Nothing is more infuriating to me than flavors only offered at select stores. Typically I try to stay away out of fear that I will fall in love with said flavor and have to go out of my way to stock up. Given the outstanding reviews I have seen for Haagen Dazs Pralines & Cream, I couldn’t resist stopping into a Walgreens for the first time in my life to snag a pint. This concoction is described as “our signature vanilla ice cream swirled with ribbons of golden caramel and sweet, nutty praline pecans.” I’m not a fan of nuts in ice cream and caramel is typically my least favorite add-in, so Pralines and Cream was starting at a disadvantage. Alas, I trust the reviews of my ice cream cohorts so this pint wasn’t even in my freezer for a day before I dug in.
The first layer showcased all this pint had to offer as most rarely do. My fear of this pint not living up to its rave reviews was quickly put on the backburner with the gooey caramel swirls and pecans calling my name. I delve into the rich, creamy vanilla base that has made Haagen Dazs famous. As expected the vanilla is on point and provides that sweet yet mellow background perfect for playing-off and enhancing mix-ins. Avoiding the caramel swirl proves to be impossible because of its prevalence on the surface. The caramel is undeniably sweet, but it perfectly melds with the vanilla base. Aside from 2nd Street Creamery, this is one of my favorite caramels to date. The dense nature of the swirl provides a molasses- like texture that allows for only enhances the caramel.
After the initial layer is gone, the pint begins to showcase the pecans. These praline additions are sweet just like the caramel, but the combination of the sugar coating and salty pecan provides a different type of sweetness to the pint as a whole. The pecans are fully covered in a sugar coating which amplifies the crunch of each nut providing the perfect change of texture needed to offset the rest of the pint. The caramel and the sugary pecan coating have managed to meld together in a few small puddles, creating a pool of seemingly nothing but gritty brown sugar. This unforeseen phenomena may be my favorite part of this delectable creation.
The mix-ins are abundant throughout and truly make this by far one of the best offerings made by Haagen Dazs. Even if you don’t necessarily like vanilla or caramel or pecans, this is a must try. At 270 calories per serving this pint will more than satisfy your sweet tooth cravings without some of the ridiculous caloric values seen in peanut butter or chocolate foundations.
Where Derek Found It: Walgreens
Derek's Grade: A