Friday, October 21, 2011

Sweet Maple Snack Mix

Recently we celebrated Little Man’s birthday with an afternoon party in the park: a delightful, casual tractor-themed bash on what turned out to be a gorgeous October afternoon. Happily needing to feed nearly 50 of our wonderful friends, we had drawn up a menu of easy-to-prepare snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. Savory bites such as salami, fresh mozzarella, olives, gherkins, crisp vegetables, and three types of homemade hummus, including pumpkin. We also had the birthday boy's favorite Cheese Crunchies and mini cheese sandwich crackers from Trader Joe's. (Cheesy carbs! He is his mother's son.)

Along with the tractor-shaped (theme!) birthday cake, we served a few sweet treats. One of the favorites among them was this snack mix, adapted from a recipe I found online. It was my mom who suggested I make snack mix for the large crowd we were entertaining. Every fall and winter, Mom would make Chex mix to have on hand for Husker game parties, family gatherings, the holidays, or to serve to family and friends who dropped by. On those crisp afternoons when it was fresh from the oven, I loved snagging some warm cereal bits, especially the extra-crispy, extra-coated ones, savoring the salty tang of Worcestershire on my tongue.

Mom always made Chex mix in a large, battered baking pan, the outside painted a lovely 1970s russet; it was a bridal shower or wedding gift, if my memory serves. It was perfect for the task. Roomy enough to make a big batch and with high sides so you could stir without spilling. Alas, I have no such pan. I baked this on two rimmed cookie sheets, but I had to bake it for longer than 25 minutes. Next time, I plan to divide the mixture into thirds for baking. And the dishwasher (aka my darling husband) says the sweet, sticky goo dissolves in warm water, so cleanup isn't too much of a chore, but you could line the pans with parchment paper.




Sweet Maple Snack Mix (adapted from Tanya's Sweet Chex Mix)

7 c. Kix cereal
7 c. Crispix cereal
2 c. roasted and salted shelled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 c. pretzel sticks
½ c. brown rice syrup
½ c. pure maple syrup
1 c. sugar
¾ c. butter
Dash natural maple flavor
Pinch baking soda
¾ t. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 250°F. In a very large bowl, combine cereals, pepitas and pretzels. Set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt together brown rice syrup, maple syrup, sugar and butter. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Whisk in maple flavor, baking soda and cinnamon.

Pour syrup mixture over cereal mixture and toss to coat. Spread mixture evenly on large, rimmed cookie sheets or jelly roll pans. Bake for 25 minutes. If mixture is still sticky, bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until mixture appears dry. Remove to sheets of waxed paper, breaking apart any large clumps. Cool completely.

Copyright 2011

3 comments:

  1. Where does one find brown rice syrup and natural maple flavor?

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  2. Whole Foods definitely has both. Brown rice syrup is available at our local Safeway and Sprouts, too. If you are unable to find it, corn syrup is a perfect substitute.

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