Michael Season’s Baked Puffs

A few days ago, I tried a couple of varieties of Michael Season’s Ultimate Cheese Puffs.  There was a lot to like about them – real cheese, nice texture, relatively low sodium.  I thought the fat content was a bit on the high side, even higher than Cheetos brand.

Today, I sampled some more Michael Season’s snacks, this time trying their White Cheddar Baked Cheese Pops, Hot Chili Pepper Baked Cheese Curls, and Cheddar Baked Cheese Puffs.

The White Cheddar Pops were great tasting and pretty healthy.  First, the taste:  again, real cheese is the key; clean, genuine, with no trace of artificial aftertaste.  The texture was perhaps a tad less crispy and slightly less airy than its fried cousin, but still crunchy enough for me.

By baking instead of frying, total fat is reduced to 5g from 13g per 28g serving.  Saturated fat went from 3g to 1g.  Neither contained any trans fat.  Even better, sodium dropped considerably as well; the baked pops have 150mg, down from 270mg.

The Cheddar Baked Cheese Puffs have even less fat than the White Cheddar – 4.5g.  Sodium is higher at 200mg, but still less than the 270 in the fried version.  I liked the flavor better in the baked puffs because there was more cheddar and less blue cheese, which they use as an accent flavor, but was a bit strong for my tastes in the Ultimate Puffs.

The Hot Chili Pepper Baked Cheese Curls aren’t puffy; they have a similar texture to Cheetos crunchy style.  I tend to prefer puffier, but these had a very nice crunch to them.  Featuring low fat content – 4.5g total, .5g saturated – and 190mg of sodium, they combine cheddar and blue cheeses with legitimately hot peppers for fans of the spicy.  They leave a nice burn on the tongue, courtesy of our friend the habanero.

All in all, I think I prefer the baked varieties of Michael Seasons cheesy treats.  The flavor was every bit as good, in some cases better.  The texture was pretty close too.  And they really are snacks you can feel good about eating.  I’m officially a fan.