A semi-reliable airplane magazine article recently informed me that Americans munch somewhere around 700 million pounds of peanuts per year, which would theoretically cover the floor of the Grand Canyon.
I don’t know who (Farmer? Intern? The spokes-peanut of Planters?) figured out that statistic, but I’m grateful, not just for the relief of mathematical anxiety I held regarding the square footage required in the peanut-to-Grand Canyon ratio, but also to be enlightened on this high degree of national support for the peanut.
Having served duty in everything from Thai peanut satay to Snickers, the peanut is one noble and versatile legume. It was with this nobility in mind that, at the cusp of my New Year, I decided it my goal to ferry my fair share of this national statistic on peanut ingestion, and what better place to begin than with General Mills’ Peanut Butter Toast Crunch.
No, you’re not having déjà vu (unless that particular “vu” had something to do with me telling you you’re not having déjà vu, which, in that case: you’re having déjà vu! How exciting!). General Mills released a version of this smack-daddy back in 2004, which was soon discontinued.
Despite this seedy past, the squares have returned in what hopes to be a reformulation of their retired counterpart, and, indeed, things are kicking off on the right foot as the reliable Cinnamon Toast Crunch mascot, Wendell, seems to be overseeing all the necessary preparations for this cereal in his underground Toast Lair.
It’s like the Bat Cave, but with industrial strength Hamilton Beach toasters.
Hope seems to stand in the form of redemption, and it is with this in mind that I rip open the bag before me…
Holy frosted mountains majesty submerged in amber waves of grain! These actually taste like peanut butter! Roasted peanut butter! The volcanic puff of peanuts that eschews from this bag literally pulls your hand (if not your full head) straight down into the crunchy carbohydrate squares within. Do not be ashamed of this maneuver.
Each little square has the hint of a salty-sweet balance I so yearn for in a peanut butter while still being just a tinge sweeter than smo-joe peanut butter straight from the jar. This is a good thing as, if there is anything that Steven Spielberg’s cinematic endeavors have taught me over the years, it’s that nearly everyone, even short little extra terrestrials, likes peanut butter a little sweet. I dare say that wobbly little alien friend of a younger Drew Barrymore just might swap his one-note Reese’s Pieces for the nutty, crunchy goodness delivered by Wendell here.
Wendell: encouraging extra terrestrial diplomatic relations.
“Crusty” is not a term that often denotes tasty, but here, crusty is da bomb diggity. What with each little square coming with a generous coating of its peanut-butter-sugar layer, these little squares are crusty as Quint from Jaws in that cool one-eyed, heroic sailor type of way.
As for the shape, they look similar to their Cinnamon Toast kin, which is to say they look like little brown rugs. I was going to say I would cover my flooring with a Peanut Butter Toast Crunch rug, but then I’d walk all over it and that would crush the cereal and then couldn’t eat it and that would make me sad. There is no need for sadness here.
If you’re a milk explorer, I’m happy to say that these did fair in the 8-minute milk test, where they shed their sugar coatings (tears of sorrow) while still sustaining a semi-spoonable structure (yay!). Eventually, however, these do succumb to the inevitable break-apart into the liquid. Oh, how I yearn for a grain that does not dissolve in milk. Where’s an atom re-arranger when you need one?
If you’re feeling like it’s a special day, chocolate or strawberry milk pairs well for spoon-related endeavors. Or better yet, pour mocha in there to ensure a kick-in-the-rear that would provide you drum-bangin’ powers that surpass those of the Energizer bunny even if you’re not musically inclined.
No question: these little reformulated squares charmed the mismatched socks offa’ me. It’s like Christmas returned for an encore. They are a smidge hard to find, but I hold hopes that they will spread soon enough as these are destined to go hand-in-hand in the degree of quality and love I hold for Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch and Reese’s Puffs, which both serve me dutifully on the days that cereal consists of 80 percent of my diet.
(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup – 120 calories, 25 calories from fat, 3 grams of fat, 0.5 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 75 mg of potassium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 8 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)
Item: General Mills Peanut Butter Toast Crunch Cereal
Purchased Price: $2.97 (on sale)
Size: 12 ounce box
Purchased at: Harris Teeter
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Tastes of peanut butter. Crunchy. Crusty. Encourages extra terrestrial diplomatic relations. A Bat Cave of toasters. One-eyed sailors. Banging a huge drum.
Cons: Not as great in milk. Tough to find. Mathematical anxiety. Too many references to Steven Spielberg.