REVIEW: Funfetti Cereal

Funfetti Cereal Box

What is Funfetti Cereal

If you seek a socially acceptable way to eat cake for breakfast, Pillsbury is here to guide you with rainbow-speckled cereal puffs that recreate the taste of the company’s trademark sprinkle cake.

How is it?

Sugary cereals are one of my favorite comfort foods. I especially enjoy them as a snack between my third and fourth hours of languishing after work. While I often acknowledge kids as potential consumers when writing these reviews, I can’t help but feel like Funfetti Cereal was developed by Pillsbury especially for suckers like me.

If you purchase it, be sure to take a deep breath when you first open the bag. The vanilla aroma is wonderfully strong, the perfect imitation of Funfetti cake mix or batter. Because I have very few baking-related traumas, the scent evokes only pleasant memories of baking, birthdays, and other wholesome events worthy of a Pillsbury commercial.

Funfetti Cereal Sprinkles

The taste is equally spot-on: very vanilla-forward, not overly sweet, and with hints of buttery flavor. The colorful flecks — stand-ins for sprinkles — on the puffs themselves do not add flavor or texture, but are very visually appealing. The color presents opportunities to re-purpose the cereal in other snacks: as the base of a marshmallow cereal treat, part of a snack mix, or garnish on top of a confetti cake.

Funfetti Cereal in Milk

The cereal is made with corn flour, which I don’t typically prefer because the texture can turn gummy after a few bites, especially in milk. I was pleasantly surprised that the cereal pieces avoid this tendency, maybe in part due to their size. Each piece is about 1.5 times the size of a Cocoa Puff, so their lightly crunchy texture holds up pretty well in milk. Milk also seems to amplify the cereal’s sweetness, so if you really are debating between eating a bowl of cereal and a slab of icing-lathered cake for breakfast, choosing Funfetti cereal with milk might bring you closer to a reasonable compromise.

Anything else you need to know?

For those ambitious enough to cook their breakfasts, Pillsbury also offers a Funfetti pancake mix.

Conclusion:

Funfetti Cereal perfectly recreates the sweet vanilla flavor of its namesake cake. For anyone with a sweet tooth, it is satisfying, colorful comfort food at any time of day.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free sample of the product. Doing so did not influence my review in any way.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 17 oz box
Purchased at: Received from Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 1/4 cup) 160 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Limited Edition Mashups Frosted Flakes + Froot Loops Cereal

Kellogg s Limited Edition Mashups Frosted Flakes + Froot Loops Cereal

What is Kellogg’s Limited Edition Mashups Frosted Flakes + Froot Loops Cereal?

This cereal is a mixture of Kellogg’s favorites Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops. I like to imagine it as an answer to the question: “What hijinks would ensue if Tony the Tiger and Toucan Sam were best friends?”

How is it?

Kellogg s Limited Edition Mashups Frosted Flakes + Froot Loops Cereal 2

I haven’t seen any promotional material elaborating on the question posed above, thus robbing me of the opportunity to see the two mascots exchange sparkling dialogue such as “You got your Froot Loops in my Frosted Flakes!” and “You got your Frosted Flakes in my Froot Loops!” However, this imagined scenario essentially delivers the main idea of what Kellogg’s Mashups offers: equal parts of crispy, lightly sweet corn flakes, and sugary fruit-flavored hoops.

The strong scent of Froot Loops emanating from the bag foreshadowed the taste experience to come. Dry, the cereal’s flavor was dominated by the Froot Loops, but the Frosted Flakes amped up each bite’s crunchiness. My sample appeared to contain a 1:1 ratio of each cereal, so the experience was pretty consistent from bite to bite.

When eaten separately, the Frosted Flakes still taste like their sweet, corny selves, but that kind of defeats the purpose of a mashup, doesn’t it?

Kellogg s Limited Edition Mashups Frosted Flakes + Froot Loops Cereal Milk

With milk, the disparity in texture became more apparent, because the Froot Loops approached soggy territory much faster. For this reason, I am not a huge fan of Froot Loops in milk, so the Frosted Flakes improved the experience by maintaining a much-needed crunch.

Anything else you need to know?

In dreaming up the hypothetical adventures of Tony the Tiger and Toucan Sam, my yearning was less about advertising and more about answering the question at the heart of this product: Why? Why, after Kellogg’s limited edition All Together cereal and General Mills’ Lucky Charms with Frosted Flakes, did Kellogg’s choose to combine two familiar brands when consumers could easily buy two boxes and do the work themselves?

My theory is that Kellogg’s knows there are two kinds of cereal lovers in this world: 1) those who are too lazy, busy, and/or frugal to become cereal mashup engineers and 2) those who will be inspired to buy multiple boxes, searching for the ideal cereal combination. Either way, Kellogg’s drums up business, and I get my heart set on a bowl of Strawberry Rice Krispies with Special K Red Berries.

Conclusion:

Froot Loops and Frosted Flakes pair well in texture, although the Frooty taste dominates. If mixing cereals is your thing, Kellogg’s Mashups saves you time and money, but it seems uninspired compared to other (real or imagined) combinations.

Disclosure: I received a free sample of this product. Doing so did not influence my review in any way.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 9.8 oz. box

Purchased at: Received from Kellogg’s
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 1/4 cup – cereal only) 160 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

WAYSNACK MACHINE: Wonka Bars, Oompas, and Xploder Chocolate Bar

A thread of nostalgia connects many of my interests and tastes, so it’s not surprising that candy from my childhood tops the list of snacks I miss. I loved candy that combined great taste with an element of fun, and nothing delivered both quite like the Wonka brand.

In the early 2000s, I–an elementary school student, candy fiend, and voracious reader–was infatuated with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. By the time I had read the book for the tenth time, the Nestlé-owned Wonka brand had released several new treats that brought me closer to Dahl’s world of chocolate rivers, color-changing caramels, and candy eggs that hatch sugar birds.

(Side note: A chocolate lover and historian, Dahl would have liked The Impulsive Buy. Each year, Cadbury’s sent Dahl and his boarding school classmates boxes of chocolate, which the students tested and reviewed for the company — an experience that inspired Dahl to write Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.)

Wonka Bars were my favorite because they had a certain presence that captured the imagination. At 2.5 ounces, the bars were larger than your average grocery store checkout find, wrapped in gold foil and covered in a royal purple sleeve that featured an image of Willy Wonka’s whimsical purple top hat. Every time I held one, I experienced the tiniest of thrills, wondering if a golden ticket lay inside.

Even though I wasn’t as lucky as Charlie Bucket, I was never disappointed. The bars consisted of incredibly smooth and creamy milk chocolate with bits of graham cracker for added taste and texture. I loved them, and because the bars were not widely available in my area, finding one always felt like a successful treasure hunt until they were discontinued in 2010.

Much shorter lived were two of my other favorites from the Wonka line: Oompas and the Xploder chocolate bar. Oompas, chewy fruit-flavored candies, tasted similar to Skittles, but were more brightly colored and at least triple the size.

The Xploder–although smaller and less creamy than the Wonka bar–was exciting. As its fireworks-inspired wrapper hinted, the bar featured unflavored popping candy that crackled in your mouth as the chocolate began to melt.

I hold out hope that one of these products will return. Although Ferrero’s recent acquisition of Nestle’s American brands casts uncertainty on the future of the Wonka line, Netflix’s plans for two animated series inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory create possibilities for promotional tie-in products.

Although I hold similar nostalgic fondness for Wonka mainstays like Laffy Taffy and Everlasting Gobstoppers, they are a little boring compared to the products I miss. When I remember the magical inventions presented in Roald Dahl’s novel, I can’t help but wonder if the Wonka line ever fully reached its creative confectionary potential.

REVIEW: Birthday Cake Kit Kat

Birthday Cake Kit Kat

What is Birthday Cake Kit Kat?

This limited edition Kit Kat features frosting-flavored white crème and rainbow sprinkles.

How is it?

Artificial birthday cake flavor has its fans and its detractors, but, despite its arguable overuse, I am definitely a fan. The rich sweetness and pops of color always evoke childhood memories of opening a fresh can of Funfetti frosting — and plunging a spoon into its creamy depths.

However, I write this review now as a sophisticated adult who eats vegetables of her own accord and no longer considers Lunchables to be “unpretentious charcuterie boards.” (Okay, only most of this sentence is true some of the time.)

Nowadays, I enjoy birthday cake flavor mostly in smaller doses and when it is paired with a complementary flavor or texture. If you like Birthday Cake Oreo Cookies, but thought Birthday Cake Hershey’s Kisses left something to be desired, then we might be of the same icing ilk.

Birthday Cake Kit Kat Wafers

Birthday Cake Kit Kat meets this most important criterion, as its crispy wafer insides pair well with the sweet white crème coating. The crème’s frosting-inspired flavor is spot on. I detected a hint of buttery taste that is often lacking in other birthday cake products that rely too heavily on sugar and artificial coloring as substitutes for flavor.

Birthday Cake Kit Kat Fingers

The rainbow nonpareils stand out beautifully against the white crème coating, giving the candy a cheery, fun appearance. They also provide a bit of extra crunch, which is not evident in every bite. Initially worried that the sprinkles would overwhelm the product and result in a gritty texture, I was pleased with their subtle effect.

The only thing I did not like about this Kit Kat is that the oil in the coating left a feeling of “mouth coat” that I haven’t experienced with other Kit Kat products.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Celebrating its 85th anniversary of production this year, Kit Kat has experienced a recent renaissance, with the release of its Duos line and lemon and raspberry seasonal varieties — all of which I have really enjoyed. With more flavors rumored for release this year, Kit Kat is proving an old dog can learn new tricks.

Conclusion:

Birthday Cake Kit Kat executes a familiar flavor perfectly and enhances both texture and flavor with rainbow sprinkles. Kit Kat fans and frosting fiends will celebrate having another reason to visit the candy aisle.

Purchased Price: 88 cents
Size: 1.5 oz (42 g)

Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 220 calories, 12 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 20 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: White Reese’s Stuffed with Pieces

Reese s White Creme Peanut Butter Cups Stuffed with Reese s Pieces

What is the White Reese’s Stuffed with Pieces?

Exclusive to Dollar General stores, Reese’s newest product is a white crème cup filled with Reese’s Pieces bits and the brand’s signature peanut butter filling.

How is it?

With each new addition to its line of products, Reese’s takes more of a “choose your own adventure” approach to offering the perfect peanut butter cup to meet individual tastes. Navigating among coating types, sizes and shapes, and filling add-ins, Reese’s fans get to try out new combinations more often than new flavors, and as a result, strong personal preferences form and comparisons are inevitable.

Reese s White Creme Peanut Butter Cups Stuffed with Reese s Pieces Outside

Personally, I swear that Reese’s Trees and Eggs are superior to your average cup. Milk chocolate ranks first, followed by white crème and dark chocolate, respectively. In 2016, when Reese’s introduced Reese’s Stuffed with Pieces in the milk chocolate variety, the addition of crunchy candy shells didn’t wow me enough to make my list of favorites.

Setting aside my biases, I was drawn to White Reese’s Stuffed with Pieces for its novelty, exclusive status, and charming polka dot wrapper. The white crème delivers in both flavor and texture, as the sturdy shell easily melts into a creamy bite with a subtle white chocolate taste. The crème’s flavor allows the peanut butter filling to shine.

Reese s White Creme Peanut Butter Cups Stuffed with Reese s Pieces Inside

The Reese’s Pieces bits add an enjoyable element of texture, but still feel scarce in number. In my pack of two, each cup contained at least one whole candy piece, which doesn’t quite meet the expectation that the word “stuffed” implies, but was still an improvement over my experience with the barely-there candy shells in the milk chocolate variety.

When I encountered a whole candy, I could taste its peanut butter flavor even against the powerful peanut butter filling. While Reese’s Pieces are not enough to make the milk chocolate variety special for me, they are enough to make the white crème variety more interesting.

Is there anything else you need to know?

The product wrapper specifies white crème because it contains no cocoa butter and so technically cannot be classified as chocolate.

Conclusion:

Having already dabbled in both white crème and Reese’s Pieces, Reese’s is not exploring uncharted territory with White Reese’s Stuffed with Pieces, but all of the elements work together well in this peanut butter-and-texture-forward candy. If you are a Reese’s aficionado who likes having options, try out this variety and share where it falls in your peanut butter power ranking.

Purchased Price: 95 cents
Size: 1.4 oz. (2 cups)
Purchased at: Dollar General
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 200 calories, 12 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein

REVIEW: Dr Pepper & Cream Soda

Dr Pepper  Cream Soda

What is Dr Pepper & Cream Soda?

Peanut butter and jelly. Ham and cheese. An entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s and the ensuing, all-encompassing feeling of shame. Some things naturally go together, and now two carbonated icons, Dr Pepper and cream soda, aim to count themselves among famous pairs.

How is it?

With its dark cola color, Dr Pepper & Cream Soda looks like regular Dr Pepper, but its scent carries a strong vanilla vibe.

The cream soda taste – a creamy vanilla that conjures memories of sundaes and floats – is immediately noticeable at first sip. With subsequent sips, Dr Pepper’s 23 flavors come back to the forefront, with the cream soda lingering in the background. The flavor combination is definitely a pleasant and harmonious one. I would guess at a 2:1 ratio of Dr Pepper to cream soda.

Dr Pepper  Cream Soda Closeup

As a result of the pairing, the “spicy bite” that the original Dr Pepper is known for becomes muted, but because of the way the flavors take turns in the foreground, it is always clear that this is a Dr Pepper product. Interestingly, more so than its other flavor combinations like Cherry Vanilla, Dr Pepper & Cream Soda manages to achieve a smooth “cream finish” feeling characteristic of cream soda.

Although I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as a purist, I tend to prefer the original Dr Pepper to any of its flavored incarnations. However, I was really impressed at how well Dr Pepper & Cream Soda recreates the subtle flavor of cream soda without letting it get lost among the bolder flavors of Dr Pepper. I would drink this one again.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Due to its varying colors and flavors (including everything from raspberry to cotton candy), cream soda can mean different things to different regions. To me, Dr Pepper & Cream Soda’s flavor profile most closely resembles A&W Cream Soda, which makes sense considering the same company owns them.

Conclusion:

Dr Pepper & Cream Soda expertly recreates and balances a sweet, creamy vanilla flavor with its original formula. It made me wonder what other delicious, unexpected soda combinations are waiting to be discovered.

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: 6 pack of 20-ounce bottles
Purchased at: Giant Eagle
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 20 oz.) 210 calories, 0 grams of fat, 80 milligrams of sodium, 56 grams of carbohydrates, 55 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.