Sunday, April 11, 2021

Unbranded Cookies and Cream Ice Cream (Dollar Tree)

We also reviewed Dollar Tree pints live on our radio show. Click here if you would rather listen.

A pint of Dollar Tree's Unbranded Cookies and Cream ice cream
It might be made with the finest ingredients...unfortunately "cookie" doesn't seem to be one of them.

Our local Dollar Tree always seems to have empty shelves every single time I go. Anyone else have this problem? I mean, I go at different times and on different days, so it’s not like I just happen to go right after busy nights or weekends, and yet the end result is always the same. Typically, they have rows upon rows of boxes lined up in virtually every aisle, either from restockers who have left, or have yet to come in; it’s rather annoying, if I’m being honest. Moral of the story? Yesterday the shelves were empty, but without boxes everywhere, which I guess was better from a shopping perspective, but annoyed me in a completely different way: So now they’re just not going to stock the shelves? Do they know they’re out of everything? When’s the next truck coming? Haha, I guess they’re damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.

At any rate, I was actually so annoyed at the emptiness that I nearly left without getting anything, but eventually, cooler heads prevailed (along with the realization that I couldn’t really leave since I was also there to get a couple of things for my wife, who would not have been pleased had I come home empty-handed). And speaking of the “cooler”, that’s where I ended up…well, more specifically the freezer.

The Dollar Tree freezer is an enigma. It’s always there, and the products inside are almost always the same, yet I still always trek over there, as if there’s going to be a hidden surprise, or something. I especially didn’t expect anything to catch my eye on a day when the store looked like it was looted during riots…but of course, that’s exactly the time it would be! With several new pints of ice cream flavors!

Dollar Tree has almost always had “ice cream” in their freezers, but outside of name brand bars and other small novelty products, the actual cartons were not technically ice cream after all, but always “frozen dairy dessert”. What’s the difference, you may be wondering? Well, thanks to a quick Google search, the results are in…frozen dairy dessert is made with vegetable oil, while ice cream is not. However, these are not “frozen dairy dessert” impostors, but rather, real life ice cream! It even says so on the top of the lid, lest you think it’s their usual knockoff junk.

Well, today we’ll be looking at their version of cookies and cream, which is currently my favorite type of iced cream (although cookie dough has been quickly rising through the ranks here lately). Oh, right off the bat we run into a little trouble here, and see where the dollar price point seems to be quite a hindrance: there just aren’t many cookies.

We thought maybe the batch just didn’t get mixed well, and there would be a bunch of cookies at the bottom to make up for it, but that was not the case. What we have here is a glorified vanilla ice cream, with little specks of what I would assume to be chocolate cookie all throughout (it’s either that for vanilla bean, but I wouldn’t assume to have that at this price point); interspersed between the small flecks, about every fifth to tenth bite, are slightly larger chunks of cookie.

As with the other varieties, you can tell it’s real ice cream (even outside of the boasting on the lid) because the texture is soft and rather creamy. I thought this would be one of those ice creams that get hard the longer they sit in the freezer, but there was no need to microwave them at all (which my wife does to soften some brands up)...you can even eat it with a plastic spoon right out of the freezer. And, for whatever little it’s worth, the vanilla ice cream is actually pretty darn good. I mean, that’s kind of a moot point, because I didn’t want, nor pay, for just vanilla, but it definitely tastes like legit ice cream, rather than frozen skim milk, like the “frozen dairy desserts” tend to taste like.

Overall: 3/10. Honestly, this might be the most flat-out disappointing flavor I’ve tried from DT, although it might just appear that way because it’s the one I wanted to try the most, and had the highest hopes for. The vanilla ice cream is actually pretty good, and the texture is surprisingly creamy and soft, even immediately out of the freezer, which helps to save this from a lower score. Plus, there’s the whole getting a pint of actual ice cream for a buck thing, which is pretty impressive. However, if you’re actually looking for cookies to go with your cream - as I did, otherwise I would have just bought vanilla - then you’ll either have to buy a pack of our own to crush up into the pint, or if you just want to bypass that unnecessary step, you’ll have to get a better brand - and pay more - elsewhere.

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