Today’s post is both a review and a revision (a, “reviewsion”) of an awesome recipe that I’ve been making for years. My love affair with Maple Nut Crunch began a long time ago while reading the side of a cereal box…Cinnamon Life, to be exact. I thought it sounded like a “Chex Mix” kind of snack, only sweet, so I gave it a try. We loved it so much that I cut the recipe off of the box for fear that Quaker would stop printing it (which they did). I still have that little cardboard rectangle to this day…it sits in a mini photo album with other recipes that I’d feel lost without. Thank goodness for the Internet, though, because the recipe is available on Quaker Oat’s website which saves me from having to drag out the scanner. Here’s the link: Quaker Oats Maple Nut Crunch

The review: When made exactly according to the directions, this recipe produces a delicious (albeit addictive, yet fairly healthful) snack. Let’s look at a few of the ingredients:

* Cinnamon Life Cereal, which is relatively low in sodium, relatively high in potassium, and among other nutrients, contains 100% RDA of folic acid in one ¾ cup serving.

* Walnuts, which are LOADED with vital nutrients, but most notably, essential fatty acids and glutathione which is a powerful antioxidant.

* Butter, which contains vitamins A, D and E and has other beneficial nutrients (I’ll be covering butter in greater detail some day soon in an informational post).

If it were possible, I’d have this snack available for my family at all times (unfortunately, Life Cereal isn’t always on sale, and nuts are expensive). However, as delicious as this snack is, I’ve found a way to make it even better…and even healthier.

My version: I kept the butter.  I ditched the Aunt Jemima syrup for Log Cabin (I like the flavor better, and it’s not made with high fructose corn syrup).  I substituted the brown sugar for evaporated palm sugar, which has a lower glycemic index rating than regular sugar.  I kept the vanilla and added an extra teaspoon because I like it so much.  I kept the cereal, of course.  I kept the walnuts, of course.  I added a few sprinkles of desiccated coconut (two to three bucks at Cake Cottage, and it lasts a long time).  I added a little more cinnamon.  I baked it a little longer for extra crispiness.

So, in addition to the health benefits of the original recipe, I’ve added even more health benefits by:

*  Eliminating the high fructose corn syrup
*  Adding additional vitamins, minerals and phyto-nutrients by substituting with evaporated palm sugar
*  Adding additional protein, vitamins and minerals by including desiccated coconut

It isn’t often that a snack recipe comes along that you don’t have to feel incredibly guilty about eating. I get a quiet kind of satisfaction when I see my kids snacking on this mix – they really like it, and it’s so much better for them than chips or cookies; I think you’ll agree…. Enjoy!

Note: It would be worth your while to use a disposable aluminum pan for mixing. I’ve tried it both in rigid, metal pans and disposable pans, and disposable pans hold the upper hand in one respect: You can bend the sides of the aluminum pan if you need to (and you’ll probably need to, if you want to mix this properly without pieces falling out all over the place). However, if you opt to use a non-disposable pan, try using a big roasting pan with high sides.

Bright Idea: It’s that time of year again, so if you’re looking for “just a little something” to give neighbors, co-workers or the mailman, this snack mix would be perfect! I’m sure the stores are selling those Glad and Ziploc (seasonal) decorative, storage containers…wouldn’t that make for a nice presentation?

Here’s a picture of my most recent (beautiful, tasty) batch:

For a printer-friendly .pdf version (of my version) of this recipe, CLICK HERE.

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