Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The Cereal Adventures, Part 2: Nutty Bran Flakes

These bran flakes trump commercial varieties.
By now, you no doubt know that I'm eating granola every day and quite enjoying myself. But I thought that for the sake of balance, I really should explore other options as well, and so I also made a little foray into the area of non-granola breakfast cereals. After all, anything with "nutty" in the title is probably really well-suited to me.

So this was the winner. Nutty Bran Flakes, they're called, and they really are as nutty as a fruitcake. This makes it not at all surprising, then, that we get along spectacularly. They're toasty, they're crunchy, they're nutty, and they're helping me stay regular. What more can you really ask of a breakfast cereal?

These bran flakes are super toasty and crunchy!
Now, as for which cereal wins, it's hard to say. This morning was my first run with the bran flakes, and for the sake of fairness, I feel like they should get a couple of tries before I return to my granola. But I will say this: these ones are much nicer with a handful of raisins on top. (Take that, granola!)

I had to modify this recipe again, as it asked for the wrong kind of nut (the nerve!), and also expected me to use cow's milk and refined sugar. That just doesn't fly in my world, so I've veganized it. (If you're not sure where to get this sugar, check out Camino's site. They make a beautiful turbinado.)

So here we have it, the best (though, admittedly, the only) homemade bran flakes I've ever had. A few raisins and some almond milk later, they make a really nice morning bowl.

These bran flakes store really well in mason jars.
Nutty Bran Flakes (Adapted from Mr. Breakfast)
Makes about 4 cups

1 cup wheat bran
1 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup almond meal
1/4 cup golden cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup almond milk
1/2 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add almond milk and water and mix well. You'll end up with what looks like really thick bran muffin batter.

Cut a piece of parchment to fit a cookie sheet, then cover with a piece of plastic wrap and roll out about 1/2 cup of the bran mixture to a very thin layer on the parchment, till it's almost see-through. Transfer the parchment onto the cookie sheet and bake for about 5 minutes. Now, bake for a few minutes more, checking very often to be sure it's not burning. (I ended up baking mine between 10 and 13 minutes.) When the edges are just starting to brown, remove it from the oven. Let cool completely and repeat this in the mean time with the rest of the bran mixture.

Turn the oven down to 275°F.

When your bran is cooled, peel it off the parchment and tear it into bite-sized pieces. Use the parchment to line the cookie sheet again and put the now-torn bran flakes onto the sheet for further baking. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring well after every 5 minutes. The flakes should be nice and brown now. Repeat this with each sheet's worth of flakes. It's tempting to do two batches of flakes at a time on the same cookie sheet, but it doesn't let them brown properly, so I wouldn't advise it.

Cool completely before putting in an airtight container for storage (mason jars work very well). Will keep for a couple of weeks.


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