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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!

 

 

 

Reader Comments (81)

What a great idea. I think the special K ones sound the best, mainly because I am a big crunch fan....

Not that I would bake them, I can barely boil an egg...

But, eat them? You bet.

January 14 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

I have been obsessed with Rice Krispie Treats lately! I can't get enough of them. I think I will be trying some with the Corn Pops; that actually sounds really good...

January 14 | Unregistered CommenterMallow

great post. way to experiment! i like to make treats with fruity pebbles & cocoa pebbles myself. my husband's not a fan of these, but my stepdad loves them! (i know they're kid's cereals, but I still love them after all these years. what can i say?)

January 14 | Unregistered CommenterJerri

What a delicious test!

January 14 | Unregistered CommenterFreshly Found

Geggie: Yes, a few people were inquiring about Cap'n Crunch...I wonder if you might just die instantly though??

Veggiegirl: Aren't they? Hypnotizing...(several seconds pass)

Alicia: Is Cinnamon Toast Crunch the one that is actually shaped like mini toast slices? they are too cute (and way too sweet!!). I don't know if it would stop us from eating them either.

Vegan Noodle: I wonder, do vegan marshmallows melt the same? Must try...

Liz Squared: Whoa! Holy Marshmallow!! I wonder...

Pozzynette: Thanks! It was fun to do, too!

Paul: Yes, please do! We have astute palates we think. Super taster, remember???

Tres Poshe: Of course that is ok! Your blog rules! And glad we could remind you of happy college memories :-)

S.: Yes...like I said above: simply HYPNOTIZING! :-)

Happy cook: we hardly ever eat cereal either! It was extra fun to have the novelty! Luckily not much was left, so no waste!

Anali: next time you have a party, it goes over quite well!

Ello: If you go into a sugar coma, don't blame us :-)

Katy: We know! You know, one day Mr. Cakespy and I made bets on how many types of cereal were in the cereal aisle. OVER 200!! We counted (I know, I know). And to answer your question--many bags of marshmallows!

cre8tiva: You're welcome! Have a sweet day!

Maria: the happy thing is, these are ridiculously easy. You can make them in the microwave!

Mallow: let us know how you like 'em!! They were exceedingly popular!

Jerri: I bet they'd be good lookin' anyway! and sweet. :-) Perhaps tooth-numbingly so!

Freshly Found: well put, indeed!

January 14 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

what will you think of next. Genius!

January 14 | Unregistered Commentersavvy savorer

Ooo what an excellent experiment!! The froot loops (I didn't realize until just now that it's spelled "froot") one looks the most intriguing. And the Trix one. The bright fake colours get me! I'd like to try this with lucky charms. I love the marshmallows that come in lucky charms though I guess those would just melt (and maybe result in an interesting colour).

January 14 | Unregistered Commentereatme_delicious

Hi Cakespy, you left a comment on my blog (http://mary-laure.blogspot.com/) and I am so HONORED, because your blog is so impressive - not to mention mouth-watering, for someone like me who has not 1 sweet tooth but 32 sweet theeth...
I posted something today about the Japanese treat Anko, which is made with Azuki Beans and sugar; have you ever tried that? I just love it, and it's pretty healthy because Azukis are very rich in iron and protein, and not processed...

January 15 | Unregistered CommenterMary-Laure

Savvy: Whatever our appetites dictate! :-) Thanks!

Eat Me, Delicious: Yeah, I am rather curious about Lucky charms too. I wonder, since those marshmallows tend to be kind of hard, if they would melt differently (or at all?). I'll be the colors would be bright and intriguing though!

Mary-Laure: Thank you! 32 sweet teeth...that sounds like the title to your memoirs!

January 15 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

Holy cow, those all look amazing! Well, except perhaps the Shredded Mini Wheat version, that one looks a little scary! I now need to check if Fruit Loops are vegan so I can make those!

January 15 | Unregistered CommenterRural Vegan

I live for Corn Pops. I need to make those.

January 15 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

you do the hard work and we reep the rewards! how to ever thank you! (i have an addiction for buying cereal when it's on sale and have a LITTLE overstock problem!) now we can have cereal for dinner and dessert! perfect!

The best types of experiments are the ones you can eat! Yum!

:)
Kimberly

January 15 | Unregistered CommenterMy Pink Boutique

I've heard that Cocoa Krispies make excellent treats as well. My little guys like the Rick Krispy treats though. I sprinkle them lightly with colored sugar or rainbow "jimmies" to add more visual appeal and there are never any leftovers at any event to which they've been brought.

I just LOVE your blog and your fantastic artwork!

January 16 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Bea Miller

the Shredded Mini Wheats look like pulled pork BBQ covered in gravy!

January 16 | Unregistered Commenterblognut

Rural Vegan: Even if not, I do think there are vegan options that you could try!

Natalie: Yea! Let us know how they go. However I expect to see something zombie-ish about yours.

Practically Perfect: Happy to be of service! See, we are solving your overstock problem.

Kimberly: You said it!

Nancy: Thank you! Ooh, I really like the idea of sprinkles / jimmies / what have you--I'll bet it adds a new dimension to the color and presentation!

Blognut: Dammit! Knew someone was gonna catch us with subversive photos. :-) Kidding, they actually are shredded mini wheats!

January 16 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

yum. i have never realized how many variations of treats you can make using breakfast cereal until now.

January 16 | Unregistered CommenterAlyssa

Alyssa: Yup, we were not messing around.

January 16 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

I love this experiment! My kids would definitely be on sugar overload if we tried all of those cereals, but I'd be the greatest mom on the block!

These are also great with the Choco-Vanilla Rice Krispies.

And in keeping with the cereal covered in marshmallowy goodness theme, have any of you tried Indoor S'mores? They're made with Golden Grahams, marshmallow and milk chocolate chips. Here's the recipe (which is all over the place, this is just one link): http://www.recipesource.com/munchies/snacks/indoor-smores1.html

Thanks for reminding me that sometimes it's the simple things in life that are the best.

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterElle

Oh man, how come I never thought of this idea? I'm so behind the times...great photos!

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterHillary

Elle: Your comment is welcome for several reasons: first, I had never heard of CHOCO-VANILLA Rice Krispies! Treats with those would be like a black and white cookie / krispie treat?? Also, indoor s'mores sound wonderful. I have been obsessed with marshallows lately so it might be a great friday treat while watching movies with Mr. Cakespy tomorrow night!

Hillary: Thanks! It was a lot of fun, and thank you for the kind words on the photos!

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

My cousin introduced us to Butterscotch Rice Krispie Treats. You just add butterscotch chips to the warm marshmellow, and it changes the texture of the treat, as well as the flavor. I would suppose that you could try it with peanut butter chips--or ooo! Those new caramel/chocolate chip morsels...I'm hungry...

January 17 | Unregistered Commenterfeathermar

I love the classic recipe--but think the corn pop version would be great. I ate a lot of them as a kid. You really hit this one right out of the ballpark. Great post!

January 17 | Unregistered Commentersher

What a fun event for all of you---loved the idea---great post today! Corn Pops would be one I'd like to sample.

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterJEP

My personal fave is a combo I stumbled upon by accident about six months ago and have been making every since:

Alpha-Bits
Dried Orange Cranberries (Crasins)
Marshmellows
Butter (for the pan)

I love it so much, I mix all but the butter dry and cool in a big plastic cookie jar and take it to work as snack mix. I have even added mini chocolate chips to the mix at times as a substitute for the cranberries and sometimes as a fourth ingredient. All delicious!!

Stacey

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous
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