Thursday, May 9, 2013

Making chex mix

The smell of childhood Decembers floated through the hallways of the dorm.  One of my girls came by my room and asked, "what is that SMELL?  The hall smells amazing!"

I laugh.  "It's chex mix.  Good, huh?  And--I made extras for you guys, I'll put them out later tonight."

"Wait, you can make chex mix at home?  Don't you just buy it?"***

Ha.  If you ever need a reminder that you're old, know that you were around before you could buy chex mix in a grocery store....for I actually remember when Chex mix in the bag first came out (wikipedia says it was 1985, but I'm pretty sure it must have been elusive in the Midwest until they reintroduced the brand in 1996, because it was a big deal when I was ten).  While it was the cool thing to have in your snack pack at school, once I tasted it, well, it was clearly a poor imitation of homemade chex mix.  There wasn't the same amount of crusty saltiness, and they didn't use nearly enough of the umami-laden Worcestershire sauce.  Homemade, clearly the winner.


Before my brother was born, my mom used to spend a Saturday every December making about 18 batches of chex mix for upcoming holiday parties and gifts.  She would spread parchment paper across about ten square feet of our kitchen counter and the kitchen table.  She'd make batch after batch after batch, the oven fogging up the kitchen windows.  I distinctly remember the year I was finally tall enough to actually see what mom was making and grab pieces of chex mix hot out of the oven, mom swatting my hands away.

(eating them hot is a rookie mistake, though, be warned...wait for them to cool)

Now as a GRT, when girls need a salty crunchy and protein-filled snack, chex mix is a total winner.  No, you shouldn't eat your weight in it, but at least it has some sort of nutritive balance between fat, protein, and carbohydrates.  And salt.  Can't forget the salt.  And I love making it for parties, because in my world growing up, it wasn't a true Minnesota cookout unless someone brought chex mix.  Last year for Fourth of July I made so much that I had to store it in my stock pot because I ran out of pyrex containers.  It's that crucial to the occasion.  Now that I think of it, mom and I actually had chex mix and margaritas up in the Penthouse for dinner one night when she was here last summer.  And now that's she's coming back, well, there must be chex mix.

So - without further ado, here is my souped up recipe ---lots of peanuts, lots of cashews, and easy to make, four batches at a time (provided, of course, that you have four 9x13 pans).  

Chex Mix

recipe adapted by me

6 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon onion salt
34 grams low sodium worcestershire sauce (2 tablespoons)
93 grams corn chex (3 cups)
81 grams rice chex (3 cups)
141 grams wheat chex (2 1/4 cups)
224 grams dry roasted unsalted peanuts (2 cups)
224 grams dry roasted unsalted cashews (2 cups)

1.  Preheat oven to 250ºF.
2.  Melt butter in a small saucepan on the stove.
3.  Measure out cereals and nuts into a 9x13 baking dish.
4.  Once butter is melted, whisk in salts and worcestershire sauce until dissolved.
5.  Pour over cereal and nuts and stir carefully. 
6.  Bake for 1-1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until delicious buttery sauce has been absorbed and the chex mix feels crunchy when you stir it.
7.  Remove from oven and cool completely before storing in air-tight containers. 

***this conversation happened not once, but twice!

1 comment:

Oksana said...

Haha. I had the same reaction: "wait, you can make chex mix???" But, I guess one I thought about it, it totally made sense. I just have never really been into chex mix but I'm sure the homemade version is delicious. I remember your homemade puppy chow from a party last year but I can't remember chex mix.