REVIEW: (UK Exclusive) Chips Ahoy! Popcorn Candy Chip

When you think of chocolate chip cookies, what brand do you think of? If you live in the U.S. and several other countries, you probably thought of Nabisco’s Chips Ahoy! cookies. Chips Ahoy! Chocolate Chip cookies are the #2 best-selling cookie in America behind the Oreo. They might not be the greatest chocolate chip cookie you’ve ever had, but the iconic blue-sleeved cookies have long been a staple in cafeteria lunchboxes and bring with them a sense of nostalgia and innocence few products can deliver.

If you grew up in the UK, however, you would have never said Chips Ahoy! until late last year. In September 2014, Mondelez International introduced Chips Ahoy! cookies in the UK with an aggressive, dramatic, and confusing marketing campaign (please click this) that also featured the Cadbury gorilla. The brand debuted with two unique varieties that no other country had ever experienced: Chips Ahoy! Popcorn Candy Chip and Chips Ahoy! Crispy Choco Caramel. The idea of baking popcorn into cookies made no sense to me at all, but naturally intrigued the hell out of me. Because I am lunatic and will not be defeated by the Atlantic Ocean, I got my hands on the Popcorn Candy Chip cookies with a little help from the Internet.

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My cookies got the shit beat out of them on their pilgrimage to the U.S., as several cookies had been fractured into large pieces. Obviously, the person that shipped them to me put little credence to the glaring warning on the package.

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Note: Actual cookies do not include eyeballs.

It turns out their fragile nature is what I like most about these cookies. Compared to the U.S. version, these cookies are thicker yet crispier. They have a very satisfying “snap” with each bite, crumbling in a way that is unique to the UK version. The cookies are a lot more airy than their U.S. counterparts, resembling more of a crispy biscuit than our traditional Chips Ahoy! cookie. They are a little less sweet but have the familiar granulated sugar mouthfeel we’re accustomed to. I dig the reduced sweetness.

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Outside of these subtle differences, the flavor profile is largely the same. The sugar-coated candy bits compete with the chocolate chips for real estate and deliver a nice contrast in texture. No, the candy bits don’t taste noticeably different than the chips. It’s all sugar anyway, dummy. The caramelized salted popcorn pieces are few and far between and can be identified better through sight than they can through taste. This part was a letdown. The popcorn pieces add a slight chewiness to some bites, but that’s about it. I didn’t suspect the popcorn would play a significant role, but I REALLY wanted it to. My mind might be playing tricks on me as I occasionally convince myself I’m tasting popcorn, but this is most likely due to the fact that I spent $13 on a package of cookies.

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Given a choice between these Chips Ahoy! Popcorn Candy Chip and the regular U.S. version, I will say that I prefer the UK’s formula. While they might sound more special than they are, the cookies’s consistency feels more fresh. I prefer my chocolate chip cookies to be crunchy, as I was never a big fan of  the amateur chewy Chips Ahoy! cookies. The crunch factor is turned up to 11 with the UK version. They seem to be well-received in the UK, and Ieave me optimistic that we’ll see more experimentation by Chips Ahoy! USA in the future.

Completely Lacks Any Pumpkin Spice Rating: 🙁 out of 10
My Ability to Convert Pounds to Dollars to Calculate Shipping Costs Rating: 1.5 out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 out of 10

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