There’s something a bit surreal about eating breakfast food patterned after an entirely different breakfast food, isn’t there? I don’t want to get overly zen, but it’s like saying, “I enjoy this food enough to want to duplicate its taste, but do you have a slower, less convenient way of eating it?”
We all know cereal is awesome, but you can’t eat it one handed while changing lanes, shifting gears, adjusting the radio, balancing coffee in your lap, and flipping off some moron who’s trying to do too many things at once. And if you can, please cease driving along the PA/NJ border between the hours of 8:30-9:00 every morning.
Nonetheless, Her Majesty’s honorable Captain Horatio Soggybane Crunchley has decided to give it a go, so here we are. If you’re like me, your first thought was, “Did they try to make the pieces look like mini cinnamon rolls? Or will they resemble the jagged Cap’n Crunch bits we all know and some of us love?” The surprising answer is “neither” — these are just little asymmetrical balls, about the size of a Cocoa Puff. No biggie, but it’s slightly puzzling why they didn’t just use the standard CC shape (and for that matter, why they don’t do the same for Peanut Butter Crunch). Either way, it doesn’t impact the taste, and I suppose these are less likely to irritate those with more sensitive palates.
The packaging is fairly typical fare, with the Cap’n holding up a cinnamon roll with wisps of aroma lines that let us know, damn, this fictional drawing of a breakfast pastry smells good. In keeping with the theme, the back has two pictures of a bakery scene, inviting you to find ten differences between them. (I got nine without checking the answers — let me just offer that two of them are such incredibly subtle differences, they make Where’s Waldo look like a child’s search n’ find.) The answer key is on the bottom of the box, though this isn’t clarified anywhere on the package. I guess they figure anyone not smart enough to figure it out isn’t going to be wasting their time with the puzzle anyway.
Continuing on, one side panel boasts the standard nutritional information, the other links to the Cap’n's website, Facebook page, and Twitter account. Maybe I’m just an old fuddy duddy, but I’m not sure I really want to know that the Cap’n's current relationship status is “My life, my love and my lady is the Sea” or what he’s hashtagging these days. Although if Quaker Oats just turns the Twitter feed over to some wiseass intern and lets him run with it, I can see the potential for comedic goodness. “Hey, remember when I met Spider-Man? How freaking stoned was whoever dreamed that up? #FourTwenty” or “Avast, y u no like crunchness, Soggmeister? :( ”
I’m realizing we’re four paragraphs in and I haven’t touched on the flavor, so let’s fix that. As you’d expect, these don’t taste exactly like cinnamon rolls, or much like them at all really. In the movie version, the most they’ll be legally allowed to put on screen will be “loosely inspired by.” But they still taste quite good, as I sit here eating dry pieces out of the box, unable to stop myself from reaching for more. There’s a definite cinnamon flavor, though far subtler than you’d find in an actual cinnamon roll. They’re crunchy but not nearly as much so as regular Cap’n Crunch, possibly due to the shape. And if you were hoping for any kind of a frosting drizzle, keep looking. But the smell, while understated, is sugary and appealing.
You know what cereal they vaguely remind me of? The late, much lamented (by me) Waffle Crisp. The texture is a little different, not quite as hard, but they have the same initial burst of sweetness with a maple syrup-y taste. The major difference is that these (obviously) also feature cinnamon, but again, it’s a lot less intense than you’d expect, nowhere near what you’d get from, say, Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Which, since we’re addressing the elephant in the room, is still the preferred cinnamon-based breakfast cereal, due to being far more aggressive and flakier. In this case at least, baker comes out on top of seaman. And alas, the good captain’s boast that his cereal doesn’t get soggy in milk is about as credible as his tale of once making it with a mermaid.
But don’t let that steer you away from trying Cap’n Crunch’s Cinnamon Roll Crunch. It’s still a good-tasting cereal that’s worth trying at least once. And since it’s almost certainly for a limited time only, once might be all you get, so hoist the mizzenmast and make for the nearest port immediately.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 110 calories, 15 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of total fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 grams of polyunsaturated fat 0 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 50 milligrams of potassium, 23 grams of total carbohydrates 1 gram of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugars, 10 grams of other carbohydrates, and 1 gram of protein)
Item: Cap’n Crunch’s Cinnamon Roll Crunch
Purchased Price: $3.79
Size: 10.3 ounces
Purchased at: Giant
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Tastes kind of like Waffle Crisp. Back-of-the-box activities that actually make you work. Crunchy, and sweet but not overly so. Successfully resisting a poop deck joke. Good for dry snacking. What I imagine the Cap’n's Twitter feed to be like.
Cons: Less interesting shape than normal CC. Cinnamon taste a little subtle. Gets soggy. Makes you crave an actual cinnamon roll. What the Cap’n's Twitter feed is probably actually like.