REVIEW: Muddy Buddies Pretzel Bites

Muddy Buddies Pretzel Bites Pouches

What are Muddy Buddies Pretzel Bites?

General Mills extends its Muddy Buddies line with crunchy pretzels covered in sweet coating and powdered sugar. Pretzel Bites come in two varieties: Peanut Butter & Chocolate and Cookies & Cream.

How are they?

A decade after introducing Chex Muddy Buddies, General Mills has asked, “What else can we muddy, buddy?”

The answer to that question (and countless life dilemmas, really) is “When in doubt, add salt.”

Thus, Muddy Buddies Pretzel Bites were born. With their flavor, texture, and ability to be eaten by the bowlful before you realize what you’ve done, pretzels seem like a natural swap for Chex cereal pieces as vehicles for sweet coating.

Muddy Buddies Pretzel Bites CPB Pour Size

Tearing into the Peanut Butter & Chocolate variety first, I was surprised by their small size. The pebble-sized pretzels are made for nibbling rather than biting. They could easily blend into a trail mix or masquerade as a dessert topping.

Muddy Buddies Pretzel Bites Chocolate  Peanut Butter Split

Although the bites are small and the coating looks thin, the peanut butter and chocolate taste is big, complementing the pretzel taste and texture well. While the pretzel salt isn’t discernible on its own, it seems to enhance the chocolate and peanut butter. This was a welcome change from the Chex version, which I’ve found to lack flavor despite its sweetness.

Muddy Buddies Pretzel Bites Cookies  Cream Pour

The Cookies & Cream variety delivers the same size and satisfying crunch, but this time with a white cream coating and chocolate cookie crumb speckles. The bites smell and taste like the inside of an ice cream shop: that sugary, creamy vanilla that is somehow both rich and refreshing.

Muddy Buddies Pretzel Bites Cookies  Cream Split

While the chocolate cookie crumbs don’t contribute much to the flavor, the saltiness is much more noticeable than in the Peanut Butter & Chocolate variety.

Anything else you need to know?

For the uninitiated, the homemade version of muddy buddies has long been a staple of holiday parties and other celebrations, especially in the Midwest. (In northwestern Pennsylvania, where I live, the delicacy is most commonly called puppy chow, a name that I admit is not particularly appetizing but to which I have a begrudging loyalty.) As social media has made the treat and its several variations more popular, it’s exciting to see “muddiness” being embraced.

Conclusion:

Muddy Buddies Pretzel Bites deliver big flavor and crunch in a tiny bite. Sweet and salty fans might prefer Cookies & Cream, while Peanut Butter & Chocolate traditionalists will enjoy the twist on the original product.

Purchased Price: Free
Purchased at: Received from General Mills
Size: 4 oz (113 g) bags
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Peanut Butter & Chocolate), 7 out of 10 (Cookies & Cream)
Nutrition Facts: (per 1/3 cup) Peanut Butter & Chocolate – 130 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 240 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Cookies & Cream – 130 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 250 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Chex Mix MAX’D Chili Jalapeno

Chex Mix MAX D Chili Jalapeno Bag

What is Chex Mix MAX’D Chili Jalapeno?

Chex dropped its latest “MAX’D” variety featuring a cheesy, zesty kick with a splash of lime.

Chex Mix MAX D Chili Jalapeno Back of Bag

How is it?

It’s still hard to get used to a savory flavor on a “Muddy Buddy” textured Chex piece. When you associate a certain texture with a certain taste, it really throws you for a loop when it’s the complete opposite.

That being said, I did semi-adjust to the Chili Lime MAX’D pieces in time, and this is probably my favorite MAX’D variety. It’s slightly better than the other two I’ve tried thus far.

Chex Mix MAX D Chili Jalapeno Bowl

The chili flavor was an indiscriminate spice bomb, so the cool blast of lime on the finish was a real saving grace. The citrus balanced out the mix as a whole, which wreaked havoc on the back of my tongue. They weren’t quite Ghost Pepper Chex Mix level, but they probably rival the Flamin’ Hot line of Lay’s snacks in the heat department.

While the chili was kind of a bummer, the Jalapeno Cheddar non-blasted Chex pieces were fantastic. I’ve somehow avoided regular Jalapeno Cheddar Chex Mix my whole life, and these were a revelation. The jalapeno flavor dust wasn’t as caked on, but it was still somehow more recognizable than chili. The bag even smelled like the pepper.

Anything else you need to know?

Chex Mix MAX D Chili Jalapeno Pieces

This mix has the perfect role players in pretzels and cheddar crackers. Everyone’s favorite Chex Mix piece, (and probably my least favorite) the bagel chip, wouldn’t have worked here. I’m also glad they kicked those crappy little breadsticks to the curb.

I imagine this MAX’D line is gonna continue down the “spicy” path, but I would really love to try a sweet mix with Muddy Buddy pieces front and center.

Conclusion:

I liked MAX’D Chili Jalapeno, and I think you’ll like ’em too, but they feel like a first draft. All the pieces are there, but I wish the flavors were flipped a little. If the flavor blasted pieces were Jalapeno Lime, and the regular Chex were Chili Cheese, this snack may have been near perfect.

If anyone at General Mills is reading this, please make a Sweet Chili or Pizza Chex Mix next. I’ll even accept them in the MAX’D variety.

Purchased Price: $2.69
Size: 4.25 oz bag
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/2 cup) 140 calories, 4 grams of fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 380 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of total carbohydrates, 3 grams of total sugars, 1 gram of fiber, and 2 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Peanut Butter Chex Cereal

Peanut Butter Chex Cereal

Almost all of my Chex Cereal consumption involves it being in a Chex mix, whether it’s homemade, prepackaged by the folks at General Mills, or purchased at a bake sale to support a school, club, church, or a club at a school that’s affiliated with a church.

Also, since I’m being honest about my Chex eating habits, I’m that guy who picks out the Chex cereal in mixes, leaving behind pretzel, nuts, bagel chips, and a mystery of who the hell ate all the Chex pieces.

It’s rare that I find myself buying a box of Chex to eat in a bowl with milk using a spoon. But here we are with my blood moon buy, Peanut Butter Chex Cereal, a flavor variety I thought General Mills already checked off, I mean, Chex-ed off.

Peanut Butter Chex Cereal Closeup

Its flavor isn’t close to being as bold as last year’s Nutter Butter Cereal, but it does smell like a peanut butter cookie. When eaten dry, it has a surprisingly striking peanut butter taste with a little saltiness, which is probably thanks to the fact there’s real peanut butter in it. But let me set your expectations by saying to think of it as a diet Nutter Butter Cereal. Also, some of the flavor is lost when eaten with milk, but not enough to make my taste buds do a double take and think they’re eating plain Corn Chex.

Like with most Chex cereal, it shouldn’t wade in milk for too long or else the soggies will get to it. But even if you do, don’t assume the milk will turn all peanut buttery. It doesn’t.

Post rocked my world with its Nutter Butter Cereal. I wrote in my review, “it’s the best peanut butter cereal I’ve ever had.” I also have an equally bold statement to say about Peanut Butter Chex — it’s the only Chex Cereal flavor I could see myself eating in a bowl with milk on a regular basis.

Mic drop.

DISCLOSURE: General Mills sent me a free sample to review (Thanks, Big G!). But I didn’t know Big G was sending one to me, so I bought a box before getting said sample. Getting a free box did not influence my review in any way.

Purchased Price: $3.89
Size: 12.2 oz. box
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup w/o milk) 170 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 270 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Apple Cinnamon Chex

Apple Cinnamon Chex

Long before Chex exploded in popularity thanks to mascotless boxes appealing to the Gluten Free eaters of America, jokes regarding the long litany of cereal variants in a particular brand were limited to Cheerios. Original, Honey Nut, Multigrain, Team, Berry Burst, Frosted, Chocolate…the list went on and on, and flavors came and went, as new, supposedly better and more tasty improvements were developed.

Unbeknownst to Cheerios, a cabal was brewing to take the goodness of whole oats to the insipid base of rice. Like spies prowling the nighttime streets of Los Alamos, raiders from Chex came and stole the secrets to Cheerios’ success, giving way to Chex’s own creation of weapons of unspeakable flavor potential.

It may have begun with Honey Nut and the now defunct Frosted, but it did not end there, and out of this treason within the think-tank of General Mills’ laboratories, a new paradigm of cereal proliferation had begun.

Not one to fall behind the rapidly expanding flavors offered by Cheerios, Mini-Wheats, Cap’n Crunch, Fiber One, Honey Bunches of Oats, and yes, just about every cereal variety ever conceived, Chex has added a new flavor with a familiar profile: Apple Cinnamon.

Apple Cinnamon Chex Ingredients

Not to be confused with regular old Cinnamon Chex, Apple Cinnamon Chex makes the claim to having the distinct and all natural flavor of apples with the warm, sweet taste of cinnamon. Of course, the ingredients also feature allspice and ginger, but I’m guessing they ran out of room on the box to name it “Apple Cinnamon Allspice Ginger Chex.”

Whatever the case, I tasted all the spices in my initial handfuls, and received — for a brief moment — an almost Cinnamon Toast Crunch intensity of flavor. Its short lived, though, and overpowered by an odd tartness of the apple powder. The flavor, as well as the aroma, comes across as too intense. Like those dry bits in a sugar free apple cinnamon oatmeal mix, the powder is concentrated and even off-putting, while the spices make for a slightly unpleasant aftertaste with the rice base.

Speaking of the rice base, Apple Cinnamon Chex unfortunately suffers from what I like to call “Chocolate Chex” syndrome. Meaning, among other things, that the pieces not coated in the flavor base taste like absolutely nothing. And by absolutely nothing, I’m talking as close to uncooked white rice as you can imagine.

Apple Cinnamon Chex Closeup

Fortunately, like Chocolate Chex, Apple Cinnamon Chex sucks a great deal less when eaten with milk. As the spices disseminate throughout the milk, they yield to a more balanced, less astringent chew that combines the best of slowly cooked oatmeal with none of the mushiness or oppressive heat. Likewise, I hardly notice the insipid bite of the plain pieces, and find myself chugging the end-milk like it was Coke Zero. Dare I say, these ‘warming spices’ even become somewhat refreshing.

As the kind of person who prefers cereal as a snack and enjoys the none-too-complicated fake apple but not-really-apple taste of Apple Jacks, I struggle with Apple Cinnamon Chex. While it’s certainly saved by a shower of ice cold skim milk (or, as Tony Perkins likes to say, ‘success’) it strikes me as reaching too far in its flavor aims, combining a natural tartness and warming spice flavor that’s so natural its positively unnatural in the realm of dry cereal.

A complete waste of espionage resources on the part of Chex? Perhaps not, but until they’re willing to rediscover the secrets of Frosted Cheerios, I’ll be passing on America’s favorite gluten free cereal brand.

(Nutrition Facts — 3/4 cup (31 grams) — 130 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2 grams of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 40 milligrams of potassium, 26 grams of total carbohydrates, Less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 8 grams of sugars, and 1 grams of protein.)

Item: Apple Cinnamon Chex
Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: 13.75 ounces
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Surprisingly refreshing in milk. Tart green apple taste. Brief seizure by ethereal Cinnamon Toast Crunch flavor. Terrific end-milk. Cereal company espionage. Hope for a return of Frosted Chex.
Cons: Smells artificial. Spices taste too prominent. ‘Chocolate Chex syndrome’. Apple taste is too astringent for snacking purposes. Apple-Cinnamon blend falls to the bottom of the box. No back-of-the-box fun and games.

REVIEW: Chocolate Chex

Chocolate recently has become something like a sexually transmitted disease in the cereal world. Just like one out of four will receive an STD by the age of 25, it seems like chocolate has been infecting one in four cereals.

Take a trip down the cereal aisle and you’ll see them: Special K Chocolatey Delight, Cocoa Puffs, Life Chocolate Oat Crunch, Cocoa Pebbles, Bran Flakes Chocolate, Cocoa Krispies, and many more. Another that has been recently infected with chocolate is good ol’ Chex cereal.

To be honest, I’ve never eaten Chex cereal any other way besides Chex Mix, just like I’ve never eaten regular Rice Krispies in any way other than Rice Krispies Treats. Chex Cereal comes in a variety of flavors, but I never had the desire to consume the checkboard cereal with milk until now with the new Chocolate Chex. I guess I believe chocolate makes everything better. That is why I will eat some chocolate when I’m a father and am forced to watch Disney’s High School Musical 8…for the tenth time.

According to the box, Chocolate Chex has a touch of cocoa, which was basically cocoa powder toasted into it, but I really wished instead of a touch it had a welcomed fondling or groping of cocoa. Not all the pieces were chocolatey. It seemed like there was an equal amount of chocolate and plain Chex cereal in the box. The chocolate cereal pieces were obviously chocolatey, but the non-chocolate pieces were unexciting.

If the cereal was chocolatey throughout, it probably would’ve been a better cereal. Instead it was decent cereal that seemed to lose some of its chocolatey flavor when eaten with milk. The chocolate did make the milk chocolatey-looking, but not very chocolatey-tasting.

Actually, eating Chocolate Chex dry was much better than eating it wet. This makes me believe that it would make an awesome Chocolate Chex Mix with chocolate-covered pretzels and chocolate-covered peanuts.

With chocolate finding its way into more cereals, I wonder how long it will take for Chocolate Raisin Bran, Chocolate Grape Nuts, or Kashi Chocolate Good Friends Cereal to become a reality. If chocolate helps those cereals become better, we may see a chocolate epidemic spread throughout other products.

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup serving size – 2.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 60 milligrams of potassium, 26 grams of carbs, less than 1 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, 17 grams of other carbs, 2 grams of protein, and a shitload of vitamins and minerals.)

Item: Chocolate Chex
Price: FREE (14.25 ounces)
Purchased at: Received from some nice PR people
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Tastes better without the milk. Would make a mean Chex Mix. Kosher and Pareve (for my Jewish friends). Full of vitamins and minerals. Part of a complete breakfast or part of a lazy bachelor’s dinner. Chocolate makes everything better. Bras.
Cons: Not all of the cereal is chocolate covered. Loses some of its chocolatey flavor when eaten with milk. No chocolate milk. High School Musical 8.