Homemade Nuts and Bolts: Homemade is always, always best, but….
…honestly, this is the only reason I buy “store bought” cereals, and it actually upsets me… but, if you are looking for that old fashioned “once on the side of the cereal box” Nuts & Bolts recipe, this is it!! The life long tradition of munching homemade nuts and bolts warm out of mom’s oven is a rare one from “our modern convenience food age” that I have chosen to carry on in my family because I LOVE them! They are not even close to anything you can buy in a box. Well, except that all of the ingredients come in a box. The “sauce” is almost completely butter, but don’t let that deter you or influence you. This recipe is “the one” you have been looking for and these nuts and bolts are worth every calorie!
I remember taking the pretzel and piling the cheerios onto it as a child. Now, the cheerio hole is no longer big enough to do that. What’s with that?
We also used to be able to buy wheat, corn, and rice Chex in Canada, but only Rice Chex are available now, so use Shreddies and Life Cereal, or anything similar to these shapes. I will be honest. Nothing compares to the Chex. Childhood taste memories are powerful. Shreddies are really good in this, but the Corn and Rice Chex cannot be substituted with anything I have found to be as tasty or as light for these famous Homemade Nuts and Bolts. Fortunately, I have a daughter in the United States who keeps me in stock. Sometimes I can find Rice Chex here, now, but never the Corn or Wheat Chex.
Homemade Nuts and Bolts: The Dry Ingredients
I always make a double batch. Above is my massive turkey roaster past full.
Heaping once the pretzels are added.
Yet, a single batch is just not enough. Not for our family. I have resolved myself to letting it go. Once a year, this is just fine. Actually, even important as the memories within that bowl are too precious to be messed with.
Homemade Nuts and Bolts: Making the Sauce
Mis en place, above, and in the pot to melt together, below.
Done. I do “mess” with this original Homemade Nuts and Bolts recipe now and then. This year, I doubled the Worchestershire Sauce. Sometimes I add Vegeta. Don’t mess with the basics, though. Seriously. Each ingredient makes it what is is. Iconic.
Homemade Nuts and Bolts: Dressing the Mix
It is critical to evenly distribute the sauce before baking the bits, so pouring it over the top in one fell swoop is not a good idea.
Use a measuring cup, and drizzle 1/4 of the sauce over the top; pour entire batch into another container to toss. Drizzle next 1/4 over the top; pour back into roaster to combine well. Continue drizzling, gently mixing and the back and forth “thing” until sauce is gone and every precious morsel of the Homemade Nuts and Bolts are coated with the buttered fatty good stuff.
One batch will fill a complete sheet pan. Not a half sheet pan. A sheet pan, as above. I have three sheet pans and use two for my double batch, in the same oven at 250ºF for 90 minutes, tossing well to combine (using the back and forth into another bowl to combine) before returning to the oven every 30 minutes. I have a lot of family to share with… but, don’t, for a minute, think these Homemade Nuts and Bolts are good for you. I mean, boxed and processed cereal isn’t good for you in the first place! Then, look at the butter in the recipe! Don’t say I didn’t warn you, yet these are really, really addictive, and our house is not Christmas without them!
This is the recipe you have been looking for. The good old fashioned recipe straight off the box in the early 1960's or late 1950's. Homemade. Absolutely excellent, and not all that good for you - but better than some snacks!
- 1 lb. butter
- 2 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1½tsp. onion salt (didn't have any so I used 1½tsp Vegeta)
- 1½tsp. celery salt
- 1½t Spike (this is not in the traditional version, but I add it because I like it)
- 4 cups Corn Chex (available in the US, not in Canada)
- 4 cups Wheat Chex (available in the US, not in Canada)
- 4 cups of Rice Chex (available in the US, not in Canada)
- 4 cups Cheerios
- 4 cups of pretzel sticks
- 1 box cheese nips or cheese bites
- Heat oven to 250° F
- Place butter in heavy pot; melt it while the oven is preheating
- Add next five ingredients and stir well to combine
- Combine all remaining ingredients in a large roaster, then transfer, if needed, to casserole dishes for baking (your pan can be full enough to toss, or to stir, but should not be heaping)
- Pour sauce over in ½ cup increments, stirring gently and firmly to combine each time, until all has been mixed in
- Bake for 1½ hours; stir every ½ hour
- Store in air tight container; be sure to hide some for yourself!
The massive double box of Cheerios holds 16 cups in one bag
My 2014 batch had all of this, 2 boxes of Cheese Bits, 8 cups of Pretzel sticks and 8 cups of Shreddies; then I had 60 cups of ingredients. The one pound of butter recipe has 20 cups of ingredients, so I multiplied the sauce x 3 and mixed it up a bit. It was stellar!
I did adjust the seasonings:
3 pounds butter
6 ablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
3 tablespoons. garlic powder
2 tablespoons of Vegeta
2 tablespoons. celery salt
2 tablespoons Spike
Nuts and Bolts 2016
I used one 10 cup bag each of Corn Chex and Rice Chex,
one entire 8 cup box of Wheat Chex and one complete box of Cherrios with 16 cups, instead of 8 (this alters the balance, theoretically)
2 boxes of Cheese Nips and one bag or 8 cups of pretzels.
I doubled the sauce recipe, but added double the Worshestershire this time which I really liked! They seem to be delicious, yet again!
And whose tracks are these? This reminds me of the tracks I found last year! But, they do look different, and… upon investigation: AHHHHH!
I’ll let him live in his little fantasy world – for now… as if I don’t know…. EVERYTHING.