Throughout my childhood, my family went to church every Sunday morning. We'd get there early, go to Sunday School and partake in the fellowship opportunities before and sometimes after church. Our church was no different than a lot of churches in America in the respect that these fellowship events included a truckload of coffee and pastries, including coffee cake. To say that I've eaten my fair share of pastries because of those fellowship events would be an understatement, so when I saw this Kashi GOLEAN Crunchy! Cinnamon Coffee Cake Bar (Kashi has now changed the name and look, but not the flavor, of these to the Crisp! line of bars, so this particular packaging is a dying breed) in the nutrition bar section for $1.33 in my local Kroger, I was incredibly intrigued by how Kashi could possibly turn the delicious pastry into a nutrition bar, so I immediately snatched it up to add to my catalog of Kashi reviews. The bar itself comes in at 1.59 ounces and is 160 calories with eight grams of protein and five grams of fiber. It's all natural bar and also contains Kashi's proprietary mix of seven whole grains.
The secondary question about this bar in my mind was how Kashi would go about replicating the look of a coffee cake (taste is always primary, of course). In the case of this bar, I'd say that they did a fairly decent job. The base of the bar is made up of a vanilla "icing" base that is then topped with a mix of Kashi's seven grain mix, soy crisps, honey, hazelnuts (not visible) and cinnamon. The smell of that mix had a strong, but not overpowering, smell of cinnamon that actually carried a very pleasing scent. The bar was then topped with more vanilla "icing" and that's it. While not doughy and soft like the namesake pastry, this was a reasonable approximation.
That reasonable approximation on the look of the bar gave me the hope that the bar would taste like a reasonable approximation of the treat as well and it did do that, although it did have one key difference and that was the textural component. Being that coffee cake is a baked good, it is typically soft and doughy (unless it's gone stale). This bar, while it looked like it would be chewy based on its construction, was actually fairly crunchy, thus definitely fulfilling the name. Ultimately, that doesn't really mater but was just an observation on my part. As for the taste, the cinnamon flavor was definitely apparent, but did not carry the spice that cinnamon sometimes has. This was due to the fact that the vanilla icing did a more than sufficient job of cooling down any potential heat that the bar may have had. It was actually a nice combination and flavor profile. There was enough heat in this to make you recognize the cinnamon, but right before it was ready to cross the spice line, so to speak, the vanilla icing came in and cooled everything down to make this especially pleasing. The honey in the mix brought a slight degree of sweetness and when that was mixed with the semi-hot cinnamon and then the cooling vanilla, it would a good mix.
Buy It or Fly By It? While obviously not a coffee cake, this did do a good job replicating the actual flavor of the pastry treat, so that gives this a BUY IT rating. While there were clear textural differences when comparing this with it's namesake, that really should not be a consideration and I don't consider it to be one. The flavor pretty much nails it here and for that, this is an enjoyable treat that I'd recommend to anyone looking to almost trick themselves into thinking they were eating a coffee cake.