Switch on the Simon and Garfunkel and dust off the lava lamp ‘cause Honey Bunches hopped on the granola train. Baked, fried, or composed from the wood shavings of an oak tree, I love granola.
I love granola. I will eat it on a boat, with a goat, beside a clown, upside down, with a moose, or rhyming like Dr. Seuss, and that rule remained stapled to the forefront of my mind as I swiped Post Honey Bunches of Oats Crunchy Cinnamon Granola at the Target checkout and strode home, fingers itching to peel back the resealable tab.
And I wasn’t disappointed. Crunchy, sweet, and full of clumps the size of Frankenstein Grape Nuts, Honey Bunches put a solid foot forward. The oats are toasted without being burnt, bringing out a roasted, almond-like nature, But granola cannot live by oats alone. Fortunately, like a good high school band, there’s a drummer backing things up, and its name is cinnamon.
As with many spices, cinnamon holds the potential to overpower a dish. As I have discovered through many oatmeal-related accidents, a fine line exists between “Just right” and “Clouds of cinnamon are clogging my trachea!!”
Well, Mr. Robot that does the dusting of cinnamon at the Post factory deserves a raise: he mixed the cinnamon in throughout without being heavy handed, providing a warm end to the brown sugar highlights of the bits. In that special way, it reminds me of a crunchier version of the top of a streusel-ized coffee cake and, in that same special way, it’s pretty easy to down it all at once.
However, that would require some serious jaw-muscle action as this stuff is crunchy. As in, “I worry about my dental insurance,” crunchy. While the regular bunches in Honey Bunches of Oats cereal crumble easily, these nuggets are more akin to the densely compressed character of Nature Valley bars in clump form.
If I were hiking Mt. Everest, I’m 89.7 percent sure the echo ensuing from crunching would cause an avalanche. If you find yourself concerned about avalanche risk, just follow the rules taught to us by Smoky the Bear: 1) don’t start forest fires and 2) be considerate where you crunch your granola.*
*Smoky the Bear told me this directly while I was hiking through the Seattle forests back in 2007.
Granola, in its best form, can be enjoyed both on its own and muddled into other mediums and, indeed, after mixing in ice cream, I can affirm these clumps hold their own. The granola chunks and shards stayed crunchity, providing both texture and warm cinnamon to the chocolate Blue Bunny I spooned down. Separate, they are good. Combined, they become excellent, forming a bowl of sugary, smooth, cold, slightly brittle, cinnamon-dusted, creamed-up nonsense, and we all need more nonsense.
If I were to nitpick, I’d say potential pitfalls one might encounter here would be 1) most clusters are itty-bity, b) risk of dehydration and/or jaw ache is high, and III) 11 ounces of granola empties fast, but, when I’m complaining about something emptying fast, I know I’ve got something good on my hands. And this granola is good. Balanced, crunchy, and just sugary enough, it delivers the promise of cinnamon sugar in its own awkward, beautiful way, reminding me that I don’t have to pay for a ticket to Bonnaroo or jump in a time machine set for the 70s to enjoy plopping in the bean bag chair for a day and munching some granola.
(Nutrition Facts – 2/3 cup – 240 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 10 milligrams of sodium, 140 milligrams of potassium, 42 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 13 grams of sugars, and 4 grams of protein.)
Item: Post Honey Bunches of Oats Crunchy Cinnamon Granola
Purchased Price: $3.69
Size: 11 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Good ratio of cinnamon to sugar. Well-toasted oats. Balance of clusters and crumbs. Crunchy. Resealable baggie. Reminds me of eating the top of an extra-dense streusel. Gets better with ice cream. Beanbag chairs. Dr. Seuss.
Cons: Wishing for more big granola chunks. Strain in jaw muscles. Echo from crunch could result in avalanche. Clogged tracheas. Dental insurance. It’s hard to find a time machine.