Folks have been making their own crunchy granola for decades, but savvy home cooks know that homemade cereal doesn’t have to be limited to trail mix types. In fact, recipes abound that result in yummy, crunchy breakfast treats that taste a lot like some of the famous brands. Some people like to make their own cereal because it saves money, while others point to the fact that homemade cereal is healthier. Whatever the motivation, using fresh ingredients, properly preparing the dough, and storing it correctly are tips that will come in handy.
By far the most popular type of do-it-yourself cereal is granola. Hundreds, if not thousands, of fruit, nut, and grain recipes populate the Internet and cookbooks. The wise cook knows that it isn’t necessary to follow a granola recipe to a T. Doubling up the almonds or cashews, replacing golden raisins and dried cherries, or omitting shredded coconut will simply produce variations on a theme. Granola recipes call for oil; dieters can reduce, but not eliminate, the amount of oil used and still create toasted granola with crunch.
Cornflakes, a perennial favorite in many households, can be whipped together using only cornmeal, honey, and a little oil in addition to a splash of water and a dash of salt. After the homemade cereal dough has been created using a blender, the cook needs only roll it as thin as possible into a sheet and bake it. It’s important to let the resulting giant flake cool completely before breaking it into the traditional-size flake.
It will be easy to convince the kids that cocoa-puffed homemade cereal made with popped amaranth — a high-protein grain — is a treat; they don’t need to know that this homemade cereal excludes preservatives and the high sugary content the commercial version is laden with. It’s made with maple syrup or brown rice syrup, so a little sweetening goes a very long way. The addition of golden raisins, a shake of cinnamon, and of course, cocoa powder adds to the sweet sensibility. It’s unlikely that this cereal will stick around for long, but cooks who create a double batch should be sure to store it in a sealed container to keep it crunchy.
For many new parents, making homemade baby cereal is their first foray into the world of kitchen-created cereals. The thought of letting commercial versions that contain who knows what be among baby’s first foods is enough to send some moms and pops directly to the kitchen. Homemade cereals for the youngest diners are easy to whip up in a food processor or dedicated coffee grinder capable of reducing rice, barley, or other grains to a powder. Cooking in water or milk for a few minutes is all that’s required, and of course, banana or other fruit puree only makes it better.