Friday, June 29, 2018

Quaker Granola Bars

Original Review, 2018

Quaker is not exactly an unknown brand to me.  I grew up with their instant oatmeal (maple and brown sugar, with extra maple syrup added, FTW!).  Their granola bars were probably the first granola bars I ever had.

I recently tried some of their breakfast bar products.  They make two varieties, harder style "Breakfast Flats" (like Belvita perhaps?) and softer "Breakfast Squares" (like Nutri-Grain).  I tried the later.

Breakfast Squares

"Your morning just became more satisfying with Quaker® Breakfast Squares. Available in Strawberry, Baked Apple Cinnamon and Peanut Butter flavors, these filled soft baked bars are an easy way to fill up and help start your day. Not to mention, each square is made with whole grain oats and other delicious ingredients to make this one fulfilling square."
Breakfast Squares seem to be their version of something like a Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Bar, just, square shaped.  Your basic soft baked oatmeal based bar in a few flavors, handy grab-n-go breakfast.

I tried two varieties, strawberry and apple cinnamon.  The fruit fillings weren't really winners, but I did like the oatmeal bar itself.
Packaging.
The bars come individually packaged, in a plastic wrapper with a clear section showing through to the bar within.

The packaging is interestingly *not* a square, so I assumed that inside would also actually just be a oblong bar.
Strawberry: Top View.
"The sweet taste of strawberries is always refreshing. That’s why Quaker® Strawberry Breakfast Squares are a great way to help start your day. Whole grain oats, whole wheat, strawberry puree and other tasty ingredients create the satisfying breakfast snack you’ll love to enjoy. "

But, they are actual squares.

From the top, it looks just like a fairly standard oat based soft-ish bar.

I did like the oatmeal based bar.  It wasn't quite as soft as I was hoping, but it had good texture from the oats, and a nice sweetness level from brown sugar.  Basically, yup, oatmeal in bar form.
Strawberry: Side View.
From the side you can see the generous strawberry filling layer that runs through the center.

The strawberry I didn't really like.  It was fruity, but, not in a "yay, fresh strawberries!" sense.  No worse than any other bar of this nature, just, not something I like.  It really was generously stuffed though, so if I had liked it, I would have been pretty thrilled.

I just peeled off the oatmeal bar bits and enjoyed it that way, but kept finding myself wishing I had some of my mom's strawberry jam handy to slather on.  So yes, if that strawberry filling had delivered, this would be a great choice.
Baked Apple Cinnamon.
"Apple & cinnamon, the classically delicious duo that blends sweet and spice. We love this combination in our Baked Apple Cinnamon Quaker® Breakfast Squares, the surprisingly satisfying breakfast snack. Enjoy 23 grams of whole grains, cinnamon, sweet apple puree and other tasty ingredients in a square that may become your new favorite apple cinnamon snack!"

Next I tried the baked apple cinnamon.

My review is basically the same.  The oatmeal bar was actually pretty good, nice sweetness and texture.  The filling though?  Mush, that was like low end apple sauce, spiced in ways I didn't like.

I again just peeled off the oatmeal bar, and ate that part (uh, dunked in whipped cream).

Original Review, 2013

If you read my blog on Fridays, you know that I've been on an epic quest to find some granola.  I've kinda failed, concluding that the granola from Target is my favorite so far, even when compared to all sorts of expensive, artisan granolas, but its not like I'm running out to get more of the Target stuff.

So now, I turn my attention towards granola in a slightly different form: granola bars.  Like with granola, the variance is high.  What percentage is oats? Is it chewy or crispy?  Loaded with fruit and nuts?  Loaded with sugar? Weird protein powders?  They can be 100 calorie light snacks or 500 calorie sugar bombs.  The choice is yours.

I've reviewed a few granola bars in the past, but I'm going to dive in for the next few weeks, doing a different brand every Friday. To start this series, I'll begin with a classic: Quaker.  Yes, the oatmeal people.

Their bars claim to be decent healthy choices, made with whole grains and no high fructose corn syrup.  About 100 calories each.  I haven't liked any, and think they taste incredibly sweet, fake, and generic.  My tasting notes are not very extensive, as I just haven't really wanted anything to do with these. Meh.
  • Low Fat Oatmeal Raisin Chewy: Sweet, meh.  Not tasty.
  • Maple and Brown Sugar Chewy: Standard granola bar, ok maple flavor [ Pretty good when crumbled up on top of fruit and whipped cream, but very sweet, too sweet to just eat as a bar. ]
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Chewy: Made with a base of oats and crispy rice, with little tiny chocolate and peanut butter chips.  This was a pretty standard chewy granola bar, very sweet, and not anything special.  I love peanut butter and chocolate together, but neither was very strong in this product, both sets of chips seemed to be more waxy than flavorful.  I don't think there was actually any peanuts in here. [ Very sweet, kinda gooey. ]
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