Monday, October 7, 2013

Eats - Butterscotch Cereal Toss

Hello! Perhaps your son tells you - after dinner - that he's supposed to bring a treat in to share at the class party tomorrow. Or maybe you forgot that you'd promised to make something for the youth group bake sale on Saturday morning - and it's Friday night. 

Or maybe you just want to make a goodie to welcome your daughter on her first weekend home since leaving for college.

Well, if you have a few basic ingredients already at hand, you can make Butterscotch Cereal Toss in just a few minutes. The recipe comes from Choice Candy From Your Own Kitchen, which was compiled by the food editors of Farm Journal. (My volume, which came out in 1971, was purchased at the recent AAUW bag sale of used books). And here's the recipe:

Butterscotch Cereal Toss

2 quarts (8 cups) assorted bite-size cold cereal
1 cup salted peanuts
2 cups pretzel sticks
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine cereals, peanuts and pretzel sticks in large pan or bowl.

Combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, salt and nutmeg in saucepan. Bring to a boil; boil two minutes. Remove from heat; add vanilla. Pour over cereal mixture; stir to coat well.

Spread on two buttered baking sheets. Let cool until firm. When set, break into pieces. Makes about three quarts. 

And now for my notes: I greased the bowl before I put the first three ingredients in it, and I also greased the saucepan before putting the butterscotch ingredients in it. These two steps made for easier clean-up. And I used parchment paper to line the baking sheets instead of greasing them - then I didn't have to wash them!

I used Honey-Nut Cheerios and Golden Grahams for the cereals, because that's what I had on hand (remnants of other cereal-into-candy recipes; I store these cereals in the freezer until needed). I didn't have peanuts on hand, so I just added another cup of pretzels. 

Wasn't sure how the nutmeg would taste, so I left it out. I'd be more inclined to use cinnamon though. 

Farm Journal's food editors described this recipe as: "Snack is crunchy - butterscotch coating provides rich flavor". After tasting the result, I would agree on both counts! It does have some crunch, but it quite sweet as well - I think this could be made with a bit more dry ingredients added, maybe a cup extra of cereal. That way, the sweet coating would be spread out a bit thinner. I thought it tasted really good, though - similar to the richer caramel corn recipes (there are some that use a similar brown sugar/butter/corn syrup base). 

But unlike caramel corn, there's no corn to pop in this recipe - just pour that cereal out, add some pretzels and nuts (I would think that other nuts could be subbed for the peanuts), cook the butterscotch mixture for a few minutes, and voila - three quarts of a tasty treat with very little effort. The bake sale kids will be pleased!

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