Hot cereal add-ons

Think of this chart as a working plan for mixing and matching ingredients in a saucepan of hot cereal or for topping a steamy bowl.

Ingredient Amount How to use
Rolled barley flakes Substitute 1 / 2 cup for an equal amount of spelt flakes or rolled wheat flakes Add along with the other grains and meals
Cream of buckwheat Substitute 1 / 4 cup for an equal amount of brown rice farina Add along with the other grains and meals
Dry sweetening agents: brown sugar (light or dark), muscovado sugar (light or dark), evaporated cane juice sugar 1 / 4 to 1 / 3 cup for the entire recipe Add to water and salt before boiling
Liquid sweetening agents: maple syrup or agave nectar 1 / 4 to 1 / 3 cup for the entire recipe Add to water and salt before boiling
Raw or roasted cashews, raw walnuts, raw almonds, raw pistachios 1 tablespoon per serving Sprinkle over cooked hot cereal
Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds 1 tablespoon per serving for pumpkin seeds, 1 teaspoon per serving for sunflower seeds, 1 / 2 teaspoon per serving for sesame seeds Sprinkle over cooked hot cereal
Small dried fruit: blueberries, cranberries, currants, raisins (golden or dark), cherries (sweet or tart), gooseberries, goji berries; unsweetened coconut flakes 1 tablespoon per serving Stir into cereal halfway through the cooking time or sprinkle over cooked hot cereal
Large dried fruit: pitted prunes, apricots, pluots, pineapple, dates 3 or 4 pieces per serving Dice and stir into cereal halfway through the cooking time, or sprinkle over cooked hot cereal
Preserved/crystallized ingredients: crystallized ginger, ginger in syrup, kumquats in syrup 1 or 2 pieces per serving Dice and stir into hot cereal just before serving
Ground spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom For cinnamon, use 3 teaspoons; for nutmeg and ginger, use 1 teaspoon; for cardamom, use 1/2 teaspoon (all amounts are for the entire recipe) Add to water and salt before boiling
Vanilla extract 2 to 3 teaspoons for the entire recipe Stir into hot cereal just before serving
Whey protein powder 1 / 4 cup for the entire recipe Stir into salted boiling water
Finishing liquids: milk, half-and-half, heavy cream, coconut milk 1 / 4 cup per serving (or as desired) Heat the liquid, and pour over individual servings of hot cereal
For sprinkling: toasted wheat germ, roasted unsalted soy nuts 2 to 3 teaspoons per serving Sprinkle over cooked hot cereal

The Washington Post. Published Jan. 3, 2012.