Milking It: Keebler Cookie Crunch Cereal

Keebler Cookie Crunch Cereal Kellogg's Rating: Two spoons out of four

Cereal description: Cookie Crunch is built on two separate foundations. The majority of the pieces are rugged ovals made of corn and wheat flour and speckled white and brown. They're supplemented by corn ovals that are meant to resemble chocolate chip cookies -- and, strangely enough, they actually do. What a concept.

Box description: The front cover features Ernie the Keebler elf happily readjusting the "c" in "cereal" at the bottom of the cereal's logo. More mysterious, though, are three reddish stripes on each of his bulbous cheeks (the ones on his face, gutter-mind). What happened? Was he attacked by the family cat? Is he a secret cutter -- except that he's bad at keeping that secret because he cuts on his face? No clues here. Instead, there's just a giant bowl of cereal and an overflowing sack of cocoa on a hard-wood floor that seems to be part of an attic -- yet there's a golden curtain in the background. Yeah, I'm confused, too. But there is one helpful bit of explanation in regard to the cereal itself: a placard that describes Cookie Crunch as "2 Keebler cookie favorites in one cereal" and shows images of Fudge Shoppe Fudge Stripes and Chips Deluxe. Sounds fattening, which may be why the side panel opposite the nutrition information features a maze that requires participants to do exercises in order to complete the circuit. They're asked to do two jumping jacks when they encounter a Chips Deluxe, jump on one leg for five seconds upon bumping into a Fudge Stripe, and twirl their arms for five seconds at the sight of a rolling pin. (In old Hollywood movies, people ran like hell when a rolling pin was brandished -- even better for you!) The back of the box is busy, too, with Ernie and lots of elf buddies -- Fast Eddie, Buckets, Leonardo and more -- conceving so many more games that it'd take several more breakfasts to play them all. I diagnose ADD.

Taste: Despite being based on not one but two cookies, the chocolate flavor is fairly mild -- not nearly as sweet as a chocoholic might hope. Nevertheless, the real problem here is texture. The pieces based on Fudge Stripes crunch acceptably, but their Chips Deluxe companions don't even have the crispness of a typical cereal marshmallow bit. They're mushy, as if they occupy some weird, uncomfortable middle ground between solid and liquid. That's not the case when they're eaten dry -- they're pretty tasty under those circumstances. The second they touch milk, however, they transform like some '50s-era science-fiction monster: The Blob disguised as a snack food. Terrifying.

Conclusion: In this case, two cookies aren't better than one. -- Michael Roberts

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