Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Origins Of Lucky Charms or Circus Peanuts Cereal

A few months ago I was doing research for Snack Facts (our Instagram feed). I was researching sugary cereals, in particular I was reading about Lucky Charms. Lucky Charms are the king of sugar cereals, and in my house were always the example of a cereal that isn't healthy. I'm pretty sure my mother never once bought us a box. Fortunately my grandfather had a different perspective and when we would visit him there would always be a box waiting for us.

While researching the cereal that proves grandparent’s love their children more than their parents, I came across an interesting fact. When the creator of Lucky Charms wanted to find out if marshmallows would work in a cereal, he took a bowl of Cheerios, cut up Circus Peanuts, mixed them together, and added his milk.  So that means technically if someone asks what was the original marshmallow in Lucky Charms, you could say chopped up Circus Peanuts.

Seeing as I am still not allowed to have Lucky Charms in my house (I'm sure it's some kind of wife/mother conspiracy), I decided to take matters into my own hands.  You see, Cheerios are perfectly acceptable in my house, and I managed to acquire a large amount of Circus Peanuts.  So I decided that it would make perfect sense to make my own, old school, Luck Charms.  Although I don't know if you can really call them "Lucky Charms" since I don't believed sliced bright orange peanut can be found in any leprechaun fables.
The first thing I did for this experiment, after photographing Circus Peanuts in various set-ups with Cheerios, is slice up the Circus Peanuts.  When I read this history there weren't any specifications as to how the Circus Peanuts should be included with the Cheerios.  My best guess was to slice them up to roughly the same thickness as I remember the Lucky Charms Marshmallows.  This was a little difficult because I did not have any Lucky Charms as reference because as mentioned before, my wife cares a great deal about my health.

I was also unsure about how many Circus Peanuts to chop up.  The bowl I was using is rather large, it holds about two servings of cereal, and it looks really cool.  I have a long story about why this is the best cereal bowl in the world, but I'll get into that on another blog post sometime.  For two portions of cereal, I started with four Circus Peanuts, it seemed like it needed a few more, so I added three more Circus Peanuts to a total of seven.  I stirred the cereal and Circus Peanuts together before adding the milk.  If not all of the "marshmallows" would have floated to the surface, and what fun would that be.

After mixing them up, I loaded up an old episode of one of my favourite Super Hero cartoons (Super Friends), sat in the living room, and prepared to be brought back to days at my grandfather’s house.  The cartoon was awesome, but the cereal was the real surprise.
My thoughts before doing this was that the "marshmallow" Circus Peanuts might just melt into oblivion the minute the milk hit them.  I assumed this because they kind of melt on your tong when you're eating them.  I wasn't sure if that was because of the heat of my mouth or the saliva.  If these were in fact quickly water soluble, I was expecting a bowl of Cheerios in orange coloured overly sweet milk.  Fortunately I was wrong, as it turns out Circus Peanuts are not really water-soluble. In fact they stayed fairly dry for a long time while floating in my milk.  That information was both pleasant and disturbing.

Flavour wise I was a little worried about how well the orange, yet banana flavoured, Circus Peanuts might go with the Cheerios.  Surprisingly again, it was actually very pleasant.  The milk and cereal really watered down the banana flavour of the Circus Peanuts.  Instantly I was surprised at how similar this combination was to regular Lucky Charms.
After my first bowl, I have to say there was only one "gross" part of this experience.  The milk afterwards had gone fairly orange, and it was super sweet.  Some people like the sweet milk left after a bowl of sugary cereal, but I really don't like it at all.  I actually dislike it so much that I will often eat my sugar cereals with no milk in the bowl, just a glass on the side.

My suggestion to any fan of Lucky Charms, or anybody who's not allowed to have sugary cereals, is to give this a try.  It's not that bad, and it's pretty close to the Lucky Charms experience. I would even say that this is probably the best experience I've ever had with Circus Peanuts.  I'm normally not a big fan, but the additional texture of the cereal, and the fact that this knocks the strong flavour of banana out of the Circus Peanuts, makes them fairly tasty.

I'm not saying that I'm a creative genius or anything, but I think if anybody making Circus Peanuts is listening, making a Circus Peanuts cereal might be something to look into.  And for those of us that aren't allowed to have sugar cereals, this might be a way to get around this rule.

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