CCC: March the Seventh

Chris Shields, Head Editor

For those who weren’t previously aware, or for those who needed a subtle reminder, the biggest day of the calendar year is right around the corner. Rapidly approaching is the most celebrated and underappreciated holiday of all: National Cereal Day. I think I speak for us all when I say that if March the seventh didn’t exist, the world would be a much darker place. Knowing this day is coming, makes the 364 other days of the year just a bit more tolerable.  

National Cereal Day is the day we set our differences aside and unite under the common umbrella of cereal love and appreciation. Aa cereal enthusiast, I plan to celebrate this beloved holiday by enjoying cereal for, and/or with, every meal this Sunday. 

In celebration of this fine, fine day, I’ve decided to rank my personal top ten favorite cereals of all time – at least so far. With so many cereals out there, so many to choose from, and so many that I haven’t tried yet (not for lack of trying), it’s almost unfair to narrow them down. However, of the ones I’ve been fortunate enough to try in my 18 years of bliss, these are the ones that stand out the most and make mornings brighter and happier. 

#10: Reese’s Puffs from General Mills 

My favorite candy in the whole world just so happens to be Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and this cereal is just as heavenly. Every time I have a bowl it takes me back to when I was a kid getting a sugar rush first thing in the morning and singing along to the Reese’s Puff Rap on the commercials. Though they’re just a basic flavored corn puff cereal, like Trix, Cocoa Puffs, or Kix (all also by General Mills), they feature one unique ingredient that really sets them apart from their brethren: real Reese’s Peanut Butter. The familiar flavor, simple, yet classic texture, and bright box make this one a favorite. Yes, these are better than Reese’s Puffs Big Puffs. Fight me. General Mills Reese’s Puffs are always an absolute treat, and I can’t ever seem to get tired of them. 

#9: Nutter Butter Cereal from Post Consumer Brands 

Spoiler alert, this cereal was even better than Nutter Butter cookies. This is the first cereal I reviewed for my cereal column on The Nugget. For a very long time it was in my top five. Before its untimely discontinuation (I’m not crying, you’re crying), Nutter Butter Cereal attempted to replicate the famous Nabisco Nutter Butter sandwich cookie we all know and love. Its texture was super unique; it never goes soggy and provides a satisfying brittle crunch with every bite. Its flavor was super sweet and pleasantly peanut buttery, and it smelled just like a box of freshly baked peanut butter cookies. While this marks the first cereal from Post’s “Dream Cereal” line, it will not be the last. 

#8: Count Chocula from General Mills 

Despite being one of the older cereals on this list, Count Chocula is still one of the greatest of all time. Unfortunately, it isn’t available all year long like it was when it first came out in 1971, but that makes it even more special when the Count reappears on store shelves in October. This cereal is so simple, so classic, and so great. Consisting of chocolate puffed corn cereal pieces intermixed with chocolate marshmallows, all in fun, festive Halloween shapes, Count Chocula is one of the reasons Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. The chocolate flavor is super sweet and delicious, the texture is crunchy, crispy, and satisfying, and the chocolate milk at the end of the bowl is an added bonus. Easily the best of General Mills’s Monster Cereal line, Count Chocula is one of the greats. 

#7: Honey Maid S’mores from Post Consumer Brands 

Post’s Dream Cereal line gets their second name drop with my number seven pick. Another cereal featuring chocolate corn puffs mixed with marshmallows, but with an added twist, Post’s Honey Maid S’mores Cereal truly caught me by surprise. I didn’t have super high expectations for S’mores. Boy, was I wrong. It’s essentially Cocoa Puff-like chocolate corn puffs, Lucky Charms-like marshmallows, and Golden Grahams-like whole wheat graham pieces. Why General Mills didn’t capitalize on this idea until recently, with their Golden Grahams S’mores Remix Snack Mix, is beyond me. The graham pieces of this cereal are made with real honey, just like the Honey Maid Graham Crackers they’re based on and offer a delightfully plain flavor and brittle crunch to the bowl. The chocolate puff pieces add a very different crunchy texture the way only corn puffs can and, dare I say, have an even better chocolate flavor than Cocoa Puffs. Top it all off with soft, crisp marshmallows and you’ve got a bowl of cereal that tastes exactly like an actual S’more. 

#6Cap’n Crunch with Crunch Berries from Quaker Oats Company  

Horatio Magellan Crunch, captain of “The Guppy” and born of Crunch Island sails his merry little way into my sixth pick. Cap’n Crunch with Crunch Berries is the best of all the Cap’n Crunch cereals in one bowl (except Peanut Butter Crunch). This cereal combines the classic, insanely sweet “golden pillow” cereal pieces from the original Cap’n Crunch with the equally crunchy, equally sweet fruity berry pieces from Oops! All Berries, making an iconic bowl of fantastic morning fuel. With no redeeming health qualities whatsoever, tons of sugar and artificial coloring, and chalk full of preservatives linked to cancer, this cereal is another childhood favorite (you’ll see a lot of those). Not only do the fun mascot, bright box, enticing fruity aroma, satisfying texture, and delicious flavor make it a great cereal, but the fact that each spoonful reminds me eerily of my childhood adds to the experience. I love Cap’n Crunch with Crunch Berries no matter what the warnings say. 

#5: Cinnamon Toast Crunch Churros & Chocolate Churros from General Mills 

My number six spot is shared by Cinnamon Toast Crunch Churros and Chocolate Churros because they are too similar to separate fairly. Cinnamon Toast Crunch Churros are obviously a cash grab by General Mills, capitalizing on the popularity of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. They have the same flavor as the original cereal, but in a new miniature Churro shape. All signs point to “rip-off,” but somehow this cereal pleases. The classic cinnamon sugar flavor (plus chocolate for Chocolate Churros) still works, even on these much larger pieces, and the texture of the miniature churros is unbeatable. Just as good with and without milk, the crunch of these Churros is unlike any I’ve ever experienced and combining that with the flavor I’m already in love with, makes this a win in my book. 

#4: Honey Maid Cinnamon Cereal from Post Consumer Brands 

Another cinnamon sugar-based cereal, and the third and final feature of Post’s Dream Cereal line on this list, is Honey Maid Cinnamon Cereal. In elementary school, the kid who brought the cinnamon sugar graham crackers for the class was immediately the most popular person in the entire school. Honey Maid Cinnamon Graham Crackers was a childhood favorite snack for us all, and the cereal based on this nostalgic sensation lives up to its inspiration. Honey Maid Cinnamon Cereal became famous as “Cinnamon Toast Crunch’s rival” when it first came out.  

The pieces are the same brittle, crunchy graham pieces that are in Post’s Honey Maid S’mores Cereal, with the same, pleasantly plain graham flavor, and they also feature a dusting of cinnamon sugar sweetness that makes this cereal amazing. Yes, the concept is a bit too similar to Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but it still works wonders. While it doesn’t top CTC in my book, it comes close. It stays crunchy longer, retains its flavor amazingly, and has cinnamon sugar sweetened milk at the end of the bowl that, dare I say, beats CTC. Although this also has been unfortunately discontinued, I’m extremely grateful I grabbed it when I saw it because it rocks. 

#3: Lucky Charms from General Mills 

We’ve made it to the top three, and spoiler alert, General Mills occupies all three slots. Lucky Charms, another nostalgic childhood favorite of mine, is still magically delicious all these years later. The mascot Lucky the Leprechaun is about as famous and iconic as they come and always brings a smile to my face as he protects his cereal from thieving children in the commercials. The brightly colored red boxes with a rainbow of colors and fun imagery make the boxes stand out from all the rest. The crunchy, subtly sweet whole grain oat pieces mixed with the iconic marshmallows make for the perfect cereal bite every time. Lucky Charms are great, and I love them just as much now as I did when I was a little kid picking out the marshmallows. Don’t deny it. We all did it. 

#2: Peanut Butter Chex from General Mills 

The second spot on this list may shock you, but General Mills’s Peanut Butter Chex (another peanut butter cereal!) could honestly have been my number one pick. Chex cereal in its many varieties is classic and delicious whether you opt for one of the plain “base” varieties (Rice, Corn, Wheat) or one of the flavored, like Peanut Butter Chex. This cereal uses Corn Chex, but some of the Chex pieces are coated in a thick layer of real peanut butter. I don’t mean sweet sugary peanut butter like Reese’s Puffs and Nutter Butter, I mean authentic, salty, creamy peanut butter. The corn flavor balances perfectly with the salty peanut butter flavor to give a burst of delicious creamy goodness, without tasting as if you dipped your spoon straight into the PB jar. The sharp, brittle, airy, crisp crunch of every Chex piece that we’re all familiar with in Chex Mixes is present, and softens perfectly in milk, providing a gush of milk in every bite when it enters each pocket. It smells and tastes just like authentic roasted peanuts, and every bowl I eat leaves me craving another. 

#1: Cinnamon/Chocolate/Sugar Cookie Toast Crunch from General Mills 

I don’t think it’s any surprise, but my all-time favorite cereal is none other than Cinnamon Toast Crunch (as well as Chocolate and Sugar Cookie Toast Crunch). All three of these cereals provide the same pleasant crisp, airy bite, as well as the same sugar, or cinnamon sugar base. Sugar Cookie Toast Crunch, only available at Christmas time, gives an awesome sugary flavor that is unbeatable. Add real cinnamon to that flavor, and you get the OG Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Add real chocolate to that cinnamonsugar combo, and you get Chocolate Toast Crunch. All equally as perfect and satisfying. The “cinnamilk” at the end of the bowl is almost as desirable and decadent as the cereal itself. I love this cereal, always have, and always will. 

 

Well, there you have it folks, my top ten (current) list of favorite cereals. Although it’s likely to change in the future and has changed since I was a kid (no longer including Cheerios, Frosted Flakes, Honey Smacks, Froot Loops, and Corn Pops), that’s where I currently stand.  

In addition to this article celebrating the approaching cereal appreciation day, it also marks my retirement from cereal reviews on this newspaper. After many articles bombarding the page, it’s time to take a step back and move on. 

I hope you have enjoyed Chris’s Cereal Column, and I hope you all have an amazing Cereal Day and celebrate along with me with a big bowl of cereal! 

 

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