Written by Adam, GrubGrade Contributor
Ok, let’s get this out of the way. I didn’t originally set out to review another “healthy” snack option this week, and despite a fairly positive experience the last time around, I was not exactly banking on the whole extended family of rice cake-like treats to satiate my late night palate once again. But dammit, with a Quaker coupon and a big old “On Sale” sticker clipped to it, the 3.5 oz bag of Cinnamon Sugar Multigrain Minis was just too hard to pass up for the cheapskate in me, so I grabbed it for a ridiculously low 50 cents and went about my business. So don’t blame me. Blame the economy and Weis Markets with their “Price Freeze” promotion nonsense.
All that being said, Quaker’s line of rice cake and rice cake-like products have come a long way from your Aunt Mindy’s diet snack option of choice. Gone are the cardboard cutouts so nostalgically remembered from the early 1990s, and in are an assortment of sweet and salty “mini” treats which feature such flavor combos as kettle korn, nacho cheese, and sour cream and onion. Interestingly enough, the particular bag I picked out (Cinnamon Sugar Multigrain Minis) are not listed on the Quaker website, despite apparently being on the market since 2006.
The first thing I noticed after opening the bag was the smell. In terms of cinnamon-sugarage it was not only intense, but it was overpowering. Not that that’s a bad thing. In fact, the smell reminded me of one of Panera’s monster Cinnamon Crunch bagels, only with a more buttery aroma that also featured hints of apple. I won’t lie; I spent a good thirty seconds just enjoying the whiff of these puppies. It was that good. If the fragrance of these “Minis” was akin to Panera’s relatively high fat, high sugar Cinnamon Crunch bagels, than the taste was more in line with what you’d find out of Einstein Brothers’ more modest Cinnamon Sugar bagels. In other words it was good, but underwhelming for the flavor profile and what was expected, while certainly not approaching the “decadent” range in terms of taste.
The “Minis” themselves are fairly small, and they lack the typical initial sweetness you find in most cinnamon-sugar products. They have a slight buttery taste to them that is a welcomed addition, but it doesn’t compliment the snack as well as it could because of the dull cinnamon taste that would otherwise be overly apparent. The most prominent sweetness agent for this product is actually listed as fructose, which is actually sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). The thing is, outside of eating fruit most people experience fructose in combination with other sweeteners (in particular artificial ones), a dynamic which often gives us a heightened element of sweetness. Considering “multigrain” products are often paired with honey or brown sugar, I can’t help but speculate if the choice in sweetener was just so alien to my taste buds in this application that I failed to appreciate it. Whatever the case, there was also a fairly uneven distribution of the cinnamon-sugar glaze, which made certain bites inconsistent. Still, I liked the firm but not crispy crunch of these little cakes, which do have the textural qualities which allow them to be savored while chewing. As for the combination of the three multigrain flours I will say that they work insofar as they prevent the “cardboardy” rice cake flavor from rearing its ugly head, but other than that I hardly noticed.
Of final, and EXTREMELY important note is that the bag contains a label that says not to heat in a toaster or microwave. And yes I am debating doing just that as I type up this report…
- Pros: Literally one of the 25 best things I have ever smelled in my life. Only 1 gram of fat and 3 grams of sugar per serving. Has flavor in that it’s not cardboard and does have cinnamon undertones. Hint of “buttery” taste works well. Did I mention I want to make a cologne out of this stuff?
- Cons: You can’t taste smell. Uneven distribution of cinnamon sugar goodness, which lacks the “wow” factor you should get from the classic combination. Not sweet enough, or maybe not the right kind of sweetness. Serving size is too small. Why the heck can’t I taste smell?
GrubeGrade: 7.25/10 (Decent)
Price: $1.50 on Price Freeze at Weis Markets (50 cents with $1 off Quaker coupon)
Serving Size: 9 cakes (7 servings per 3.5 oz bag)
Total Fat: 1 gram
Sat. Fat: 0 grams
Trans Fat: 0 grams
Sodium: 90 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 12 grams
Fiber: 1 gram
Sugar: 3 grams
Protein: 1 gram