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How to Make Cocoa Puffs at Home, Easily & With 7 Ingredients

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Reese's Puffs? No. Honey Bunches of Oats? Yes.

My parents' list of acceptable and unacceptable breakfast cereals was completely arbitrary and utterly nonsensical: the parents' prerogative. Cocoa Puffs was a definite no—a summer camp or sleepover treat exclusively.

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But would they have let me eat this homemade version (made from seven ingredients and free of refined sugar, if that's a concern for you) from Genevieve Ko's new book Better Baking? Well it doesn't matter anymore because I'm a grown woman and I can occasionally eat chocolate for breakfast in moderation if I want to. And I want to!

Genevieve Ko's Homemade Coco Puffs
Genevieve Ko's Homemade Coco Puffs

The process of making these DIY "Coco Puffs" (which are really more like a mix between Puffs and Krispies) is similar to that for Rice Krispies treats. Except that instead of mixing the popped grains into a threateningly sticky mass of melted marshmallows and butter (more on how to do that here), you coat them in a mix of coconut oil, unsweetened cocoa powder, honey, salt, and vanilla extract. Then you bake them for 25 minutes at 300° F until they've re-crisped.

And yes, you could use Rice Krispies as the base of this cereal, though Ko recommends grains that are "light and airy" and "slightly inflated"—she likes Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs. You could also use the generic puffs that come in the nondescript bags on the outskirts of the cereal aisle: Try kamut puffs, why don't you!

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Try not to eat each puff individually before you can get them into a bowl with milk.
Try not to eat each puff individually before you can get them into a bowl with milk. Photo by James Ransom

The base mixture is open to interpretation, too: Experiment with melting down peanut butter or tahini along with the cocoa powder and coconut oil, or adding in a pinch of cinnamon or cayenne.

For flavor and texture variance, Ko also folds in large-flake coconut along with the cereal. You can try other add-ins in its place: chopped nuts, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Though now you're encroaching into granola territory...

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Genevieve Ko's Homemade Coco Puffs

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Makes 3 1/2 cups
  • 2 tablespoons solid virgin coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup (85 grams) runny mild honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (92 grams) unsweetened puffed whole-grain cereal
  • 1/2 cup (47 grams) unsweetened coconut flakes

Ideas for how to enjoy it:

  • In a bowl with very cold milk and fruit, obviously.
  • On top of oatmeal!
  • On top of ice cream.
  • As the top layer of a chocolate cream pie or pudding.
  • Folded into pancakes.
  • Layered into a trifle.
  • Crushed and used to top a cake (or to pair with frosting, between the layers).
  • Added to an Eton mess (or any other creamy-crunchy dessert).

What breakfast cereal would you like to recreate at home? Tell us in the comments!