Chex Mix Again

September 15, 2011

I grew up in a house with a lot of food.  My family all likes to eat and I have two younger brothers, one of whom grew to be 6’4″ and the other grew to 6’1″.  (I’m 5’3″.  But I got the small nose gene.)  My mom is a good cook and she made virtually all of our meals.  Breakfast was usually cereal but she packed our lunches and made us dinner every night.  She often baked so we had homemade treats for after dinner.  But she never made snack food.  My mother is not a snacker.  Like, she never snacks.  Ever.  It is admirable really because I recently read that the average American consumes over 500 calories a day in mindless snacking.  Ahem.

In the two months since I last made Chex Mix, I have found myself discussing the stuff more than you would expect.  It turns out that I am not the only one who loves it.  Many people have memories of taking Chex Mix on camping trips or having it around during the holidays.  Why don’t I have those memories?  Oh yes, the no snacking thing.  It’s not that we didn’t snack – my brothers had (and have) huge appetites.  Alex, my middle brother, once ate 98 shrimp skewers each with three shrimp.  I can’t count that high but that’s a lot of shrimp.  The boys ate a lot.  So there were snacks.  But not homemade.

In my conversations with people about Chex Mix (what? is that weird?), I found that people are partial to certain things being in there.  Katie, the woman who waxes my eyebrows (what? is this weird too?) says that her mom not only puts all the different kinds of Chex cereal in (not just the rice), but also Cheerios and Cheerios soak up all the butter and taste the best.  On the list for next time.  But overall, I’m pretty happy with how this one turned out.

Here we find salty from soy sauce, rich from butter, sweet from maple syrup, and spicy from Thai curry paste.  The spice is very background although you could certainly add more paste to make it spicier.  I like all the crunch additions here – almonds, cashews, rice crackers, pretzels, and, of course, the Chex cereal.  This recipe makes approximately one ton of mix but it keeps well and you will win friends with it as you bring it over for playdates, to accompany cocktails, or to accompany cocktails at playdates.  :)

One Year Ago:  Tomato, Semolina, and Cilantro Soup
Two Years Ago:  Chickpeas and Chard with Cilantro and Cumin
Three Years Ago:  Pissaladière

Maple-Soy Snack Mix
Food & Wine
Makes about 27 (!) cups

12 cups Rice Chex cereal (12 ounces)
1½ pounds roasted mixed salted nuts (I used cashews and almonds), 6 cups
3 cups Asian rice cracker mix (7 ounces)
3 cups sesame sticks (8 ounces)
3 cups pretzel nuggets or mini pretzels (8 ounces)
2 sticks unsalted butter
½ cup maple syrup
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp. Thai red curry paste or sambal oelek
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 275ºF.  In a large bowl, combine the cereal with the nuts, rice cracker mix, sesame sticks, and pretzels.

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, maple syrup, soy sauce, and curry paste and bring to a simmer, whisking to dissolve the curry paste.  Pour the mixture over the snack mix and toss to coat completely.  Season generously with salt and pepper and spread on 3 large rimmed baking sheets.  Bake for 35 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times and shifting the sheets, until nearly dry and toasted.  Let cool completely, stirring occasionally.  (The snack mix can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.  Recrisp if necessary.)



14 Comments »

  1. This looks so good! I love the idea of maple syrup and the sesame sticks. I would have to use wheat chex for some of the rice chex. I have been known to be guilty of picking the wheat chex out of chex mixes.

    Comment by Kath — September 15, 2011 @ 11:05 pm

  2. I don’t have curry paste, but have curry powder. Any chance for a substitution? BTW, I bet this smells incredible while it’s baking!

    Comment by Melissa — September 15, 2011 @ 11:52 pm

  3. hehe, very interesting about your chex mix conversations. In my anthropology classes we would have called that folklore – a food tradition or memory that is passed down through generations and for which everyone has their own, unique variation.
    I have never made Chex mix, nor do I remember my mom making is but maybe she did…Now I’ll have to ask!

    Comment by Rachel — September 16, 2011 @ 12:15 am

  4. uggg. I wish I didnt snack. Love this mix!!! beautiful photo too!

    Comment by leslie — September 16, 2011 @ 1:30 am

  5. chex mix w/ just one kind of chex? that isn’t right :) funny isn’t how sometimes we are so used to the version of something we had growing up that we are sure that is the only way to make it. my mom’s version had the rice, corn and wheat. my favorite was the wheat – lucky for me since others seemed to like the other two more.

    Comment by jacquie — September 16, 2011 @ 2:03 am

  6. My grandma used to make Chex mix every year at Christmas. TONS of it. She would use corn, rice and wheat chex, pretzels and all kinds of nuts. Almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, peanuts. The flavor was more salty, garlicky (?). I like the idea of salty/sweet that you have here.

    Comment by alison — September 16, 2011 @ 2:26 am

  7. I can’t believe I’ve never had chex mix before. I think I said that last time you posted another version. Crazy, because it’s totally the kind of snack I love – salty with lots of crunchy bits and so flavourful. I love snacks :)

    Comment by kickpleat — September 16, 2011 @ 2:54 am

  8. Our Mom made chex mix and my brother has perfected the art. When his youngest daughter got married there was a HUGE bowl of her Dad’s chex mix at the fancy wedding reception!

    Comment by Susan Patricia — September 16, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

  9. I’ll be honest, I actually don’t snack either. I mean, I suppose I do if you count nectarines, plums, peaches and apples…but I don’t mindlessly snack. Probably because in college when I mindlessly snacked (Chex Mix was certainly a culprit) I gained the freshman fifteen (and then some). But for parties and such, this Chex Mix does sound perfect. I think you’ve hit on all my favorite flavors in this!

    Comment by Joanne — September 16, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

  10. I snack way too much, but I usually only have one large meal a day. I made a sweet version of chex mix not too long ago and I realized that I don’t crave it nearly as much as the salty version. This recipe sounds more to my taste and I love that you added a bit of spiciness to it.

    Comment by melinda ke — September 16, 2011 @ 9:39 pm

  11. It takes a confident foodie to post not one, but two recipes for Chex mix–love it! Do you have a chili con queso recipe that includes Velveeta?

    Comment by Donna @ Cooking + Praying — September 17, 2011 @ 12:03 am

  12. Love the thai curry paste, creative addition. Thanks, Dana!

    Comment by Clara — September 17, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

  13. Um…98 shrimp skewers? I have a big appetite… but whoa.

    Comment by Maris (In Good Taste) — September 19, 2011 @ 1:46 am

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