Taco Bell debuts dessert menu

by Eric Schroeder
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IRVINE, CALIF. — Taco Bell Corp., a division of Louisville, Ky.-based Yum! Brands, Inc., is expanding its menu with the launch of a dessert menu featuring three items: caramel apple empanadas, churros, and cookie sandwiches, each for under $1.

The caramel apple empanada consists of a pastry pocket filled with chunks of warm apples in caramel sauce, while churros are Taco Bell’s version of the Mexican donut, dusted in cinnamon sugar and served warm. The cookie sandwich is made of two golden, triangle-shaped chocolate chip cookies with vanilla cream filling.

In addition to the launch of the desserts menu, Taco Bell is introducing nationally XXL Steak Nachos. The nachos feature a triple portion of steak, melted cheese, guacamole and pico de gallo on top of tortilla chips. The nachos have a suggested retail price of $5.99 for steak and $4.99 for beef or chicken.

The quick-service restaurant chain also has two products in test markets: Cantina Bell Double Steak Quesadilla and the Smothered Burrito. The quesadilla contains a double portion of Chef Lorena Garcia’s marinated tender braised steak and pepper jack cheese, while the burrito contains beef, chicken or steak, along with cilantro, rice, red sauce and melted shredded cheese.

Earlier this year, Taco Bell began testing a breakfast menu in select markets. Taco Bell said the breakfast menu — which it refers to as “FirstMeal” —could go national by 2014.

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