And now, Scary-Crayon reviews... MolliCoolz! Incredible Ice Cream Beads by: Wes

Hi, gang! I've totally got a super-duper set of questions for you today. First, aren't you just bored by normal ice cream? Don't you just hate the mess and melting involved with eating it? And haven't you always wanted to eat ice cream in the form of cryogenically-frozen beads that eliminate said problems? Yeah... me neither, but apparently the infectiously perky folks at MolliCoolz thought that using liquid nitrogen to freeze ice cream into miniature spheres would somehow make it better. Yep. I would really, really like to talk to these people -- not because it's necessarily a terrible idea, but because you'd have to be pretty interesting to even come up with something like it. I mean, really -- ice cream beads?! What's next, sushi in aluminum tubes?

Incredible ice cream beads? Not so much.

Now, when MolliCoolz Incredible Ice Cream Beads first showed up in the Dollar Tree freezer in 2.5 ounce tubs, I largely ignored it. The store also sells ice cream frozen dessert by the pint, small boxes of pie (two slices each), and even entire pies on occasion -- not to mention all manner of cookies, candies, and chips -- so, even for just a buck, a tiny tub of ice cream beads couldn't compete with the rest of the DT snackage. However, when DT started selling MolliCoolz in boxes with four tubs each, I couldn't help but grab one... which brings us to today's review. MolliCoolz comes in a variety of flavors, but DT only had three: Orange Creme (I think; it's not listed on the website), Chocolate Chip Mint 'n Cookies, and Chocolate Fusion. While I probably would've gone with Orange Creme had I been feeling more adventurous at the time, I decided that chocolate would be a good candidate for my taste test. I mean, really, how could anyone screw up chocolate?

FUUU-SION HA!If it only involves two folds, it's not origami.

But before we discuss how MolliCoolz managed to screw up chocolate, let's first note the packaging. I love the logo, what with the vibrant letters and the beads orbiting the text like frozen multicolored electrons. The box itself has the nutritional facts and ingredients, which are also reprinted on the tubs therein (as well as on the website). The surprising thing here is that the nutritional content of these ice cream beads -- particularly the amount of calories and especially fat -- are almost identical to what you'll find in regular ice cream (see the nutritional info for Edy's Chocolate Ice Cream for a quick comparison). What's even more surprising is that even the ingredients are pretty much the same. (I didn't photograph those on the box, but you can compare the Edy's ingredients to the ones listed on the MolliCoolz page.) This stuff really is ice cream!

And why did I find that so surprising, you ask? Short answer: this stuff does not taste like ice cream. Well, it tastes vaguely like year-old sugar-free frogurt, but it's even more like the half-frozen chocolate milk I'd occasionally get from my elementary school cafeteria. See, part of what makes ice cream taste so great is the texture: it's rich and smooth, and somehow that contributes to one's ability to fully savor its flavor. It's cold at first, but then when it gets into your mouth the creaminess makes it kind of warm... and it's when that warmth hits that you get the mmm-mmm goodness.

I was going to make a joke about constipation... but I'll let it slide instead.With MolliCoolz, the flavor is there -- though I didn't get the impression of two blended chocolates -- but since the ice cream is broken up into solid, non-melty bits, you never get past the initial shock of coldness on your tongue and thus never get to truly appreciate the taste. In addition, whereas ice crystals in normal ice cream primarily appear at the very top of the carton, they're all throughout the MolliCoolz ice cream beads. As a result, eating MolliCoolz is more like eating icy sprinkles than ice cream. It's not an entirely unpleasant experience, but it's one that you'd expect to be fat free... if you catch my draft. (Get it? Cold? Draft? HA!)

Eating MolliCoolz was also fairly irritating for me. If you scroll up to the tub photos, you'll see that one depicts the tub with a white piece of cardboard in it: this is the first thing you see after you've unpeeled the lid. The image to the right depicts that cardboard in its intended use, as the instructions tell you to fold it into an "origami spoon." Now, when I saw that thing, I initially tossed it aside -- there's no sense using a soggy cardboard scoop when you've got real silverware on hand, right? WRONG. Thinking I was going to be eating something akin to ice cream, I dug right in and raised the spoon of beads... not realizing that more beads were stuck to the underside of the spoon. They fell just as I had raised the spoon within inches of my mouth, scattered in all directions, and then I had to stop eating my dessert to retrieve the three or four lost beads. This happened every single time that I dug my spoon into the MolliCoolz tub, so after the third time I just gave up and used the blasted cardboard thingy. Even accounting for drips, normal ice cream was never so frustrating.

The worst part? These beads are freaking tiny and my room is fairly cluttered... so I am almost certain that there were frozen chocolate beads I was unable to find. One day, I fully expect to be sorting through anime DVD cases or old Sharpie drawings or Transformers Animated instruction sheets and come across some sticky brown splotches, at which point I will say, "What the bleeding heck?!?!" And then, after several minutes of utter confusion, I will remember MolliCoolz Incredible Ice Cream Beads and scowl. Coldly.

But admittedly, after browsing the MolliCoolz website, I kinda feel bad for giving this product a negative review. That site really gives me the impression that the MolliCoolz folks really are excited about cryogenically-frozen ice cream beads... and in a world of weeping and woe, there's something kinda beautiful about that. It also looks like some of their products -- notably MolliCoolz Shakers -- might avoid the problems of MolliCoolz Incredible Ice Cream Beads, so now I'm thinking that might be worth a try. Or maybe I've just been swayed by the delightfully exuberant MolliCoolz spokeswoman, who pops up all over the MolliCoolz website with product information and spots of random goofiness. (What can I say? I'm a sucker for silly girls.) Yet while I do like the MolliCoolz website and might be compelled to try some of the company's other products at some point, I do not like MolliCoolz Incredible Ice Cream Beads and cannot recommend them even for a dollar. Normal ice cream might be soooooo ten minutes ago, but it's still way cooler than frozen beads of bleh.

-- Wes --
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