Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Winternacht Pfeffernusse Iced Gingerbread Cookies (Aldi)

This ain't the gingerbread I grew up on, that's for sure.
Once again I found myself at Aldi with an inherent need for something sweet,and once again I settled for Aldi's Winternacht brand (which my very weak understanding of German leads me to believe translates to “Winter's night”, but I might be wrong). My previous experience was the inexplicably addicting but overpriced peanut clusters; with that fresh in my mind I decided to go in an atypical direction for me, opting for Pfeffernusse cookies, which are essentially iced gingerbread cookies. I figured even in the off chance I didn't like them, they'd be something new for our son to try, as he'll try any kind of sweet thing—that's the plus to having no real-world experience with anything.

I was really taken aback by these at first, because they are actually super-soft...I don't think I've ever had a gingerbread cookie that was soft. The layer of hardened icing—similar to the icing on iced animal crackers—gives a nice satisfying crunch that leads into the softened interior, giving these an excellent texture overall.

Then there's the flavor, which undoes that texture by being...well...gross. I suppose I'm used to the “Americanized” version of gingerbread, but these taste nothing at all like the cookies that I've had throughout my years, and instead taste like what I'd imagine gingerbread cookies to taste like if they were made from expired batter. Seriously, there's no real sweetness to be had here at all, instead replaced by a licorice taste that seems completely out of place, at least compared to what I was expecting; this is “gingerbread” in the loosest sense of the term, long on ginger and spices, but short on anything that would make that combination palatable, at least to most Western audiences.

Assuming this is your kind of thing, the price is right, at $1.99 per package, which seems fair for what I would consider to be a “Christmas novelty”, at least here in the U.S., where chocolate seems to be the dominant holiday treat. But unless our son picks up the slack and ends up eating these, they'll most likely end up in the trash. And where's the value in that?

Overall: 3.5/10. The price is on par with what you'd expect, at $1.99 per bag, and the texture is excellent, but the licorice-y taste, and almost complete lack of sweetness (save for the hardened icing on the outside) sink what could have been a classic holiday treat. Is German gingerbread that different from the American version? Even my wife, who again has a more refined palate when it comes to sweets (and everything else, really), couldn't stomach these; as a result, it's all up to our three-year-old son to save them from a dishonorable trash can fate. A very disappointing buy, and proof of the negatives that can come from trying to broaden your horizons.

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