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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)

Hehe. Clever experiment.

Rice Crispies work not just b/c of the texture but b/c they're not as sweet. I couldn't have handled marshmallows on top of all those sweetened cereals.

That's why I like Crispix, Rice Chex, or Corn Chex. They work well, not too sweet and airy so it doesn't get bogged down in marshmallow. Kix works too but not as well as the Chexes.

Feathermar: The butterscotch sounds FABULOUS! I think we need to do more experiments...

Sher: thanks! It was a delicious and informative experiment. ;-)

Jep: Apparently at the party too--they went so fast!

Stacey: I think we need to know how this happy accident happened. Yowza!

Chopsticks: Good point. So much sweetness in some of them! I bet Chex would taste good. Have you ever had those muddy buddies??

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

What is a muddy buddy? Adding chocolate?

Sort of like chex mix, but sweet. A bit different consistency than a cereal treat, but another delightful use of Chex.

http://www.chex.com/Recipes/RecipeView.aspx?RecipeId=19919&CategoryId=342

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

This is so cool! Thanks for doing all of this experimenting.
I think the corn pops treats sound delicious. How can you go wrong with fruit loops? When people see the color of the treats, there is no way they can resist them.

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterEmiline

I'll have to try that with corn pops some day.... I love corn pops!!!

January 18 | Unregistered CommenterKieutiePie

What a great post! I am a self-confessed Rice Krispie treat addict. I rarely make them anymore because I literally cannot stop eating them until the whole pan is gone!

I have a great recipe for a variation of RKTs using several different cereals, including Fruit Loops and Cap'n Crunch. I was planning to do a post about it in the near future. Kids adore it! I still love the original best, though.

I wanted to try Martha Stewart's Cheerio breakfast bars, but all we ever buy is Alpha-bits, so I used it instead. It was magical. I had never had anything but dry and/or soggy (from too much butter) Rice Crispy treats before (and I just turned 39!), and I had never made treats before, so imagine my surprise at how well they turned out. I won't make them any other way now.

Stacey

January 18 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

A few years ago they used to SELL cap'n cruch treats, and the crunchberry ones were to die for. Fruity pebbles make good treats, but I never thought to make all these different types...great post!

January 19 | Unregistered CommenterDomestic Chicky

Mmmm...guilty pleasure food. I'm a bit ridiculous and like a mixture of Fruit Loops, Capt'n Crunch and Rice Krispies. Sugary goodness.

January 19 | Unregistered Commenterjessica~

Emiline: You're welcome, it was such hard work!

Kieutiepie: Yes, you should! I know it will go over well...proof is in that empty plate!

Stickygooey: We admire that dedication to the krispie treat! And your combo...whoa, watch out!

Stacey: Alpha bits sound alpha fantastic! Mmm. Although I will agree there are some bad krispie treats out there.

Domestic Chicky: Cap'n Crunch...wow, either that is too much or just enough! You should try making some, it was a lot of fun!

Jessica: Total guilty pleasure! But such a good guilty pleasure.

January 19 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

Oh, I am so glad I found your blog...everythting looks so yummy! I just have to say...I have those fiesta ware plates....I got most of the set as a wedding gift. Arent they the best color? They mke every dish (and dessert for that matter) so cheerful!

January 20 | Unregistered Commentersarahblank

I made a flat pan of rice krispies, then spread cheesecake mix over them and let them set in the fridge. It made some awesome cereal/cheesecake bars!

January 22 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Sarah, Thank you! And yes, Fiesta ware (also a wedding gift for us!) is absolutely the best! I Love its satisfying weight and cute colors. I also just saw you featured on another blog! You are so cool!

Anonymous: That sounds bitchin'! YUM!

January 22 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

For the foil packets of corn pops, here's why:

http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mfoilbag.html

February 9 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

Lloyd: Thank you so much!!

Angela: Thank you for solving that mystery! :-)

February 9 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

I used to make crispy treats out of Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles just to be different. The Cocoa Pebbles Crispies were yummy and chocolatey, and the Fruity Pebbles Crispies were fruity, but the dye in the pebbles bled a little so that the color was a rainbow swirl at times. They were always gone quickly.

March 13 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Anonymous: Both sound heavenly.

March 13 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

I know this is an older post - but couldn't resist adding my 2 cents...
I haven't tried this yet, but I have a bag of those new strawberry marshmallows that would make some interesting treats.
And one that I did make last year for Christmas - you make a pan of regular rice krispies treats, and then top it with a batch of peanut butter fudge. Let it set in the refrigerator and the cut into bite sized pieces. YUM.

March 26 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

Dawn: Never to late to add to the cereal joy. Peanut butter fudge on top of rice krispies treats sounds simply fantastic! Kind of like nestle crunch, Reese's peanut butter cups and Rice Krispies treats all had a love child!

March 26 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

Just wanted to let you know that your post is featured on http://www.blogher.com/happy-kitchen-experiments" REL="nofollow">BlogHer today! ~ AK

April 22 | Unregistered CommenterAlanna

OK here's a challenge for everyone...I am a teacher of chronically ill kids. One of my students had a bone marrow transplant and is confined to a bitty room and is sick most of the time. I want to do a science/math experiment with her and she said she would eat cereal bars if we could make them. My dilemma...no stove or microwave and she can't have anything organic . Any ideas for a rice krispie treat with no butter or peanut butter? Wonder if marshmallow fluff would work.

May 14 | Unregistered CommenterKristi

Kristi, I have never tried it with Fluff, but I'd say it's worth a try! Let me know if it works!

May 14 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

I have found that if you take the Rice Krispies recipe,I like to double it to 12 cups of cereal and yes it still fits in a 9x13 pan, and use another cereal for 1/3 (4 cups) of the cereal asked for you get the flavor difference but it's not overpowering and the bar holds together better. I usually use Fruit Loops but also love Cinnamon Toast Crunch, chocolate krispies or peanut butter puffs. On the peanut butter ones you can drizzel some melted chocolate over them. When I brought them for after baseball game treats even the parents came running!

September 22 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca S.
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