A big crunchy bowl of cereal still has the power to transport us to the carefree days of our youth watching cartoons on Saturday mornings or sneaking handfuls right out of the box for an after-school snack.

For National Cereal Day on March 7th, tap into nostalgia to win over the hearts of guests by incorporating cereal favorites into your menu for unexpected twists on items they won't stop gushing about.

Crush It Up

Jazz up your desserts by crushing up cereal in place of typical pastry dough or graham cracker crusts. A lime or lemon cheesecake would pair perfectly with a crust made from pulsed fruity cereal. Just add melted butter and press the crumb mixture into a springform pan to bake. Another benefit of making your own cereal crust is that a variety of rice or corn cereals provide a quick and easy way to sneak some gluten-free desserts onto your menu.

Dig Into Dessert

Funky ice cream sandwiches are all the rage, and what better vehicle to carry a scoop of frozen milk than a classic cereal? Mix your choice with melted butter and marshmallows and smoosh onto a cookie sheet for that classic gooey treat we all know and love. When hardened, cut into shapes and pair with ice cream sandwiched between two pieces. Freeze until service, and you'll have treats entire families will swoon over.

Make It a Main

Take the swicy (sweet/spicy) trend to the next level by incorporating sweet cereals as toppers on spicy entrées. Insanely popular spicy chicken sandwiches can be elevated by coating in crushed honey corn cereal before drizzling on a fiery cayenne sauce. Or put a peanut satay twist on your skewered chicken by coating in crushed peanut butter cereal and serve with a spicy Sriracha soy sauce.

Any kind of healthy bran, wheat or oat cereals can also load up the fiber as a filler in meatballs and veggie burgers. West Creek® Quick Rolled Oats have endless options for entrées and can also be used as a healthy topping for casseroles or gratins.

Don't Forget the Milk

Baristas and bartenders have already started incorporating flavored "cereal milk" into their concoctions, so this food holiday is the perfect time for your business to dip its toes into — arguably — the best part of the bowl. The secret to making the most flavorful milk is by first toasting the cereal on a sheet pan in a 300° oven for 15 minutes. Stir cereal into milk and steep for 20 minutes before straining. Season to taste with sugar and salt.

Make a cinnamon crunch milk punch cocktail using cinnamon whiskey or rum mixed-in with your cereal milk. Up the value by rimming the glass in the same crushed cereal. Serve a twist on a White Russian by subbing cereal milk in place of cream. Float a cereal piece on top as a garnish.

On the espresso side of things, fruity milks are popping up as a playful addition to morning coffee. Who wouldn't crack a huge smile, even on a Monday morning, when their subtly fruity latte comes out with rainbow marshmallows on top? Cocoa cereal milks are also a great rendition of a classic mocha without the syrup.

Celebrate National Cereal Day creatively, and let nostalgia rule your menu for the win. Just don't be surprised if diners show up in their favorite PJs!

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