The Big Oreo Shocker

Nabisco Sugar Free Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Nabisco Sugar Free Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

I Paid: $3.35 for a 6.75-ounce box (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 4 stars

Marketing: 1 stars

“Sugar Free Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies,” proclaims the box, inspiring horror and revulsion among all right-thinking people. What could possibly be worse than desecrating this mass-market American foodstuff with artificial sweeteners including sucralose (sometimes sold as Splenda) and acesulfame potassium (also known as Ace K). Spitting on a hamburger, maybe. Rubbing a steak down with powdered Kool-Aid, potentially.

At any rate, it sounds just awful. Oreos are a ritual indulgence, a sweet treat whose very nature is defined by familiarity: the grainy cocoa kick of the cookie; the creamy sweetness of the filling.

Here, then, is the shocking truth about Sugar Free Oreos—they aren’t bad at all. They taste eerily similar to the real thing, and could, in fact, probably fool the unprepared taster. The filling isn’t quite as creamy, and perhaps the cocoa flavor of the cookie is less intense, but they’re otherwise remarkably close to the mark.

Another brand of similar cookies (Murray Sugar Free Sandwich cookies) was similarly decent, although the cream was almost totally lost as a flavor. Apparently Oreo-style cookies take to artificial sweeteners in a way that few other desserts do.

Whether this matters is entirely up to you. Some would argue that replacing sugar with artificial chemical sweeteners is a matter of trading bad for worse, and the things certainly aren’t low-calorie at 100 calories per two-cookie serving. That said, the exile of sugar is surprisingly painless from the perspective of taste.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow Chowhound on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.

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