REVIEW: Nestle Sensations Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnamilk

Nestle Sensations Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnamilk Bottle

As a Cinnamon Toast Crunch fan, I feel a personal obligation to try new foods that utilize its flavor. I have previously reviewed two Cinnamon Toast Crunch-themed items here. The ice cream was spot-on, but the creamer was a major let-down.

With the release of the new Nestle Sensations Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnamilk, I wondered which end of the spectrum it would land on. The concept seems straightforward: a drink that should taste like the milk from a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Nestle Sensations Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnamilk Out of Bottle

I poured some of it into a glass and was immediately disheartened. It seemed quite thick. There are no visible cinnamon specks in the drink. I gave it a quick whiff and was able to detect faint traces of the spice.

I took a swig of it and found the consistency to be immediately off-putting. It was considerably thicker than expected. It is akin to the texture of nutritional drinks, like Ensure. If you have ever been lucky enough to try one of those, you know that it is not the most pleasant experience.

Nestle Sensations Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnamilk Top

The cinnamon flavoring is quite underwhelming. It was much milder than the milk from a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. There was another underlying flavor that I could not quite put my finger on. Nestle may have been going for a “cereal” taste in the milk. Unfortunately, because I thought of nutritional drinks, I kept perceiving that flavor. It is not necessarily offensive, but it screams artificiality.

My initial plan for this review was to pour Cinnamilk over a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and double-up on the cinnamon-y goodness. It isn’t good enough to do that, though. I did not want to waste a bowl of cereal.

I am not a food scientist, clearly. However, I cannot understand why Nestle did not use real cinnamon in this beverage. This was the same problem that plagued the coffee creamer. If this had actual cinnamon or even a more prevalent cinnamon flavor, I could have overlooked the unpleasant consistency. For me, Cinnamilk completely missed the mark. Store-bought horchata tastes more like Cinnamon Toast Crunch milk, and that does not even contain dairy.

Purchased Price: $1.68
Size: 14 fl. oz. bottle
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 bottle) 260 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 41 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 39 grams of sugar, and 14 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Dreyer’s Edy’s Rocky Road Collection Ice Cream

Dreyer s Edy s Rocky Road Collection Ice Cream Containers

According to Dreyer’s/Edy’s, they invented Rocky Road ice cream and came up with the iconic name in 1929 as something relatable for everyone, given the trying times (it seems worth noting that this claim has been contested by Fentons Ice Creamery in Oakland).

Nearly a century later, they have released The Rocky Road Collection to pay tribute to the original. This collection consists of three popular renditions and three entirely new flavors. As a devotee of bountiful mix-ins, I was excited to get my hands on these new varieties.

Side note: I had never heard of Edy’s before this, so I did some brief research. In the 1920s, ice cream maker William Dreyer and candy maker Joseph Edy joined forces and started making ice cream together. Today, Dreyer’s is sold in the western part of the U.S. and Edy’s in the eastern portion. It’s the ice cream equivalent of Hellmann’s/Best Foods!

All three flavors from this review are available in both the Dreyer’s and Edy’s lines.

On to the ice cream!

Salted Caramel Pretzel Path

Dreyer s Rocky Road Collection Salted Caramel Pretzel Path Bowl

Caramel ice cream is the base here. It is mild and sweet, which allows the mix-ins to shine. I don’t pick up any salty notes in the ice cream itself. The chunks of pretzel are covered in chocolate and provide a satisfying crunch, with just a hint of saltiness. They offer a nice textural contrast, but are outshined by the chocolate-covered toffee pieces.

The toffee is rich, buttery, and well-executed. Sometimes it can be a little hard on the teeth when it’s in ice cream, but that’s not the case here. It’s crunchy without being troublesome. Fudge is ribboned throughout the ice cream, remaining a constant sweet presence.

Dreyer s Rocky Road Collection Salted Caramel Pretzel Path Spoon

Salted Caramel Pretzel Path works well, but feels slightly boring in comparison to the other flavors. The toffee chunks are the reason to try this one. I appreciate that the ice cream isn’t overly salty, but salted caramel fans may be left wanting more.

Size: 1.5 quart carton
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 210 calories, 10 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 mg of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 21 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

Cookie Cobblestone

Dreyer s Rocky Road Collection Cookie Cobblestone Bowl

The chocolate ice cream base is sweet, without being cloying. It has the typical airy Dreyer’s texture, just like all three flavors. Again, this base exists primarily as a delivery vessel for the mix-ins.

The cookie dough chunks are standard fare and bring a chewy, pleasant texture to the fold. There are also chocolate cookie pieces, but these aren’t quite as prevalent. They mostly exist as a fine grain, present in every bite, rather than actual chunks. These provide a nice balancing grit to the rest of the ice cream. Marshmallow swirls act as the glue in this version, lending a typical rocky road familiarity.

Dreyer s Rocky Road Collection Cookie Cobblestone Spoon

Cookie Cobblestone is cohesive and ranks slightly higher than Salted Caramel Pretzel Path. The chocolate ice cream is more well-rounded than the caramel. The mix-ins ratio was good, but more chunks of chocolate cookie pieces would have been even better.

Size: 1.5 quart container
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 220 calories, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 95 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 22 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

Brownie Brick Road

Dreyer s Rocky Road Collection Brownie Brick Road Bowl

I love brownies, so I excitedly dug into this one without examining the components first. I was caught off guard by an inviting crunchy chunk in my first spoonful that exploded with the flavor of brownies. According to the carton, it is crispy brownie edges. These things are the main attraction.

Dreyer s Rocky Road Collection Brownie Brick Road Spoon

The base of this flavor is a sweet cream ice cream, which is a smart choice. It allows the brownie flavor to be prominently displayed without being overshadowed by more chocolate. The actual brownie chunks are dense, chewy, and satisfying. Brownie batter swirl is incorporated throughout, but I take issue with this aspect. To me, it tastes more like standard chocolate sauce than brownie batter.

Brownie Brick Road is my favorite of the lot, but it could have been improved a little. If the brownie batter swirl had the taste and consistency of actual brownie batter, this would have been a home run. Regardless, this one is worth trying for the crispy brownie edges alone.

Size: 1.5 quart carton
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 230 calories, 11 gram of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 24 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

DISCLOSURE: I received free product samples from Dreyer’s/Edy’s. Doing so did not influence my review.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Toasted Oats & Honey Cereal

Kellogg s Raisin Bran Toasted Oats  Honey Cereal Box

When I was younger, I developed a fondness for Raisin Bran Crunch. It elevates Raisin Bran to a higher level and brings it closer to Honey Bunches of Oats. From both texture and taste standpoints, it was dramatically improved for me. With the release of Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Toasted Oats & Honey, I wondered if it would be in the same vein.

The box claims that the cereal consists of “Delicious raisins & toasted bran flakes sprinkled with hearty oats and honey.” Based on the box’s image, I knew to not expect the same crunch levels of Raisin Bran Crunch. It appeared to have single oats sprinkled on the flakes.

Kellogg s Raisin Bran Toasted Oats  Honey Cereal Dry

Upon pouring the cereal, I noticed there were even less oats than the box had led me to believe. There were tiny flecks of oats clinging to the flakes. It was difficult to even distinguish them as being oats.

I tried the cereal dry and it tasted how I expected based on the aesthetics. The bran flakes are slightly crunchier than usual, with a faint oat flavor. The honey is more noticeable and imparts a gentle sweetness on the flakes.

Kellogg s Raisin Bran Toasted Oats  Honey Cereal Spoon

Adding milk allowed the cereal to come together. The honey flavor was significantly more prevalent and each bite was sweeter than those of traditional Raisin Bran. It did not taste like there was actual honey drizzled on the flakes, but it was distinctive enough to know what they were going for. The oats’ flavor remained understated, but they showcased an important feature in milk: they helped the flakes stay crunchy for much longer. This is definitely appreciated.

Kellogg s Raisin Bran Toasted Oats  Honey Cereal Back

On the back of the box, there is a random image of a package of Raisin Bran Crunch. I am not sure why it is there, but it feels like Kellogg’s is taunting me. “We know this is what you really wanted,” it seems to say.

While not a radical departure from traditional Raisin Bran, this cereal is an upgrade on the tried-and-true formula. Given the choice, I would pick Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Toasted Oats & Honey over the original, without hesitation. If given yet another choice, I would choose Raisin Bran Crunch over both, every single time.

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 15.6 oz box
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 7 out of 10
?Nutrition Facts: (1 cup) 190 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: General Mills Elf Cereal

General Mills Elf Cereal Box

I vividly remember the first time I saw “Elf.” I drove two hours to meet an old friend at a Harkins Theater so we could take in the merriment together. Ever since, “Elf” has been a holiday staple of mine. It is the second-most quoted holiday film in my family. So, naturally, when General Mills launched its Elf Cereal, I wanted it in my life.

General Mills Elf Cereal Box Back

The packaging is fun, comforting, and makes ample “Elf” references. The back of the box implores everyone to help Buddy the Elf fill the Clausometer. I know it is just marketing for children, but it warms my heart. The box states that the cereal consists of sweetened corn puffs with holiday tree marshmallows, flavored with maple syrup.

Upon opening the box, a potent maple aroma punched me in the nose. This was momentarily concerning. I pulled the box closer and the smell had already settled. It was not overbearing at all.

General Mills Elf Cereal Bag

The quantity of marshmallows sitting on top was striking. It seemed to be more marshmallow-heavy than some similar cereals. I tried a handful dry and was underwhelmed. The maple syrup flavor was almost indiscernible. The corn puffs were slightly sweet, but not nearly as sugary as I expected for a cereal based on “Elf.” After all, Buddy subsists almost entirely on sugar.

General Mills Elf Cereal Bowled

Once milk is added, the cereal moved closer to my expectations. The maple syrup taste is more evident, but still very restrained. It has been many years, but I used to eat Waffle Crisp regularly when I was younger. I was expecting Elf Cereal to have a maple flavor like Waffle Crisp, but it did not.

General Mills Elf Cereal Spooned

The sweetness really comes out with the milk also. It was not as saccharine as I anticipated, but it was pleasant. If you were to mix marbits with Kix and put a few drops of maple syrup in the milk, you could emulate the flavor profile here relatively closely.

In the spirit of Buddy, I contemplated dousing the cereal in maple syrup, but could not bring myself to do it.

General Mills’ Elf Cereal is a fun, festively themed holiday offering, but it may fall short for some. More maple syrup flavoring could have elevated it to North Pole levels.

At the very least, this cereal makes me smile, and smiling’s my favorite.

Purchased Price: $3.64
Size: 18.6 oz box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup) 140 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Keebler Special Batch Fudge Stripes Maple Creme Cookies

Keebler Special Batch Maple Creme Fudge Stripes Package

As the leaves change colors (unless you live somewhere mostly devoid of leaves AND four seasons, like I do), autumn flavors increase their annual grip on our collective consciousness.

I have seen more maple-flavored offerings in the last few years, but it feels underrepresented compared to pumpkin spice anything. But Keebler is doing its part to keep the cookie field diverse with its new Special Batch Fudge Stripes Maple Crème Cookies.

Keebler Special Batch Maple Creme Fudge Stripes Sleeve

Upon opening the package, I am hit with a friendly aroma of maple. It is warm and sweet without being overbearing. Maple flavoring must be difficult to properly implement because I have had some maple-oriented foods that were far too strong. The smell is a good sign.

The cookies are somewhat difficult to pry apart, which I do not remember being the case with traditional Fudge Stripes. This bears no real impact on the product, but it feels worth mentioning. It is likely an effect of the maple crème melting during shipping and then re-solidifying.

Keebler Special Batch Maple Creme Fudge Stripes Stripes

The cookies have the same pleasant shortbread base as the original Fudge Stripes. Biting into them yields a rewarding crunch. The maple-flavored crème immediately hits my taste buds, and I am pleasantly surprised. It is not overly strong at all. If anything, it is a bit too subdued, but being able to taste the shortbread cookie beyond the maple crème is welcome.

Compared to an average maple donut, these are considerably milder. The crème is smooth and sweet, acting as an appropriate vessel for the maple. It has the same consistency as Fudge Stripes’ usual fudge.

My mother makes a “cookie salad,” which is like a form of ambrosia-style fruit salad with crushed up Fudge Stripes. I can see the maple crème version being a nice addition for a dessert dish in a similar manner. The flavor is restrained enough to add a hint of maple goodness without taking over.

Keebler Fudge Stripes Maple Crème Cookies are a solid seasonal offering and did a fine job bringing the familiar fall flavor to my mouth. While the maple could stand to be a little stronger, these cookies are well-rounded and offer some much-needed seasonal comfort.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free product sample from Keebler. (Thanks, Keebler!) Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 11.5 oz.
Purchased at: Received from Keebler
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 cookies) 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.