Peanut Brownie Cookie

May 16, 2012 at 11:57 | Posted in biscuits | 1 Comment
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Here’s a thing. Arnott’s hardly make any biscuits with nuts in. Strange really; you’d think this iconic Australian company would do more to showcase the macadamia nut, Australia’s only native contribution to commercial food crops. But nuts remain absent from most of their range. This is probably a good thing, at least in the Chillikebab household, as Mrs Chillikebab is allergic to nuts.

Perhaps Arnott’s don’t feel the need to add more nuts, as their legions of biscuit eaters are nutty enough already. I know I’ve been called a ‘biscuit nut’ often enough. (Oooh, that was lame, wasn’t it? Remind me to omit that joke from the premium, paid subscription version of my blog.)

Anyway, this week we look at one of the few in the range that does feature nuts – the Peanut Brownie Cookie. This is the third in the trio of ‘Homebake’ cookie range, the others being ‘Chocolate Chip’ and ‘Chocolate Chip Fudge’.
They present just like the others in the range; in a large bag, covered in a dusting of crumbs. They are a bit darker than the others in the range, but otherwise look very similar. Large pieces of peanut are not in evidence – what peanut there has been chopped into small pieces.

Now, when I think of brownies I think of something decadent, moreish and – most importantly – soft and squidgy. So I was interested to see how Arnott’s would incorporate this essence of brownie-ness into these biscuits.

I’m sad to report that the answer to that question is ‘they don’t’. These biscuits have exactly the same crunchy texture as the Chocolate Chip Cookie variety. They do have a chocolately taste, but without the chocolate chips of the original this is somewhat understated. And the peanuts really don’t do much – they are close to undetectable, which is a pity.

So these biscuits don’t really deliver on the promise. They are quite OK, and pleasant enough, but seeing as they lack both ‘brownie’ and ‘peanut’ characteristics, it’s hard to rate them really highly. On balance, probably better to stick with the regular Choc Chip variety. I’ll give these a six out of ten.

Chocolate chip fudge cookie

November 11, 2011 at 11:11 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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Along with the regular Chocolate Chip Cookie, Arnott’s also bake a ‘fudge’ variety. They are packed in the same sort of bag, and look superficially similar, albeit perhaps slightly darker.

Now I have to say I’m not really a great fan of fudge. It’s kind of like toffee that didn’t quite make it. And chocolate fudge is probably my least favourite. But I tried to put that aside as I sampled the these cookies.

Unfortunately, my prejudices were confirmed. These biscuits seem less chocolaty than the regular choc chip cookies; somewhat over-sweet and cloying.

They also seem to lack chocolate chips; the picture on the pack seems to promise big chunks of chocolate, but these were notable absent from the biscuits in my review pack.

So not really a great success; probably best to stick to the original version. I’m going to give these a five out of ten.

Premier Chocolate Chip Cookies

June 28, 2011 at 10:28 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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Arnott’s make quite a few different varieties of Chocolate Chip Cookies, and these ones are the ‘Premier’ variety. They come in a smart box, rather than a packet, and inside the box the biscuits are packed in a plastic tray. This means they lack the dusting of crumbs which usually seems to appear on most Chocolate Chip Cookies – something that seems rather strange, like seeing an old friend naked for the first time.

Arnott’s do not hold back in their description. These are ‘Australia’s BEST choc chip cookie’, and promise a ‘heavenly eperience’. They contain a full 40% chocolate (compared to the measly 13% in the regular ones); I have seen it suggested that this is the maximum amount of chocolate you can put in without the biscuit dough not being able to hold the cookie together, although I am sceptical of this claim. 40% seems a very round number to be some kind of natural upper limit.

Clearly they have fans. There is a facebook page devoted to them, and even Arnott’s employees rate them highly. So am I been churlish by saying I was rather underwhelmed? They really didn’t seem much different to any other brand of choc chip cookie, to be honest. Yes, perhaps a bit more chocolate, but not so much that it really stands out; if you served these up without showing the packet I doubt people would particularly comment on the high chocolate content.

I think the problem is that the chocolate chunks are too small; they are the same as the chips used in the other varieties (indeed, I’m fairly confident the recipe is exactly the same, just with more chocolate chips poured into the machine). This means you don’t really get a full-one chocolatey experience in they way that you do with cookies that have large chunks of chocolate that need to be chewed into pieces.

So all in all, a bit of a disappointment. Tasty, yes, but not quite up to the star billing on the packet. I’m going to give these a seven out of ten.

Farmbake Chocolate Chip Cookies

April 19, 2011 at 11:11 | Posted in biscuits | 3 Comments
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The choc-chip cookie. An international classic, apparently invented in the 1930s in Massachusetts. Arnott’s evidently want to bring a kind of rural idyll to mind with these biscuits, as they form part of the ‘farmbake’ range. They also come in a bag, rather than the more usual packet. This means that there are always some broken morsels to be enjoyed from the end of the bag which is fun, but also means the biscuits are generally covered in a light dusting of crumbs which form as they are transported.

As far as I can tell, they are identical to the mini version Arnott’s also make, with one exception. The mini version has 24% chocolate chips, whilst the grown-up version has only 13%. This is because there is an international standard that states that Chocolate Chip Cookies have to contain at least 12 chocolate chips, meaning that smaller cookies often end up with more chocolate in order to comply with the standard.

In any case way they taste just like their mini counterparts, except they last longer. The bag is also quite large  at 400g, which is very welcome after the rather spartan portions found in the mini ones.

For some reason we always seem to have these when on a long car journey, so usually arrive at our destination with crumbs all down ourselves. I’d say a solid seven out of ten.

Mini Choc Chip Cookies

December 15, 2010 at 09:09 | Posted in biscuits | 1 Comment
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Well, here’s something new. Arnott’s have created mini version of their Farmbake Chocolate Chip Cookies, and then put them in a bag, and then put the bag in a bag. Clearly designed for snacking, you can grab a small packet of bite-sized cookies from the bag to take with you as you choose your own adventure.

There are eight packets of cookies in the bag, and there are only six cookies in each pack. This means it is necessary to have at least three small packets to get a decent serving, so your big bag may not last as long as you thought.

The cookies themselves are indeed very mini – perhaps even verging on ‘micro’. They are not much bigger than an Australian twenty cent coin, as as such are eminently chompable. Indeed, with so few in each small packet, it’s easy to finish the packet before you’ve even realised you’ve started it.

They are quite tasty biscuits nonetheless, and as expected they taste exactly like chocolate chip cookies. It’s a strange thing; whilst most biscuits vary somewhat by manufacturer there just seems to be a universal recipe for chocolate chip cookies that is followed internationally be every biscuit manufacturer, as they all taste exactly the same. They all have that light dusting of crumbs on them; they all are quite crunchy with a kind of brown sugar taste, and they all seem to have about the same amount of chocolate – notwithstanding that fact that Arnott’s are keen to proclaim that their version contains ‘24% real chocolate’. Why twenty four, I wonder. Why not just tip in one more choc chip to get it to a round 25%?

I’d give these a seven out of ten, with a bonus point for being interesting, but minus a bonus point for the portion size being so small.


Rice Cookie

September 1, 2010 at 17:54 | Posted in biscuits | 3 Comments
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Arnott’s Rice Cookie is a gluten-free biscuit. Now, whilst I have a lot of sympathy for people living with a wheat intolerance, I have to admit my heart sinks slightly wherever I get served something that is a ‘gluten free’ version of something that usually contains flour. Normally this signals some kind of heavy, stodgy, grainy facsimile of the ‘original’. So how do Arnott’s fare with their attempt?

Well, the rice cookie is an interesting shape for starters, which at once captures the imagination. They are rather brittle, however, so this imaginative shape has the unfortunate drawback of not withstanding knocks very well. Indeed, I had to sort through the packet of Rice Cookie pieces to find a whole one for the photography.

Whilst they contain rice flour, as the name might suggest, the primary ingredient is in fact maize. I daresay ‘Corn Cookies’ have less market appeal, however. The other key ingredient is coconut, and indeed they have a distinct coconut flavour. They are crumbly and open-textured, and stand up to dunking admirably well.

And, surprisingly, they are rather nice. Not overly sweet, they are really quite moreish and it’s actually quite easy to forget that they do not contain any wheat flour. I’d happily tuck into these with a cup of tea at any time. Perhaps the coconut does start to get a bit cloying after about half a packet or so, but this is trifling criticism. Really a top notch effort from Arnott’s, and one that coeliacs everywhere can rejoice in. I’d give these six out of ten.

Delta Creams

March 1, 2010 at 16:21 | Posted in biscuits | 6 Comments
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The Delta Cream. A biscuit that we are all familiar with, and yet would rarely go out and buy a packet of. Indeed, I was a bit taken aback when I was given this pack; Delta Creams are, after all, those not-very-popular biscuits that get left at the end of the Cream Selection pack (usually along with the Orange Creams). Seeing a whole packet of them just seems, well, a bit odd somehow. Evidently enough people buy them to make it worthwhile to Arnott’s to package them up, and seeing as one of those packs arrived in my possession I thought it was worth looking at properly.

The first thing that struck me about the pack was the strap line for the biscuit. ‘Delicious Rich Vanilla Cream Filled Biscuits‘, it proclaims. Arnott’s are evidently pretty confident about these; they are going to be delicious. It says so on the pack.

The biscuits themselves consist of a pair of cocoa-flavoured biscuits sandwiched together with cream. The top of the biscuit is decorated with a fancy floral design, and has the word ‘DELTA’ emblazoned in the middle. The pack image suggests that the cream extends right to the very edge of the biscuit; this is not the case in the actual biscuit. The biscuit is 46mm across, whilst the blob of cream only has a diameter of 37mm. Today’s question (which, as usual, wins a pack of these biscuits): what is the average width of the cream-free border on the edge of the biscuit?

So – the final question. Are they delicious? Well, the biscuit part has only the merest hint of cocoa about it, but is very sweet tasting. The vanilla cream filling (and I note that the use of actual vanilla is not noted on the pack, although it could be the ingredient simply marked ‘flavour’) really does not taste of vanilla at all. It actually tastes of sugar. Perhaps there is the tiniest hint of some candy-like flavour in there; however it is very faint and has an artificial tang. Taken together, this really makes these biscuits extremely sweet, but without much flavour to balance out the sugaryness.

In terms of looks, these biscuits are rather similar to American Oreo cookies; unfortunately they also seem to be aiming to be in a similar style too – loaded with sugar, but light on any real depth or complexity. Definitely not one of the stars of Arnott’s range, these probably only merit about three out of ten.

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