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May 11, 2017

Bad For You - Breyers’ Non-Dairy Cookies & Cream

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Carroll - Bad For You Breyer's Non-Dairy Ice Cream Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Breyers new Non-Dairy Oreo Cookies & Cream.

Since this column started a year ago, I have eaten all sorts of junk foods and, as the name suggests, they have pretty much all been unhealthy or “bad for you.” That’s really the only rule for inclusion. 

In somewhat ironic fashion, Thom Carroll—our talented photographer who can make even the worst reviewed food look edible—doesn’t eat any of this stuff. He eats mostly plantsSo, I’m sure having to purchase a bacon-stuffed crust pizza or a taco where the shell is fried chicken makes him feel wonderful. 

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A while ago, it was suggested to me that I do a vegan-friendly edition of "Bad For You," which I immediately scoffed at. (“Scoff!,” I said.) It wasn’t because I am anti-vegan, it’s just that vegan food is almost by default way more healthy than most of the stuff we review. There are vegan versions of junk food, but instead of meats and cheeses, it’s sautéed mushrooms and “nutritional yeast.” That’s borderline good for you and there’s absolutely no place for that here. 

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The frozen dessert uses almond milk instead of cream.

I said I would keep my eye open for any vegan snacks that could work for the column with my official stance being, “If it’s vegan and has Oreos in it, then I’ll do it.” 

Lo and behold, Breyers has recently released a Non-Dairy Cookies & Cream flavor of “frozen dessert” made with almond milk. It has no animal or dairy products and has a “Suitable For A Vegan Diet” logo on its packaging. There’s also another Vanilla Peanut Butter flavor in the same line. 

While I haven’t had much vegan food before, I have had non-dairy cookies & cream “ice cream” at a free jazz show, though that’s only because it was Little Baby’s Ice Cream and I didn’t want to eat “Pizza & Cat Hair” or “Sriracha Shoe Polish” or any of the other disgusting flavors they make. [Editor's Note: Big Gay Ice Cream, now open at Broad and South streets, does have some amazing flavors, reviewed here by our reporter, Brian Hickey.] 

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Breyers new Non-Dairy Oreo Cookies & Cream.

I felt the same way about that “ice cream” as I do for Breyers’ Non-Dairy Oreo Cookies & Cream: it tastes like real ice cream! If someone gave you a bowl of this without seeing the package, you probably wouldn’t even notice a difference. That’s not to say it’s exactly the same or even as good as dairy ice cream, but it’s close enough to not stand out too much. 

The lack of dairy does affect the texture, giving it a slightly less creamy version of the real thing. The words “thinner” and “fluffier” come to mind. The sugar and sweetness, however, is basically almost all there. The Oreo bits are chopped up and spread pretty well throughout, which is always a good test for cookies & cream. 

The highlight of this “frozen almond milk dessert” is when you get a big chunk of Oreos, although, to be fair, they would have been the highlight even if this was real ice cream. Oreos pretty much always work

Plus, the best part is that – at 140 calories and 19g of carbs in each serving – it’s unhealthy! 

Verdict: While dairy ice cream is the better of the two options, if you’re looking for a vegan-friendly “ice cream,” this is probably the next best thing.