REVIEW: Post Honey Maid S’mores Cereal

Post Honey Maid S mores Cereal

I think everything is better with a brand name.

An Oreo Blizzard beats a chocolate sandwich cookie Blizzard ten times out of ten; a Lucky Charms milkshake kicks the crap out of a marshmallow cereal milkshake; and an Arby’s sandwich on a King’s Hawaiian bun is far superior to a sandwich on a sweet enriched roll that may or may not have come from a rock in the Pacific Ocean.

Don’t ask me about the logic behind this phenomenon. It might be proprietary recipe secrets. It might be social conditioning. It might just be that you’d have to be an idiot to roll out something called a “marshmallow cereal milkshake.”

Honey Maid S’more cereal follows much of the trend, which is surprising because it’s made by Post, which previously bought Mom’s Best, which owns Malt-O-Meal, which produces both a mediocre Cocoa Puffs imitator and a pathetic Golden Grahams doppelganger.

Oh, and by the way, a s’mores cereal.

I’ve never had the Malt-O-Meal cereal with the same name, but I have had many other Malt-O-Meal cereals and consider them hastily assembled Halloween costume versions of their General Mills, Kellogg’s, and Quaker counterparts. Knowing this, I was not expecting much from this s’mores cereal.

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Sampling the pieces individually didn’t do much to change my outlook. The marshmallow pieces were okay but nothing special, like a 6-6 college football team that limps into a bowl game. Meanwhile, the chocolate cereal pieces (which look and taste like Malt-O-Meal’s Cocoa Puffs imitator Cocoa Roos) are about as dreadful as a chocolate cereal can be, with virtually no cocoa flavor and too much sweetness.

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Eaten alone, the only redeeming element is the Honey Maid graham pieces, which have a deep graham flavor and light crunch that’s distinct from the glazed molasses sweetness of Golden Grahams.

But a funny thing happens when you shove a handful of the mix in your mouth. It starts to taste like s’mores, and out of nowhere a light cocoa flavor emerges in the background.

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I attribute this 100 percent to a dusty coating that covers all the pieces. It’s not unlike the peanut butter coating that covers Reese’s Puffs, but instead of tasting like powdered chocolate peanut butter, it tastes like powdered S’mores. The coating is especially tasty in milk, which seems to coax more cocoa flavor out of the chocolate cereal pieces, and gives the graham pieces a delectable, milk-infused sogginess.

Even though the chocolate flavor is a letdown, Honey Maid S’mores is a slightly better than Smorz (which I gave a 6) but not as good as Krave S’mores (which I gave an 8). Is it because of the Honey Maid Graham Cracker pieces?

Well, it’s not because of some generic graham cracker pieces.

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup without milk – 120 calories, 25 calories from fat, 2.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 1 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.98
Size: 21 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Authentic honey graham flavor. Campfire coating binds flavors together with a deep burnt sugar taste with hints of cocoa. Very good in milk. Correct spelling of S’mores. Avoiding the tempting Hamilton Porter S’mores reference from The Sandlot.
Cons: Less cocoa flavor than a tootsie roll. Only adequate as a snacking cereal. The reasoning behind Cocoa Roos. Brand name food collusion.

REVIEW: Apple Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal

Apple Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal

The best way to start your morning?

Cinnamon.

Naturally sweet and spicy, it helps boost brain function, improves blood circulation, and can even prevent cancer! A doctor also once told me that if I ate an apple every day I would never have to come back to his office, so, an apple caked in cinnamon must be the answer to all of life’s problems. Seemingly hearing my call for health help, General Mills has added Apple Cinnamon Toast Crunch to their Toast line of breakfast cereals.

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Tasting the cereal dry, the first thing that jumps out at me is this stuff does not have the big crystallized sugary pop of its father and cinna-GOAT, Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Although I could already tell this just from looking at them, the texture is exactly the same as the now buried Tiny Toast line – puffy and crunchy loaf slices with a relatively soft chew that is generally pleasant for a kiddy cereal.

The flavor is headlined by a solid authentic apple flavor that if I had to guess was modeled after a red delicious as it isn’t too tart or sweet, but definitely juicy. The cinnamon takes more of a backseat, with just a slightly spicy finish that gives a bit of a robust and rounded flavor without being too aggressive.

The two work really well together and are pretty seamless like fresh apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon. Despite being able to see some sparkly sugar on the surface of the toasts, I think more sweetness would have really helped give the cinnamon more sparkle and driven the overall flavor to new heights.

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Adding milk to the equation amplifies the apple and further subdues the cinnamon, adding in a new tart layer that more closely mimics a granny smith than the red delicious I initially tasted. The flavor switch here is kind of surprising, as I’m used to milk driving the sweetness or freshness of a cereal rather than actually changing the way my mouth interprets it. Unfortunately, it fades pretty quickly in the milk, as the liquid rips off the cereal dust and sogs up the pieces much faster than I would like.

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All in all this is an okay cereal, one that would be acceptable with a different namesake but doesn’t live up to the fame and glory of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It doesn’t pack the true berry flavor of Blueberry Tiny Toast (which is now Blueberry Toast Crunch, and one of my favorite new cereals of last year), and is just above its strawberry sibling for being an option that is suitable but not one I feel the need to buy again if not on sale.

It does, however, whoop Apple Jacks in the realm of solid apple flavor, and if that was a favorite of yours growing up, you may have found a new best Sunday morning friend.

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup – 120 calories, 25 calories from fat, 3 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 11.1 oz. box
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Bright juicy apple flavor. Fascinatingly transforms in milk. Better than Apple Jacks.
Cons: Needs more cinnamon sparkle. Needs more sugary sparkle. Gets soggy in milk real fast.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Mocha Crunch Cereal

Limited Edition Mocha Crunch Cereal

Limited Edition Mocha Crunch Cereal smells WONDERFUL.

I want to stick a bowl of it in a coffee grinder, turn it into a powder, dump that into a drip coffee maker, brew a cup, and start my day with a cup of Mocha Crunch Cereal coffee. The aroma that comes out of the bag smells like a combination of coffee and fudge brownies. I could smell it all day or until my nose reaches temporary sensory fatigue and can no longer smell it.

Limited Edition Mocha Crunch Cereal looks EXACTLY EXACTLY like Girl Scouts Thin Mints Cereal.

How exact? Well, as exact as the two EXACTLY I typed in the previous paragraph. They have the same shape and dark chocolatey powder coating. It’s as if General Mills separated the two cereals at birth, kept them apart all these years to prevent Darth Vader from finding them, and now they’ve come together to fight the Empire of Kellogg’s. Yes, I know Luke and Leia are not identical twins. I just have Star Wars on my mind.

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Limited Edition Mocha Crunch Cereal tastes good, BUT…

From the image on the front of the box, it appears the cereal is attempting to recreate the flavor of a Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino, McDonald’s Mocha Frappe, Dunkin’ Donuts Mocha Coolatta, Krispy Kreme Frozen Mocha, or The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Mocha Ice Blended Drink in cereal form. Unfortunately, it doesn’t accomplish that.

While the mint is noticeable with the Thin Mints Cereal, coffee isn’t with this one. I think of it as tasting like the Girl Scouts Thin Mints Cereal, but without the mint. It’s made with cocoa powder AND cocoa processed with alkali. That double dose of cocoa gives this cereal a nice chocolatey flavor that also end up in the milk a little. It’s like a darker version of Cocoa Puffs.

But despite not having a coffee flavor, it’s a nice tasting cereal. When I had the Thin Mints Cereal, I thought a version of it without the mint would be good, and this is it. But if you want a coffee-flavored cereal, this is not the cereal you’re looking for.

See Star Wars on my mind.

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup without milk – 110 calories, 25 calories from fat, 3 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 70 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, 12 grams of other carbohydrates, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: More than I should from eBay
Size: 18 oz. box
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Smells like coffee and brownies. Nice chocolatey flavor. Powdered coating makes milk chocolatey.
Cons: Doesn’t have a hint of coffee flavor. Looks exactly like Limited Edition Thin Mints Cereal. Shoehorning Star Wars references into a review.

REVIEW: Malt-O-Meal Cookies and Cream Cereal

Malt-O-Meal Cookies and Cream Cereal

In the late 90s, I can remember watching The New Addams Family on Fox Kids on summer afternoons, and there were lots of Oreo O’s commercials with Bessie the cow. Until last summer, it was the only cereal I ever knew of that had a Fourth of July version. But then, as you likely know, the cereal was discontinued in the States, and everyone was sad.

Luckily, Malt-O-Meal has brought it back! Except now it’s called Cookies and Cream.

One of the requirements for reviewing this cereal was that I had to miss Oreo O’s. In full disclosure, I missed Oreo O’s before it went away. After it had been out a few years, they decided to add marshmallows to it. Even as a chubby adolescent who cared nothing about nutrition, I thought that was too much sweetness.

Thankfully, this doesn’t have any marshmallows. When I first tasted a piece dry, it totally seemed familiar, as if I’d just had Oreo O’s last week. In reality it’s been nearly two decades. So, if you miss Oreo O’s, rejoice! This is as close as it’s going to get.

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Pouring milk over them is really the way to eat it, and it tastes just like I remember. It’s one of those cereals where I feel like I could eat bowl after bowl. At the same time, though, there’s something not completely satisfying about it. Maybe it’s because it’s so airy and has giant holes in the middle, so it’s not terribly filling.

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The leftover milk looks like cookies and cream ice cream and has a sweetness to it, but not the same level of chocolatiness you’d get from Cocoa Puffs or Count Chocula.

When I brushed my teeth immediately after eating the cereal, my toothpaste spittle also looked like cookies and cream ice cream. (I was going to include a picture but decided not to. You’re welcome.)

So if you want the Oreo O’s experience again, definitely pick this up. It’s a worthy replacement.

If, however, you’ve never had Oreo O’s, it’s less important for you to try this. It’s a tasty, passable cereal, but don’t expect it to be like other chocolate cereals. It’s basically cookie-flavored Froot Loops. Does it taste like Oreos? I don’t think so, but it is reminiscent of them. And one cup of cereal still has fewer calories than two Oreo cookies.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup (30 grams) – 120 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 45 milligrams of potassium, 26 grams of total carbohydrates, less than one gram of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein..)

Purchased Price: $5.48
Size: 34 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Tastes like Oreo O’s. No marshmallows. Leftover milk looks like cookies and cream ice cream. Fewer calories than actual Oreos. 90s nostalgia.
Cons: Not very filling. Rough on the roof of my mouth. More sugar than most name-brand cereals. Doesn’t taste like actual Oreo cookies.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Girl Scouts Thin Mints Cereal

Limited Edition Girl Scouts Thin Mints Cereal

One hundred years.

The Girl Scouts of America have been selling cookies since 1917. That’s how long in the making this was.

Now that Girl Scout Cookie season is upon us, our favorite pint-sized peddlers have teamed up with General Mills to stock shelves with a breakfast cereal representative of their famous baked goods. It’s about time.

The famous flavors of Girl Scout Cookies have managed to find their way into everything from ice cream to chocolate bars over the years, and starting now, you can officially have Thin Mints and Samoas in a bowl for breakfast without feeling awful about yourself.

I picked up a box of Thin Mints at Target, opting to pass on the Caramel Crunch (Samoas) variety, because the idea of having a mint flavored cereal intrigued me much more.

They certainly smell the part, which took a second to adjust to. I don’t think I’d ever even heard of a breakfast cereal with mint in it until that moment. I can’t think of one off the top of my head. Either way, the cereal smells just like the cookie.

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As far as aesthetics, they aren’t the best looking cereal. My brother’s dog eats food pellets that look exactly like these little dark discs, so that image was tough to shake at first. For a more palatable example, If Cookie Crisp ever borrowed a marketing ploy from the Cap’n, these would be “Oops, All Chocolate Chips Cookie Crisp.”

The cereal pieces have an outer crispy area encapsulating a center that tasted like it was on a fast track to sogsville the second I poured the milk in. Each bite had a typical crunch but soon turned gluey, and clung to my teeth more than I expected.

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All in all, they taste like less chocolately Cocoa Puffs with a cool little mint kick on the finish. The mint flavor fades as the cereal pieces start to scratch your mouth up, but there was still a constant cooling reminder that you’re eating a mint cereal. That being said, these aren’t exactly Altoids. Don’t forget to brush your teeth after breakfast, ya sickos.

I tried these as a dry snack, too. I had a couple handfuls out of the box, and the chocolate was more pronounced. The pieces are coated in a powdery layer of flavor that must have faded immediately when the milk was poured on. The mint also powers through more on the dry pieces. I guess it was intentional that the extra powder layer was included to improve the milk at the end of the bowl.

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I’ve gone on record about my feelings of cereal milk. I don’t even want it half of the time. Part of me finds it mildly disgusting – a tepid, gross colored pool of cereal backwash – but the other part of me feels guilty pouring half a cup of milk down the drain.

But Thin Mints has some pretty damn good cereal milk. You can’t really go wrong with minty chocolate milk, can ya?

So, this is a decent first effort by General Mills. I still plan to try the Samoas cereal, but expect them to be a less impressive transition to a cereal box. As a lover of Reese’s Puffs, I really hope they tackle Tagalongs next.

These cereals are a limited edition, so act quick. I’m not positive if proceeds benefit the Girl Scouts, but I imagine they do. Either way, I always take some solace knowing I’m contributing to a good cause when I house an entire box of Girl Scout Cookies.

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 Cup – 120 calories, 3 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 12 grams of other carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 9 grams of sugars, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 11 oz. box
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: They smell like the real thing. Basically a Cocoa Puffs/Cookie Crisp hybrid. Mint in a cereal. Tasty cereal milk. Hopefully a good sign of what’s to come. 100 years of Girl Scout Cookies.
Cons: Sogged up quickly. Mint fades as you go. What the heck are “other carbohydrates?” Little burger looking cereal pieces. No fun games on the back of the box, just some kind of environmental message.