Unlike Nutter Butters or Nilla Wafers, Chips Ahoy! has always been on my bad side.
No, not because of the cookie brand’s taste, its perpetual civil war between chewy and crunchy (chewy all the way), or its retiring of one my favorite snack mascots: the Cookie Guy.
I’m upset at Chips Ahoy! for its brazen, borderline offensive abuse of the exclamation point. It’s part of the trademark, meaning it has to be included even in the middle of sentences, eternally pissing off writers, word processors, and autocorrects. It’s kinda like how “Oreos,” isn’t the correct pluralization of Oreo cookies, but this one has 100x more thrown phones.
So sorry, geeks, dweebs, poindexters and pedants, but I’m not using the exclamation point anymore in my review of Post’s new Chips Ahoy Cereal, the companion of Nutter Butter Cereal—both of which hit Walmart at the end of December and stores everywhere April 2018.
Now that I’ve vented about punctuation and mourned the loss of an anthropomorphized foodstuff, the only thing left on my pre-review checklist is “wonder about something pointless.”
I wonder if in Spanish-speaking countries, they stylize it as ¡Chips Ahoy!
First impression: don’t smell the bag before you taste the cereal. Maybe it was just my industrial-jumbo-Godzilla-family-sized box, but it emitted the musky odor of a burnt-down Famous Amos factory.
The taste is better, and for those of you concerned this is just a Cookie Crisp clone, fear not: it’s actually a Malt-O-Meal Chocolatey Chip Cookie Bites clone. Yes, Post strikes again here: just like how Oreo O’s are slightly creamier Cookies & Cream Cereal and how Honey Maid S’Mores are just, well, S’Mores, Chips Ahoy Cereal is a palette-swapped Cookie Bites with just enough flavor difference to give them a “Mario & Luigi”-esque brotherhood (Cookie Bites seem brown sugarier).
The most shocking thing is that Chips Ahoy Cereal isn’t even that chocolatey. Despite the copious chips studded in each tiny baked oval, the cereal only has mild ribbons of standard-issue milk chocolate sweetness—forget the cocoa butteriness or fudginess of other artisan chocolate cereals: this is Tollhouse Lite.
I’m imagining the food scientist behind these mini chips proudly holding a pie chart that’s 50% milk, 49% chocolate, and 1% “the space between the words milk and chocolate.”
No, the real pronounced flavor here is Chips Ahoy Cereal’s oat base. Unlike the “corn masquerading as cookie dough” flavor of General Mills’ Cookie Crisp, Chips Ahoy Cereal is more like cookie brittle or shortbread: aerated, toasty, and heavily floured, with a light glaze of sugar and browned butter.
Altogether, it’s a rather unbalanced flavor palette that leaves me reaching for the Hershey’s Syrup to apply a manual drizzle. To use a proper processed cookie analogy: imagine a Girl Scout Trefoil that hasn’t quite transitioned into a Thanks-A-Lot.
Milk has a redemptive factor, moistening the otherwise dry and floury cookies into something pleasantly doughier, but it doesn’t do much to make the chocolate chips pop any more richly. I recommend milk to better emulate the Chips Ahoy-eating experience, but try as it might, this cereal is several light years and a few grocery aisles away from doing justice to its namesake brand—especially disappointing after the ecstatic accuracy found in Nutter Butter Cereal.
With an airily addictive biscuit sweetness, Chips Ahoy Cereal is an acceptably mindless munch, but for lacking that mouthwatering fudge factor, the massive pantry real estate occupied by this box is better off saved for Nutter Butter Cereal, stacked packages of actual (Chewy) Chips Ahoy cookies, or perhaps a small nature preserve.
You know, the kind of place where undomesticated Cookie Guys can graze, wild and free.
The Bowl: Post Chips Ahoy! Cereal
The Breakdown: Less corny than Cookie Crisp, but also less chocolatey, this cereal’s shortbread sweetness is far from a recognizable chocolate chip cookie taste.
The Bottom Line: 5.5 Girl Scout “No-Thank-You” cookies out of 10