Dunkin’s Spooky Ghost Pepper Donuts – Great marketing, good treat

It’s no secret I’m something of a spicy food addict. I have a shelf in my fridge dedicated to hot sauce, which has overflowed onto other shelves. I try the hottest wings available at restaurants for kicks and giggles. You get the idea.

However! There has to be taste and not just heat. I hate spicy things that just taste like pain (looking at you, Triple Atomic Wings at Quaker Steak & Lube).

Enter Dunkin’ with their Spooky Ghost Pepper Donut. A friend of mine brought it to my attention, and I am a shameless buffoon when it comes to gimmicks. I knew I had to try this damn thing. For science, obviously. Before proceeding, some details worth noting:

  • The Ghost Pepper clocks in around 1 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU) (the scale by which spicy foods are measured).
  • For comparison, the Carolina Reaper is around 1.5 SHU.
  • Both the Dragon’s Breath and Pepper X peppers are hotter still.
  • That said, 1.5 million is nothing to sneeze at.
  • The Spooky Ghost Pepper Donut is a standard Dunkin strawberry iced donut with the addition of both cayenne and ghost pepper powders.
  • There obviously aren’t just straight-up peppers on the donuts – they’re present in powdered form. Eating a whole ghost pepper is absolutely a different experience from having something seasoned with it.
  • I would not recommend eating a straight-up ghost pepper.
Proof of acquiring the donuts, I guess.

The local Dunkin had plenty of Spooky Ghost Pepper Donuts this morning, which honestly surprised me because I have trash luck with this kind of thing. I went in with mixed expectations, and honestly was pleased with the end product. These balance sweet and heat nicely. The spiciness hits right after the first bite, creeping up the throat and spreading around the mouth. It lingers. It’ll leave your face feeling a bit warm. It’s nothing crazy, but it’s definitely a treat I can see being too much for some.

Omnomnom. Spooky, spicy treat.

Dunkin’ did these perfectly, I think, in terms of heat. People who went into eating these expecting something that will melt their faces off were clearly disappointed, and I’m admittedly a little baffled by that response. Dunkin’ had to pull off a careful balancing act with this release. No real heat, and this would be just another strawberry donut. Too much heat? For starters, that would likely impact sales. People are intrigued by the prospect of trying something that could be a bit spicy, and word of mouth will help sell it. If it’s agony to eat one of these? Not as likely to make sales.

Also, with Dunkin’ encouraging people to use these to put a little mischief in their Halloween spirit by prankong friends with them? I see lawsuit potential galore if they packed these with enough heat to make it feel like you’re passing lava the next day.

The strawberry is a bit too cloyingly sweet, but otherwise the balance of cayenne and ghost pepper make this a fun novelty treat worth checking out. Just don’t be that person and surprise a friend with it, or you deserve suitably terrible pranks in response.

Overall, this is a solid offering and I hope it returns to haunt Dunkin’ stores each year around spooky season.

A breakfast of champions

Not to be mistaken for Breakfast of Champions, which I haven’t read in years and now suddenly find myself wanting to find and reread. Not even sort of the point of this post. And now a pause for the appropriate number of gasps incited by today’s post happening before 10pm or later. Only the appropriate number, however; I’ll have no excessive or exaggerated signs of shock on my posts, thank you very much.

This is a food post, entirely and apologetically. I’ve been trying to cook more lately instead of opting to go out for dinner, which is just as well since it’s less expensive to throw together ingredients in the hopes it will transform into something mostly edible (I’m working at about a 75% success rate here, so I’m going to say I’ve been doing something right). I really enjoy cooking, if only because it gives me a chance to revert to the days I spent dreaming of being a mad scientist. There are, quite sadly, far fewer robots involved in cooking meals, but I’ll think of a way to change that up sooner or later. Continue reading

An oddly responsible day off

My days off of work are pretty sacred to me, in that I generally try to relax at least a little bit. Today wasn’t an exception to that rule of sorts.

Marceline the Adventure Bean, our third cat, had a vet appointment for her final vaccinations, and I had a very pressing need to find out why the Hell the Maintenance Required light was on in my car (spoilers: it wasn’t because it missed my bright, beautiful smile). I also had come to the realization that there’s not a whole lot by way of food in the new place, which was something I decided needed correcting. I wanted to get a haircut, but that didn’t quite manage to happen. We’ll get back to that.

My errands followed one another quite neatly, with the vet appointment going smoothly, the cleaning out of my car going well, and then the oil change & battery check-up for my car going poorly. Womp womp. Turns out the issues I’d noticed lately were because my poor ol’ Toyota’s battery needed replacing, but the folks at the Plank Road Jiffy Lube are the absolute best. Problem solved nice and quickly. Thanks to stopping there, I saw a recipe on TV for two ingredient chicken (skin-on chicken breasts; add garlic and herb brie or Borsin, then bake…For those interested, Google two ingredient chicken), and so dinner plans were set.

If this post sounds oddly responsible, that’s because it is. I wanted to get some writing done today, but that didn’t quite happen (it will be happening tomorrow instead, as I have self-imposed deadlines to meet). There’s a problem there, however, because I had plenty of creative thoughts rattling around that were left to wait. They seem to have conspired with my love of cooking. Something made me think of scotch bonnets, which are a type of very hot pepper similar to habaneros. They’re commonly, or so Google says, used for Caribbean jerk recipes and have a sweeter taste than their similarly-spicy pepper cousins. I suddenly found myself, a couple hours ago, wanting to use them to make something. I couldn’t figure out what.

My current idea? I happened upon a recipe for caramel sauce with cayenne pepper in it, and decided trying it with scotch bonnets could be plausible. I’ll have to post the results once this food experimentation invariably happens.

How do you other creative types seem to handle the untapped creative ideas in situations like this?

I’d say more, but I work very early tomorrow. Pretty sure this hundred days is almost up, but I need to verify that to be sure.