Few Ben & Jerry's variants can be considered as quintessential as Half Baked. The premise is that two flavors (Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Chocolate Fudge Brownie) are combined for an even greater experience. Two simultaneous ice creams with brownies and cookie dough already sounds like a knockout. As such, my expectations are quite high.
Lid removed, the initial layer begins to remind me of a half moon cookie, something I think looks better than it tastes. Fortunately, my first scoop wipes such an association away. Even without help from the profuse mix-ins, the employed combination base matches Ben & Jerry's renowned density. Flavor-wise, the chocolate definitely stands out, it being the typical, near-dark type used in other flavors (Truffle Trifecta, Chocolate Peppermint Crunch).
Yet the time for Half Baked's base to stand alone is short-lived, at best. Loads of the thick, touted brownies and sharp, sweet cookie dough gobs keep popping up, even when scrapping the bottom of the pint. Thanks to the temperature and surrounding ice cream, the brownies prove to be both sticky and chewy. It's an immensely gratifying experience. Not to be outdone, the cookie dough works well with the vanilla ice cream, especially from a textural standpoint. Everything comes together to create a rich, sweet experience with breaks and sways in flavor and consistency. And because this pint is packed more than just about any milkshake, it means further enjoyment will come from the added chew factor.
I can't think of another variant in Ben & Jerry's line-up that truly shows why they've become such a popular, acclaimed brand. The strange thing about Half Baked and its popularity is that there aren't more flavors like it. Simply merging two complementary flavors can clearly produce some impressive results, so why haven't they offered more of these in pint form? It's a question we may never see answered. Regardless, Half Baked is one of the ultimate forces in Ben & Jerry's catalogue. If it isn't their best offering, it's quite possibly their best non-exclusive choice.
Where Kenneth Found It: Walgreens
Kenneth's Grade: A