Over the Lunar New Year, dishes like longevity noodles, dumplings, and tang yuan, or glutinous rice balls, get the lion’s share of the limelight. But over here in Malaysia, we’re big on bite-size, festive snacks. From pineapple tarts to tuile-like coconut crisps, tapioca biscuits to arrowhead chips, we’ll gorge ourselves silly as we come together to celebrate the annual festivities. While many of these snacks require plenty of time and technique to make (some even require specialty equipment), there’s one that’s incredibly easy to replicate at home: cornflake clusters.
All that is needed to make cornflake clusters is to melt butter, honey, and salt in a pan, toss in some cornflakes, and form the mixture into clusters on a tray or in little paper baking cups. A 10-minute bake later, and your kitchen will be perfumed with a sweet smell akin to salted caramel popcorn, and you’ll have these crunchy, crispy snacks. They’re commonly topped with rainbow sprinkles for some pops of color, or sometimes adorned with a single cranberry, adding a bit of tang to cut through the sweetness.
I’m not quite sure why these are tied to the festive season—I suspect it’s to do with their golden color (a shade symbolic of prosperity and wealth). And while not traditional—cornflakes weren’t a thing until late in the 19th century—these sweet treats have slotted themselves into the slew of modern festive snacks.
So serve these to your favorite uncles and aunties as you update them on the year’s happenings. (Or on the flip side, use them as an edible excuse to dodge pesky questions from relatives about your relationship status and financial health.) Either way, whether you make them or not, here’s me wishing you a honey-sweet, buttery smooth, joyous, prosperous Lunar New Year! —Jun
Watch This Recipe
(42 grams) unsalted butter
(60 milliliters) honey
(3 grams) kosher salt
2 1/2 ounces
(70 grams) cornflakes
rainbow sprinkles (optional)
Heat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
Put the butter, honey, and salt in a large, wide, high-sided nonstick skillet or pan over medium heat and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the butter is melted. Swirl the pan around to combine the mixture. Continue cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture starts to bubble, but not brown.
Add the cornflakes into the pan. With a heat-safe spatula, mix and fold the cornflakes around so they are evenly coated in the honey butter. Remove the pan from the heat. Drop small spoonfuls of the cornflakes on the prepared sheets, leaving a ½-inch gap in between each cluster so they don’t stick to each other. (You should be able to fit 15 to 20 clusters onto each half-sheet pan.) When forming the clusters, you can gently nudge the cornflakes together with the spoons so they stick better. Top each cornflake cluster with rainbow sprinkles (if using).
Bake both trays of cornflake clusters for 10 minutes, until a smell akin to buttery popcorn fills your kitchen. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the tray for 10 minutes. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in a cool, dry area for up to 2 days, as they can lose their crispiness over time.
See what other Food52ers are saying.