May 18, 2005

Microwave Cereal Candy

My wee wifey was browsing the cookbooks at the Bookcellar, and made a comment about there not being any interesting microwave cookbooks there. One splendid gentleman nearby responded that there could not be such a thing. As a gourmet he considered the microwave to be only suitable for defrosting and reheating, and marginally acceptable even for those tasks. We responded by asserting that the microwave is the ideal place to prepare that quintessentially gourmet vegetable, the artichoke. I made the same point as a comment to a Carnival recipe a couple weeks ago, and will track down the link when I get home.

I stopped at a St. Vinnie's thrift store in the course of my travels this week, and did find a worthwhile microwave cookbook, Southern Living's Microwave Cooking Made Simple. Southern Living cookbooks are all excellent. One entire shelf of the wee wifey's collection contains nothing else. Being on the road it is not yet practical for me to experiment with anything which will require refrigeration before and after preparation, so I'm offering my take on one of their recipes aimed at young microwavers.

1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
I cup peanut butter
6 cups cold cereal

Careful selection of peanut butter makes a difference. Some of the cheaper brands are highly sweetened. This is never good, especially in combination with the rest of the sugar here. I like chunky, but for this purpose it should be a brand with really small chunks.

The recipe called for wheat or corn flakes, but I suspect that was done to avoid the crisped rice traditionally and commercially used for this purpose. I went with tradition, but if I'd had access to an earthy-crunchy store I'd have tried something more exotic. Come to think of it, a syrup with more flavor, such as Alaga, would also be interesting.

Combine the sugar and syrup in a large microwave-safe bowl. Heat on HIGH for five to six minutes, until it starts bubbling. Stir in the peanut butter, and then fold in the cereal. Make sure the cereal is all well coated, but don't get so aggressive that you crush it.

You could line a pan with wax paper and pour the goop in, slicing bars with a sharp buttered knife once it sets up, but I just followed the cookbook's suggestion due, once again, to the exigencies of travel, and put teaspoon dollops onto sheets of wax paper and chilled until firm.

You will be glad to know that I packed toothbrush and toothpaste, and that coworkers protected me from overdose.

Posted by triticale at May 18, 2005 10:30 PM

The ideal way to pick out a good peanut butter is to look at the ingredients list. Peanut butter should have listed "Peanuts." That's it. Well, "salt" is okay too. Seriously, though, peanut butter is nothing more than crushed peanuts... and some stores even have a peanut-crushing machine on hand for the generic store blend. (It has, alas, been years since I've seen one.)

Posted by: B. Durbin at May 20, 2005 12:04 PM
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