I’m not a big fan of nuts. Their texture is all weird, and they get stuck in your teeth. I’ll eat them in candy bars or brownies or covered in chocolate or even honey roasted, but I won’t actively enjoy them. I am also not a fan of super sweet things. For example, I like my chocolate dark and my coffee with a little bite to it.
The Cinnabon Cinnamon Pecan Roll is covered in pecans (duh) and is almost disgustingly sweet. I loved it. I hate that I loved it, but I loved it all the same. These guys are made by the company that makes GooGoo Clusters , which I read about in Candy Freak by Steve Almond (a must-read for any candy lover). Steve Almond called the GooGoos sugar bombs, which would make the cinnamon pecan roll a cinnamon sugar bomb.
The pecan roll is a cinnamon nougat center covered in caramel and heavily studded with seriously sugared-crusted pecans (you could barely taste the pecans underneath their sugar shells). It was hard to distinguish the individual components of the cinnamon sugar bomb, so the caramel and the sugar crust on the pecans may have also been cinnamon flavored. I wouldn’t be surprised, as the cinnamon smell was super strong and mouthwateringly incredible.
I took a bite of this and blanched at the super sweetness of it. The texture was pretty nice, if a tad on the stiff side. I don’t know if was supposed to be that stiff or if my pecan roll had been sitting on the store shelf for too long or something.The caramel covering was also hard, and it imparted a nice burnt sugar taste but no stickiness. At most, it made the pecan roll slightly chewy.
I felt a little gross after eating that first sugary bite, but I found myself taking another, and another. Then I hit upon the brilliant idea of popping the rest of the roll in the microwave. If I remember correctly, Steve Almond rhapsodized about eating a GooGoo hot off the line, so perhaps that somehow gave me a subconscious prod.
Here are my notes from my pecan roll tasting: “Microwave – OH MY HEAVENS – released the cinnamon scent, made it soft, nougat fluffy.” I had discovered cinnamon nirvana. The texture of the softened roll was much improved, the nougat almost pillowy. The heat made everything taste and smell even stronger of cinnamon and sugar. The cinnamon sugar bomb went atomic.
Usually, I don’t eat candy bars in one sitting, but I found the pecan roll irresistible and quickly polished it off. I immediately felt ill afterwards; drinking a glass of milk helped, but it still took a while for the cloying effect to wear off. I think it was the cinnamon that got me me. There must something about the smell of cinnamon sugar that triggers something in the taste buds. Hence the overwhelming success of Cinnabon.
As far as candy bars go, these bars aren’t that bad for you, though the 30 grams of sugar is excessive. Each bar has 250 calories and 11 grams of fat, but only 1.5 grams of that is saturated. Most of the fat is probably good for you unsaturated fat from the pecans. I think that’s better than most energy bars.
I would love to buy these again, but I shouldn’t. I’m a little frightened by their effect on me – death by sugar overdose following a cinnamon pecan roll binge would be a bad way to go. I think it’s best that I quit cold turkey lest I become truly addicted. It’s probably safe, however, for me to give the GooGoo clusters a taste. I’ve seen them at the grocery store before, and now I really want to try those too.