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Reese's is *the* name in all things chocolate-peanut-butter, and while their Reese's Pieces, Peanut Butter Cups and various chocolate bars have been slowly creeping into mainstream supermarkets in the UK, these cookies are a bit special. They sell them, rather randomly, at the till point in Krispy Kreme (as if you're not a donut person...but you wouldn't mind a sweeter-than-sweet cookie instead) and in delis and food halls à la Harrods and Selfridges. I've also seen them in airports, both in the UK and abroad, but not in Tesco or Sainsburys...yet.
The cookies don't come in a tin or a roll or a tube, they come - as shown in the picture above - in a flat, square packet of 4, which sit side by side, thus taking up a lot of room and not being stacked protectively and braced against each other. Mine weren't too battered, especially for a product that has made the journey across the Atlantic (they're manufactured in Pennsylvania), but a couple had small chips in them where the cookie part had broken off. The packet is foil but includes a thin piece of card, to keep them flat I suppose. It didn't affect the flavour of them, but I thought it was a bit of a weird presentation.
If you've ever had or made peanut butter cookies you've probably experienced the sort of general biscuits with peanut butter mixed in to the batter, like chocolate chip cookies have chocolate chips mixed in. You could think that a chocolate peanut butter cookie would simply be a mixture of the two, and it could be, but not in this case.
These are milk chocolate layered peanut butter cookies, which take a peanut butter cream filling, add a layer of chocolate, and sandwich on either side using chocolate flavour cookies. Opening the packet you are immediately hit by the smell - it's distinctly peanutty but also quite sickly and sweet and my first impression was that I probably wouldn't want to eat all 4 at once, or not without a drink handy.
The cookies are small - the size and shape of an Oreo - but they pack in the calories with each one having 73 and about 3.7g fat. I decided to have them in two helpings, in an attempt not to derail my new year's healthy eating resolutions, and found this was a good amount. Yes, if there had been 3 in the pack I could have forced myself, but since there were 4 I got two decent servings and felt rather virtuous.
The cookies have the three layers mentioned above. The biscuit is like a bourbon cream, or like an Oreo - it's not especially crisp and crunchy, but isn't soggy either. You can bend it or mould it to some degree as it's not too rigid. It has a mild taste to it that is more cocoa than silky chocolate - again, a bit like a bourbon. The two parts are nice and thick and sandwich together the insides in a neat way.
The chocolate layer is spread on the inside of the cookies, and isn't really noticeable - though the product do have a chocolatey taste to them, it's not overwhelming (in a good or bad way), and I wouldn't really have known this layer existed separate to the cookies themselves, had the packet not told me.
So far, so ordinary - there are numerous biccies out there that fit this description, and most are far cheaper than these. The crème de la crème of the Reese's cookies, however, is the luscious peanut butter filling. If you've never tried the American stuff, let me enlighten you: American PB is *not* the same as UK own brands or the likes of Sunpat - it is creamier but also noticeably sweeter and while it takes some getting used to, I have come to enjoy it as a distinct product in its own right thanks to my extended stays in the US and countries who model their PB after them, e.g Mexico. Made in Pennsylvania, these cookies use the familiar Reese's peanut butter filling, like that used in the candies. This makes the cookies sweeter than you might expect for something more peanut buttery than chocolatey - which is fine since they are supposed to be a sweet product (American style PB works less well in PB crackers etc sold over there, as they're supposed to be more savoury). The filling is smooth and really creamy, but it's slightly softer than what you would get in a bourbon or custard cream, or, again, in an Oreo, and if you press on both biscuit sides, it oozes through the small gaps in them in a rather delicious, if slightly messy, way.
These cookies taste great thanks to the neat mix of salty-but-sweet peanut butter and semi-sweet chocolate parts. The taste does linger after you finish eating, but it's a nice after-taste (assuming you like peanut butter, that is). I was disappointed they didn't have more chocolate in them, but only because I had expected them to - once I got over that, I relished eating up the remainder of the pack.
My only complaint, beyond the weird packaging, is that they are a bit crumbly and messy to eat, which I hadn't anticipated since the biscuit bits aren't crisp. While Oreos may be meant to be split in half (and the inside maybe, or maybe not, licked out) these do not peel apart as easily and after trying once I gave up and ate them in the grown up way (i.e. properly, not by playing with them). The cookies are not that filling since they are quite small, but because they are so sweet, I didn't feel the need to keep eating them. They are extremely satisfying in terms of flavour - slightly less so in terms of bulk in your stomach.
These are not the cheapest cookies, but I enjoyed mine very much and will look out for them next time I'm passing Krispy Kreme. There is no similar product in the UK market that I'm aware of, so unless you want to faff around licking the middle out of an Oreo or Bourbon, and replacing it with peanut butter, you're best bet is to keep an eye out for the real deal.
Find your nearest Krispy Kreme on their website:
I have seen this cookies in the Manchester Piccadilly Krispy Kreme, the one at Euston and the one inside Harrod's food hall among others, so I would assume that most if not all KKs are stocking them. Expect to pay about £1.50 per pack of 4.
NB: If you're looking for these, remember you want the ones that have "Chocolate Layer" as a footnote on the packet, in the bottom right hand corner, as in the picture above. If you're in the US, you can also try a scary range of only-everso-slightly-different Reese's cookies, including chocolate dipped ones, and "proper" soft-baked cookies like the peanut butter/chocolate chip ones I mentioned above. In the UK, many of these are available on eBay