Tuesday, 17 December 2013

‘Nuts and Bolts’ with a Kick

Nuts and Bolts with a Kick

In our house, these are mostly known as “Grandpa’s Special Cereal”, because he makes this once a year, at Christmas.  Yes, you can buy it ready made.  Packages of cereal often contain miserable little recipes advising you microwave the cereal with dollops of margarine and seasoned salt, to concoct this recipe in under ten minutes. 

But foodies live here, and we can do better than that.  This recipe makes lots.  We bag it and take it when visiting at Christmas, but we make sure there’s plenty on hand for snacking during the Christmas season.  Woops, here it is a year later, and now the old Grandpa tells me the oil mix needs to be divided into thirds, and poured in accordingly.  See adjustments below, highlighted in blue.   Sorry Grandpa!

Christmas Day just wouldn’t be the same without this spicy snack.

Total preparation time is three hours including some cooling.  Makes a roasting pan full!

250F oven temperature

Not my usual set of ingredients.
6 cups mixed roasted and salted nuts (your choices, but we include lots of lime and chili peanuts that are crispy)
3 ½ cups Shreddies
3 cups Cheerios
2 cups Multigrain Life Cereal
3 cups pretzel sticks
2 cups cheddar goldfish crackers  

3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1 cup canola oil

1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
1 tablespoon Montreal Steak Spice

I have a feeling these ingredients are available only in North America, and probably some are available only in Canada, and yet others only at a certain large Canadian grocery store, where you find the chili and lime peanuts in the bulk section, although they also have them in sealed packages.  If you haven’t found these special peanuts yet, you probably weigh less than I do. 

Use your favourite roasted nuts.
We bought all the roasted and salted nuts in the bulk section, although you can buy them however you normally do.  The mix you use is up to you, although we went with two cups of the spicy and tangy peanuts, and four cups of the mix of cashews, almonds, Brazils, pecans, hazelnuts and peanuts.

Turn the oven on to 250 F and get out your largest roasting pan.  Add the nuts, cereals, pretzels and crackers.  Toss gently, but well.

In a glass bowl, combine the canola oil and chopped garlic.  Microwave for two minutes, till the garlic scent is redolent and you can hear a bit of fizzing.  You must be careful not to brown the garlic, as that will taste bitter.  Just that bit of fizzing and fragrance tells you they are done.  If one or two pieces are slightly golden, that’s fine.  

Toss so gently!
Add the olive oil, followed by the Worcestershire sauce (my parents frowned on calling this anything but Wooster), then the chilies and finally the Montreal Steak Spice. Combine well.  We’ll have kids eating this, so we added just a few chilies, and even then some of the kids will be cautiously picking out the spicy peanuts to feed to the dogs, I just know it.  You can use more spice if you like.  If you don’t have access to Montreal Steak Spice, here’s a link to show you how to make your own

Divide the oil mixture into thirds. Stir the first third of oil mix into the cereal mix.  Gently toss till it’s all well combined, but do it carefully so you don’t break up any pretzels or goldfish.

Pop in the oven, and let roast for twenty minutes.  Test for saltiness and spice by tasting a cereal piece, and adjust if required.  Stir in next third of oil mix.  Toss gently and put back into the oven.  In the next twenty minutes, repeat with the last third of oil.  In fact, you'll need to pull it out of the oven and gently toss every twenty minutes till the nuts and bolts have oven roasted for a total of two hours.  

These smell incredible while roasting too.

Be sure to let them cool before you start to gobble. Once completely cooled, store in ziplock bags and distribute to friends, relatives and neighbors.  These morsels are a special treat, certainly not to be eaten year round.  High in calories and quite salty, they are nevertheless healthier than sugary white flour treats.  But of course, they are delicious so good luck if you think you'll be able to eat just a few.  

Although these take more time and effort than the pre-packaged kind, and more effort than the recipes on the cereal packages, they are so worth it.  Serve with a cup of steaming mulled wine, and you may even be tempted to skip the big Christmas dinner, and gorge on just these instead.

Nuts and Bolts with a Kick
Make this well ahead of Christmas Day because you'll need your roaster for the turkey.


  1. Thanks for this delicious alternative to those nasty recipes on the back of the box. :)

  2. You're very welcome! We all have to band together against those nasties! Thanks for visiting my blog!