Reviewing Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Bun Pancake Mix, Valentine’s Little Debbie, & More

by Victor Martelle
Updated:

This snack review has Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Bun inspired Pancake & Waffle Mix, Candy Pop Peppermint Hot Chocolate Popcorn, MyProtein Sizzling Cinnamon Jelly Belly Clear Whey Isolate, MyProtein Mike and Ike Sour Clear Whey Isolate, What the Fanta Zero Sugar (2023), Chewy Chocolatey and Regular Cookies with Hershey’s Fudge Filling Chips Ahoy!, Milk Chocolate M&M’s Cookie Dough Bites – Valentine’s Edition, Little Debbie Valentine Nutty Buddy and Vantine’s Strawberry Heart Cakes.


Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Bun inspired Pancake & Waffle Mix

Score: 2 / 10

Extremely complicated to make. This requires several ingredients and it’s not clear how to make it. One side panel gives directions for waffles while the other for pancakes but, they’re nearly identical and the label for ‘pancake’ and ‘waffle’ is very small. It also doesn’t have directions if you want to use the entire mix.

As for taste, it’s plain with only just a hint of cinnamon. No buttery flavor, just bland. There’s cinnamon pieces inside the mix but they don’t seem to do much for whatever reason. Texture is that of a typical pancake. Definitely just go buy yourself some cheapo buttery pancake mix, you can’t go wrong and you’ll save yourself the hassle.

Released around November 2023.


Candy Pop Peppermint Hot Chocolate Popcorn

Score: 4 / 10

These aren’t very sweet and instead simply have a bold peppermint flavor. The chocolate is really too light to even notice. Overall, it comes across as too “toothpasty” and the peppermint overwhelms. Even if you’re a peppermint candy lover like me, I would avoid these. If they want to redeem this popcorn, add more sweetness and chocolate.

Likely released around November 2021 alongside a Peppermint Hot Chocolate version. This brand also has other flavors including Candy Pop and Cereal Pop popcorns. Found at Walmart.


MyProtein Sizzling Cinnamon Jelly Belly Clear Whey Isolate

Score: 5 / 10

If your into spicy cinnamon candies, you’ll love this. It really tastes just like the candies with no bad aftertaste, though, it’s very hard to mix in completely! Unfortunately, I’m not really a fan of such candies so I won’t be rating it too highly.

Released August / September 2022 alongside Very Cherry and Tutti Fruitti flavors. Limited edition.


MyProtein Mike and Ike Sour Clear Whey Isolate

Score: 5.5 / 10

Just like a Mike and Ike, these have a lightly sweet artificial candy berry taste that resembles the candy itself. Unfortunately these are very misleading as they’re not at all sour whatsoever. Also, hard to mix into liquids!

Released around May 2021 along with a Strawberry version.


What the Fanta Zero Sugar (2023)

Score: 6.5 / 10

I don’t know what precisely this flavor is, all I know is that it’s a very sweet berry-like flavor. Not fruity, simply some type of unknown berry or berries. One thing I noticed is that there is a sweet grape-like aftertaste, so I think it’s grape with something else.

Released September 2023 for a limited time. Found at Stop & Shop.


Chewy Chocolatey Cookies with Hershey’s Fudge Filling Chips Ahoy!

Score: 7 / 10

Contrary to Chips Ahoy! regular fudge filled cookies, this double chocolate version is absolutely more chocolatey. It comes across as dark but not bitter, instead having a pleasant semi-sweetness to it. Texture wise, it’s more dry and crumbly than regular Chewy Chips Ahoy! and it’s regular fudge filled counterpart. The inside filling is not at all noticable both in terms of flavor and appearance as it’s the same color and taste as the cookie, and it’s also super thin. I recommend these with milk!

Released January 2024.


Hershey’s Fudge Filled Chips Ahoy!

Score: 8.5 / 10

Just like a regular chewy Chips Ahoy! cookie except this has a thin layer of chocolate in middle–not at all as much as shown on the package. The thin filling really makes them not much different from the chewy originals that don’t have it. It’s decent with milk, though, they are soft already so you don’t gain much.

Initially released August 2021 as a limited edition summer release; these have stuck around since.


Milk Chocolate M&M’s Cookie Dough Bites – Valentine’s Edition

Score: 6.5 / 10

Are these supposed to be room temperature? That’s how I bought and ate them!

Compared to other edible cookie doughs, these are much more dry and crumbly. There’s also somewhat of a bitter artificial aftertaste which can be off-putting–I can’t tell what it is or what’s causing it. Importantly, the M&M’s aren’t really noticable because there’s hardly any mixed in, what gives! It’s really nothing like the package! Overall, a plain, dry, crumbly cookie dough that’s moderately sweet. Not terrible, not great.

Released April 2023 along with Snickers and Twix versions. This M&M’s Cookie Dough also has come out with various different holiday packaging throughout its time.


Little Debbie Valentine Nutty Buddy

Score: 7 / 10

These are much skinnier than I thought! There’s a soft light crunch from the inside wafer and they are decently sweet with a light peanuty taste from the thin filling. Unlike the original Nutty Buddy, I don’t taste any chocolate out of these (obviously), it’s just a plain sugar taste with a bit of peanut.

Originally released in a chocolate version in 1959. These have an extensive history including coming out in different forms for various holidays such as Valentine’s.


Little Debbie Vantine’s Strawberry Heart Cakes

Score: 7.5 / 10

Who knew artificial strawberry tasted so good! These soft moist cakes are a nicely sweet vanilla-creamy-strawberry. I love how neither the sweetness nor the strawberry is “too much” or too artificial. This strawberry is also very reminiscent of their Strawberry Rolls… did they use the same strawberry flavor here?

Released January 2018 for Valentine’s day. Little Debbie apparently had this product before but not in Valentine’s form.


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