REVIEW: Cinnamon Toast Crunch Waffle Cereal

Quite recently, on this web page, I spent a few hundred words bemoaning the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Committee’s efforts at integrating its product into places it maybe didn’t belong. The product of my focused ire in this specific instance was its attempt at crossbreeding its fine cereal product with Old El Paso taco shells. As part of my hard-hitting expose, I also mentioned its failures related to soft-baked cereal bars and peculiarly large “Stuft” marshmallows.

Garbage, all.

The good news about the new Cinnamon Toast Crunch Waffle cereal, though, is that it is, in no uncertain terms, a cereal. And if there’s one thing Cinnamon Toast Crunch shines at, it is being cereal. In fact, at any given moment, it is a Top 3 cereal. Maybe even Number 1. And its offshoots — for not being straight-up, dyed-in-the-wool CTC — are reasonably decent. The little balls they made were okay. The Rolls, various Leche(s), and French Toast riffs are all above average.

So what of this new Cinnamon Toast Crunch Waffle cereal?

The website acts like this is simply alternatively shaped CTC. It states, “Cinnamon Toast Crunch Waffle Cereal pairs epic cinnamon-sugar CINNADUST with crispy cereal pieces shaped like mini waffles. The whole wheat and corn cereal delights taste buds with real cinnamon and a crispy crunch.” But here’s the deal: I absolutely detect waffle flavoring in here as well. There’s a syrup-like undertone at the beginning and back end of each bite, and the whole shebang is covered in a ton of heavenly Cinnadust seasoning. It is, simply put, incredible. It took a lot of willpower to not eat more than one large bowl in my initial serving. It was just that delicious.

If I have one minor quibble — something that keeps this from being a perfect 10 — it’s that structurally, it doesn’t hold up well to milk. And on account of this is a cereal and all, that’s kind of problematic. This stuff gets soggy QUICK. Not inedibly soggy, no, but the crispness is deflated by a solid 65% within 30 seconds of a milk bath. On any lesser cereal, this would be a much bigger deal, but because this stuff was so good, all it did was make me eat it as fast as humanly possible.

I don’t know if General Mills intends on keeping this around as a regular offering or not, so my suggestion is to get several boxes now, and freeze-dry the ones that you… oh, who am I kidding— there’s no saving this stuff for later. Eat and enjoy while you can.

Purchased Price: $4.93
Size: 18.2 oz
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (41 grams) 170 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar (including 10 grams of added sugar), and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Old El Paso Cinnamon Toast Crunch Dessert Taco Shells

I’m a Cinnamon Toast Crunch guy, through and through. In my pantry right this second, for example, I have Cinnamon Toast Crunch Soft Baked Oatmeal Bars, Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cake Mix, Cinnamon Toast Crunch Icing for said cake mix (or just for finger-dipping, like a garden variety unhinged lunatic), and a double-box of the namesake cereal from Costco.

Now, I can’t attest to the cake mix, as I haven’t had it, but I don’t like the oatmeal bars, the “Loaded” cereal I had a few months ago was pretty bad, and the less said about the Stuffed Puffs Marshmallow Filled bites, the better. Point being, while CTC’s PR people are great at selling their product as a desirable collaborator, the actual execution of the experimentations leaves a lot to be desired.

So the big question, then, regarding the new Old El Paso Stand ‘n Stuff Cinnamon Toast Crunch Dessert Taco Shells, is, will these finally buck the trend?

I’ve enjoyed Old El Paso’s flavored Stand ‘n Stuff shells before — specifically the Bold Nacho Cheese and Zesty Ranch varieties — so I had high hopes. This was further encouraged when I pulled the Cinnamon Toast version out of its packaging. The shell itself was heavily dusted, which was a good sign. This was where the good things ended, sadly.

The box instructs you to heat the shells in the oven or the microwave, further noting that “unheated shells will be chewy.” Because things are generally better coming from the oven, I opted to do that. Here’s the thing — heating these shells in the oven made them incredibly brittle and unforgiving. They cracked into pieces upon the first bite, and the texture was a little like chewing on drywall. Because I was so put off by the texture, I actually tried one unheated, and, what do you know, it was much improved. The cinnamon taste, which was almost completely absent on the heated shells, was mildly more noticeable (still not saying much, I know) on the unheated kind. (I didn’t try the microwave; I was completely over these things by my third shell.)

Basically, these shells are regular Old El Paso taco shells that have been sprayed with cinnamon dust. So, due to the very mild cinnamon taste, it mostly tastes like you’re eating ice cream in a regular crunchy corn taco shell. If you think that sounds good, then, by all means, have the rest of mine.

I filled one with regular vanilla ice cream as a benchmark of sorts and one with Blue Bell’s Cinnamon Twist, a newer ice cream I love. Due to vanilla’s plainness, it tasted as mentioned in the above paragraph — as though I was eating an ice cream taco (and not a Choco Taco, which is an immensely better thing to eat). The shell filled with the Cinnamon Twist ice cream was much better; the strong cinnamon from the ice cream overpowered the shell’s salty corn flavor, rendering it into nothing more than a wall-textured ice cream delivery vehicle.

As much as it pains me to say it, these things were a flop. But fear not, brilliant Cinnamon Toast Crunch PR people! It’s pretty obvious I’ll buy whatever weird crossover you put in front of me. Once, anyway.

Purchased Price: $3.18
Size: 10 shells
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 3 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 shells) 160 calories, 9 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar (including 2 grams of added sugar), and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, and Trix Loaded Cereals

In my last review on this very site, a review for a healthy cereal, I made fun of “the new Trix that is stuffed with frosting.” And while I am still enjoying my box of Cheerios Loaded with Nuts, when I saw the new General Mills Loaded Cereals on the shelf, I laughed and figured “in for a penny, in for a pound.” Wait, no, that’s not it. When in Rome? Whatever doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger? Maybe that one. Because the jaw-rattling sweetness on these new Krave knock-offs is enough to kill me. (Or at least leave me in mild discomfort.)

All three varieties — Trix, Cocoa Puffs, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch — are squared puffs filled with “vanilla creme.” The image on the box promises a creme that will decadently ooze from each piece. In what is probably a quite obvious development, this doesn’t happen. Despite this structural design flaw, is this cereal worth buying? Let’s dig in.

Trix Loaded

The world’s foremost cereal mascotted by a deranged woodland creature tastes the most like its forebearer. When you first pop one into your mouth, you get the unmistakable artificial fruit taste of Trix. As you bite in, however, you get the vanilla creme, which tastes like sweet. That’s right, it tastes like sweet. There is no discernible vanilla flavor; it tastes, in fact, like someone managed to stuff a piece of the outer shell from a Little Debbies Zebra Cake into the inside of a Trix. That doesn’t sound appealing, necessarily, but it’s better than you might think. This was the best of the three.

Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup) 180 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 110 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 2 gram of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

Cocoa Puffs Loaded

Like the Trix version, this one tasted quite a bit like the cereal from which it was born. And while the concept of a vanilla filling seems like it would be an excellent compliment to a chocolate cereal, something about it just didn’t seem to click as well. I noticed the aggressive sweetness of the filling more with this one, I think, which was a detraction. After a few spoonfuls, I realized I probably didn’t need to try this one again.

Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup) 180 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 130 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 2 gram of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Loaded

This was the biggest disappointment of the group. First of all, CTC is the best cereal in General Mills’ catalogue, and maybe even the best cereal ever. Second, the idea of adding FROSTING to a cereal flavored like cinnamon toast sort of makes you think this would strongly evoke a cinnamon roll itself, right? Well, it doesn’t. Part of what makes CTC so good is the almost extreme amount of Cinnadusting on each heavenly square. These Loaded pillows have but a FRACTION of the namesake’s powder. On every fifth piece you go, oh, right, cinnamon; but by and large, these things are tasteless. Well, except for the overbearing “sweet” from the filling. Like a grandmother meeting Tom Selleck at a Blue Bloods fan convention, it is loud and proud.

Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup) 180 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 2 gram of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

All three were purchased at Walmart for $4.93.

REVIEW: Tres Leches Toast Crunch Cereal

During my decades of dessert dining, I’m unsure if I’ve had tres leches cake. But how could I not have had something that sounds delicious — a pound cake that’s soaked in a mixture of whole, evaporated, and condensed milks and then topped with whipped cream. As complex as that sounds, the folks at General Mills have developed a new Toast Crunch variety based on that dessert that I may or may not have had.

The company says that the cereal brings the cake’s flavor to the cereal bowl and is packed with cinnamon and extra indulgent Cinnamilk with the same crunchy texture as Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

If I’ve never had tres leches cake, I’m going to want some tres leches cake très vite because I’m going to assume the dessert is as delicious as this cereal. Yeah, I know. One is Spanish, and the other is French, but it looks cool in text.

First, I’d love to spend a lot of time with an open bag of this stuff in a phone booth, pod in a Japanese capsule hotel, or coffin because its delightful aroma reminds me of a cinnamon roll’s cream cheese frosting. That aromatic introduction leads to a unique and complex cereal flavor that gives me as much joy as eating the original Cinnamon Toast Crunch, dry or with milk. Actually, maybe even more.

There’s definitely a cake taste that’s somewhat similar to what I’ve experienced with the vast number of birthday cake products I’ve crammed into my mouth over the years, but not over-the-top sweet like most of those. Beyond that, there’s a butteriness that makes my tongue wonder if that’s from the cake flavoring or the cereal trying to present a milkiness. Whatever it is, it adds a bit of sweet complexity that goes exceptionally well with a not-quite-as-intense-as-Cinnamon-Toast-Crunch cinnamon flavor.

With its strong cake and cinnamon flavors, I really want to call this Cinnamon Cake Crunch, but Tres Leches Toast Crunch is more fun to say. Also, and this might be my imagination, there’s a little something something in the taste that could be interpreted as whipped topping.

Overall, Tres Leches Toast Crunch is très bien. Yeah, I know Spanish and French again. It’s so wonderful that, like my beloved Apple Pie Toast Crunch, I want this to exist forever year round.

FOREVER, General Mills! FOREVER!

DISCLOSURE: I received a free product sample from General Mills. Doing so did not influence my review.

Size: 12 oz box
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup w/o milk) 170 calories, 4 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat, 2.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar (including 12 grams of added sugar), and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Reese’s Puffs, and Trix Minis Cereals

I’ll be the first to admit I’m enchanted by the “tiny” versions of normal things. Travel-sized toiletries are charming. I marvel at the itty-bitty individual glass Heinz ketchup jars accompanying room service trays, even if I’m usually not the person ordering room service. My friend got me a Bonne Maman advent calendar this year, and to my absolute joy, I now have a collection of TEENTSY JARS OF JAM. Maybe some of you are nodding along, thinking, “Yes. Of course. DUH.” While other readers out there are already rolling their eyes. Well, ROLL right along, haters, because General Mills has made three of its Big G cereals MINIATURE: Trix Minis, Cinnamon Toast Crunch Minis, and Reese’s Puffs Minis.

These minis do live up to their name. They’re so smol. The first thing I notice is that their size makes snacking on these cereals hard. Attempting to taste these as a “dry” snack, I feel like a giant ogre trying to cram lentil-shaped noms into my ogre face. They scatter everywhere. I freak out that my dog might eat them. I clean up the kitchen and revert to standard cereal bowls.

Starting with Cinnamon Toast Crunch Minis, I prepare the serving suggestion of one cup cereal + 3/4 cup milk. It does look like a lot more food when they’re this miniature. I was also surprised that General Mills didn’t try to make CTC tiny little squares. It might have been harder, but it would have taken the wow factor up a notch. Still, these little CTCminis taste very similar to their toast-shaped brethren with, dare I say it, even more cinnamon flavor? Maybe it’s a surface ratio thing? They stay crunchy SLIGHTLY longer than standard CTC, but not by much. And, of course, the characteristic cinnamilk is still present. Hello old friend.

The mini Trix sort of look like what would happen if all of the berry fruit flavor Trix fell apart into their own individual spheres. These Trix Minis are not fruit-shaped, but have artificial colors and are visually the most exciting of the three mini flavors. Can you even get the Trix cereal in full-sized spheres, or was that a temporary thing from about five years ago when they made Trix with natural colors until enough consumers demanded the vibrant original be brought back? Regardless, the Trix Minis pack that same sugary punch of flavor. They stay crunchier in the milk longer than the CTCMinis, and I’m guessing a sugar coating drives that. They also don’t hurt your teeth nearly as much to crunch into because the mini-sized spheres crunch completely under your bite.

I saved Reese’s Puffs Minis for last. Reese’s Puffs were the cereal my mom NEVER let me have growing up, which only drove my desperation and adoration deeper into my heart. My favorite way to enjoy Reese’s Puffs is as a dry cereal snack which, as mentioned earlier, is super difficult and extra messy in this miniature form. However, these mini little guys are great. The ratio of flavor coating to inner cereal puff seems to have been perfected here, and the puffs reach optimum saturation level faster and sustain it longer than with the larger version. There are also WAY more pieces in every bite which adds, I think, to the flavor experience and overall satisfaction.

The final bit of fun offered with these new Minis is the kitchen play set you can build yourself from cut-outs in the back of each box which entertained this adult for a solid hour or so in the afternoon I picked these up. Overall I admire the simplicity of this innovation. The flavors are established favorites, offered in a unique format that makes your already beloved cereal treat even more enjoyable.

Or, you know, it’s just the same thing but tiny. Dealer’s Choice.

Purchased Price: $4.89 each
Size: 12.3 oz box (Cinnamon Toast Crunch), 10.8 oz box (Trix), 11.7 oz box (Reese’s Puffs)
Purchased at: Mariano’s
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Cinnamon Toast Crunch), 7 out of 10 (Trix), 9 out of 10 (Reese’s Puffs)
Nutrition Facts: Cinnamon Toast Crunch (1 cup cereal) 170 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Trix (1.25 cup cereal) 150 Calories, 2 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Reese’s Puffs (1 cup cereal) 160 Calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 220 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.