Being a food addict with a huge sweet tooth, there are few dietary rules that I take seriously. I know I eat more sugar and less protein than I’m technically supposed to. I will say yes to a cookie and no to kale 9 times out of 10. But the one thing I absolutely don’t mess around with is my fibre intake. I’ve been borderline obsessed with getting my 25-40 grams a day since I was in my teens. When I don’t get enough, my body is miserable – so even though I sometimes get made fun of for eating like a grandma, I happily eat bran flakes every day. I like to pretend it cancels out the cookies and cake and chocolate that happen afterwards.
My mom and I are the queens of bran flakes. She has a whole drawer in her kitchen filled with nuts, dried fruit, and seeds to zhoosh up her cereal; I like to put dried peaches and sour cherries on mine. We’re talkin’ ~Fibre Deluxe~. When I ran out of a box of bran flakes recently I thought, I wonder if I could just make some? Turns out you can, and they’re a treat. For real.
Obviously, it requires more effort to make your own – that’s true for anything homemade – but these bran flakes have such amazing flavour and texture that the store-bought kind don’t really come close in comparison. A touch of cinnamon and toasted nuts makes these taste like a mature, grown up version of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
And anyway, the extra work is worth it for how gratifying it feels to make your own cereal; you know precisely what’s in it, and you can tweak the contents if you need to (soy milk instead of dairy, oat bran instead of wheat, etc). When you make something that tastes good and is good for you, it’s so so so satisfying.
I’ve been eating these with fresh fruit, but imagine how good they’d be with a sprinkling of toasted coconut on top? Or dried blueberries? Maybe some almonds? Ooh, hemp hearts! Pumpkin seeds… raspberries… hazelnuts… oh my. Who says bran flakes have to be boring?
- ½ cup wheat bran
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- ⅓ cup ground almonds, walnuts, or pecans
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅓ cup milk (dairy, nut, or soy)
- ¼ cup water
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C, and cut two 12x16-inch rectangles of parchment paper.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until everything is moistened and well combined.
- Lay one of the parchment rectangles on your work surface and dole out half of the dough onto the centre of the sheet. Pat it out with your fingers a bit, then cover the parchment sheet with plastic wrap - I overlapped two plastic wrap sheets to get full coverage. This will allow you to roll out the dough without it sticking to your rolling pin. Roll out the dough as evenly as you can, coaxing it all the way to the edges of your parchment rectangle - it should be so thin that you'll almost be able to see through it in some places.
- Gently peel away the plastic wrap and slide the parchment onto a flat cookie sheet. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, keeping a close eye on it, until the edges are slightly crispy and the middle is leathery. Allow to cool completely. Meanwhile, roll out and bake the other half of the dough using the same method.
- Reduce oven temperature to 275°F/135°C. When both of your dough sheets are completely cool, tear them up into pieces no larger than 1 inch wide (think of store-bought bran flakes as a guide). Spread all of the flakes in an even layer on a large cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes, tossing and stirring them every 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely.
- Eat as a breakfast cereal with milk or sprinkled on top of yogurt and fruit. Enjoy!