The Great Cereal Bar Experiment

Hi there friends, internet friends, acquaintances, distinguished enemies, and merpeople that have acquired access to the internet, and welcome to the most life-changing blog post you’ll ever read.

See, it dawned on me several years ago, while perusing the cereal section of my local grocery store, just how many different varieties of cereal there are these days. There has to be at least 300 varieties of Cheerios alone. And as I walked past the Rice Krispie treats, it dawned on me: Why aren’t all cereals made into Rice Krispie treat- like bars? Why did we as a society decide to limit ourselves to one to two kinds of cereal bars? Was there a cereal that would be better than Rice Krispies? I decided that there had to be a better cereal bar out there, and so I decided to do an experiment to find it. The following is the experiment in its entirety, done in the proper scientific method. So put on your ceremonial Science robes, send a final prayer to the god you’re about to abandon and get ready for Science!

Posed Question– Based on several different characteristics, what cereal makes for the best marshmallow/ cereal bar?

Background Research– As I expected, Cereal-other-than-Rice-Crispies-treats are a thing that exist. A Facebook friend once shared a picture of Fruity Pebble treats she made once, so I figured that other varieties had been made. Here’s a recipe for Froot Loop bars, and here’s a Buzzfeed listicle for a bunch of different ones. However, the point of this experiment was not to find out whether or not other cereal bars were possible, but to find which cereal makes the best cereal bar, which none of these food blogs answer. So leave it to me to find the answer to a question these cowardly food bloggers won’t ask.

Ramblings of a Madman

Ramblings Of A Madman: making enemies of other people’s dumb ass blogs since 2009.

Now, this article from Huffington Post has a list of “treats that go beyond Rice Krispies,” but again, it doesn’t say which one comes out on top, and the only reasons these bars go “beyond rice Krispies” is because the cereals are not Rice Krispies or they maybe add other ingredients ( side note: I could only see the article on my phone’s browser)So, way to mislead your readers, again, HuffPo. However, after a little bit of digging, I did find this blog from 2008 that tested 6 different kinds of cereal. They used a New Year’s Eve party and had the attendees be their Guinea pigs, which was smart, because what group of people are more open to being experimented on than drunk people? Unfortunately, this blogger did not come up with any solid conclusion other than “Rice Krispie Treats are a formula that ‘works’” and that the shredded wheat doesn’t absorb the marshmallow very well. Without a definitive answer from the most thorough experiment I could find, I knew in what ways to conduct my experiment.

Hypothesis– based on all the factors below, I believe that the Golden Crisp will make the best cereal bar because of their relatively small size, soft texture, and sweet, but not too sweet, taste.

Despite this, Honey Bunches of Oats will have the most interesting texture because it has both flakes and clusters.

Overall, I think the cereals with smaller pieces will make the bars easier to mix and eat, but that will not ensure that cereal to be a winner.

Setting up the Experiment

To carry out this experiment effectively and objectively, I have created a point system to score the cereals.  I have listed several points of judgment below.  Each cereal will be given a score of 1 to 10 for each point of judgment, and at the end, their total will be scored. Please note that some of the points have a minus in front. Those points’ scores will be subtracted from the score.

Points of judgment:

Size of cereal pieces (Not factored into total score, just used for classification)

Ease of mixing ingredients (EOM)

Appearance

-Toughness

Taste

-Mouth cutting index (MCI)

Practical edibility

Total

Along with these points, there will be the following points: “Improvements??” and “Notes.” “Improvements??” is, obviously, ways I could potentially improve upon the recipe of that particular cereal bar, and “Notes” is reserved for any thoughts I had as I was making/ taste testing said cereal bar.

Now, on to the cereals. For this experiment, I chose 25 different kinds of cereal,  2 of which (Rice Krispies and Cocoa Krispies) I used as my control groups. I have organized the cereals into groups based on shape:

-Rice

Rice Crispies

Cocoa Crispies

Fruity Pebbles

-Pellets

Golden Crisp

Pops

Reese’s Puffs

Cookies and Cream Cereal

Cocoa Puffs

Trix

Crunch Berries

-Flakes and Squares

Honey Bunches of oats

Golden Grahams

Frosted flakes

Cinnamon Life

Cinnamon Toast crunch

Raisin Bran

-Rings

Honey Nut Cheerios

Apple Jacks

Froot loops

-Bricks

Frosted mini wheats

Chocolate Krave

-Miscellaneous Shapes

Honeycomb

Cookie Crisp

Count Chocula

Lucky Charms

Out of all the popular cereals out there, you might have noticed one particular variety was missing: Chex. This was intentional. I decided beforehand that Chex cereal has enough snacks made from it and that it really didn’t need another one added to the list. Stop being greedy, Chex Cereal, Let some other type of cereal have its day in the spotlight.

Conducting the Experiment

I separated the cereals into three groups of six and one group of seven. These cereals were grouped at random with the exceptions of the control cereals. I did those last because 1. I did not want their scores to affect the other scores, and 2. Because I used a premade Coco Krispie bar rather than make one. I did this because it was easier that way, because the regular Rice Krispies and Cocoa Krispies should have the same scores for everything but taste, and because I would have had to buy an extra bag of marshmallows to do that one. If you want to not accept Cocoa Krispies as a part of the experiment, for this reason, I understand, but I also think you should know that I don’t give a shit about what you think.

I conducted the experiment over the course of 7 months. I made a cup’s worth of 6 kinds of cereal according to the directions on the marshmallow bag. For those unfamiliar with making Rice Krispie Treats, the recipe is as follows: 1 bag of Marshmallows, 6 cups Rice Krispies, 3 Tbsp of butter.  Directions: Pour cereal into nonstick glass container. Melt butter and marshmallows in saucepan until smooth. Pour over cereal and mix until well combined. Flatten with spatula or back of a spoon. Let cool.

Data

Frosted Flakes

Size- 3

EOM-2
Appearance-4
-Toughness-1
Taste-7
-MCI-1
Practical Edibility-8
Total Score-19

Improvements?- Maybe use regular corn flakes instead

Notes- Very sweet, runs the risk of going soggy

Cocoa Puffs

Size-3

EOM- 5
Appearance- 4
-Toughness- 4
Taste-9
-MCI-2
Practical Edibility-7
Total Score-19

Improvements?- Graham cracker crumbs and mini marshmallows maybe

Notes- Tastes much better than anticipated

Froot Loops

Size- 4

EOM- 6
Appearance- 8
-Toughness- 4
Taste- 6
-MCI- 2
Practical Edibility- 7
Total Score- 21

Improvements?- Dried fruit? These are pretty good on their own and don’t need much improvement at all, honestly.

Notes-none

Cookie Crisp

Size- 5

EOM- 5
Appearance-3
-Toughness- 5
Taste-4
-MCI-3
Practical Edibility-3
Total Score-7

Improvements?- Chocolate chips

Notes- The Vanilla flavor really comes out with the marshmallow

Pops

Size-5

EOM-8
Appearance-3
-Toughness-3
Taste-6
-MCI-1
Practical Edibility-4
Total Score-17

Improvements?- none

Notes- the more you eat, the worse it tastes

Apple Jacks

Size-4

EOM-5
Appearance-5
-Toughness-4
Taste-4
-MCI-2
Practical Edibility-7
Total Score-15

Improvements?- Sprinkled cinnamon into the marshmallow mixture

Notes- very sweet, marshmallow overpowers the cereal

Fruity Pebbles

Size-1

EOM-10
Appearance-10
-Toughness-1
Taste-10
-MCI-1
Practical Edibility-10
Total Score-38

Improvements?- none

Notes-surprisingly good for a cereal I’ve never enjoyed

Count Chocula

Size-6

EOM-5
Appearance-5
-Toughness-8
Taste-4
-MCI-2
Practical Edibility-7
Total Score-11

Improvements?- use marshmallow fluff instead

Notes- marshmallows in cereal melt when you add warm marshmallow mixture

Cookies & Cream Cereal

Size-4

EOM-6
Appearance-3
-Toughness-2
Taste-2
-MCI-2
Practical Edibility-7
Total Score-14

Improvements?- a better tasting cereal

Notes-cereal was stale (my fault and not factored into the cereal’s score) but it was better after letting the marshmallow soak into them

Cinnamon Life

Size-6

EOM-4
Appearance-5
-Toughness-8
Taste-8
-MCI-7
Practical Edibility-4
Total Score-6

Improvements?- none that I can think  of

Notes- crumbles apart easily

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Size-5

EOM-6
Appearance-6
-Toughness-2
Taste-10
-MCI-7
Practical Edibility-6
Total Score- 19

Improvements?- nothing

Notes- the best tasting so far, the cinnamon sugar mixed well w/ marshmallow

Honey Bunches of Oats

Size-3

EOM-8
Appearance-7
-Toughness-2
Taste-6
-MCI-6
Practical Edibility-8
Total Score-21

Improvements?- none

Notes-none

Cap’n Crunch Crunch Berries

Size-4

EOM-6
Appearance-10
-Toughness-6
Taste-8
-MCI-8
Practical Edibility-6
Total Score-16

Improvements?- all Crunch Berries? All regular?

Notes-very attractive looking cereal bar

Krave

Size-7

EOM-3
Appearance-2
-Toughness-2
Taste-2
-MCI-6
Practical Edibility-7
Total Score-6

Improvements?- chocolate chips

Notes-cereal and chocolate didn’t go well together with marshmallow

Honey Nut Cheerios

Size-3

EOM-6
Appearance-5
-Toughness-2
Taste-8
-MCI-3
Practical Edibility-8
Total Score-19

Improvements?- Any Variety of Cheerios you like. Cheerios are like the Body Snatchers of the cereal world: if there is a type of cereal that exists, Cheerios has tried to mimic it.

Notes-sweet at first, but you still get the honey, nut, and oat flavors

Trix

Size-3

EOM-6
Appearance-7
-Toughness-7
Taste-8
-MCI-6
Practical Edibility-6
Total Score-14

Improvements?-?

Notes-I bought my package of Trix before they switched back to using artificial colors. If I had bought it later, it would probably have a higher appearance score.

  • Also, it sticks to your teeth a little

Reese’s Puffs

Size-3

EOM-3
Appearance-7
-Toughness-2
Taste-4
-MCI-2
Practical Edibility-8
Total Score-18

Improvements?-more marshmallow mixture

Notes-marshmallow crumbled off of cereal when cooled- combination of subpar mixing and waxy coating on cereal

Golden Crisp

Size-2

EOM-7
Appearance-4
-Toughness-2
Taste-8
-MCI-2
Practical Edibility-9
Total Score-24

Improvements?-go with unsweetened puffed rice cereal instead

Notes- a little too on the sweet side, but otherwise delicious

Golden Grahams

Size-5

EOM-7
Appearance-7
-Toughness-4
Taste-9
-MCI-1
Practical Edibility-8
Total Score-26

Improvements?-chocolate chunks and mini marshmallows

Notes-none

Lucky Charms

Size-3

EOM-7
Appearance-7
-Toughness-4
Taste-8
-MCI-2
Practical Edibility-8
Total Score-24

Improvements?-my dick. Just kidding! I wanted to see if you were actually reading this. Good job! But for real, maybe use premade marshmallow fluff instead next time.

Notes-lost an appearance point due to crumbling marshmallows

Honey Comb

Size-7

EOM-5
Appearance-5
-Toughness-6
Taste-6
-MCI-5
Practical Edibility-2
Total Score-7

Improvements?- break apart the pieces before hand

Notes-pieces too big to make it practical to eat

Frosted Mini Wheats

Size-9

EOM-Started as a 10, ended as a 2…. So 6 I guess?
Appearance-5
-Toughness-6
Taste-4
-MCI-5
Practical Edibility-2
Total Score-6

Improvements?-smaller pieces or the flavored varieties

Notes-I chose standard Mini Wheats over the Litte Bites because I thought it would be funnier. Which, judging by the pictures I took while trying to eat this monstrosity, I was correct. Other than that, it started off sweet but went bland very quickly. It was also very dry, as the shredded wheat  bricks didn’t properly absorb the marshmallow fluff.

Raisin Bran

Size-3

EOM-2
Appearance-5
-Toughness-1
Taste-6
-MCI-5
Practical Edibility-7
Total Score-14

Improvements?-more marshmallow

Notes-I didn’t mix it properly. So it falls apart a little. The brittleness of the flakes made it more difficult to mix

Rice Krispies

Size-1

EOM-10
Appearance-5
-Toughness-1
Taste-7
-MCI-0
Practical Edibility-9
Total Score-30

Improvements?-chocolate chips? Cinnamon? Really these are a good tabula rasa for you to get creative with

Notes- these are standard, I don’t have any notes that you don’t already know

Cocoa Krispies

Size-1

EOM-10 (assumed)
Appearance-6 (this is not considering its cut shape; I just prefer chocolate)
-Toughness-3
Taste-7
-MCI-1
Practical Edibility-9
Total Score-28

Improvements?-Add dark chocolate chunks or dip it in melted chocolate

Notes-I bought a premade bar for this one because I ran out of the other ingredients for another batch of cereal bars. You can either accept these results or discount them. I dgaf.

Interpreting the Data

According to my calculations, the cereal with the highest score was Fruity Pebbles. This was a surprise for me since I have never liked any kind of Pebbles cereal before. It’s possible that since I was so surprised at how good the Fruity Pebbles turned out, that my scores for it were higher than they should be. And the fact that Fruity Pebbles was my only outlier in this study with 8 points separating it and the runner-up backs up this theory. In rebuttal to this, here are the totals for the cereal bars I didn’t like: Cookies & Cream- 14, Krave- 6, Reese’s Puffs- 18. While Krave was one of the three to have the lowest score, Cookies and Cream did moderately well and Reese’s Puffs came out about average. On top of that, some of my favorite cereals bars didn’t fare as well as I would have guessed. For Instance, Cap’n Crunch and Cocoa Puffs got a score of 16 and 19- two less and one more than Reese’s Puffs. And while they were two of my personal favorites, Reese’s Puffs was one of my least favorite cereal bars. Cinnamon Life, which is one of my favorite cereals, got a score of 6, tying it with Krave.

My expected winner, Golden Crisp tied for 5th place with Lucky Charms. And while I was right about the overall size of the pieces affecting their score, I originally thought that it wouldn’t necessarily give smaller cereals any sort of real advantage. The second half of that sentence turned out to be incorrect. The small pieces did turn out to have the highest scores and the largest pieces were among the lowest scoring cereals. That’s why Honeycomb scored so low in Practical Edibility- the pieces were simply too big to be practical. Plus, the smaller the cereal (with the exception being the flake cereals), the easier it was to mix in the marshmallow and have it mixed evenly.

The Average score came out to be 17.56, with Pops and Reese’s Puffs landing in the average range of 17-18. All this data analysis can be interpreted in 2 ways: Either my scoring system needed more work, or I successfully prevented my personal preferences from interfering with my results.  I like to believe it’s the latter.

Errors I Might Have Made/ How to Improve This Experiment

I think the biggest error made in this experiment would be the lack of test subjects. If I had more test subjects, it might have ended with more consistent totals. After all, the one website I found while researching had test subjects, and the rest of their “experiment” was amateurish at best.

In my defense, I was trying to have as few variables as possible, and stupid people’s wrong opinions are definitely a variable. Also, I guess I just wanted to experiment on myself like the great renegade scientists like Jonas Salk, Paul Stapp, and that guy that cracked the knuckles in only one of his hands for, like, 50 years to see if cracking your knuckles causes arthritis.

I was going to make a joke about self-experimentation in this caption, but I just noticed that this little motherfucker just got jizzed on by a glass dick.

It is also possible that my findings are inaccurate due to my point system that could be incomplete. I think I covered all the necessary bases, but I also admit I could have missed something or even broke down each point more. Granted, how do you break down what cereal bars look like more than just appearance? The most visually interesting ones are the ones with a lot of colors, and the rest sort of look boring when you really think about it. And all of them kind of look like they’re slathered up with a thick layer of cum.

And if you look at the process I made the cereal bars, an issue I had not prepared for was mixing in the marshmallow into six different bowls at once. Since I was the only person working on this, I had to pour the melted marshmallow into the six different bowls and then stir them individually. And anyone who has made Rice Krispie Treats before knows how quickly that mixture turns into glue when it cools. Simply put: my process of mixing one bowl at a time possibly contributed to the lowering of the Ease of Mixing score of each subsequent cereal. I tried to adjust for that, but you cannot do that accurately if you’ve never made cereal bars out of that type of cereal before.

There was also a large variety of cereals I did not test. But Holy shit. I tested 25 and you’re still not satisfied?! What the hell do you people want from me?

Conclusion

While 75% of my hypothesis lies bleeding in the dust, it is safe to say that, based on the factors I’ve outlined, Fruity Pebbles is the clear winner and best choice to make into cereal bars. However, I feel that it is important to note that one’s personal cereal preferences should be taken into account when deciding what cereal bars to make. And besides a few cereals that do not work as cereal bars, most cereals make descent cereal treats.

So what did you think about the results? Do you agree? Do you think I’m amazing? Are you going to start worshipping me as your new god? Do you think there was a flaw in my experiment/ scoring system? Well, fuck you Mr. or Mrs. Perfect. You know what, since you think you’re soooooo great, how about you try recreating this experiment?

Actually, that’s not a bad idea. Scientists usually repeat their experiment over and over again to ensure accurate findings. That is the only way to make sure that the outcome is correct, after all. So you all can do this experiment yourself and tag me in the results so I can take a big steamy dump all over your hard work, you ungrateful dicks.

Until then, I guess I’ll just be the world’s foremost leading expert on cereal treat bars.

Peace

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