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Confectionaries

Pejoy – Caramel Macchiato

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So one thing that comes along with being a food blogger, junk food especially is that you tend to stock pile things to write about. If I actually showed you what my stash looked like, I don’t know if I could show my face any more on the internet. Junk food blogging is a rather fast paced hobby – someone is always putting out something new, and its a race to find it on the shelves before it disappears since frequently items are limited edition or just fade away. Occasionally I will buy things that I haven’t seen on anyone’s radar, for the sole purpose of trying them for myself out of curiosity.

I was craving something chocolate – and as I have mentioned before, I frequently do not buy sweets, especially chocolate, because I end up eating it. Totally problematic, right? I was desperate for something chocolatey and sweet, so I dug deep into my stash in hopes that I would find some old Easter candy or maybe a chocolate bar I picked up along the way to try out of curiosity, and surprisingly I came up empty handed, DRATS, nothing.

These caught my eye, and I decided, what the heck, they could possibly fall into the category I was craving… sorta… kinda… maybe I WAS DESPERATE OKAY?! I am not a coffee drinker. At. All. Believe me, I have tried and tried. The idea of it sounds wonderful, and it smells wonderful too, and despite my time as a Starbucks barista, coffee was never my forte. Even as a child, my doctor prescribed me a cup of coffee every day to try and help with my migraines, but no amount of cream and sugar could save me from the gross coffee taste. I am not even sure what possessed me to buy these – probably the New! tucked at the top.

The cookie design might look familiar to you if you have never had a Pejoy as they are made by Glico, the same company that makes the oh-so-delicious Pocky. Pejoy is best described I think as inside out Pocky. They are a biscuit stick that has the filling on the inside. Prior to these, I have only ever had the cookies and cream version, which were quite tasty.

I will admit, I was apprehensive about eating these as the coffee smell was very strong when I opened the package. I threw caution to the wind and decided to go for it and was pleasantly surprised, as they didn’t really taste like coffee at all. The buttery flavor of the biscuit mixed with the strong flavor of caramel really stood in front of the coffee flavor. It is hard for me to describe the flavor of coffee because like I said, its not my jam, but it definitely deepened the flavor profile of the cookie.. stick… treat? While these were no chocolate, they did a good job of taking its place in a pinch.

Overall I would probably buy these again as I really enjoyed the snap of the biscuit and the caramel flavor. There is also only one way to eat them, just like Pocky, take a million tiny bites at a time. You probably won’t find these on your local store shelves – check out your local Asian market to see if they have them in the sweets aisle.

Found at Oto’s Marketplace

September 14, 2020
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Krispy Kreme Mini Crullers – Limited Time – Lemon

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Summer time and the livin’s easy – especially when you work from home like I have been for the last year. Donuts hands down are one of my favorite baked goods. Do you have a go-to flavor? Mine is definitely maple anything despite the impending heartburn that it always gives me. Sometimes pleasure is totally worth the pain… and the Tums.

I grew up on Winchell’s donuts and a tiny little shop near my house owned by the sweetest Asian couple. Later when I moved north, the mall I started working at had a small donut counter in the food court and a bag of donut holes became my regular splurge. Down the street from my current digs, there is a 24 hour shop that makes some super tasty pink sprinkled cake donuts, best enjoyed at 2 am, tucked into a booth watching the tweakers outside. Okay, so I said I liked maple, but truthfully, I don’t know if I have met a donut I didn’t like. Wait I take that back, plain cake donuts. Those can stay home.

Krispy Kreme never really entered my life until I was an adult. My first experience was when I was working in another town, filling in as the store manager and I hit the drive thru on my way home, treating myself to a box of hot and fresh golden glazed rings. I finally understood the hype. Warm, airy dough, coated in the perfect amount of translucent glaze. It wasn’t until I moved to Sacramento that I had regular access to Krispy Kreme.

I saw these on the shelf along with a few other new Krispy Kreme offerings, although Krispy Kreme Mini Crullers are not new. Typically you will find them in bags with a window in them tempting you with seasonal/limited time flavors such as birthday cake, pumpkin spice, ginger bread, and strawberry to name a few. The research that I have done online for these particular boxed donuts shows that they contain bags inside that hold 2 donuts each, though my box was one big bag of a whole bunch of friends jammed together – maybe this has since changed since I picked these up?

When I think crueller, I think of the super airy, light, barely there donut that completely collapses the moment you take a bite of it, but the Krispy Kreme version is hardly that. If you have had their sour cream donuts, these are much more akin to that than their French counterparts. I found these particular donuts to be SO moist that I wished I had a glass of milk to wash it down. The lemon flavoring did not feel overly artificial to me, though the glaze and donut are very sweet. One of these is plenty for me when it comes to sweets, which I feel like says a lot since I am a eat-sugar-straight-from-the-jar sweets person. Am I going soft in my old age? Are my teeth subconsciously speaking to me saying “Erin, we literally have no more room left for fillings, please, stop.” Using the universal measurement unit of a Bagel Bite, these are about the size of one of those.

With no way to seal the bag inside – if you happen to get the version I did, I strongly advise that you put them in a ziplock or something of the sort as rolling the bag up like a bag of chips will not due. While not terrible, these are not best stale. These took me a while to eat, because honestly, despite my love of donuts, they aren’t an every day thing for me. If you like moist cake donuts, these are something you would probably enjoy. The lemon are a limited edition so if you are interested in trying them, hit the store right now to get your paws on them. Oh and grab yourself some milk too.. or milk substitute, you’ll need it.

Found at Walmart

August 20, 2020
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Hostess Birthday CupCakes

The dog days of summer are rolling hot this year. It’s normally been a balmy 90+ outdoors for me this year, while California has been a fry-an-egg-on-your-hood 109+ some days. For what it’s worth, summer is actually my favorite season. Cicadas hailing in bearably warm evening hours, the sounds of kids doing cannonballs, the smell of fresh cut grass. The way that East Coast states have sun until almost 10pm. Extended family time without school and lukewarm, lazy cheeseburgers with knock-off Kraft singles, store brand buns and ketchup.

My birthday.

As an newly old man, I have plenty of summer memories, plenty of remembered birthday cakes, plenty of times I had vanilla ice cream and Betty Crocker box cake from a glass baking dish. There’s always been a certain amount of melancholy involved. With a July birthday, smack dab in the middle of family vacation time and school being out, I’ve never had huge parties or big expectations. Sometimes, the biggest things come in small, unexpected packages. Sometimes you’re trying to be efficient and buy $25 in face wash for your oil-inflected skin. And then sometimes you round a corner and yo, Hostess Birthday Cupcakes. It took like .5 seconds before I grabbed the pack and said LET’S. GO.

These are described as frosted yellow cake with creamy filling, and it isn’t wrong. Inside the pack were two Funfetti, Twinkie-esque yellow sponge cakes dotted with rainbow sprinkles(the Funfetti part!), and that signature thin white Hostess cupcake swirl atop a frosting cap permanently adhered to the cake via a subset of snack demonology and the power of sugar.

The sponge is non-descript: it’s a sweet cake and its odd Twinkie-like or Twinkie-perfect formula is light and airy in the best way a high fructose corn syrup cake can be. The cream is fun-fair sweet and the iced topping? The stuff of legends. I’m like 99% sure this is a Twinkie, just shaped like a cupcake. Why remake something if you could reshape something?

Bitten all together, the dense, fondant-lite icing takes the cake and dominates other flavors. The sprinkles make a good texture change in an otherwise, one note soft cake and creme affair. If these are Twinkies, I enjoy them more than the eponymous snack cake. The change in gear the Funfetti sprinkles add are a little, tiny bit of crunch, but in the overall product are little bits of sugar inside of a sugar rush of a cake.

This might be the first and last time I have a pair of these, because Jesus they’re small, but dense and absolutely PACKED with sugar. They feel like a blood sugar surge in an adorable baby blue tray.

Friends, if you can eat a ball of sugar, hats off to you, but at my age, it seems like old boy can’t hang anymore.

Found at Walgreens.

August 5, 2020
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Nutella B-Ready

Posted in Candy, Confectionaries by

Good Evening friends – I hope everyone is ready for the weekend because I sure am! I picked this treat up at a Ukrainian market recently and I have never seen them around before this. Bread and Nutella? Sign me up.

From the outside it looks like we are in for a bready treat with smooth creamy Nutella on the inside with chunks of hazelnut. This package weighed nearly nothing but I liked that it was packaged with a bit of rigid cardboard to protect the confection on the inside from being crushed. Upon opening the package I was greeted with two individually wrapped… B-ready…s? I really think they are on to something and could sell these individually at a check lane.

The outside is made of a wafer thin exterior. Do you have bear paws for hands? You will definitely crush this in your hand if you aren’t careful. This treat is approximately 3 bites, scientifically speaking. The inside is filled with creamy Nutella, however no crunchy bits like in the picture which is okay as the outside really brings a nice texture to the mix. My only complaint is that Nutella can be a little on the thick side and if you eat this too fast, you will be chewing for a while.

If you can get ahold of one of these and really like Nutella this snack is for you. Light and airy and full of flavor. If these were readily available at a checklane, I would definitely pick these up on the regular.

Found at Citrus Plaza Market

January 16, 2020
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Hostess Bake Shop – Chocolate Covered Twinkies

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Good Morning Friends – Happy Tuesday to you! My local Smart & Final Extra started carrying the Hostess Bake Shop items recently and I just had to scoop these up. I find the title Hostess Bake Shop a little redundant – because aren’t all the items that they make considered baked?

In this handy little package you will get 4 chocolate and sprinkle covered Twinkies. I am into this packaging visually, but as far as a single serve set up, it would be nice if they were packaged like normal Twinkies. I thought that it was a little dumb buying these because I have had a Chocodile – aren’t these essentially the same thing? Doing a little research for this post, I learned that Chocodiles were kind of a west coast only thing – who knew? I personally do not care for Chocodiles, call me a Twinkie purist. The chocolate to me tastes like a chocolate product, not actual chocolate. There is just something very off about the flavor to me. I do however like the addition of sprinkles, everything is better with sprinkles. Don’t believe me? I couldn’t find the sugar at my Mom’s house a few years ago and proceeded to use purple sugar crystal sprinkles to sweeten my cereal – truly magical.

The chocolate used on these Chocolate Covered Twinkies are different than what is used on a Chocodile. To me this is more like a true chocolate coating instead of a chocolate flavored coating. The Twinkie remains soft and spongy, the filling just how I remember. The sprinkles add a small bit of crunch to the whole bite and I like it. Overall, I enjoyed these. I don’t however see myself eating an entire tray before they get weird and stale, so that is a bit of a bummer due to the way they are packaged. I would recommend these to anyone that likes Twinkies but is also looking to satisfy that chocolate pang. Also if you were not a Chocodile fan like myself, you might just like these.

Found at Smart & Final Extra!

May 1, 2018
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Oreo – #myoreocreation – Kettle Corn

Posted in Confectionaries, Cookies by

Top of the Monday to you! How is it already Monday. I swear the week drags and then the weekend hits some sort of light speed and wizzes by faster than anything I have ever experienced. The winners of the Oreo #myoreocreation were announced and sprinkled into stores this week, so you know I had to go and try to swoop them up. As of this moment the Pina Colada flavor eludes me, but I will find you. The other piece of this trio is a Cherry Cola treat with popping candy. I figured I would start with what I considered the one that I would like the most. Why save the best for last when you can eat the best first.

Overall, I think the three winning flavors are a bit… safe? Oreo has really been hitting the flavor game hard the last few years, so from a junk foodie standpoint I can really appreciate that, but why not choose something a little more bold? Eh, I digress.

So, kettle corn. Deliciously sweet and salty treat best served straight from the popper at your local fair or flea market. I have a flea market by my house that makes INCREDIBLE kettle corn. I literally could and have eaten bags of that stuff like my life depended on it. My body however does not really like the idea of popcorn, so I tend to only subject myself to it in dark movie theaters or the occasional bag here and there. The idea of eating popcorn/kettle corn without the pesky husks getting stuck in my teeth though seemed like heaven on Earth.

I like the idea of adding something to the creme that brings the crunch factor that simulates eating popcorn, but for some reason, my brain has cemented the word millet next to bird food forever. While I logically know that we eat all kinds of foods that other animals eat, especially in different forms, my brain says to me “Yo, those Oreos have bird food in them.” Couldn’t we have called it puffed cereal or grains or something?

You might notice that the picture backgrounds have changed – or maybe not – and that is because of course I am enjoying this treat at work. Started from my office now we’re here. That was a Drake reference. And by here I mean my other desk. I like to enjoy my Oreo cookies as two separate entities. Twist of the plain cookie, eat that, eat the creme, and then eat the other cookie. For the sake of research, I ate a whole one as intended as well – fully sandwiched together. The smell when you first open the tray is overwhelmingly kettle corn at its finest. DELICIOUS and if I could smell like this, I would.

Upon first bite, I was treated to what to me seemed more like caramel corn than kettle corn. It missed that slight salty hint and had a more buttery flavor like caramel than sugary sweet and salty kettle corn. I also though the millet, while giving it an interesting texture seemed a little soggy to me? Not wet, but not overly crunchy, more chewy. While I dig that they were going for a texture element, I wish they would have gone the route of the crunchiness of the Marshmallow Treat flavor they did a while back.

These weren’t bad – but also weren’t entirely exciting. I feel like many Oreos existed before these that have a similar flavor profile. If I couldn’t find these locally, I would not feel like I really missed out. These are pretty middle of the road for me. I will probably eat more of the package, but I wouldn’t hoard them in my office away from my coworkers either.

Found at Walmart

April 30, 2018
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S’mores Crunchers

Posted in Candy, Confectionaries by

Good Morning Friends! If there is one thing that I am familiar with, it is impulsive buys at the check lanes of various stores. We will come back to this.

I try to mix up where I write so that it doesn’t become stale (heh food reference) and today I am tapping away at a Starbucks near my apartment. I just watched a woman meet another woman, and she brought the other woman a large Ziplock bag of what I believe to be fresh parsley or clovers from her front yard – I can’t tell but it seems like a weird gift offering for a breakfast date at Starbucks. Strange.

Back to the check lanes, I did a stint as a cashier at Target before getting promoted to the Grocery Manager there and one thing I would often do when I didn’t have any customers was organize all the check lane candy. I still do this when I stand in line at other stores, it’s just a habit I have. I also used to organize all the register impulse items when I worked for Hot Topic, so I am familiar with what scheming is going on here. Get that one last dollar before you leave, and I fall for it every time if they post up something new there. Gum? Yes please. Mints? Put it on my bill! Candy? SOLD.

When I was checking out at Walmart recently (probably buying all the mug cakes mentioned in the previous post – I have no shame) I found these tucked away at the bottom of the check lane. From the picture they reminded me somewhat of Bunch-a-Crunch. Do they even still make that? Quick Google search – yes, yes they do.

These are packaged in the same way that they Reese’s Crunchers, Hershey’s Crunchers, Cookies n’ Cream, etc. are packaged – small bag, similar to a bag of peanuts that you would find at a gas station, that you tear open and dump the entire contents in your mouth at one time.

Let’s just come out and say it. This looks like dry food you would feed to an animal. Visually its not great. For some reason the chocolate looks like at some point it was melted and then came back to solid giving it that ghosty light color. I thought maybe I inflicted this from a tight grip on the package for too long, but after looking at a few other reviews it appears that I am not alone based on their pictures. Upon first bite I had two simultaneous reactions – WOW this is sweet, and WOW I think I might have just cracked a tooth.

Between having two different graham offerings (why?) and the hard “marshmallow” pieces, this snack is next level “cruncher”. With the abundance of graham pieces you can definitely taste that, but to me it does not taste like a true S’more. The chocolate encapsulates EVERYTHING, which in turn overpowers everything. I think I would have liked this better had they broken the components up ala Goldfish cracker S’mores. I would have also liked to have seen something more similar to a Lucky Charms mallow used instead of the mallow pebbles used.

To me, this would best be served on vanilla ice cream or something of that nature, but other than that, not something I would buy again. I am glad I opted for the smaller bag that way I don’t feel the need to pawn it off on my poor coworkers.

Found at Walmart

April 29, 2018
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Betty Crocker – Mug Treats – Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie

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Good Morning friends! I hope everyone is having a great Saturday morning. I started my day off going to some subpar garage sales looking at “another mans treasure” aka junk that people were hawking. Maybe I should hold a yard sale to sell off some of my junk food stash – Crazy Erin’s Junk Food Emporium – I am into it. OH or better yet how about a pop up cafe, that’s a thing right?

Anyways, Betty Crocker jumped on the mug cake game with 8 flavors (Duncan Hines has a robust 25 flavor offerings as of this review). Nothing brings out my inner Beanie Baby collector nostalgia like the hunt for all the flavors of a food. At this moment, I believe I have all the flavors but Blueberry Muffin. Let’s just start with the automatic leg up that Betty Crocker has, it included FROSTING. I think one of the most heard gripes from the Duncan Hines release was that the cakes were missing the best part, the frosting. They have since come out with single serve frosting packets to add to your mug creations but too little too late Duncan! (I’ll buy them all I am sure, who am I kidding).

I decided to start with to me, a classic flavor pairing. Something that I knew couldn’t go wrong – Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie.

Two improvements that I could see right out the gate are that 1) they print the microwave instructions on the packet and 2) they give you a fill line on the packet so you can use it to add the liquid portion. Upon looking at packets for other flavors, it appears that they have already started implementing point 1, but the second point would be major as I tend to bring these to work and do not have measuring utensils there – leaving me to eyeball it, which so far hasn’t yielded a dry or soupy disaster.

I prepped my brownie and began to give my peanut butter topping packet a massage in my hands. Protip – do this with the frostings/toppings, they will squeeze out the packet way easier. I patiently waited the one minute and change it took to zap my brownie, hoping that it would taste as good as a brownie should and immediately grabbed it out of the microwave. And immediately regretted that decision. And immediately seared off my fingerprints. After doing the pain dance in my kitchen I made work of liberating the peanut butter topping from its confining packet. In the picture on the box it shows a nice little dollop swirled on top and I attempted to recreate the image, but the peanut butter topping is just way too thick.

Learning from previous mistakes, I grabbed the cup (I didn’t use a mug with a handle, A REBEL I AM) with my shirt and made my way to the couch with my peanut buttery chocolately treat. Also, as I write this review, I had a total epiphany – shouldn’t these be called cup cakes? They are made in a cup. No one really says mug of coffee, they say cup, even though a mug is implied. Shouldn’t a cupcake be called a tincake? Because its made in a muffin tin? WOW. Okay. I like taking my cupcakes (tin cake?) and breaking them in half and putting the frosting side in the middle like a sandwich. It gives you a good frosting to cake ratio. Unfortunately with this current cup set up, all of the frosting is confined to the top unless you decide to mix it together and what kind of monster would do that (Me. It me.)

I was expecting the topping to be slightly sweet peanut butter like frosting, but I would argue that it is pure peanut butter. While I am okay with this, I am not really into eating melty peanut butter alone, so it is best enjoyed with the brownie portion. The brownie is moist, chocolately, and very tasty, and mixes well with the peanut butter on top. However, this treat is probably best enjoyed with a LARGE glass of milk or something similar to. The peanut butter is very thick and I felt like when you give a dog a lick of peanut butter and they struggle trying to eat the glob – it is a lot to swallow if you take a big bite.

Overall, I really enjoyed this treat and can see myself not only finishing off the box but buying it again. The only thing I might do in the future is core out the center after its been cooked with my spoon and infuse the brownie with the peanut butter so that by the time you reach the bottom you still have some topping left to enjoy with it.

Found at Walmart

April 28, 2018
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Peeps – Lemon Sherbet

Posted in Candy, Confectionaries by

More Peeps. More Peeps. So many Peeps.

Sometimes I have a lot to say, this time however I do not. I had these stashed away in my office (I swear I actually work in my office, I don’t just store food in there) and decided that I was going to have one as a morning pick me up. Lemon flavored treats are a close second to my favorite lime flavored treats, so I thought I would have a little Peep redemption from the Neopolitan let down from a couple weeks ago.

Mehhhhhhh… When I think of sherbet I think of flavorful tart ice creamy treats and this was anything but. I found the flavor to be way underwhelming. It was way more faint that I expected, similar to drinking a glass of water that had a lemon in it for about 3 seconds before fishing it out. I was very disappointed by the lack of flavor. Much like the other Peeps, I did not like the texture of the creme fudge mixed with the mallow on the bottom.

I would have really punched up the flavor on these or made a plain Peep with a lemon filling/curd on the inside. I also think that they could have amped up the lemon flavor in the creme fudge if need be. Overall I was disappointed by these from a lemon standpoint. I think it would be nice to create a spring time flavor pack that has a few different citrus flavors in it and include this one. I however would not buy a pack of this flavor alone unless they revamped the flavoring.

April 24, 2018
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Krispy Kreme – Limited Time – Nutter Butter Donut & Chips Ahoy Donut

Good Morning everyone! Soooo… does anyone really enjoy going to meetings? When I started working many moons ago I discovered that meetings are the voicemail of office work. JUST TEXT ME THE DETAILS. The only good part about meetings are that they occasionally have food. I was tasked with procuring said food, mostly because I am the first person to the office every day and I have a company credit card (ayyyyye). Donuts were requested and the closest (and only?) donut shop to my work is a Krispy Kreme. I prefer Krispy Kreme’s sour cream donuts to their original glazed, but that’s just me.

I grabbed a dozen and one of the Nutter Butter donuts for myself, because let’s face it, peanut butter ANYTHING is probably going to be delicious – unless you are allergic, then deadly. BUT ANYWAYS. I dropped off the donuts in the conference room and retreated to my office to enjoy my tasty breakfast snack.

Let’s just start with that this donut was smaller than I thought it was going to be – but that was OK, I don’t need a donut the size of Texas to start my day. According to Krispy Kreme, this donut is dipped in peanut butter icing, topped with Nutter Butter crumbles, and drizzled with peanut butter icing. This sounds like a peanut butter lovers dream – except I was somehow completely underwhelmed with peanut butter flavoring. I liked the pieces on top, which gave it a nice bit of texture but overall this was hardly peanut buttery at all. I think they really could have knocked it out of the park if they had oped for a peanut butter flavored cream instead of peanut butter flavored glaze. I would totally pass on this donut again.

Fast forward roughly 7 hours and I have been running around back and forth from my office to my other desk in our 14,000 square foot warehouse – completely ignoring the hunger pangs that have been plaguing me all day since my Nutter Butter let down donut. I didn’t really have time to run out and grab something to eat and I remembered that there was nearly a full box of untouched donuts sitting in the conference room. I made the trek up the front of the building and grabbed the box, presenting it to my coworkers like some sort of donut deity and slyly took another donut for lunch. Do I need two donuts in one day? No. Did I eat two donuts in one day? Yes. Am I proud of it? In the immediate moment, yes in the long term, no. Introducing the Chips Ahoy chocolate chips donut. Doughnut?

Needless to say I was starving judging by this picture because I took a big ole bite before giving it a proper introduction. I will be the first to admit that Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies are pretty hit and miss for me. Sometimes i am really into them, other times they are a paltry attempt at satisfying a craving for fresh baked cookies. I was concerned that the cookie on top would break my two front teeth but it turns out, that baby is a soft bake. Nice job guys. I found this donut rather delicious. The cookie dough cream on the inside with the dark chocolate and cookie on top really hit the spot. I would definitely eat one of these again.

The only donut of the limited time trio that I did not get to try was the Oreo cookies and cream, but let’s be real – I think we can imagine what that bad boy tastes like and the only people that wanted that donut were the people that voted for the cookies and cream Oreos that were released a while back.

April 23, 2018
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