Confession: I used to cut out and collect the Girl Scout cookie mascots that came on the cardboard cookie boxes. You know, these rad dudettes? I just loved imagining my treats with personalities, backstories, and intricate lore, and I won’t deny that a corrugated Do-Si-Do cutout once did battle with my Darth Vader action figure.
The Girl Scout cookie Caramel Crunch Cereal is based on goes by many names, but its purple-boxed, New Year’s Resolution-busting flavor trio of coconut, caramel, and chocolate is instantly recognizable. Samoas, a.k.a. Carmel deLites, a.k.a. “The Ones I’m Glad Have Holes Because I Eat Them So Fast They Could Be a Choking Hazard” are the Girl Scouts’s 2nd most popular cookie after Thin Mints, beating out my dearest Tagalongs by about 6% of annual sales.
Oh, poor Tagalong: never the bride, never the bridesmaid, always the head usher.
I already reviewed Thin Mints Cereal, General Mills’s other new Girl Scout cookie cereal, and it got a crisp B+ for its impressive depiction of Thin Mint cookies’ crispy inner wafer. Will Caramel Crunch live up to these lofty standards, or will it be a case of Where in the World is Caramel San Diego?
Let’s deliver a box straight to my taste buds and find out.
If you’ve ever had Seven Layer Bars, these charming and sugar-dusted mahogany doughnuts taste like those in cereal form. And if you’ve never been so blessed to try those heavenly seven-ly treats, I urge you to stop reading and ask your mom, grandma, senator, nun, or Wendell the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Baker to whip you up a batch of those divine delights.
It’s fine, I’ll wait.
Okay, are you back with a bar-filled belly and a euphoric new outlook on the beautifully life-changing spirituality that can be found in multilayered desserts? Good. Now let’s count the 7 ways that Caramel Crunch cereal is similar:
1) It has a humbly sweet, brown sugar-kissed graham cracker base flavor that’s both cozy and charming—like a Teddy Graham dressed up as a Southern Belle for an amateur production of Gone with the Wind.
2) It has an addictive coating that smacks of golden butterscotch. It lacks the roasted, salted, or vanilla notes of genuine caramel, but it still has a glistening glaze of buttery, caramelized cream. I could still feel this caramel syrup resting on my tongue after finishing my bowl, but it was enjoyable. So instead of treating it like a slimy moocher, I welcomed it as a charming friend who just wanted to crash on my mouth’s couch for the night.
3) Its aftertaste has subtle ribbons of milky, semisweet chocolate chip flavor, almost as if General Mills took a real Samoa cookie and cheese-grated its bottom over their Caramel Crunch production line.
4) There’s no coconut flavor to be found, but the added palm oil in Caramel Crunch gives it a pleasant—albeit slightly sticky—Nutella-esque nuttiness.
5-7) Darn, I was hoping you’d be too deep into your tray of Seven Layer Bars to read this far. Sorry, I’ve got nothin’.
Overall, I adored this cereal dry—especially how it didn’t immediately devolve into bland cornmeal after the first bite. It may not have the puckering caramel potency or toasted “coconuttiness” of a real Samoa cookie, but Caramel Crunch still tastes like Cookie Crisp mixed with Dulce de Leche Cheerios: a snug flavor combo that could just as easily have been called “Grandma’s Kitchen Crunch.”
Maybe Cap’n Crunch can still use that name for a sugar cookie cereal that really just has sewing kits inside the box.
Adding milk to Caramel Crunch is bittersweet—well, it’s totally sweet, but you get what I mean. The graham and chocolate nuances get washed away like a cookie in a rainstorm, and it becomes cornier than most of my puns, but the caramel becomes even more buttery and golden—as if the whole bowl of milky Caramel Crunch was a sweetened condensed milk jacuzzi.
Somebody call La Lechera, because I’m having a hot tub party.
Thin Mints Cereal may be more accurate to its namesake cookie, but Caramel Crunch is just an overall better cereal. Its bite-sized biscuit pieces will make for great mindless munchies or tabletop bowl-fillers for your upcoming Super Bowl Party. I know I plan to Hail Mary pass this cereal straight into my own mouth until its powdered coating fits my hands like auburn linebacker gloves.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to find a nun who knows her Seven Layer Bars as well as her Sacraments.
The Bowl: General Mills Limited Edition Girl Scouts Caramel Crunch Cereal
The Breakdown: Samoa fans might go nuts over its lack of coconuts, but Caramel Crunch makes up for it with oodles of butterscotch, dulce de leche, and grandmotherly warmth.\
The Bottom Line: 9 ursine Scarlett O’Hara understudies out of 10
(Quick Nutrition Facts: 110 calories, 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein per 3/4 cup serving)