I've never claimed to be a cereal expert. Leading cereal enthusiast, yes. But there are many things in this great big bountiful world of cereal that I don't know about. So when I saw this tweet last week, (gracias for the tip!) I was utterly surprised and intrigued. No, I most certainly HAD NOT heard of Mini Cinnamon Churros cereal. This needed to be remedied immediately.
I'm not sure about the widespread availability of this cereal, but I knew my friend Amazon.com could help. After a few days, a slightly beaten up box of this strange new cereal arrived, with a happy note from the seller, Ali, thanking me and wishing me the best. Ali, if you are out there, I say thank you.
I don't know about you all but I love churros. WILD about them. I mean, really, what isn't to like?
But I think part of their allure is the fact that they are warm, crispy on the outside and soft inside. I'm fairly certain that cereal isn't able to perform any of these actions, but I was hopeful anyway.
I tried a couple of pieces (or shoveled a few handfuls in my mouth) dry before pouring a full-on bowl. The shape is meant to emulate sliced-up churros, but comes closer to mini bundt cakes, as Erin pointed out. They are big and crispy, with strong cinnamon flavor far closer to Apple Jacks than say, Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
The first few bites with milk, I dare say, were transcendent.
I don't know if it's the shape, the texture or some sort of sultry Latin secret packed into each assertive little churro, but I'm sold on Mini Cinnamon Churros. They maintain their crunchiness in milk for a very respectable amount of time, though I certainly wouldn't mind them a little soggy either. Other SE staffers tried it and loved it as well—loved it as in, the box barely lasted a day at SEHQ.*
* It is possible that I did 3/4th of the damage.
But How Does It Compare to Cinnamon Toast Crunch?
Now, the burning question. I can't ignore the extremely important fact that the box boldly challenges you to compare it to Cinnamon Toast Crunch, one of my all-time favorite cereals and arguably the best cereal ever. I felt exposed, as though they had just read last week's column and were speaking directly to me! Me, who pushed for the showdown between Golden Grahams and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, scoffing that there may be enough room in the world for both of them. Suddenly I was at a loss.
So how do they compare? Well, first off the shape and texture.
While people hate on CTC because of its instant sogginess, I think true CTC lovers actually appreciate the way it does its thing in milk. Mini Churros, as I mentioned before, are hard and crunchy even when steeped in milk. So, they're pretty much on opposite sides of the spectrum.
And what about the cinnamon factor? Obviously CTC are completely coated in a thick grainy light brown cinnamon sugar mixture that melts in your mouth and comes off on your hands. The coating on churros is darker, sparser, with less visible sugar, the whole thing more cohesive. The cinnamon flavor is, dare I say, spicier, less sweet.
Finally, the leftover milk. While CTC milk is nectar of the gods, sugary with nice swirl of cinnamon, Mini Churro milk again has that wonderful dark spice factor, and less of the throat coating sugariness.
Does this make me love Cinnamon Toast Crunch any less? Certainly not! Yes, I accept your challenge, I WILL compare them and I will say they are both delicious. I would happily buy both. I feel like I need to make a public apology for trying to force a choice last week. They say a mother's love multiplies, not divides. Well, I think I've learned my lesson—that's how true cereal love should act.
The bottom line is this cereal is fantastic, and I'm adding it to my growing Amazon.com cereal wishlist. Anyone out there tried it? Any lesser-known cereals you want to suggest?