Jordan's Page of Useless Babble

Another Semi-Epic Saga About Cereal

For the last two Halloweens I've been on a mission. Back in 2005, a webcomic named Something Positive introduced a short storyline where the main characters baked several sweet treats made with the General Mills monster cereals: Count Chocula, Frankenberry and Booberry. General Mills also made two other cereals in that line: Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute, but both of those have been discontinued for well over a decade.

In 2009 was Cooking with Count Chocula where I made Chocula Crispy Treats, Chocula Brownies and the Count's Slimer Cookies. In 2010 was Cooking with Frankenberry making Frankenberry Crispy Treats, Frankenberry Crumble and Frankenberry Shortcake.

This year was Booberry, the last one. Like the other two, its corn-based cereal with marbits (dehydrated marshmallows), like blueberry-flavored Lucky Charms. I'm certainly more of a fan of blueberries than I am of chocolate or strawberries. Blueberries mix well with citrus fruit, so whatever I make is going to have to have something like lemon in it or else it will come out way too sweet and taste like shit.

In 2009 Elan Games in Lindsay was the home of my guinea pigs, but since they shut their doors in early 2010 (link), I've been using my regular Dungeons and Dragons group to test these desserts out on. Most of them were around for the last two years and knew what to expect.

As I started to work on getting my hands on some Booberry, I went through the source material to see what I was going to make.

Thankfully, I had two ideas in the source material: Booberry Cobbler and Booberry Torte. Like in previous years I'd also make Booberry Crispy Treats, and I also thought I'd try something pretty simple: Booberry Jello.

It's funny 'cause he looks stoned.
It's funny 'cause he looks stoned.

After a short wait, my source came through. I had the cereal, I had a plan, I had the recipes, and this year I also had an assistant, Scott. Scott works with me, and wanted in on what might be the last one of these projects.

Yay!  It's Booberry!  No's just Scott.
Yay! It's Booberry! No's just Scott.

Chapter 1: Booberry Jello?

The idea of Booberry Jello came at the last minute when I was out getting supplies. I found a box of mixed berry flavored Jello powder and thought about suspending marbits inside. Since they all look like little ghosts, it would be like having ghosts flying around inside the dark blue gelatin dessert. I really have no idea why I thought this would be a good idea. I was pretty drunk at the time.

Since the Jello would probably take a long time to set, that's what Scott and I got started on first. While I threw some water in the kettle to boil, he got to work on the most important job of all: separating the cereal and the marshmallow bits.

After the first year, I quickly came to the conclusion that this really had to be done in advance of any of the real work. Not only because it takes a shit-load of time to do (you try meticulously removing marbits from two boxes of cereal some time), but because the marshmallows and the cereal rarely need to go together at the same time. If you're making dough, you don't want marshmallows, and if you're making a filling you don't want cereal. It really just makes sense to keep them separated.

While Scott labored over a box of cereal, his fingers crabbed from precision work, I started the careful adding of hot water to Jello powder and began to stir like my life depended on it. Once everything was dissolved, we came to a bit of a crossroads: how the hell do you add marshmallows to Jello anyway?

Stir you bastard!
Stir you bastard!

See, I'm not a housewife from the 50s, so I don't really have any idea about the finer points of Jello creation. I can add powder to water, sometimes even in a mold, but I've never really figured out how people suspend fruit and marshmallows and vegetables and meat and shit inside, getting them to float in the center like a wayward adventurer in a gelatinous cube.

I figured that we'd need to wait a bit until the Jello began to set, and then add the marbits. I figured that way, the Jello would be a bit thicker and more able to support an addition without it either floating to the top or sinking to the bottom. Scott thought that we should just add the marbits to the Jello right away and let nature sort it out. He won the game of rock paper scissors and we began.

We added a couple of small handfuls of marbits to the mixture and stirred to add them. They floated on top, ethereal on their dark blue ocean of gelatin and flavored sugar water. Almost immediately, the surface tension of the unset Jello pulled the marbits together into a single mass, almost resembling ancient Pangaea. After a few more test stirs to try to break them up, we resolved to stick the Jello in the fridge for a bit and come back to it.

Our vaguely European-looking Jello creation.
Our vaguely European-looking Jello creation.

A few hours later, while we were waiting on some of the other experiments to finish, we pulled out our prehistorical gelatin dessert and tried stirring apart the marshmallows again. While they broke up somewhat, they still clumped together, this time resembling something closer to an alien landscape surrounded by a vast ocean.

My dreams of floating ghosts inspiring blue-tinted fear had been crushed, so we put the Jello back in the fridge and continued on.

Chapter 2: Booberry Crispy Treats

Our next project would be the quickest: Booberry Crispy Treats. They're just like Rice Krispy Treats, but with Booberry cereal instead. They're not exactly inspired, I know, but these are always the 'safe' dessert that people like to try first. It's familiar, and it doesn't cause a headache when you try to imagine how it's made.

While Scott continued to sort through the cereal, causing irreparable damage to his fingers through repeated stress injury, I poured out a few cups of the unsorted cereal to work with. Then, just to be a dick, I poured his bowl of marshmallow pieces into his bowl of cereal pieces and mixed it up so he'd have to start all over again.

We are now in flavor country.
We are now in flavor country.

Butter and marshmallows (the normal kind you toast over campfires, not the ones that come in the cereal) go into a pot over heat until melted. Add in a pinch of salt and some vanilla extract, and then stir to combine. This forms the basic glue of the Crispy Treat. To that we added the unseparated cereal and mixed together until it became a gooey mass before transferring that to a buttered pan.

After doing this for so long, I should have probably remembered by now how much stickier these things can get than Rice Krispy treats, due to the extra marshmallows the cereal contains. After a couple of accidents and a very thorough hand-greasing, we were able to force the treats into the pan and move on to the next dessert.

It took us a half a cup of vegetable oil to force that stuff into the pan.
It took us a half a cup of vegetable oil to force that stuff into the pan.

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