Cinnamon Toast Crunch is one of the best breakfast cereals out there. (Well, at least Cereal Eats columnist Leandra agrees with me, and her word goes.) It's good plain—a baggie or two definitely improves long car rides—and it's fantastic with milk, when it sheds some of its cinnamon sugar coating and creates a secondary treat that's the perfect chaser to the cereal itself. Plus, given that even plain-jane Rice Krispy Treats can be repurposed into awesome dessert, it seemed pretty clear that baking with CTC would be even better than uh, baking and eating CTC.
Unfortunately, I have yet to find the right recipe. (Ok, truth: I haven't really tried.) Fortunately, Betty Crocker has stepped in. There is a new line of cereal-inspired muffin mixes, including Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
The box comes with two pouches of mix, neither of which, I'm sad to say, show any signs of actually actually containing breakfast cereal. The large pouch contains the mix for the muffin base, and the smaller pouch, the streusel topping. Both smell like Drake's coffee cakes (in a good way).
As you would suspect from a Betty Crocker boxed mix, and any recipe that involves cereal, these muffins are super easy to put together. All you have to do is mix together 2 eggs, some vegetable oil, water, and the powdered mix. Then, fill the muffin tins and top with a little of the premade streusel topping. Aside from trying not to gag at the mucusey look of the mixture before it smooths out, it's a cinch.
When I pulled the muffins out of the oven, I was immediately impressed. There was sizeable domage—the tops of the muffins were tall and shapely, rising above the tin by a half-inch at least. These definitely get props for appearance, especially given the flat muffin represented on the box. The taste was also better than anticipated. The muffins aren't very sweet—they taste more like cinnamon than sugar, and a lot like cinnamon Teddy Grahams.
The muffins were perfectly soft and moist. My only qualm is the topping. Not only did I want more of the streusel, but I wanted it to have more texture. As I feared when I sprinkled the fine, sandy mixture onto the batter, it basically melted into the muffin.
And, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I kind of wanted the muffin, at least the top, to be sweeter. That's right. Can I have more sugar in my boxed sugary cereal-inspired muffins? I mean overall these are mild, well textured cinnamon muffins. On the one hand, bravo Betty Crocker. On the other, when I buy a muffin that's inspired by Cinnamon Toast Crunch, I want it to taste like Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I suspect that the other people who will buy this mix will also do so because they like the sugary cinnamon squares that make up the far from balanced breakfast cereal. CTC lovers looking for a pastry incarnation of their cereal might be dissapointed in these restrained, balanced muffins.
In short, if you're looking for a lightening fast boxed cinnamon muffin mix, you could do worse than these. If you're looking for Cinnamon Toast Crunch reincarnated as a muffin, you'll have to keep looking.About the author: Carrie Vasios is the editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. She likes to peruse her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios