tangibly different about the items (and no, it's not JUST the fact that the treats were orange and yellow.) Maybe it's just me, but these marshmallow treats tasted a lot mushier than the Easter and Valentine's Day variations, which had a tendency to sink past your teeth and creep up on your gumline when you bit into them. Perhaps the warmer weather this time of year MADE the products a little less crunchy, but there IS the outside chance that Little Debbie switched up the recipe a little. But yeah, it's probably the first thing I said more than it is that second thing, so, uh...never mind, I guess?

Football Brownies!

OK, so these things may not TECHNICALLY be Halloween treats, but seeing as how All Hallow's Eve and the football season overlap so much, even the stickliest of sticklers probably wouldn't raise any objections to the offering. And they really shouldn't, because a good goddamn, are these things delicious. 

First of all, the design of these things are a work of culinary art. The built-in football stitching looks fantastic, and the glazed white bands around the brownies was a nice touch that added some much needed aesthetic and textural variation to the product. It more or less tasted just like every other Little Debbie branded brownie out there, but that's not really a negative, to any capacity. They're chocolate, they're chewy, and when you eat one, you kinda' feel like your mouth is intercepting a pass from Tony Romo. These things are great, no doubt, and you need to try them. 

Brownie Pumpkins!

Dear lord, these things are AMAZING. Considering how pretty much every candy manufacturer on the planet has released at least SOME pumpkin-shaped re-branding of their products over the last couple of Halloween seasons, it's probably not all that surprising that Little Debbie would, at some point, hop on the bandwagon, too. With that in mind, they may not seem like the most impressive seasonal foodstuffs out there, but trust me, if you buy a carton of these babies, you will NOT regret it. 

I really can't say enough about how terrific these things are. For one thing, they taste amazing (despite the orange frosting, I assure you they still taste like traditional brownies) and the product sculpting is absolutely fabulous. I've tried a LOT of jack o lantern shaped candies over the years, and this might just be the most beautiful chocolate pumpkin facsimile I've ever wrapped my lips around. And in addition to being aesthetically awesome and tasty? You can grab a wrapped brownie and run around the house, throwing them like the Green Goblin at random things before you eat them. Uh...people normally do that, right?

Fall Tree Cakes! 

Now, I'm not saying that these chocolate sponge cakes are more or less identical to the tree-shaped comestibles released by Little Debbie last Christmas, but if they're not using the same mold for both products, I really can't eye any discrepancies in the designs. 

Alas, while those treats were those of the brownie variety, these here "Fall Tree Cakes" are basically the exact same items as the "Fall Party Cakes" discussed above, although in a different shape and using different flavors, obviously. It's a decent tasting item I suppose, and the orange and red leaves in the form of sprinkles is a nice touch, but overall? Yeah, I'd much prefer me some Halloween Brownie Trees, instead. Or a brownie Frankenstein or something. Man, how awesome would a brownie Creature for the Black Lagoon be, too? I'm not saying that Little Debbie is leaving money on the table by targeting these all-too-safe targets, but if they ever released Jason Voorhees hockey-mask shaped vanilla cakes, you KNOW those things would generate a small fortune. You know they would

I guess a scant five offerings isn't the most desirable of seasonal product loads, but the new for 2013 stuff is quite impressive, nonetheless. While writing this, it occurred to me that, despite obviously trying to cash in on the Halloween season, Little Debbie didn't use the word "Halloween" once on any of its products, instead, using the less-descriptive terms "Pumpkin" or "Fall" as substitutions. Now, I'm not saying that McKee Foods -- the parent company of the brand, and also well-known Seventh-Day Adventist kooks -- are pulling a "War on Christmas" type political ploy on us, but...yeah, they probably are. Granted, it's not a seasonal abomination on par with "Trunk or Treating," but you're on notice, LD -- if you don't start dropping the "H" word on your products next year, their might just be a small flood of angry e-mails destined for your company inboxes, you Hallow-Haters.



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