The Cinnamon Stick Fails Again

Cole's Cinnamonsticks

Cole's Cinnamonsticks

I Paid: $2 for a box of five cinnamon bread sticks (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 2 stars

Marketing: 3 stars

Americans have an odd and self-destructive fascination with the cinnamon breadstick. A stock dessert for a number of national and local pizza chains, the "cinnastick" goes like this: Take a breadstick, sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar, and dip it into some kind of frosting. Incredibly cheap to produce and arguably satisfying, yet the dang thing falls flat over and over again.

Case in point: Cole's Cinnamonsticks. Bought frozen, they can either be thawed and eaten at room temperature or baked in the oven until toasty warm. Either way, they're about 95 percent breadstick, 2 percent cinnamon, and 3 percent underflavored frosting filling. The filling looks ooey-gooey delicious on the box, but in real life it's swallowed by the relatively dry bread that makes up the Cinnamonstick itself. Someday, a national retailer will get these things right ... just not quite yet.

As a coda, there's at least one place that really does the cinnastick well, and that's a Minneapolis bakery called Isles Bun & Coffee. Their Puppy Dog Tails are moist, tender dough twists with intense veins of cinnamon flavor that come slathered with a cream-cheese-based frosting—freshly baked and dipped in optional bonus frosting, they're probably among the least healthy things in a part of the country known for its cheese and beer ... and among the tastiest.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow Chowhound on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.

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