I love you, Cap’n Crunch, so I’m willing to forgive you for omitting the “ugh” from the name of your Sprinkled Donut Crunch cereal.
See, I’m a doughnut purist. Whether it’s the word’s languid length or its simple, old-world charm, “doughnut” just pleases my eyeballs more than the comparatively blunt “donut” ever could. And for all those about to tell me, “Get with the times, grandpa: writing donut is way faster,” please tell me how much time you’ve actually saved by not typing those three lovely letters. If it’s less than 5 cumulative minutes over your entire lifetime, I’m sticking with my “ugh.”
So even though I’m a little upset, after tasting Cap’n Crunch’s Sprinkled Donut Crunch, I realize the real reason there’s no “ugh” in its name: because I never let out a single exasperated “ugh” the entire time I was eating it. This cereal is darn good, and even though it was released shortly before Cerealously debuted, I’m going to make up for lost time by digging into a dozen baker’s dozens-worth of crunchy rainbow loops.
Whether you like Sprinkled Donut Crunch’s taste or not, you have to agree that this is a beautiful cereal. Each bulbous cream ring is big enough to double as an engagement ring, with enough technicolor sprinkles to make even Agent Dale Cooper swoon. Better yet, some of the sprinkles that get baked into the pieces explode under the surface, creating iridescent craters filled with pools of colored sugar, like potholes on Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road.
My first bite of Sprinkled Donut Crunch is ceremonious, and its rapid-fire sensory stimulation is like the cereal equivalent of Willy Wonka’s boat scene—except much more euphoric than traumatizing. At first contact, my taste buds are playfully slapped by buttery vanilla extract. Once I start chewing, the whole thing starts to taste like custard-covered oats. And the whole time, sugary sprinkles are exploding in my mouth like delayed-release Pop Rocks.
The sprinkles really are the game-changers in Sprinkled Donut Crunch. I usually don’t like sprinkles in ice cream because they’re all style, no substance, but Cap’n Crunch’s sprinkles are like M&M seedlings that haven’t grown their milk chocolate core yet. They’re concentrated, crackling clusters of pure candied shell, and they bring a concrete, contrasting crunch to Sprinkled Donut Crunch’s otherwise so-so texture.
The texture of the base donut rings really is this cereal’s low point. They’re airy and empty, yet their sharp edges still turn my mouth into a painful plate of palate sashimi. I know the cereal’s called Sprinkled Donut Crunch, but the aerated layers inside the pieces act more like pissed-off Honey Crullers that have sworn vengeance on the roofs of the world’s mouths.
Thankfully, adding milk makes up for the risk of laceration. The donuts’ sprinkles and buttered vanilla glaze quickly begin to melt, leaving behind squishy, sweet oat rings that ooze syrupy rainbow endmilk. I’ve never filled a bowl of milk with real doughnuts before, but I imagine they’d turn into a similar mess of triumphantly spongy, sugary, and delicious dough. Also like real doughnuts, no part of Sprinkled Donut Crunch tastes like corn. Which is good, because if I wanted to eat sweet corn rings, I’d slap vanilla frosting on an ear of corn and mow it down, rotary style.
Sprinkled Donut Crunch is a wonderful addition to the Cap’n Crunch family. It’s no Choco Donuts, and it is, at best, a bootleg revival of Sprinkle Spangles, but compared to every other boring corn puff and bran flake in the cereal aisle, Sprinkled Donut Crunch is a giddy purple treasure chest full of dazzling vanilla doubloons.
At least, that’s what I’ll tell my doctor when he’s putting Band-Aids on my tongue.
The Bowl: Cap’n Crunch’s Sprinkled Donut Crunch
The Breakdown: Sprinkled Donut Crunch is a real Crunch-22: there are few things better than vanilla batter buttered all over sprinkle-speckled rings, but there are also few things worse than painful palate punctures.
The Bottom Line: 9 M&M germination experiments out of 10
(Quick Nutrition Facts: 110 calories, less than 1 gram of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein per 3/4 cup serving)