“There is nothing new under the sun.” That’s from the Bible! But what that good book fails to acknowledge is that there are a near-infinite number of combinations under the sun, so we don’t even need any new shit. You could safely argue that pretty much every combination worth a damn—especially in the food world—has already been done. Peanut butter and chocolate? Dozens of times, and done well. Ice-cream sandwich? So many ways, and so far, so good. The list goes on forever. It’s a wonder people even try anymore—they have to imagine that any simple combination has already been perfected. Close the patent office, I say!
And then I was at Whole Foods today, going into debt in order to buy lunch, and something peeked out at me from the frozen-food area: Rice Krispies treats filled with ice cream. I can just imagine like-minded hogs having the same reaction I did: Why the fuck didn’t I think of that, if not for public consumption, then just for at home, hanging around in sweatpants? And then I thought, “Well, this is a difficult proposition, actually. Rice Krispies treats are dependent on their room-temperature chewiness, and ice cream requires a very cold environment in which to thrive. I wonder how this company approached the conundrum.” And then I bought two boxes, chocolate and vanilla. I would’ve bought three, but they didn’t have the strawberry flavor.
A little background before we get to the tasting: These little cubes are called QB’s. (Like “cubies,” get it?) They claim to be an “all natural crispy treat filled with ice cream.” The back features some wacky anthropomorphic versions of the three flavors, named Dave (chocolate), Suzy Cube (strawberry), and Esquivel (a.k.a. “Esquival” on the vanilla box). The three cubes look exactly alike except for their color, but they each have their own stories. For instance: “Hi! I’m Esquivel! I really enjoy extreme activities and high action sports. But chillin’ is a definite must. I’m delicious! Try me!”
Who could resist that sort of come-on? He has little legs, too!
But before we consume these gentle cube-shaped creatures, I must note that we paired this Taste Test with another combo-product, one that’s been sitting on my desk for ages, unsuccessfully waiting to get less boring. It’s the limited-edition Snickers Fudge, which basically removes the caramel from a Snickers and adds fudge in its place. The wrapper is yellow. The description is thus: “fudge with peanut butter nougat and peanuts wrapped in milk chocolate.”
The taste: The QB’s are, sadly, not entirely a success. The real worry among our Tasters was that the crispy bit (which is not, it should be noted, affiliated with actual Kellogg’s Rice Krispies in any way) would be as hard as concrete. (What happens when you freeze a marshmallow? I have no idea.) It turned out the opposite was true: The crispy portion was actually mushier than normal Rice Krispies treats, and it tasted slightly off—surely something to do with the required consistency. Don’t get me wrong, they were pretty delicious, just not the fully orgasmic ice-cream treat any of us were hoping for. There’s also something perhaps a tad too sweet about the crispy part that didn’t sit exactly right with the ice cream. With a couple of tweaks to the recipe, these could be a home run. But by the time they come up with it, some ice-cream giant will probably be manufacturing a competitive product filled with icky fake stuff. (These are, as noted, all-natural, “made with milk and cream from cows not treated with rBGH.”)
The Snickers, as expected, was pretty much an anticlimax. The peanuts and nougat are such a powerful and recognizable flavor that swapping out the caramel for fudge results in a different texture, but a very, very similar taste. If you ate one blind, you’d probably say, “It’s a Snickers, but there’s something vaguely different about it.” There is nothing new under this sun, in other words.
QB’s crispy treats
• “Kellogg’s should be kicking itself for not coming out with this first.”
• “Just looking at this thing, I’m afraid to bite into it. It looks like it’s made out of concrete.”
• “Huh, not quite as sweet as Rice Krispies treats usually are. I approve. It’s sugary, but not insanely sugary.”
• “This is awesome. If grocery stores had aisles for stoner food, this would get an end-cap spot. The Krispies have the vaguely stale texture that’s to be expected, but the mix with the ice cream is really tasty. WIN.”
• “This is a magical pairing. The crispy bar stays soft even when frozen. When you bite into it, there’s a refreshing ice-cream center.”
• “The ice cream in the center is the kind of thing you’d get out of a dispenser at a sundae station. Cheap and airy.”
• “It’s easier to eat than a Klondike Bar or an ice-cream sandwich. No broken shells or melting ice cream to deal with.”
• “This whole thing is like a high-concept ice-cream sandwich. Like a hamburger on a Krispy Kreme donut: two tastes I didn’t think would go well together. But it’s actually pretty good.”
• “Minor complaint: The image on the box is misleading. I thought there would be more ice cream.”
• “The rice definitely has a bit of a building-material consistency. It’s kind of spackle-y. And it tastes a little stale.”
• “Could definitely be worse. Now I kind of want to make some fresh Rice Krispies treats.”
• “It’s kind of what I expected: The Rice Krispies element and the ice-cream element don’t go together all that well. If anything, the ice cream tastes like an afterthought, since it doesn’t arrive until you’re deep into the eating process. Not bad, but kind of a whiff.”
• “I’m tempted to say this is superior to a regular ice-cream sandwich, because it doesn’t leave chocolate goop all over your teeth. But the goop is so much tastier than this kinda mealy rice-puff treat.”
• “The ice cream and rice treat taste really good together, but the way the proportions work out, you’re left with this bit of smushy, not-very-crispy Rice Krispies treat. I can’t eat it, I just keep staring at it, wishing it was full of ice cream again.”
• “Normally I prefer chocolate, but I think vanilla pairs better with a Rice Krispies treat… not sure why. The Krispies were so stale. I am sure that has something to do with having been frozen. The vanilla flavor was spread throughout the treat, vs. just in the middle, which I liked. The ice cream was good, and in theory, this is a nice concept, but I couldn’t get over how stale the Krispies tasted. Oh, and the freaking thing fell apart.”
• “So wait, they’ve pulled all the drippy caramel out of a Snickers bar and replaced it with fudge? My every prayer has been answered.”
• “This thing is awesome. Doesn’t taste that much different, but doesn’t get stuck in my teeth nearly as much as regular Snickers, and doesn’t leave a caramel trail down my chin when I bite into it.”
• “Less messy than Snickers, and more chocolatey. What’s not to like?”
• “At first I couldn’t taste any difference, then the richness of the fudge started to overwhelm the rest of the bar. It throws off the usual Snickers balance, that precarious but oh-so-delicious mixture of flavors usually found in that candy-bar masterpiece. Still, I ate the whole thing.”
• “Mars just can’t stop screwing with perfection, can it? This is better than that stupid Nougabot thing they did for Transformers 2, but just like that, this doesn’t taste all that different. Meh.”
Where to get them: Grocery stores, drug stories, convenience stores, etc.