Saturday, September 8, 2012

Blue Bunny Novelties 2012

Ah, Blue Bunny ice cream.  I remember it from my childhood and last year I was able to relieve those memories when the company sent us coupons for free treats.  They did the same this year and so I want to look at a couple of products in their "Sweet Freedom" line that has no sugar added to ice cream and novelty frozen treats as well as one standard ice cream novelty.

Our first product are these Sweet Freedom Fudge Bars that come 6 bars to a box.  One of the very interesting things about these bars other than the fact that they do use only cocoa as their form of our Sacred Substance is that one bar has 6 grams of fiber in it.  Actually cocoa has a lot of fiber in it so perhaps this is an example of how much they are using.   Of course taste is the real test of how chocolaty anything is that only uses cocoa.  One of the reasons that I personally find baked good less chocolate satisfying than just chocolate itself is that they tend to use cocoa more than cocoa butter or chocolate liquor or chocolate in another form.

The fudge bars are fairly large .  They have a creamy but not sweet flavor with a strong cocoa essence to them that results in a slightly fudgy taste that is less than I've had with other fudge bars this summer.  They are well over an inch thick so it may take a bit of skill to get a good bite.  Luckily the frozen treat adheres well to the stick so as you take your time it shouldn't fall off.  This has milk and sugar alcohols in it so be aware of that if you have allergies or intolerances.  Of course these are fudgy enough that you probably will be satisfied with one.

A similar treat are the Sweet Freedom Chocolate & Vanilla Swirl Ice Cream Bars.  There are 8 bars per package and each bar is only 70 calories.  Each of these compared to the previous Fudge bars is 10 grams lighter and looks substantially smaller.  Sadly I didn't think to keep a fudge bar for direct comparison for a photo but now let's look at this variety.


Made with chocolate liquor and cocoa processed with alkali, these bars have 4 grams of fiber each.  As you can see they are a swirled combination of chocolate and vanilla ice cream half covered by a chocolate coating. I thought the bottom half might melt quicker than the top but that didn't seem to be the case.  The bottom ice cream base had only a very light scent while the coating had a much stronger chocolaty fragrance.  Not surprisingly the top half makes a snap when you bite and the coating crunches while the ice cream only part is silent.


If you think the swirling might be a trick I took this extra photo to show the inside.  See?  There are stripes of chocolate and vanilla inside as well so you get a bit of chocolate and a bit of vanilla ice cream in every bite.  This is how much I love chocolate, Sisters and Brothers, because the only problem I had with the bars are that I wished they were fully covered in the coating because on it's own the chocolate ice cream has a weak cocoa flavor that the coating greatly adds to.

The last novelty item is not a Sweet Freedom type by one from their Champ! line of products and one of five ice cream cone varieties within this line.  The Chocolate Lovers Ice Cream Cone is reduced fat chocolate ice cream in a chocolate waffle cone, the ice cream then is covered in a layer of chocolate and chocolate cookie crumbs.  So four layers of chocolate in all!  Unlike the previous two novelties this isn't low fat or low sugar and shockingly it only has 2 grams of fiber per cone.  In terms of the types of cacoa products it uses, it has cocoa processed with alkali, cocoa, chocolate liquor, and cocoa butter along with a "chocolate fudge flavor" what ever that is.

As you can see here the treat is dark looking, it was difficult to get a photo that didn't wash it out as happened with our attempt to get the box.  As often happens with these type of treats, the tips of the cones tend to get broken off before you even unwrap them.  But they've thought of something to prevent loss of ice cream that we'll get to in a moment.  Getting that first bite is a bit tricky but once you do you'll hear some snaps and crunches of the cookie crumbs and the chocolate coating over the ice cream.  With so many layers the ice cream will not melt easily making this a fairly good choice if you want to eat it outside.  Fairly because of that crumb topping that is going to fall everywhere.  I ate it over a bowl and later tried the crumbs by themselves.  They are the part of the treat that has the most types of cacao products in them and therefor the most chocolate intense.  The ice cream itself has a light chocolate flavor suffering as must ice cream does from the cold dampening the intensity.  The cone stayed crunchy right down to the final half inch where it was solid chocolate inside.  That's the trick they use to keep the ice cream from leaking out.  I wish ice cream shops did this, too, because there is nothing worse than leaking ice cream out of the bottom of the cone and on the floor or your clothes.

There we go some deliciously cold treats as the summer continues but with less sugar and perhaps less guilt?  Using chocolate in a few forms and a relatively short ingredient list is a good thing but I believe that Blue Bunny could do better with fewer chemicals.  Why not just not add in substitutes for the sugar and see what you get?  Probably a darker tasting chocolate but the ice cream could counter that well even made with skim milk.  Blue Bunny, thank you for letting us reveal your products to the world.  Sisters and Brothers, let us know if you've tried anything from the "Sweet Freedom" product line and what you thought about it.

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