October 10

Chex Mix + Bonus Roasted Chickpeas

I think my favorite sort of food crack is Chex Mix. The combination of crispy bits get eaten in the order of my least favorite:  rye chips, twists, wheat chex, and then lastly the corn chex. With any luck, the manufacturers have included many flavor blasted corn chex in the bag. They really are the best.

Well, Chex Mix isn’t cheap. Neither is any the off brand stuff. It’s a teensy bit cheaper, but not enough. For a snack food with absolutely no health benefits, I shouldn’t be paying the price of something that does have health benefits. I mean, I might as well take that $4 and buy four pounds of carrots instead! Right? Right! But since salty junk food is what I crave and what will be, inevitably, my final downfall, I thought maybe I could make it myself. I know the Chex website has its recipe available, but in my search, I found a recipe that could be done in a crock pot. A crock pot! Yes! That meant I could have it working on making toasty, yummy, salty snacks while I used the oven for other nefarious dinner dealings (homemade pizza).

But here’s the thing – the recipe I was using, while a good combination of flavors, completely turned my Chex mix into soggy crap. You’re supposed to crock back it for 2 1/2 hours, with the lid on. This seemed weird to me, since the lid traps in heat and moisture with any other meal. The instructions do clearly state to use the lid. Every half an hour, you’re supposed to give the mix a good stir, to make sure it’s heating evenly. With every stir, I tasted a piece of the mix, to ensure it was still tasty. At the one hour mark (the second stir), I noticed one of the pieces of cereal didn’t have that famous crunch that comes with Chex (of any kind). I didn’t think much of it – actually I thought maybe it had been a butter saturated piece – stirred it, put the lid back on, and wandered off for another half an hour. At that point, I returned to find my pretzels were nearly mush. HOW COULD A RECIPE FAIL ME?! HOW COULD MY CROCK POT FAIL ME?!

Even though I had the thought earlier about how a lid might adversely affect the outcome of my beloved homemade Chex mix, I realized that this combination was not going to work. So I banged into fast action, lined my big, rimmed baking tray with parchment, and dumped the contents of my crock pot liner onto the paper. I spread it out evenly, set the oven to 250º, and prayed to the Flying Spaghetti Monster that the mush would right itself.

And it did!

Now the problem was, the finished product had very little flavor. Part of the problem was that I think I might have used too much in the way of cereal for the amount the spiced liquid I was making. So I left my mix cool off (because I needed to get the oven to 500º for pizza), and after dinner made more flavor sauce to pour atop the mess of cereal, pretzels, and roasted chickpeas(!!!) for one more round in the oven.

The result was so much better. Not quite the same exact taste and experience as a bag of store bought Chex, but pretty damn tasty for what it is.

As a last minute note:  I had posted on the SnapGuide (where I got the crockpot recipe from) asking if the mix getting soggy was supposed to happen and the woman responded that yes it was, and as it baked longer in the crock, the moisture goes away and it crisps up. And there’s always the possibility of turning the crock on high and making sure to stir it often so it doesn’t burn. Good to know for next time.

Chex Mix

Chex Mix

source:  SnapGuide [How To Make Homemade Chex Mix in the Crock Pot]

Ingredients

1/4 cup salted butter
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
rice Chex
wheat Chex
pretzel sticks, broken in half
roasted chickpeas (directions below)

You can also add or omit any kind of nibbly bits as you see fit

Directions

For the Crockpot

1. Mix Chex cereal, pretzels, and whatever other snack bits into the crock pot and set aside.

2. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic and onion powders, sugar, and black pepper. Mix well and let come to a full boil. Remove from heat.

3. Slowly drizzle the butter mixture over the cereal in the crock pot, making sure to fold it in as evenly as possible.

4. Place the lid on top and set the crock pot to low. Cook time is a total of 2 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. As mentioned, at the half way mark, the mix will start to become soft and a bit soggy. According to the recipe guru in charge, it will crisp up given enough time.

5. Store in an air tight container for up to two weeks. However, because of the use of butter, you may find it doesn’t last that long… assuming you don’t eat it all in one sitting!

For the Oven

1. In a large bowl, combine cereal, pretzels, and whatever other snack bits you’ll be using. Set aside.

2. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic and onion powders, sugar, and black pepper. Mix well and let come to a full boil. Remove from heat.

3. Slowly drizzle the butter mixture over the cereal in the bowl, making sure to fold it in as evenly as possible.

4. On a large, parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet, spread out the cereal mixture in a thin layer.

5. Place baking sheet in a 250ºF oven for 1 hour. Stir every 15 minutes.

6. Store in an air tight container for up to two weeks… yadda yadda yadda

Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients

1 can chickpeas
olive oil

Directions

1. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Lay out on paper towels and dry completely. You can choose to rub off the extra bits of skin or leave them on.

2. On a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet, spread out the dried chickpeas and lightly drizzle olive oil over them. Toss them in the oil, making sure to get them all coated.

3. Place in a 400ºF oven for 30-40 minutes, until crisp.

I cut the roasted chickpeas in half before putting them in my Chex mix.

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