Procrastination via home-made cereal

As we enter the second week of term, and our commitments and schoolwork begin to pile up, you may find yourself wishing to do anything besides schoolwork. It is an affliction felt by almost every university student; no matter how impending and important an essay or assignment may be, we will find any way to avoid completing it. Some popular distractions of choice include deep-cleaning one’s room, watching hours of Netflix, scrolling through social media, or spending some quality time with friends who are most likely also avoiding their responsibilities at all costs. Although it is only the second week of first term, I can already feel this apathy creeping up on me, and suspect many others may be feeling the same way.

However, instead of doing something helpful like give tips on how to stay focused and driven, I thought it may be more interesting to give you a very needlessly complicated and niche activity so that you may procrastinate even further and put off that assignment for at least a few more hours. The activity? Making sugary, cinnamon-y cereal from scratch. While this most certainly is not the healthiest snack to make, it sure beats buying the processed cereals from the supermarket. Furthermore, I found the process of making it to be quite therapeutic; making this snack left me feeling relaxed and ready to finally take care of some work that I had been putting off.

I am again following a recipe from the food blog Half Baked Harvest, but am adapting it slightly to be more accessible to students and UK residents. I had a lot fun making this recipe and hope the same for you if you endeavor to try it.

In order to make this Homemade Cinnamon Toast Crunch, you simply need cinnamon, caster sugar, plain flour, salt, water, vanilla extract, and quite a tremendous amount of salted butter. The very first thing you need to do is simply mix one tablespoon of cinnamon and a half-cup of sugar together, this will serve as the coating to your cereal later on. This would also be a good time to preheat your oven to 180 degrees (or to 160 if you have a fan oven). 

This next part of the recipe calls for a food processor. However, if you do not have one (like me), I simply used my hands to combine the following: two and a half cups flour, one-half teaspoon salt, one-half teaspoon cinnamon, and about 230 grams of cold salted butter that has been chopped into small pieces. Use your hands to combine all these ingredients until the butter forms small spheres and is coated by the flour mixture. Next you will want to add the wet ingredients. To the butter and flour mixture add two teaspoons of vanilla extract and one-half cup cold water. Add in the water slowly, about one tablespoon at a time, and mix all along the way until the dough comes together. 

Photo by Chloe Waugh

Photo by Chloe Waugh

The dough should be dry enough to form into a ball that you will then want to place onto a floured surface. Divide the ball in half and work with each half one at a time. Roll the dough into a large flat sheet, about a half-centimetre thick. The dough should be quite thin so that it can be crunchy and flaky, like cereal. After this, transfer the sheet of dough onto a piece of baking paper (I improvised by using tin foil and it seemed to work fine), brushing the dough with melted butter. Since I do not have a brush, I simply used the back of a spoon to smooth the butter over the dough evenly and generously sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over it. Next, using a sharp knife or a pizza roller if you have one, cut up the dough into small squares, about one inch by one inch. After transferring the squares (still on the baking paper) to an oven tray and separating them so that they have a little space from one another, it is time to pop them in the oven for about twelve minutes. While they are baking, repeat this process with the other half of the dough from earlier.

Photo by Chloe Waugh

Photo by Chloe Waugh

And now you have some delicious, sugary cereal that you can enjoy while thinking about the time you could have saved by simply popping into Tesco and buying a box of Curiously Cinnamon! All jokes aside, although making cereal from scratch may seem like a waste of time that is better spent doing work or studying, I found the process to be very enjoyable and therapeutic. Furthermore, when I finally got back to my assignments, I had a delicious snack to enjoy whilst working, one that is also significantly healthier than the processed cereal you get at the shop. Hope you can all find a soothing distraction as your workload becomes heavier as well.

Photo by Chloe Waugh

 

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