Sunday, December 30, 2012

Cereal Clusters: A tale of two treats

I have been on a no bake kick this holiday season. Lots of peanut butter cups, dipped cookies and pretzels have been shared with family and friends. I did make one batch of real cookies, our secret family oatmeal roll-out cookies, but that's about it. On my no bake mission I made two treats from my childhood that I always loved, cereal clusters. My family made two different types: a chocolate version with Cheerios, marshmallows and peanuts, and a peanut butter version with white chocolate, rice crispies, marshmallows and peanuts. Very popular in the 70s or so I am told because I wasn't alive then. Anyways I made both types for my boys because I was feeling a little nostalgic. I mixed up the peanut butter kind first and found them disappearing from the wax paper before they were even fully set. Next came the chocolate batch and as you can see from the picture below they weren't as popular.

While putting together treats for my family I told my mom about the cereal clusters. She said not to bother packing up any of the chocolate kind. After 31 years of marriage my dad informed her that he didn't like that kind. I imagine the conversation went something like this: "Emilie made cereal treats, do you want some?" "Yeah, but just the peanut butter kind, I don't like the chocolate kind." "But Kevin, you eat them." "Yeah, but I don't really like them." At least my boys didn't wait 31 years to tell me they didn't care for the chocolate kind. :) So you can make both kind for your family and decide which you like better. I hope it doesn't take your family decades to tell you they don't care for a treat you make. :)

Cereal Clusters Recipe

Chocolate Version

10 oz dark chocolate
1 cup peanuts
8 oz marshmallows
2 cups cheerios

Set aside about an oz of dark chocolate. Melt dark chocolate in microwave safe container for 30 seconds at a time. Stirring as the chocolate melts. When the chocolate is smooth and melted, temper it by adding the oz you set aside. When that melts it is ready to add the other ingredients. Add the dry ingredients and mix until coated.

Scoop into 1.5 inch clusters onto wax paper and set them in a cool area to set. We usually put them in the garage on top of the car. Out of the way of animals, and the cold winter air helps them set quicker.

Peanut Butter Version

10 oz white chocolate
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup chunky (or smooth) peanut butter. I use chunky so I can use less whole peanuts.
8 oz marshmallows
3 cups rice crispies

Melt the white chocolate in microwave safe container for 30 seconds at a time. Stirring as the chocolate melts. When the chocolate is smooth and melted, add the peanut butter and stir that in to temper the chocolate. Sometimes I have to zap it in the microwave for 15 seconds if the peanut butter doesn't fully melt. Add the dry ingredients and mix until well coated.

Repeat scooping and setting process from the version above. :)

Here are some pictures from my latest batch of peanut butter cereal clusters.

Mixing in the PB to the white chocolate... Isn't it pretty? YUMMY!

Adding in the dry ingredients.

Finished product.



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