When I was a kid, we weren’t allowed to eat “fun” dry cereal. This was way before the current worries over genetically modified corn, trans fats and gluten; my mother simply and wisely didn’t want to serve my sister and I bowls full of sugar for breakfast.
Fast forward, and of course I don’t buy the traditionally fun stuff for my longer list of reasons. I can pat myself on the back all I want, but I have to confess that over the past couple of months a seemingly healthy but not-so-much cereal has snuck into my pantry.
My boyfriend’s son loves Cinnamon Toast Crunch, so I picked up a healthier alternative at Whole Foods (after throwing out a box of the former, which I couldn’t stand having in my kitchen). Three Sisters Cereal’s Cinnamon Sweets has a lot of good going for it: no hydrogenated oils, HFCS, preservatives or artificial flavors. High in whole grains. Packaged in recyclable bags made using renewable wind energy.
The cereal still has a whopping 10 grams of sugar per serving, however, and the company cannot guarantee that it doesn’t contain genetically modified grains.
While it’s certainly a case of the lesser of evils, my kids now love this stuff and I’d rather it not become their daily breakfast. What’s an obsessive mother to do? Why, try to make her own healthier alternative, of course…
A few weeks back I stumbled upon a really creative cereal recipe when searching the internet for paleo breakfast ideas. I Breathe… I’m Hungry’s Cinnamon Faux-st Crunch Cereal has just about the coolest name ever, not to mention promised to be a promising homemade alternative to the addictive stuff in my pantry.
Melissa’s recipe not only ditches the sugar, but omits gluten and grains altogether. It seemed too good to be true!
I’m happy to report that the cereal actually rocks. I have not convinced either of my kids that it’s an all-out replacement for the packaged stuff, but I’ve now found a recipe *I* am willing to eat, and which they both found pretty tasty as well.
It’s also much easier to make than it might first appear (I had a particularly fun time cutting out the individual pieces with my pizza cutter).
Melissa created her original version to work for those ditching sugar and sweeteners completely, so she uses apple juice for both its liquid and sweet properties. I knew that version would be a little too bland for my kids, so followed her guidelines to sweeten things up a little.
I also opted to use almond meal as opposed to hemp hearts; while I personally love the latter, I wanted to try a version that would be easy and accessible for everyone (and I know some don’t have access or the inclination to pick up the hemp).
Homemade Cinnamon Crunch Cereal
adapted from I Breathe… I’m Hungry
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup almond meal
2 tbs. cinnamon
1 tbs. melted coconut oil
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup granular natural sweetener (stevia, xylitol, erythritol)
Preheat oven to 300. Combine first three ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Add melted oil, water and sweetener. Stir to thoroughly combine.
Press out “dough” on a baking sheet lined with parchment or covered with a Silpat sheet. I found greasing my hands helped me to really press it down and spread it out. You want to spread it as thinly and evenly as possible.
Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 250 and bake for another 10. Remove baking sheet and turn off oven.
Using a pizza cutter, cut the cereal into little squares (Melissa used keyboard keys as a guideline for size). Put back in the oven and allow to sit for at least an hour to crisp up. I left mine for a little under 2 hours and it came out perfectly crunchy and crisp.