Monday, September 5, 2016


If you live overseas you likely know that breakfast cereal choices can be very limited and pricy. You will also likely know of the challenges of cooking from scratch and getting to the point with a limited diet that you take the plunge and decide to see how a new recipe turns out with a few substitutions.

So my first grapenut attempt. It is interesting that in contrast to box cereal, imported wheat flour in the local market only costs about 35 cents per pound when purchased in a large bag: 25, 55 or 110 pound sizes.
  1. I pull out my best recipe books-those written by Amish or Mennonites who still cook from scratch.
  2. I look at all the similar type recipes to identify the one I can come closest to and to see what ones I can mix together to come up with the least amounts of substitutions [after about 3 the recipe doesn't always resemble what you started out to make].
  3. No whole wheat flower so use the only flour we have.. and getting to the end of the bag so step 4 is required.
  4. Sift flour to remove the extra "live protein". Add salt-mix well because the salt is clumpy due to our humidity-sometimes sift as well.
  5. Mix vinegar with milk to make butter milk.
  6. Substitute brown sugar for honey---picking out as many ants as possible. Taking the top layer of the sugar and putting it in a pan to set on the stove while the grapenutes cook so that the heat will drive the ants away. Put sugar in ant-proof container.
  7. Only use 1/2 the called for molasses as ours is very strong and don't remember grapenuts tasting like molasses. For the other 1/2 cup just use brown sugar honey costs more and the raw brown sugar here is cheaper than white sugar. Didn't add additional liquid as figured that would add to the time in oven, and during summer in the tropics you want to limit the time your oven is on!
  8. Running low on baking use scant.
  9. One Tablespoon sounds like a lot of salt so scant that too. 
  10. Do not cook with butter so substitute slightly less oil.
  11. Trying to limit cooking time didn't add any water to the sugar--to make it more like the honey or maple syrup that some recipes call for.
  12. Also decide to cook on a cookie sheet as one mentioned. didn't grease the pan because I like my silicon liners. And I have a smaller one--that i used to put on top of the dough to smooth it as thin as I could. Worked sticking. 
  13. Taste a bit still in the bowl..tastes good. 
  14. Had Cory light the stove as we save on propane by lighting it only when needed..and since the stove was designed for natural gas, the pilot gets fouled with carbon if left lit, only the top burners were fully adjustable for propane... which means the folks with long arms in our family lay on the floor and light the pilot that is at the far back. 
  15. Blog while waiting for step one of the cooking process so that my friends living overseas can be inspired and those living in the land of the HUGE cereal isles can learn a bit about cooking overseas. 
  16. Check oven now and then because the temperature gradually keeps going up (again, the propane/natural gas problem) and frequent checking helps to keep it about the temperature suggested in the recipe. 
  17. When started to brown removed from oven. Let it cool just enough to be able to break into pieces..not thoroughly cooled as called for in the recipe because then the oven would have to heat again. 
  18. Returned to oven...lower heat to dry more. Open stove now and then to drop heat...
  19. During step 18.. learn about the name. As a good homeschooling mom who encourages learning and finding answers..I did look up why the name 'grapenuts' when there are neither grapes or nuts...1. maybe because they were thought to resemble grape seeds..and 2. theory is that Mr. Post thought the wheat and barley produced glucose [grape sugar] during cooking.
  20. Test testers rated this recipe at 3.5-4 stars out of 5. So a keeper. Very crunchy. Flavor and texture like a cross between grape nuts and graham crackers. We only crumbled them to medium size pieces although some recipes called to grate them. Anna decided she liked smaller bits so crushed some to her liking. [Lasted 6 days]
From Healthy Choices cook book....Marvin and Mirain Wengerd. Keepers at Home Magazine

Page 46. Grapenuts Ida Edwards

7 cups whole wheat flour                           1/2 cup butter
1 cup maple syrup                                      1 Tbsp. salt
1 cup sorghum molasses                             2 Tbsp. soda (1 or 1.5 Tbs was enough for us)
2 1/4 cups buttermilk

Mix flour and salt, then add maple syrup, molasses, butter, salt and the soda dissolved in 1/4 cup buttermilk. Pour two cups of buttermilk over all and stir well. If you need to add more buttermilk to make it smoother, that's fine, but a thick dough is expected. Pour into two greed 9 x 13" pans and bake 1 1/2 hours at 450˚ (we cooked at 350-400). Let cook then crumble and toast on cookie sheets. Store in tight containers, keeps for months. 


Leslie said...

I might have to give this a try :) Do you have the cookbook More WIth Less by the MCC? It's great. Lots of simple food from missionaries and MCCers living all over the world. Love the granola recipe in there. It calls for flour, but I put oats in a blender/food processor and make oat flour instead. My kids gobble it up :)

Chris and Kath Sloan said...

Love this!! Way to be adventurous and find a way to have a break from corn flakes! :) enjoyed reading through your steps.

JoAnna K said...

Oh this sounds SO familiar.... Was just sharing with my sister in law how life is simpler in Kenya (than in Chad) because of having more options in the stores, AND having reliable power and water. 18 step cereal. :) I'll have to try this recipe!

JoAnna K said...

Oh....20 step! (I missed two!)

Kris Thede said...

Four comments...maybe a record for me! Thank you. Leslie, yes I do have the More with Less Cookbook and it is a good one for folks who don't have access to mixes or pre-made items or those who don't want to use them. Chris and Kath, after Cory read about a study where rodents did better eating the corn flakes box vs. the corn flakes we don't eat them very much... The grapenuts were much better. JoAnna..thankfully we enjoy solar and battery back up therefore don't often have lack of power and water because we don't depend on the government for either.