Let me ask you a question I believe Socrates himself once pondered: what is the difference between a cinnamon roll and a cinnamon bun?
Google seems to think there isn’t one, but my heart tells me otherwise. To me, a cinnamon roll could mean anything from a half-eaten Cinnabon dropped on an airport floor to a half-eaten hunk of raw Pillsbury cinnamon roll dough, noshed straight out of the tube. A cinnamon bun, on the other hand, exudes homemade quality and must be baked with care. A cinnamon bun must be given the same craftsmanship as a sourdough loaf or an artisan pretzel bun.
Don’t believe me that cinnamon buns are raised with love? When’s the last time you heard a pregnant woman say “I’ve got a roll in the oven”?
Exactly. And this whole bun/roll rigamarole is further proved by Frosted Cinnamon Roll Shredded Wheat, one of three new Post cereals—alongside Mixed Berry and S’Mores—that tries revitalizing Shredded Wheat’s reputation of being about as flavorful as sand-dusted burlap. Frosted Cinnamon Roll attempts to turn wheat into treat by adding cinnamon sugar frosting and a filling of vanilla chips, but let’s just say there’s a good reason this cereal isn’t called “Frosted Cinnamon Bun Shredded Wheat.”
To quote the eminent wordsmith Will.i.am: “Where is the love?”
But let me back it up: Frosted Cinnamon Roll Shredded Wheat left a good first impression on me, which made its eventual disappointment all the more traitorous. See, this stuff smells great. One huff and I exclaimed, “This smells just like Cinnamon Teddy Grahams!” on my balcony, at which point a nearby robin hugged her hatchlings close in anxious fear.
But despite smelling like my favorite ursine-shaped cinnamon snack cracker, Frosted Cinnamon Roll Shredded Wheat doesn’t taste like them—or like much of anything at all. The predominate flavor of each powdered hay bale is still boring toasted wheat, just with a dash of browned, doughnut-esque cinnamon sugar so subtle even Cinnamon Toast Crunch’s cannibalistic Crazy Squares would opt for a side salad instead.
It’s far from Cinnamon Teddy Graham, and it’s even farther from cinnamon roll: imagine the crusty butt slice of a 9-grain cinnamon bread loaf, instead. The light sugar dusting on top ekes out a little more sweetness into these biscuits, but to really savor the frosted flavor you’d have to suck each Shredded Wheat square like a thatched popsicle.
As for the box’s promise that each piece of Frosted Cinnamon Roll Shredded Wheat is “bursting with vanilla chips”? It should’ve said “enlarged to show existence” next to the photo. Just like how my younger self was sad to learn how Doritos aren’t really the size of frisbees, my current self is sad to see that the “chips” are Dippin’ Dot-sized at best, and you’re only getting one per biscuit.
They taste pretty good—like actual buttercream icing—but only if you bite right into one. Like the frosting, the chips’ taste is swallowed by the ravenous blandness of the wheat. Forget Big Pharma, Big Data, and Big Brother: our future dystopia will be orchestrated by Big Bran.
I thought milk would help, but it, too, faced a flavorless Orwellian fate. Any trace of cinnamon sugariness or buttercreaminess is washed away into a lightly golden-sweetened endmilk that could maybe be compared to a dunked snickerdoodle by the most sheltered of taste buds. What remains is, well, soggy Shredded Wheat squares. Hope you like wheat.
Sadly, there isn’t much more to say about Frosted Cinnamon Roll Shredded Wheat. I suppose it’s a mildly pleasant, passable healthy alternative to the otherwise vastly superior Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cinnamon Frosted Flakes, but compared to something like Maple Brown Sugar Frosted Mini-Wheats, Frosted Cinnamon Roll Shredded Wheat is outclassed in flavor, nutrition, and just about everything else. Except for in mascots: because even no mascot is better than…this thing.
Maybe Frosted Shredded Wheat could use an anthropomorphized bread crust mascot. Move over, Herschel Krustofski: there’s a new Krusty in town.
The Bowl: Frosted Cinnamon Roll Shredded Wheat
The Breakdown: Nowhere near as cinnamon bun-derful as its smell suggests, this Shredded Wheat is mostly flavorless. It has traces of goodness in its frosting and filling, but a scarcity of each will leave all but the healthiest reaching for something more potent.
The Bottom Line: 4 Worst. Bursts. Ever. out of 10