Lucky Charms is a popular brand of breakfast cereal produced by the General Mills cereal company. The cereal consists of toasted bits of oat and multicolored marshmallows in various shapes.
Lucky Charms was invented in 1963 by then vice-president of General Mills, John Holahan. Holahan claimed to have gotten the idea for the cereal when he came across some orange marshmallow peanuts, a candy common in circuses at the time. Holahan cut up several of the peanuts and sprinkled them over Cheerios , another oat-bit cereal, and he "knew we had a winner." Lucky Charms was the first cereal to include marshmallows.
Marshmallows has always been the primary selling point for Lucky Charms. The first boxes contained marshmallows in the shapes of pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers. Over the years the lineup has changed, beginning with the introduction of blue diamonds in 1975 . Purple horseshoes joined the roster in 1984, followed by red balloons in 1989, balloons with stars in them in 1991, rainbows in 1992, pots of gold in 1994, and leprechaun hats in 1996.
As General Mills introduces new shapes, older marshmallows are phased out. The first marshmallows to be phased out were the yellow moons and blue diamonds, as General Mills introduced their "Pot of Gold" marshmallow. Since they already had a yellow marshmallow, they changed the yellow moons to blue moons and eliminated the blue diamonds. Sometimes the marshmallow phase outs are done quietly, other times the changes form the basis for various commercials and other promotional materials. The current assortment thus consists of purple horseshoes; red balloons; blue moons; orange and white stars; yellow and orange pots of gold; pink, yellow, and blue rainbows; two-tone green leprechaun hats; pink hearts (the only shape to survive since the beginning); with the most recent addition being the return of the clovers in 2004 .
Lucky the Leprechaun is the mascot for Lucky Charms. He has magic powers to change plain white marshmallows into mystical shapes. When he was introduced in 1964, this character was known as "L.C. Leprechaun", but his name was eventually changed to Lucky. In addition to appearing on the Lucky Charms cereal box, Lucky also stars in each animated Lucky Charms commercial. In these advertisements (long a staple of American children's television), Lucky is usually chased by several children who want his cereal, a fact which prompts him to utter his famous catch phrase (in a highly exaggerated Irish accent), "They're always after me Lucky Charms!" The commercials usually end with Lucky singing the cereal's slogan: "Frosted Lucky Charms, they're magically delicious!" (This has since been changed, with "frosted Lucky Charms" being replaced with "that's me Lucky Charms").
Recipe for Lucky Charms Bars
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
25 large marshmallows or 3 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
5 cups Lucky Charms cereal
Grease an 8-inch or 9-inch square pan 9 x 2 inch pan.
Place butter and marshmallows in large microwave bowl. Microwave uncovered on High for 1 minute and 30 seconds to 3 minutes, stirring after 1 minute until mixture is melted and smooth when stirred. Stir in cereal until well coated. Press mixture into prepared pan; cool.
Cut into about 2-inch square bars.
Makes 16 bars.