Restaurants are trying a new sort of lure to draw more visits from regulars, reconfiguring familiar menu favorites to leave a hollow core that’s then packed with buried treasure, be it syrup, jelly or molten cheese.
Sonic calls its version, a frozen dessert, the Blast Flavor Funnel. Taco Bell christened its latest line the Cheesy Core Burritos. The upstart Andy’s Frozen Custard chain counts its Jackhammer filled-core assortment as a signature.
Some clearly owe a nod to the riff Dairy Queen gave its Blizzard earlier this year, incorporating a tunnel of flavor in the middle. And Ben & Jerry’s has been offering a Cores line—ice cream wrapped around a center of some delectable treat—as a retail option for two years.
Here’s a review of what appear to be today’s equivalents of the molten chocolate cake.
Sonic’s ‘dessert upgrade’
The latest limited-time offer from the drive-in chain features ice creamed packed with popular candies, including M&Ms, and configured around an inner core of what are usually toppings. The “funnels” consists of either caramel, crumpled Oreos, chocolate sauce or peanut butter.
The chain does not reveal how it makes one of the funnels. Indeed, the mystery is the centerpiece of a commercial touting the special.
Taco Bell’s cheesy filler
The Mexican leader is out to prove the hollow-core technique will work with savory products, too. The new burrito features a core of molten three-cheese blend, inside an outer layer of cheese and meat. Two versions are offered, each for $1.99: a crunchy version, featuring what appear to be bits of red peppers, and a spicy version, made with jalapenos.
A variety of filled-core treats, each served in a cup, are offered by the Andy’s Frozen Custard chain. Customers can choose a molten inner funnel of hot caramel or hot fudge, surrounded by frozen custard, without or without mix-ins. Among the options: the James Brownie Funky Jackhammer, featuring creamy peanut butter and bits of brownie mixed into chocolate or vanilla custard with a hot fudge core.
Dairy Queen’s nod to that other crowned head
In what many might call a reach, the treats chain knighted a new line of its popular Blizzard ultra-thick desserts in April to commemorate the 90th birthday of the United Kingdom’s long-serving monarch, Queen Elizabeth. The Royal Blizzards feature a core of either marshmallow, strawberry compote or fudge, wrapped by an outer layer of vanilla soft-serve ice cream studded with bits of Oreos, cheesecake or brownies and peanuts.