Flaky Cinnamon Twists

By: Pillsbury

Suggested Retail Price: $3.29

Taste: 4stars

Marketing: 0stars

Here’s the pitch: Instead of a tube of cinnamon rolls, Pillsbury now offers charming Cinnabon-branded cinnamon dough twists. Here’s what you get: a tube of cinnamon rolls. Which you then have to individually unroll, twist into one of those “Support the Troops” ribbons, twist two more times, then pinch. By contrast, the standard Pillsbury cinnamon rolls couldn’t be easier: Pop open the tube, put ’em on the pan, bake, glaze.

Like Pillsbury’s original rolls, the twists are surprisingly light and slightly chewy, with an insistent but not overpowering cinnamon flavor. Unlike the sodden weight of most commercial cinnamon buns, such as Cinnabons, they’re dangerously easy to wolf down. Like a tiger let loose in a cage full of finches, I found myself unable to stop inhaling these things, which I baked in both twist and effort-free roll forms.

Strangely enough, shaping the dough into twists makes it slightly less delicious. The rolls have a moister, gooier center, and that’s where a lot of this product’s sensual goodness comes from. Ultimately: There’s nothing wrong with buying these classic rolls in twist form; just don’t bother twisting them.

Breakfast Cookies

By: Quaker

Suggested Retail Price: $3.69 for a box of six

Taste: 1stars

Marketing: 4stars

Quaker generally has stood for quality, offering workaday but reasonably tasty and healthy breakfast cereals, including a new breakthrough whole-grain hot cereal. With that track record, it’s not unreasonable to have high hopes for its Breakfast Cookies with a new microwaveable wrapper, which promise to make the first meal of the day a pleasing combination of hale, hearty, and absolutely delicious. The presence of five grams of dietary fiber (18 percent of the recommended daily amount) is welcome, as are the cookies’ calcium and iron. Moreover, the front of the box is extremely encouraging: The flavor I tried, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, depicts a plate-size cookie (a meal unto itself!) bursting with chocolate and oatmeal flakes.

In theory, this is a brilliant lazy person’s reinterpretation of breakfast. Instead of puttering around with cereal or clogging your arteries with some 920-calorie monstrosity from a fast-food joint, you can chow down on a massive, warm, healthy cookie. Tragically, this potentially miraculous product comes up short in the all-critical follow-through department.

The actual cookie has a two-inch diameter and only a couple of tiny visible chocolate bits. The flavor and texture are shockingly nonpresent: The cookie tastes like a generic shrink-wrapped airplane “chocolate chip cookie” dessert with just the faintest trace of oatmeal texture. The new microwaveable wrapper may actually be a weakness: The cookie tastes that much more insubstantial and insipid when heated up. If anything, like chilling a bottle of bad wine for maximum drinkability, this thing should be served cold—or better yet, not at all.

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