As a youth, I wasn’t very fond of chocolate, further solidifying my status as a “weird kid” and once again making my chocolate-loving mother wonder if there had been an accidental baby mix-up at the hospital when I was born.
I did, however, like white chocolate, and as time went on, I grew to enjoy milk chocolate in small amounts. So when Hershey’s introduced their Cookies ‘n’ Creme candy bar in 1994, it instantly became my favorite candy. White chocolate studded with crunchy, Oreo-esque cookie balls? Sold.
These days I’ve become more fond of milk than white chocolate. I would like to credit that to a refined palate, but given that I still eat like a college freshman, I don’t think I could say that with a straight face.
Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme will always hold a fond place in my heart, though. So when I saw that General Mills had teamed up with the chocolate powerhouse to make Cookies ‘n’ Creme Corn Puff Cereal, that weird kid that’s still inside of me said, “Yes. This is obviously a work of genius.”
Immediately afterward, the pessimistic adult in me said, “They probably went and fucked it all up.”
Before I could taste victory or disappointment, however, I couldn’t help but admire the back of the box.
There’s something about sitting at the kitchen table eating cereal that just lends itself to staring at the back of the cereal box. I don’t know why; I just know that kids do it. Even if it’s boring as hell, they just…stare. So it’s nice that Hershey’s gave them something fun to stare at.
Hershey’s bills these as “brainteasers”, but even as a kid, I’m pretty sure my half-awake brain would have figured them out pretty easily. There’s some words “splashed with milk” to “obscure” the letters, some puff-shaped anagram puzzles, and a sudoku-esque number puzzle in a spoon. Just enough to get you through this part of your complete breakfast.
As for Cookies ‘n’ Creme Cereal itself: the balls were the perfect size for scooping into your mouth. This may not sound important, but it is. It’s been a while since I’ve eaten a corn puff cereal, but they seemed a little smaller than Kix, but not so small that I felt like I was eating a mound of spherical Pebbles. Size counts when it comes to cereal and…other things, and these puffs hit the sweet spot.
Penis-size joke and reference to balls in your mouth, all in one paragraph. I’ll take that Pulitzer now, thanks.
Speaking of sweet, C’n’C
Music Factory Cereal had just the right amount of sweetness. The chocolate balls actually had a toned-down chocolate flavor, which I appreciated. In fact, they tasted remarkably similar to Cocoa Puffs.
The vanilla balls were even more muted in flavor. Too muted, in fact. I keep calling them vanilla instead of white chocolate because, well, they tasted like vanilla, which is quite different than white chocolate. While I would have liked a stronger flavor from these, they did add a nice vanilla note that paired excellently with the chocolate. Putting it in other terms, I’d say the ratio of chocolate to vanilla in C’n’C is about 85/15. I would have preferred something more like 65/35.
As for the texture, I’m pretty sure General Mills has got corn puff cereal down to a science at this point. They had just the right amount of crunch that doesn’t immediately go to mush when you add milk, but doesn’t cross the line from “crunch” to “I think I might be eating a bowl of pebbles. The literal kind.”
Oh, and those little flecks that make this cereal look similar to its Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme namesake? Yeah, that’s purely decorative. They really brought nothing to the flavor party.
In fact, Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme Cereal really tasted nothing like the candy bar. I mean, I’m not going to sue them for false advertising – I’m not even that irritated by it, because I really liked the cereal – but if you’re expecting an exact replica of the candy magically transformed into cereal form, that’s going to be a wish unfulfilled.
Remember how I mentioned that the chocolate portion of this cereal tasted remarkably like Cocoa Puffs? Well, in my research, I found something interesting: chocolate and vanilla Cocoa Puffs already exist, or existed, and The Impulsive Buy even reviewed them back in 2008. And hey, look at that – those are also made by General Mills! This seems suspiciously like a case of “re-branding and adding some little flecks”.
Despite this, I really did like Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme Cereal. It wasn’t too sweet, the chocolate wasn’t overwhelming, and the size and texture were just what I want from a puff cereal. The vanilla added a nice complimentary note to the chocolate, but I would have liked it to be a little more prominent. Also, while I enjoyed the fact that the chocolate was mild, chocolate lovers may be disappointed by that.
I’m not generally a cereal eater, and it’s not often that I’ll go back and buy an item I’ve reviewed just for my own eating pleasure, but I think Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme Cereal is going to have a place in my cupboard as long as it stays on store shelves. And if it doesn’t, I guess I could just try and find some Cocoa Puffs Combos!
(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup – 110 calories, 25 calories from fat, 3 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 55 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of dietary fiber, 9 grams of sugar, 11 grams of other carbohydrates, 1 gram of protein, and a number of vitamins and minerals.)
Item: General Mills Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme Cereal
Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 10.5 oz box
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Tastes like Cocoa Puffs complimented with vanilla. Having something fun to stare at on the box as you eat. Balls are the perfect size puffs for a spoon. “Balls in your mouth” jokes. Perfect crunch that holds up in milk. Celebrate if you miss Cocoa Puffs Combos.
Cons: Doesn’t really taste like Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme candy. Being the weird kid. Would have liked a bigger vanilla presence. Little chocolate flecks seem just for decoration. Chocolate flavor may be too mild for some. Now I have “Everybody Dance Now” stuck in my head. Pretty much just re-branded Cocoa Puffs Combos.