[Review] Pillsbury Limited Edition Salted Caramel Apple Cookies

I need to let you all in on an unsettling, but little known, secret. Take a look at this photo:

No, you’re not experiencing double vision. There are two Pillsbury mascots in that photo. On the left is good ol’ Poppin’ Fresh, a.k.a. the Pillsbury Doughboy. And the knife-wielding creep on the right is Poppie Fresh, a.k.a. the Pillsbury Doughgirl.

But here’s where it gets weird: according to Wikipedia, Pillsbury enthusiasts (real people, apparently) disagree about whether Poppie is the Doughboy’s significant other, or his sister.

That’s right–nobody knows for sure if she’s his lover or his sibling! That’s a pretty important thing to nail down, don’t you think? I mean, that playful poke to the stomach sends way different messages if you’re related. 😐

“Hoo-huh?!”

In an attempt to distract himself from his romantically ambiguous situation, the Doughboy developed new Pillsbury Salted Caramel Apple refrigerated cookie dough. It’s sugar cookie dough with tart apple bits and sweet salted caramel, and is Pillsbury’s limited edition cookie for the fall season. After that, it’s winter, which means things could get reeeeal awkward when Poppin’ and Poppie snuggle together for warmth.

The raw Salted Caramel Apple cookie dough smells incredible when removing it from the package. The complete caramel apple aroma is 100% there. They’re visually underwhelming though, with just a few specks of what appears to be caramel showing through. Let’s hope they bake up a little better–they kind of just look like sugar cookies.

Huh. I guess that’s a little better…? Biting into the cookie confirms what I had feared from its appearance. The flavor profile is sugar cookie dominant, then caramel, and then apple–and that’s the order in which the flavors emerge, too.

The base sugar cookie dough is really buttery and sweet. It makes for a great sugar cookie, but that richness also runs directly into the salted caramel and makes it difficult to distinguish the two. The caramel aspect emerges somewhat, but it’s only slightly salty and not as complex as I tend to associate with “salted caramel.” The fresh, tart taste of apple comes in short bursts when you encounter the tiny dried apple bits. It’s good, but I again found myself wanting more of it.

Pillsbury Salted Caramel Apple Cookies are a decent cookie in part because they rely so heavily on Pillsbury’s sugar cookie dough. But that base hinders the cookies, too. It’s hard to totally separate the salted caramel from the sugar cookie dough, and the apple bits tend to be overpowered by the other flavors. In those rare bites where all three flavors come together, it works well, but I ended up with more questions than answers. How did these cookies smell so good, but fall short in flavor? Why didn’t the cookie dough contain bigger apple chunks and a caramel drizzle?

And just who the hell is Poppie Fresh, anyway?

How Much It Cost and Where I Bought It: $2.50 at Target
Just the (Nutrition) Facts:

Serving size—1 cookie

140 calories, 50 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 130 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein.
In a Nutshell: Good sugar cookie dough. Salted caramel and apple components fall short. Weird doughpeople relationships.
Overall Score: 7.5 out of 10
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