Thursday, November 8, 2012

REVIEW: Graeter's Cookies & Cream

The cookies and cream flavor seems to be a pretty common concept for companies these days. It's hard to believe that the simple combination of chocolate sandwich cookies and vanilla ice cream can produce such an impressive result. The two ingredients compliment each other in nearly every aspect. The chocolate cookies against the vanilla base. The crunchy texture breaks up the smooth ice cream. I've had plenty of cookies and cream flavors from various manufacturers over my life, but this blog hasn't seen too many.

Since we're talking super-premium ice cream, Ben & Jerry's is about the closest cookies and cream comparison you're going to find, and even they spin off the original. In Milk & Cookies, they've combined vanilla ice cream with a chocolate cookie swirl, chocolatey chip & chocolate chocolate chip cookies. Graeter's decides to take a more traditional route. While most use impersonators, Graeter's has employed authentic Oreo cookies to use alongside their French pot process. Breyer's Blasts used the real deal in their Oreo Birthday Blast flavor, but the frozen dairy dessert just couldn't do the cookies justice. Luckily, since we're dealing with Graeter's, we won't have to worry about whether or not the vanilla ice cream can get the job done.

With the top removed, this looks like the cookies and cream flavors I remember as a kid. Broken chunks of the famous cookie litter the light-colored ice cream. Although the pieces of Oreo look to be rather petite, since the French Pot process uses mostly whole mix-ins that get broken up as it churns, I'm looking forward to possibly uncovering a few larger fragments. At 300 calories per serving, this is somewhere in the middle for a pint of Graeter's super-premium ice cream. The dense ice cream forces me to let it melt down a bit before my spoon can sufficiently break through the surface.

As expected, the quality of their vanilla ice cream is unprecedented. The density, overall taste and complexity just excels above others. Being a traditionalist by nature, I'm biased towards top-notch vanilla ice cream, but this deserves extra praise. Although this is seemingly a straightforward flavor, Graeter's adds the ideal amount of sweetness and complex flavoring to round out their flagship base flavor. Because of the added butterfat and lack of air, the thick consistency doesn't melt down quickly, even after taking a bite. But this ice cream is so infiltrated with bits of real Oreo cookie that the cream filling inside meshes with the vanilla to create an entirely different taste profile. There's no question that is the best available canvas to showcase these cookies.

Like in other traditional cookies and cream flavors, the bits of Oreo are so strewn about that they're involved in nearly every bite. When the bits of soft, flaky chocolate cookies are enveloped with this unbelievable vanilla, the result is remarkable. Although it would have probably received a high rating regardless, some of the larger pieces of Oreo secure a serious score. Because of their size they mimic an actual full-sized cookie dipped in whole milk. Graeter's was finally able to do this traditional tag-team justice.

Where I Found It: Graeter's Online Store
Grade: A

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