Grocery Guide

New Cereal Muffin Mixes from Betty Crocker

Although in the past I've mocked foods experiencing a certain degree of identity confusion, e.g., gum that thinks it's key lime pie, I nevertheless remain strangely fascinated with these fusion products.

When my friend Maggie sent me a snarky FYI e-mail on Betty Crocker's new Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Reese's Puffs, and Cocoa Puffs cereals, I sent an equally snarky reply ("Omg, how low can you go, Betty Crocker?").

Then I ran to Randalls and bought a box.

Online reviews strongly suggested that Cinnamon Toast Crunch was the most palatable flavor, but I never particularly enjoyed that cereal in its normal form, so instead went with the Reese's Puffs. Because, really, how can you go wrong with chocolate peanut butter muffins?

Well, it seems you can in terms of projected quantity. The mix was supposed to make a dozen muffins, but I could barely fill 11 cups to the prescribed "2/3 full" level. Betty also skimped on the cereal topping as the packet contained just enough to lightly top about ten muffins.

Another random point of confusion was the directions, which instructed me to "cool [the muffins] completely before storing." So, I'm not supposed to eat them? Or only eat them when they're not completely cool? Why is Betty pressuring me to hoard my muffins for the apocalypse?

The peanut butter flavor was stronger than I expected, probably a good thing since what passes for chocolate in a mix is pretty laughable. And given the amount of sugar in the mix and the cereal topping, these treats taste more akin to unfrosted cupcakes than to muffins. I suggest icing a muffin with some natural peanut butter to pull it back into the healthful breakfast realm. Alternatively, slather on the chocolate fudge topping, crown it with a miniature peanut butter cup and call it dessert.

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Joanna O'Leary