I came upon some puffed wheat cereal in the store and decided to give it a try as a nice whole-grain option for breakfast. I expected it to be more dense, but it is so light and airy that it immediately reminded me of popcorn. I was really excited to roll with that and try to put my own spin on it, making a healthier kettlecorn using maple syrup. The end result makes a yummy snack, but I won’t lie that there was a moment after I finished where I was like “Ohhhh, I just made honey nut cheerios…”. I could probably just buy honey nut cheerios, but I like to think this is an “elevated” version.
The candy coating on this snack is very minimal, so you don’t get the same kind of clumping that you would expect from caramel corn, which has that satisfying bite to it. You could definitely play around with the recipe, increasing the coating so that there are more crunchy clumps, with the caveat that the sugar/fat content will go up. The final result also does not taste strongly of maple, or honey, but rather has a general sweetness that you may or may not prefer. Regardless, this was a fun experiment, and I think the puffed wheat has a lot of potential in other snack/baking recipes, so I’m excited to keep playing with it.
Puffed Wheat “Kettlecorn”
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
7-8 cups puffed kamut or puffed durum wheat
1 cup slivered almonds or nuts of choice
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (I also added a drizzle of honey, couldn’t resist)
2 tbsp. butter + 2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1) Preheat the oven to 200°F and line a large pan with parchment paper.
2) Pour the puffed wheat and nuts into a large bowl, and set aside.
3) Set a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the maple syrup, butter + EVOO, and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a low boil.
4) Cook the mixture to 230°F, thread stage on a candy thermometer. To test this, allow a drop of the syrup to cool, then pull it between two fingers; if it forms a thread between your fingers, it’s ready.
5) Remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir in vanilla and add the baking soda. Stir thoroughly, the syrup will foam up.
6) Immediately pour the hot syrup over the puffed wheat and pecans, and stir until it is evenly coated.
7) Spread the mixture onto the parchment-lined pan. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15-20 minutes to prevent burning.
8) Remove tray from the oven and allow to cool. This can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days (if you’re in a high-humidity area, it may or may not lose some of the crunch).
Eat! This would be a great dry snack at the movies, or even eaten just like any other sweet cereal with milk in the morning.