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.

QUICK REVIEW: Old El Paso Chicken Burritos Frozen Entree

Old El Paso Meal for Two Chicken Burritos

Purchased Price: $6.99 (on sale)
Size: 2 burritos/20 oz.
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Decent sized frozen burritos (6″ x 2.5″ x 1.5″). Lots of beans, rice, and corn. Salsa verde has a very mild kick and decent flavor. Each burrito is prepared in its own nifty steaming bag. Thank goodness for hot sauce.
Cons: Tastes like other frozen burritos I’ve had. Pricey for two decent-sized burritos. After microwaving, the tortilla on the bottom of the burrito is dried out and tough. Not a lot of chicken (I’m lucky a chunk ended up in the picture below). Didn’t notice any cheese. Most bites were beans and rice. Some Pace salsa would’ve made it taste better.

Old El Paso Meal for Two Chicken Burritos Closeup

Nutrition Facts: 1 burrito – 480 calories, 150 calories from fat, 17 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 1050 milligrams of sodium, 59 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, 23 grams of protein, 10% vitamin A, 15% calcium, 35% vitamin C, and 30% iron.

A delicious blend of all white meat chicken, rice, beans, roasted onions and corn, Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses smothered in our own salsa verde. All wrapped in a tasty flour tortilla. It’s a meal you know and love made with authentic Old El Paso flair that defies frozen.