It’s time for another product review and taste test. In the spirit of Halloween and second chances, I chose Duff Goldman’s Jeepers Creepers: Where’d You Get Those Peppers Premium Cookie Mix. Yes, it really does say that on the box.
The mix costs $3.99 plus tax at my local Target and calls for the additions of 1/2 cup of butter, two egg whites, and an optional teaspoon of vanilla extract. I wasn’t terribly impressed with his Purple Rain cake mix and Not Your Bagel Cream Cheese frosting (review here). This cookie mix looked fun and since it called for real butter, I felt optimistic.
The box contains the cake mix, candy eyes, and three colors of gel food coloring.
Here are the ingredients you are asked to provide:
To Charm City’s credit, the mix includes a lot of peepers. I tried an eyeball and found it tasted like powdered sugar. The texture wasn’t too hard, which I had been afraid of, but I didn’t enjoy them enough to eat more. Therefore, I only added two eyes per cookie, which left a lot of leftovers.
The instructions are simple: Combine the cake mix, egg whites, butter, and vanilla in a bowl. Divide the dough into three equal portions, and mix one food coloring packet (orange, purple or green) into each bowl. Portion tablespoon-sized balls onto a cookie sheet two inches a part, and bake at 350ºF for 14-17 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown.
The final step instructs bakers to press the googly eyes into the cookies while they are still warm. This step is especially important because the eyes absolutely will not stick otherwise. I found that I had to tuck the edges of the eyes into a still-warm and slightly gooey cookie crevice to secure them.
Taste Test: The cookies looked adorable. They tasted very sweet and like “birthday cake” flavor. I realize cookies are supposed to taste sweet, but, like the Purple Rain cake mix, they struck me as overkill. However, we all have different sweetness thresholds. The texture of the cookie was pleasantly crisp and chewy.
People who like “birthday cake” or Funfetti flavor will probably enjoy these cookies. “Birthday cake” happen to be one of my least favorite flavors in the world. Jake thought the cookies tasted fine, but wouldn’t go out of the way for them. If you don’t mind spending $3.99 for a boxed mix that makes 20 cookies that taste like “birthday cake,” these cookies might be for you.
*When I edited my video, I realized my phone didn’t record my official taste-test of the cookies. The only clip I could find was a candid shot of me returning for a second bite of the cookie.
I’m trying not to toss my cookies as I write this post.
Welcome back to the wild and wacky world of DIY Japanese snack and candy kits. For $5, enjoy an hour of fun and feel like an alchemist as you craft tiny foods from packets of powder and water. When I searched for video reviews of Kracie’s pizza kit, I was surprised to learn it didn’t create candy, but a savory snack (unlike the candy sushi kit I recently reviewed). This pizza kit also differs from the sushi kit because it requires you microwave some components of the meal. Somehow, seven packets + water + microwave cooking creates two miniature pizzas with toppings, potato patties, and a fizzy soda. I curiously watched video reviewer HeyBrittany added her own salt to the potato patties and observed how the pizza sauce smelled like tomatoes. This was going to be wild.
When you unpack the kit, carefully trim the edges of the wrapper. It will unfold to contain the pizza box, drink label, and illustrations onto which you can place the cheese and potato wedges.
Here’s everything that comes inside the kit. All you need to provide is water.
The instructions indicate how to cut apart the plastic mold. The little triangular scoop on the top left is especially important because you’ll use it to measure out the correct amount of water for each packet. Each component requires 1-3 scoops of water.
I had difficulties folding and taping the pizza box together. The wrapper is flimsy and, no matter how I folded the little flaps, it didn’t look right. Oh well!
My favorite part of preparing this kit was forming the smiley potato cakes. I wouldn’t have known they were potato cakes if I hadn’t watched video tutorials. In the U.S., I typically associate fast food pizza with sides like bread sticks or chicken wings instead of potatoes, although I see Pizza Hut now serves waffle fries, now. Domino’s Japanese menu lists several flavors of baked potato wedges, plus Smiley Fries (I saw these at ALDI) described as, “Fries with a smile. . . literally.”
The process of making the potatoes involved mixing the powder with water, pressing it into the smiley potato mold, microwaving it, and cutting it into four pieces. It really did smell like potatoes. I added a sprinkle of salt just like HeyBrittany recommends. Her Japanese DIY candy/snack kits are fun to watch.
Their flavor was slightly potatoey, too. Not horribly offensive, but not something I wanted to revisit.
The pizza crust packet created a soft dough. I divided it into two balls and tried to press it into the crust guide on the inside of the pizza box. Mine was lumpy. Maybe some additional water would have helped.
You actually “cook” the dough by microwaving it. Trayse was intrigued.
Before the final pizza assembly can begin, you have to prepare the pizza toppings. The cheese packet created a freakishly cheesy substance with a stretchy texture that smelled like American cheese. The sauce smelled like tomato sauce and the sausage paste smelled meaty.
Unlike the other toppings, you scoop the sausage mixture back into the foil pouch which also serves as a piping bag. You fold down the top, cut off a bottom corner, and pipe little sausage blobs onto the pizza.
Mmmm. . . I know you’re hungry already!
After topping the crust with the sauce, cheese, and sausage, you microwave the pizzas one last time. The crust further solidifies and the cheese actually melts! It’s hard to describe the smell of these made-from-powder pizzas, piping hot from the microwave. It’s making my stomach hurt as I try to describe the aroma, so I won’t. The most pronounced odor was microwaved american cheese.
I peeled one of the finished pizzas from my kitchen plate and placed it in the pizza box I had worked so hard to create. Then, I sprinkled over the mysterious crunchy corn and pea bits from the seventh packet.
After all of this hard work, I had to take a bite while it was still warm. It tasted like sweet, pizza-flavored play dough and just typing this makes me gag. Jake came home around dinner time and I presented him with the tiny pizza. “Take a bite!” I insisted. He stared at it in horror and started backing away.
“Please, just take one bite,” I encouraged him. “No! Don’t make me eat that. It looks disgusting.” he responded.
“But I need your opinion for my blog post,” I pleaded. He agreed to take one tiny bite. He made a face and described it as vile.
“Why is it so sweet?” he asked.
The best way to remove the pizza taste from your mouth is to brush your teeth. However, the second best way is to chase it with the little grape soda. The soda fizzes when the water hits the purple powder and it’s the best tasting item in the kit.
Concluding thoughts Aspositives, this kit was a lot of fun to create. For an hour’s worth of technically edible fun, it’s a relatively cheap thrill at $5. Both the pizza and sushi kits would provide a fun activity for children, or a curious adult like me. As minuses, the pizza and potatoes aren’t actually a viable snack option, unless you enjoy food-tinged play dough. I ordered my kits online at Amazon. You might also find Kracie’s DIY kits atUnited Noodles in Minneapolis, MN however, they have a cult following and sell out quickly.
Beth’s on a roll with finding silly, single-use kitchen gadgets for me to test. She gave me this 60 Second Pomegranate Deseeder along with a pomegranate.
When I mentioned that I was going to test this gadget out on Twitter, the company POM suggested a method in which one deseeds the fruit in a bowl of water. I test both of these methods in my newest video review (2.5 minutes long).
Kate of Flock of Broads recommended this ten second method. The steps include slicing a pomegranate half, scoring the sides, and loosening the seeds before flipping it upside down and banging on the exterior.
Concluding Thoughts: A hybrid method could work well if one followed this process and then placed the pomegranate on the 60 Second Deseeder. The main problem with the Deseeder gadget is that it does not instruct users to loosen up the seeds. Obviously, simply scoring the halves of fruit is not effective enough for seed removal. Plus, it costs anywhere from $5-$18.
Deseeding the pomegranate in a bowl of water works very well for the most part. The seeds slide out of the shell and the white pith floats to the top of the bowl. However, the seeds are soaking wet. If you don’t dry off the seeds before packing them in the fridge, they’ll become mushy and start to decompose within a couple of days.