By this point, my obsession with gingerbread is well documented on this site—and probably by the Library of Congress, too.
So I’m not going to start this review of Quaker’s new Gingerbread Oatmeal (just one arm of their 2017 gingerbread menagerie, which also includes a cereal) by clobbering you over the head with my love for cloves, ginger, and molasses-y dough. Instead, I’ll segue in by briefly obsessing over my other favorite winter flavor: eggnog. In short…it’s great!
This delightfully spiced custardy concoction is coziness distilled, and now that my bucket list is one gingerbread cereal shorter, my new “dream cereal” has to be an eggnog one—preferably of the Toast Crunch variety—if only so that I can pour eggnog on my crunchy eggnog cereal and feel as giddy as a kid watching a G.I. Christmas Special on a Saturday morning Christmas Eve.
Or maybe that’ll just be the rum talking. Whatever: oatmeal time!
Immediately, this oatmeal reminds me a lot of Gingerbread Spice Life cereal. In fact, I can’t prove that this stuff isn’t just enriched Gingerbread Life purée. That is to say, the oat base is more hearty and biscuity and than cookie-like and doughy. It’s got a very un-gingerbread-like savoriness that’s nevertheless as addicting as the anthropomorphized cereal it is (ironically) embodying in spiced mush form.
And speaking of the spices, this oatmeal has ’em caked on so well that even Colonel Sanders would be left finger-chompin’ jealous. Without being overwhelming and actually tongue-pricklingly spicy, Quaker Gingerbread Spice Oatmeal contains a floral and aromatherapeutic blend of primarily ginger and cinnamon, with a touch of pleasantly piquant nutmeg. It blends well with the blander, biscuity oats, which temper the sharpness and leave behind a comfy frappé of holiday taste bud hugs.
If I could just install a fireplace in my trachea, the picture-perfect inter-oral Christmas moment would be complete.
Where Quaker’s Gingerbread Oatmeal falters is in the molasses department. A notoriously difficult flavor to capture for food scientists, its darkly robust and syrupy sweetness was nowhere to be found in my bowl’s lumpy outcrops of beige and sienna oats. There is an interesting touch of caramelized golden brown sugariness in the oatmeal’s aftertaste, but it’s closer to caramel corn glaze than gingerbread cookies’ signature flavoring elixir.
Guess I’ll have to spike my eggnog with some molasses, too.
Overall, Quaker Gingerbead Spice Oatmeal makes for a nice comfort food to pair with stereotypical yuletide activities, like watching snowflakes fall through a frosted window, burning loaves of fruit cake in protest, or learning every word to Scrooged so you can re-create it in the event of a power outage. But while it gets the spices right, it lacks that molasses-flavored magic that makes gingerbread an iconic flavor, so I recommend having a gingerbread man on hand to scoop it into your mouth like a merry tortilla chip.
And to answer your question, yes, the above photo is what most of my dreams look like: me, cookie-fied and simmering in a lumpy gingerbread Jacuzzi.
The Bowl: Quaker Gingerbread Spice Oatmeal
The Breakdown: Gingerbread is a tough cookie to recreate, but this oatmeal gets about 70% of the way there, with a wholesomely biscuity base and a tranquil blend of winter spice. Manual molasses drizzle recommended.
The Bottom Line: 7 chestnuts roasting somewhere near my uvula out of 10