Red velvet, traditionally a cake with origins going back many years, it's been sort of a specialty cake that popped up here and there as either a Southern treat or holiday type cake due to it's red and white nature. It also had an air of uniqueness to it that whenever I saw it on a menu I was like, ooh, I need to try that. Over the years it's popularity began to soar and it started showing up on more and more menus. I'll attribute this to the cupcake boom that started sometime in the 90's. Since the cake itself is sometimes challenging to make, the fact you could just make a small easy version made it appealing for bakers. Pretty soon, the whole red velvet thing took off and you could find versions ranging from cheesecake to whoopie pies. Abominations, maybe. Some worked, some didn't. These days, that aura of specialness has unfortunately totally worn off for red velvet, particularly where bastardized versions of the flavor are concerned. Nowhere is this more prevalent than the latest "creations" to hit the grocery shelves, being marketed as one time only (we can hope) get them while they last flavors. And, yes, of course I'm going to try them. Ladies and gentlemen I present the latest variation jumping on the (really late) bandwagon.
Once Kellogg's and Nabisco join a trend, it's pretty much over, and like any junk food junkie worth their weight in chips, I'm still gonna plop down my money to try them.
Oreos themselves are already a dark "chocolate" cookie with a creme filling whose main component is shortening. Technically, they are already halfway to a red velvet creation with just a few tweaks. They did get the dark red color down pretty well and not that bright red, something it should NEVER be, don't let anyone tell you different. Tasting just the outside though, it pretty much had the flavor of a regular Oreo, chalky, crumbly with what passes for "chocolate." The filling for some reason they decided to change and make it that "cream cheese flavored creme filling." Yes, there are version of this cake with cream cheese icing and I'll blame the South for this. The cake, which originated in New York, got sort of a hybrid makeover when it hit down South and instead of bothering with making a cooked icing folks slapped on cream cheese icing and "made it their own." I don't mind it so much if it's real home made and not out of a can, but here I think was where Nabisco made a misstep. Had they kept the original creme it would have been closer to traditional flavor of cake instead of adding in a fake flavor, that, for the most part you couldn't taste anyway. Top it off with the fact these cookies were teeth achingly sweet to both me and the SO. In short, I think Nabisco missed the boat and an opportunity to come close, sadly, these weren't real good. I made the SO take them to his work to give out. Even for a junk foodie like me, I wasn't going to have anymore--shocking, I know.
Oh, Kellogg's, they'll make any flavor into a pop-tart. I say up front, I'm a total pop-tart-aholic. I've been eating these things for as long as I can remember, especially in college. A diet Mtn. Dew and 2 pop-tarts got me through all my 8am classes. Again, props to them for getting the color right, the frosting on top is their standard white icing and the sprinkles are actually bright read and something they already use on their raspberry pop-tarts--that's how much I've eaten these, I recognize the sprinkles on top. Judge all you want. As for taste, I eat these 4 different ways so below I've broken it down into each category.
Plain-room temp: The crust edges do have the flavor of chocolate and does come close to the cake part. The frosting on top doesn't really match up and can be a little sweet. The filling, seems they've gone the "cream cheese flavor" route here to, but at room temp, I'll be honest, it gets lost against the crust. In this iteration it doesn't come off the best.
Room temp--buttered: That's right, I put butter on cold pop-tarts and am proud to say, again, judge all you want, don't care. In this version the taste issues still linger, however, adding a little salty did help offset the sweetness making it a bit more palatable. Still not the best.
Plain--toasted: When it was heating, the smell coming out of the toaster was very reminiscent of a baking cake. You could almost smell notes of chocolate and cream cheese. The heating also makes the insides more gooey, creamy. In this instance of my pop-tart history, heating one did make it taste better. Even the SO thought it worked better this way. While I'm still not the biggest fan of the taste, a little heat was a major improvement to this pastry.
Buttered--toasted: Yes, of course I'm gonna butter it anyway I can. For me, this was the best version. You get the upgraded flavor from the heat and the saltiness of the butter meets the sweetness head on. A salty/sweet treat that I'm not gonna say no to. SO wasn't so big on this version, but I'm more the butter fan anyway. While I'm not gonna say you need to try these, I will give this version a thumbs up.
In case you are wondering, yes, we tried these all in one sitting and the sugar rush brought on the inevitable crash and subsequent sleepy time. I will say it always amazes me that Kelloggs pushes the tarts as a good source of 6 vitamins and minerals, forgetting the copious amounts of sugar and carbs, which is kind of why I used to eat them as a kid in the first place. I'd say drop the pretense and move these to the cookie aisle where they belong. Right next to those Oreos so junk food junkies like me can just everything in one fell swoop, they'd probably sell more! Otherwise, I'd say just skip this particular "limited edition" flavor profile and stick with the ones you know and already enjoy. Hopefully next time they will do a better job. Butter On!