Compared to the Ultimate Cheese Curls, the Baked Cheese Curls are much crunchier, cheesier, and overall more flavorful. And that’s comparing a Baked Cheese Curl bag that was open for more than a month to a freshly-opened Ultimate Cheese Curl bag. Score for the reduced fat version.
Baked Cheese Curls are available in Cheddar and Cheddar With Hot Chili Pepper. We liked both very much; the Hot Chili Pepper, which is lightly hot but hardly palate-numbing, is a great snack with a beer.
Baked Cheese Puffs
The ultimate Cheddar Puff was crunchier than the Baked Cheese Puffs (photo at top of page), but here the Ultimate Cheddar Cheese Puffs were cheesier and saltier (the Baked have 100mg sodium/cup). Still, at 60% reduced fat (2.25g vs. 5.5g) and 55 fewer calories (65 vs. 120) per cup, you can decide what’s more important to you. We wish Mr. Season would go back to the drawing board, put more cheese in the Baked/Reduced Fat and get rid of some of the salt in the Ultimate.
Still, we’d opt for the savings in fat and calories, any day of the week—the extra cheese flavor in the Ultimate wasn’t worth the overt salt. We know that many people are partial to a high level of salt, but, like foods that are highly sugared, it’s something that we’ve been trained to like by food manufacturers, something we should seek to cut back on, and something that flies in the face of opting for a reduced-fat product. Also
Photo above: White Cheddar Pops.
Baked Cheese Pops
The lightest of the line, Baked Cheese Pops are made with white Cheddar and 40% organic cornmeal. They’re fun and tasty, but milder, with less cheesy oomph than the yellow Cheddar Cheese Puffs or the crunchier Cheese Curls. They’re 56 calories per cup, 18 calories (2g) from fat. They have less sodium (60mg) in both measure and flavor, which is why we might choose this variety over the others. Otherwise, we’d go for the superior crunch and cheesiness of the Curls or the Puffs. (Note that the cheese pops have so much less fat and calories than the curls in part because they have so much more air.) Michael Season’s Ultimate White Cheddar Puffs, the closest comparison to the Baked White Cheddar Pops, are, yes, cheesier, saltier, crunchier and higher in everything else: 1 cup has 120 calories.
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