Back in the day, the inimitable Lore Sjoberg wrote a rating of breakfast cereals in which he lamented the fact that they hadn’t followed Apple Jacks with Kahlua Krispies, which put the wisps of a thought in my head.
This was probably close to ten years ago, mind you. In the intervening time, I’ve examined how cereal was made, driven by the local Kellogg’s factory countless times (it’s on the way to lunch occasionally), taken a couple of cooking classes (one specifically on tiramisu, which included instructions on making your own Kahlua) and from time to time mulled over precisely how one would make a cereal that turned your milk into a white Russian, apart from adding one essential ingredient.
Today, I believe I can report success. Here’s how it’s done:
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons instant coffee
7 cups Cheerios
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp water
Pour the cereal into a large metal bowl. Set aside.
Mix together 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a large saucepan, set over medium-high heat.
Heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. STOP STIRRING. Continue to heat until a candy thermometer or an infrared thermometer reads 280° F (NOT the 220° shown in the photo)
While the sugar is coming up to temperature, heat the other 3 tablespoons of water in the microwave and dissolve the 4 tablespoons of instant coffee in it.
When the sugar solution reaches 280° (known in the parlance as the “soft-crack stage”, mix the coffee solution into the sugar. It will boil furiously, which is why you used a large saucepan so that it doesn’t go all over the stove. Pour this IMMEDIATELY over the cereal and toss to coat using a heat-proof spatula. Spread the cereal out onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper (NOT wax paper) and set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 200°. Wash some dishes.
When the cereal is cool and not QUITE as sticky, place the baking sheet into the oven and let it dry out for about half an hour. The cereal should be dry to the touch and you can break apart some of the clumps now. Store in zipper bags—it will probably absorb some moisture from the air and get soggy eventually, but you’ll eat it before then
To serve, fill a glass with cereal.
Eat. Stir occasionally for best effect.
Add the secret ingredient:
Toss in an ice cube or two, and enjoy.
It’s not a perfect recreation, but it’s pretty damn close—without an actual white Russian next to it for comparison, one would be hard-pressed to tell the difference. You can also just eat the cereal, which is delicious and will get you going in the morning without having to actually make coffee.
Now. How do I use this to become fabulously wealthy? I guess step one would be to not publish the recipe on the internet for everyone to use.