Barbara's Bakery Peanut Butter Puffins
My favorite cereals are those that are both good as a snack straight from the box (especially while lounging on the couch) and in a bowl with Lactaid skim milk (booooo lactose intolerance..) Not many cereals succeed at both. The cereal elements have to be sizable enough so that you don't end up scattering half of every handful into those couch cushion crevices, but they also have to be able to absorb the milk well enough so that you're not just eating "wet" cereal.
I go through phases when it comes to cereal, but right now, my go-to cereal is Barbara's Bakery Peanut Butter Puffins. The cereal nuggets are perfectly sized for snacking anytime, anywhere. If you find yourself standing on a subway platform waiting for 20 minutes and you're starving, you'll be glad you packed a baggie of Puffins with you. In milk, they get even better—let them soak for a minute or so and they actually taste even MORE peanut butter-y. They're magical. The only problem is I seem to get just about four servings per box.... —
Granola can be seriously delicious, but from a dieting perspective, it is evil. My wife, who is beautiful and thin, has granola and Greek yogurt for breakfast every morning. The granola she eats is made and sold at our local supermarket, Fairway. Because it is made on the premises it doesn't have any nutritional information on it. So one evening, when I raided the kitchen for something sweet I ended up eating a bowl of said Fairway granola.
Yes, I knew it was full of caloric time bombs, nuts, dried fruit, oil, sugar, and rolled oats, but I convinced myself that hey, it's granola, how bad can it be calorically?
I'm sure most of you know the answer to that question. Granola is very, very, very, dangerous. It's Trouble with a capital T. But I still love it, and when it's around, can't resist a handful (or three). —Ed Levine
Up until I tried the Rice Krispies Treats Cereal last week, I hadn't eaten a bowl of breakfast cereal in probably over a decade. When I was a kid, my favorites were Coco Puffs and Coco Krispies, mainly for the chocolate milk leftover. Perhaps Lucky Charms were up there too (eat the oats first, save the bowl of milk soaked-but-still-crunchy marshmallows for the end).
But for my pick, I'm gonna take the really broad definition of cereal and go with tamago gohan: cooked rice with a raw egg, a bit of soy sauce, and a dash of MSG powder stirred into it (at least, that's how my grandmother made it). It was my favorite breakfast/snack as a kid, and it's still one of my favorite, easiest-to-prepare treats. You don't really need a recipe: stir a raw egg into hot cooked rice, add soy sauce (and MSG if you want) to taste, then stir the heck out of it until it becomes light and bubbly. Top with whatever you'd like. —Kenji Lopez-Alt
I'd wager that I've eaten more oats than any other single food or food group. When shopping for oats, I usually squat down low to grab the biggest canister on the bottom shelf, which must be reserved for farmers stocking up on horse feed, oatmeal cookie bakeries, and other oat fiends like me. The overnight steel-cut soaking method is one of my favorite ways to go, topped with some frozen blueberries (that defrost and pop in the cooked oats, staying a tad chilly) or a handful of granola. On special weekend mornings, I go all out and make this honeyed figs topping. —Erin Zimmer
Rice Krispies Treats cereal
I grew up in a no-cereal-household, which was probably a good call on my mom's part or else I would've eaten Rice Krispies Treats cereal all the time. Because during those very rare moments when my mom would let my brother and me choose a box of sugary kids' cereal, we'd go for whatever sounded...well, the most sugary. Rice Krispies Treats cereal is the only one I remember to this day for being particularly awesome, something that we've already expounded upon in our cereal column. When came time for the office to taste the cereal, I was afraid it wouldn't be as good as I remembered it being over 15 years ago. But it was. And thus the gorging continued. I prefer it sans milk, the same way I eat any other boxed cereal, although the giant sugar-fortified clusters could stand up to milk pretty well. —Robyn Lee
Honey Bunches of Oats or Cinnamon Toast Crunch
Um, this is SUCH a hard question words cant even express. UGHH I have to say a tie between Honey Bunches with icy cold skim and Cinnamon Toast Crunch with icy cold skim. Or dry. Wait...I need a minute. —Leandra Palermo [Ed. note: Can you tell she's our Cereal Eats columnist?]
Quaker's Honey Graham Oh!s
I'm crazy about Quaker's Honey Graham Oh!s, a cereal I've loved since the late eighties, and can still find in many grocery stores on both coasts, but few other people seem to have heard of. The slightly sweet rings, each somewhere around the size of a Fruit Loop, are filled with crunchy honey-laced clusters; they taste like coconut to me, to an extent that I always thought that those clusters had coconut in them, but nope—just coconut oil. I love the way they behave in milk, just a little more resistant to sogginess than most cereals. And though their honey-graham flavor is incredibly sweet—in fact, grabbing a box last week, I was a little shocked by how sugary they tasted—my mother never considered them a "sugary cereal," thus they were approved for weekday breakfast consumption. Nothing like putting one over on Mom. —Carey Jones
I go through phases with cereals, little bouts where I'll plow through a box of Honey Bunches of Oats, then Quaker Oatmeal Squares, then Chocolate Special K (major disappointment). But the cereal I'll always have in my cabinet, sitting next to the brand-du-jour is Bio Familia muesli. I've been asking for muesli since I was little. Even then, I liked that it wasn't too sweet. I liked the textural contrast between the crunchy nuts and the chewy dried fruit, and the slowly softening oats. My parents thought it was a weird choice, especially when at European hotels I'd go for the muesli and stewed prunes while everyone else piled their plates with breads, pastries, and cold cuts. But what can I say- oats rule. —Carrie Vasios
Though I sometimes change it up with a little Chex or a bowl of Special K, I generally like to eat Cheerios for breakfast, preferably with berries or sliced nectarines on top. We tend to go through so many of them that we have to keep a tower of boxes on top of our kitchen bookshelf. —Maggie Hoffman