Thursday, September 5, 2013
REVIEW: Ben & Jerry's Peanut Butter Jam Session (Target Exclusive)
When I made the trip to the ice cream mecca this past April, the Ben & Jerry’s facilities in Burlington, Vermont, I had the rare opportunity to travel through the Flavor Graveyard, the only place on Earth where unsuccessful ice cream creations were laid to rest. While quite a few of them sounded good enough to have stayed in rotation, there was one that immediately peaked my interest: Peanut Butter & Jelly. Making a brief run from 1998-1999, their ice cream interpretation of the popular, childhood sandwich, had been far from a big seller when introduced to the masses. However awful peanut butter ice cream with peanut butter chips and a swirl of strawberry jam may have been, from that moment on, I had been dying for one of the super-premium companies to churn out another flavor based on the unbeatable duo as Ben & Jerry’s puts it.
Now, 5 months later, my wish had been fulfilled. Teaming up with Target, Ben & Jerry’s has produced yet another, and hopefully improved, version referred to as Peanut Butter Jam Session. This Target exclusive combines peanut butter ice cream with a crunchy peanut butter swirl and a raspberry swirl. Each serving will set you back 270 calories, but considering this sports a peanut butter base, seems pretty slim in comparison to other flavors featuring the same foundation. I found Rockin’ Blondies, the other Target exclusive, on my very first trip, but securing a pint of Peanut Butter Jam Session took 5 visits. The extra effort involved in securing Ben & Jerry’s latest flavor only amplified my excitement, especially when the positive reviews started rolling in. As soon as I returned home I was ready to dig in and tore off the top. This revealed a first layer that shared all the same colors as the actual sandwich and even had a large concentration of crunchy peanut butter poking through the top.
I had always imagined a peanut butter and jelly ice cream to contain a vanilla ice cream, a peanut butter swirl and a jelly swirl, but Ben & Jerry’s aims for peanut butter overload by using the same top-notch base used in flavors like What a Cluster and Peanut Butter Cup. Besides the obvious, super-premium consistency that lingers around before melting down, Ben & Jerry’s leans heavily towards sweet instead of salty. With that said, this continues to be one of my all-time favorite bases from these guys. The dueling peanut butter and raspberry jelly swirls snake throughout the entire pint and work themselves into nearly every bite. Not having tried any type of jelly swirls in ice cream before, I was satisfied to see that Ben & Jerry’s raspberry version works incredibly well with the peanut butter ice cream. Even though the jelly swirl doesn’t grow too large, its potency is so high that even a little bit brings a lot of sweet, raspberry taste to compliment the existing nuttiness.
While just the previously described ingredients would have been plenty to pull off the classic peanut butter and jelly concept, they didn’t stop there. The inclusion of an additional peanut butter swirl had to happen. The next detail usually comes down to personal preference for most. Some prefer the smooth feel of creamy peanut butter, however others like myself, enjoy a textured crunchy version. By going with the latter, Ben & Jerry’s perfectly rounded out their interpretation of peanut butter and jelly ice cream. The stiff swirls contained left-behind pieces of peanuts, which not only added some crunch, but also a savory contrast to the other sweet ingredients. Despite the fact that I’m partial to grape jelly with my peanut butter, I have minimal complaints about Ben & Jerry’s latest flavor. While I’m still upset that we had to lose Brownie Chew Gooder from the current rotation, Peanut Butter Jam Session should help alleviate some of the pain in a big way.
Where I Found It: Target
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