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Sunday
Jan132008

Cereal Treat Wars: A Rice Krispie Treat Challenge

 

Rice Krispie Treats and More

The Rice Krispie Treat: innocent sweet, or monopolizer of the breakfast treat empire?

 

Recently when we came across the Trix Treats (photo left, thanks to Lara) which were quite the hot ticket at an event at one of our favorite stores, Plaid Pony Vintage, our view of the ubiquitous marshmallowy treat was challenged. Seriously--who do they think they are exactly, those Rice Krispies? Are they really the only cereal that can successfully make no-bake treats? We decided to put this question to the test by making cereal treats out of several types of cereal to see if Rice Krispies really were the best choice. Here are the details of our experiment:

Who, Where, When: The lucky tasters were those in attendance at a New Year's Eve Party chez moi: an eclectic mix of indie rockers, chemists, video game testers, stationery company employees, and even a pizza delivery guy.
What: A tasting of six types of treats, including Rice Krispie, Corn Pops, Froot Loops, Raisin Bran, Shredded Mini Wheat, Frosted Flakes, and Special K.

Why these types of cereal?: They were the types that came in a Kellogg's variety pack; we aren't huge cereal eaters, so this seemed the least wasteful. Plus, those mini boxes are just so cute! No, we're not sponsored by Kellogg's.
How did we do it: They were made in the same method as Rice Krispies treats, just done in
small batches. Once made, we did put little signs on each batch so that tasters would know what types they were eating.
What was our Goal?: To see which treats would prove most compelling, popular and delicious.

 

So, how did each of the treats stack up? We've itemized the tasters' reviews below.


Mini Wheat Treats
Rice Krispies Treats (above): Just about what you'd expect. It was a solid batch, but surprisingly, not too much of a dent had been made by the end of the night. However, many of the tasters confirmed our suspicions that this was more due to the novelty of the other variations, rather than poor quality on the Rice Krispie batch.
Cereal Treats
Corn Pops Treats (above): These ones proved a delightful surprise! These elicited probably the biggest nostalgia response and lively debate (why is the bag made of foil rather than plastic? etc). They were also the first to go: people seemed to like the way that the corn-y sweetness mixed with the marshmallow, and enjoyed the unique, crisp yet airy texture.
Froot Loops Treats
Froot Loops Treats (above): Similarly to the Corn Pops Treats, these went fast. They had a satisfying crunch, but a large part of the appeal was their look: like little marshmallowy rainbows, they were certainly the best-looking of the bunch.
Frosted Flakes Treats
Frosted Flakes (above): Once again, very sweet. And while they physically resembled the Special K treats, but the texture was definitely more soft and less brittle, the sugariness of the flakes having nicely absorbed the buttery marshmallow coating. They were just about gone by the end of the night though, so we guess that all in all, they were grrreeeeaaaat! (sorry).
Raisin Bran Treats
Raisin Bran Treats (above): Not many people were brave enough to give these vaguely healthy treats a try, but everyone who did was pleasantly surprised. The bran lended a nice nuttiness to the flavor, and the raisins kept the texture interesting. The overall taste was not unlike a particularly sugary granola bar.
Frosted Mini Wheat Treats
Shredded Mini Wheat Treats (above): These were not pretty, but they were good. Not for the faint of heart though: with the frosted coating on one side and an allover marshmallow coating, the wheat was a phantom aftertaste to the extreme sweetness.
Special K Treats
Special K (above): These were very brittle--they didn't seem to absorb the coating all too well--but a lot of people professed to enjoy the crunchiness. These were not all finished by the end of the night, but they seemed to intrigue the guests; maybe it's all those weight-loss commercials they've had lately.

 

 

End of the party 2
So, to sum it up? More than anything, we think that it's an issue of texture with these treats; perhaps the reason for the success of Rice Krispie treats is that the namesake cereal's texture absorbs and allows the marshmallow to mix pretty consistently, where other cereals (for instance, the Shredded Wheat) didn't really absorb the coating too much, and looked much more marshmallowy and a little messier than the other ones. While the Froot Loops treats fall into the former category, the bright color of the cereal pieces was able to make up for the ill-absorbed marshmallow mixture.
So does that mean that Rice Krispie Treats remain the cereal treat king? Well, while we will admit that it's definitely a formula that "works", Rice Krispies Treats might have some competition: at the end of the night, not a single Corn Pops or Frosted Flakes treat remained, and only a small piece of Froot Loops treat remained. Apparently these treats had a certain beauty and texture that proved intriguing; a certain je ne sais quoi, if you will. And so, to close: watch your back, Rice Krispies.

Have you tried any other cereals that came out excellently? Let us know!

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (81)

Sacrilege, I know, but I am not a fan of the marshmallow crème stuff. I am also old enough to remember when “Corn Pops” went by it’s far more politically incorrect name of “Sugar Pops”. Saying “Corn Pops” still cracks me up … who are they kidding?

Anyway … here is a delish variation on the original Rice Krispie Treats, sans marshmallow. My recipe card is in my mother’s handwriting & dates from the late 1960s. I’m sure we got it from somewhere & just tweaked it ~ but I’ve seen it now on many cooking blogs & sites.

Beware, however ~ these are completely addictive. You should also be warned that there is no need to actually *eat* them. Just apply them uniformly onto your hips.

1 C light corn syrup
1 C sugar
1 C peanut butter, your fav brand, smooth or chunky
6 C Rise Krispies

Grease 13x9” baking pan.
In large saucepan over low heat, stir together syrup, sugar & peanut butter & bring to a boil.
Remove from heat & add Krispies.
Toss to coat well.
Press mixture into pan; cool.
Eat the entire panful or, more modestly, cut into 2x2” squares & then eat 32 of them.
Makes 32.

P.S. There is a chocolate variation, toooooooooooooo

January 13 | Unregistered CommenterThree French Hens

That is so awesome!!!! Thank you!

January 13 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

when my x-husband and i were working at the greenbrier in west virginia--(amazing 5-star resort)
we were invited to a chef's dinner party. we were in charge of dessert and since i was just starting out as a pastry helper at the hotel and my x-bob and all our friends were chef's chefs-- i was nervous about making a dessert--
the meal started with foie gras--
and every course after was tight amazing food-- eight courses.
duck, lamb, lobster -- everything
complicated and tasty. and then it was time for my course:)
i made a fruity pebbles marshmallow treat castle.
i used a bundt castle mold and just followed the rise krispy recipe-- using fruity pebbles.
it was such a hit-- the laughter alone made it worth it.
i thought it was a little too sweet-
but fortunately the meal included a wine pairing and everyone was a little drunk by the time the castle came into view.
thanks for bring back that memory-
sorry for such a long comment.
i just wanted to say...
try fruity pebbles.

January 13 | Unregistered Commenterbonnie

I have had Fruit Loop and Trix Marshmallow Treats before. My boys love them. And they by far get more requests than the poor original krispies. However, Cocoa Krispie Treats are very, very good as well.

I love the taste testing. Solid work. ;)

I for one could never keep Corn Pops and Sugar Smacks straight. I was always a Lucky Charms gal. (still am)

January 13 | Unregistered Commenterslush

Awesome post! What a fun little experiment! The Corn Pops treats are my favorite. Thanks, now I'm going to have to make some vegan cereal bars. There's even an organic vegan version of Corn Pops called Envirokidz Gorilla Munch - can you tell I'm already planning this out? Haha.

January 13 | Unregistered CommenterRuby Red Vegan

How fun was that?! Thanks for that investigative reporting!

January 13 | Unregistered Commenteroh amanda

Oh, what a great idea! All those different variations sound pretty great to me, although I don't think I could handle the sweetness of a frosted cereal PLUS the marshmallow binder. Hopefully none of your tasters succumbed to a sugar coma!

January 13 | Unregistered Commenterbittersweetblog

Oh that was a really fun post and I really enjoyed the read!!

Rosie x

January 13 | Unregistered CommenterRosie

I have actually made treats like this during Christmas time with cornflakes. However, I use green food coloring and a little bit of vanilla extract. They end up turning out looking like wreaths. I have them on my blog. (anticiplate.com)

People love them. My coworkers request the "green cornflake wreaths" every year for Christmas! :)

January 13 | Unregistered CommenterAnticiPlate

You crack me up. Seriously. I saw this post and just about bust a gut laughing - I think its awesome that you conducted this taste experiment, and the results sound pretty interesting! Nice work ;)

Ellie @ http://www.insanitytheory.net/kitchenwench/" REL="nofollow">Kitchen Wench

January 13 | Unregistered CommenterEllie

Bonnie: Love the contrast! A few people requested fruity pebbles treats, which alas were not part of what we made for the experiment. I want to give it a try though, there is some major kitsch appeal there!

Slush, the cocoa krispies treats sound really good too. Sugar smacks are honey-sweetened, aren't they? And they're more golden than the yellow-shiny Corn Pops I think.

Ruby Red Vegan: Can't wait to see how they turn out!! If you put up a recipe I will link back to it on this post!!

Oh Amanda: Yup, all in a day's work :-)

Bittersweetblog: We don't know, they might have had a massive sugar crash after leaving.

Rosie: Thanks! We had fun doing it.

Kari: Now that you mention it, my mom used to make those! So good and cute!

Ellie: Thanks! It was a lot of fun to do.

January 13 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

Yep, cocoa krispies were missing...delish! I also wonder about Apple Jacks...do they even still make them? And what about Cap'n Crunch? Maybe too sweet?

January 13 | Unregistered CommenterGeggie

ahhh the Trix Treats are ESPECIALLY fun and vibrant!! :0D

January 13 | Unregistered CommenterVeggieGirl

Fun! I love this. I've made Corn Pops and Cocoa Puffs treats before, and they were pretty good. I've also done Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Captain Crunch, but they turned out a little too sweet (didn't stop me from eating them though).

The Mini Wheat Treats sound great, I might have to try that one. It's also fun to mix different types of cereal together.

January 13 | Unregistered CommenterAlicia

I guess Trix Treats aren't just for kids!!

There's a reason to go buy some (vegan) marshmallows!!

January 13 | Unregistered CommenterVegan_Noodle

awesome experiment! I would have so been all over those bran things (but also the frosted flakes, shhh!)

I wonder what how Marshmallow Flavored Rice Krispies would hold up? :D

January 13 | Unregistered CommenterLiz²

thank you for your visit on my blog... I read your post: it's a funny experimental culinary test !!!

January 13 | Unregistered Commenterpozzynette

Hi! Thanks for stopping by! I love your things, you are so talented! :)

BTW- I love this post, I did many variations of the RCT in college as it was my nightly microwave treat! Love it! I hope it's ok that I link you, can't wait to see more! :)

January 14 | Unregistered CommenterTres Poshe Preppy

yep, my mom made a cocoa krispies bar when I was a kid that I can still taste in my mouth. I want to say that it involved a bit of transgressive peanut butter that only the most astute pallet would detect, but I'll have to double check with her

January 14 | Unregistered Commenterredman

The Trix Treats are GORGEOUS! They look like little jewels!

January 14 | Unregistered CommenterS.

That is what i call a cereal attack :-)
Loved seeing all the cereals.
I never eat them. My daughter have them once in a while.
If i buy one pack it stays in my cuboard for months !!!!

January 14 | Unregistered CommenterHappy cook

That looks like so much fun! I've never tried making any of these myself, but I enjoyed the pictures and reading about it! ; )

January 14 | Unregistered CommenterAnali

Oh I am so going to try the Frosted Flakes and Corn Pops - they are my favorite cereals!

January 14 | Unregistered CommenterEllo

No cinnamon toast crunch treats?!? Rematch! That's the cereal that I always use as an ice-cream topping, so I'm *sure* it would be a great rice krispie treat variation. I can't even imagine how many bags of marshmallows you went through though!

January 14 | Unregistered CommenterKaty

glad you did the research...now i willenjoy...blessings today, rebecca

January 14 | Unregistered CommenterCre8Tiva
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