Sunday, February 24, 2013

Review: Kashi goLean Crisp! Cinnamon Coffee Cake

It’s been a while since I ate any Kashi products, mostly because it’s been a while since I’ve seen any Kashi products worth trying. After a couple disasters, I’ve steered clear of pretty much anything not labeled “goLean”, which leaves me with a fairly limited selection of new things to try.

But exploring a different Giant than normal led me to a few new discoveries, and one of them is the last of the goLean Crisp! (formerly Crunchy!) bars, which I had given up on ever finding in State College: Cinnamon Coffee Cake.

“An all natural vanilla coffee-cake flavored snack bar infused with the dreamy combination of cinnamon and roasted hazelnut chunks.”

It’s about what you’d expect from a cinnamon-flavored bar--caramel-colored crisp body and white icing. It smells like cinnamon, in that sweet, not-overly-strong cinnamon way you get with coffee cake as opposed to cinnamon rolls. There is a difference.

They tried to trick you by splashing icing up the side, but really it’s just a thin layer on the bottom. Which is a shame because I’m sure you know I’m going to say it’s the best part. It’s not quite cinnamon-roll icing, but it is sweet and adds a bit of a streusel taste. The base granola does taste like cinnamon, but you can also taste the oats or something else underneath and it’s a bit weird. It’s what keeps this from truly resembling cinnamon coffee cake.

That, combined with the texture, kept me from completely enjoying this bar as much as I expected when I read the words “Cinnamon Coffee Cake.” Keeping in mind that my basement (where I pulled this bar from) is chilly in the winter, I still have to say that the bar was hard. While I think it would soften up a bit if stored at room temperature, I still think it would be a bit too much work. It certainly doesn’t want to part with itself, so the initial bite takes some tooth strength. It’s an arm-workout to try to break it with your hands, and I’m not sure the resulting white smears on your fingers are worth it. I also think the name is a little deceptive--yeah, it’s crispy, but it’s a rather hard crisp, not as pleasantly crunchy as a Rice Krispies Treat. And its resistance to separation also qualifies it as chewy. So maybe Crisp! wasn’t the best rebranding strategy.

Still, this was a pretty good bar, and the crisps released a lot of sweet cinnamon flavor to distract me from the weird oaty taste for a while. It just didn’t quite justify my excitement level about finding this bar, that’s all.

Taste: 8--the frosting has a streusel taste, and the base is cinnamon, but there is a weird oat thing going on that interferes with the coffee cake experience.
Texture: 7--a little bit too much work, and more chewy than crispy, but not unbearable.
Health: 7--a fairly healthy snack, with 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. GoodGuide calls it out for high sugar, though, with an overall health score of 5.6.
Eat Again? Yeah.

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