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Quite possibly the best Chex Mix recipe in the world.
Make your sauce, then combine with the "dry" ingredients (Chex, pretzels, cheese crackers and nuts) and cook in a slow oven for one hour.
- Make 48 cups of Chex Mix
- Large Scale Chex Mix production.
- Shipping the Chex Mix
For 48 cups (3 batches) of dry ingredients:
Preheat oven to 250 F. If using a large heavy pot, put the pot in there to preheat as well.
- One largest (12 oz) box Rice chex;
- One largest (12 oz) box Corn chex;
- One large (16) bag best-quality snack pretzels;
- Three 8-oz boxes or two 12-oz boxes of best-quality cheese crackers
- One can (16 oz) (3 cups) best-quality cocktail peanuts;
- 3/4 lb best grade butter;
- 3 oz Worchestershire sauce;
- 1.5 oz Tabasco sauce;
- 1 T seasoned salt.
- Prepare the dry ingredients by combining them gently in a large container. A very large roasting pan or a large canner or a box lined with a plastic bag will work.
- Prepare the sauce for one 18 c batch in a large kettle or pan:
- Thoroughly melt, but do not brown, one stick (1/4 lb) butter;
- Stir in the following seasonings into the liquid melted butter:
- 2 T (1 oz) Worchestershire sauce
- 1 T (1/2 oz) Tabasco sauce
- 1t seasoned salt
- optional: 1/2 t garlic powder
- optional: 1/2 t basil
- Optional: 1/2 t paprika
- Optional: 1/8 t pepper
- Add 18 cups of the dry ingredients to the sauce, stirring gently until all pieces are coated and seasoning is absorbed into the cereal. Slightly shiny crackers will be the clue.
- Cook for one hour, stirring every 15 to 30 minutes to evenly brown the ingredients and to avoid having the seasoned butter pool on the bottom of the pan.
- Repeat for subsequent batches.
Large Scale Chex-Mix Making
I traditionally make 15 - 18 batches of Chex Mix and gift it to all the branches of the family tree. I do have a process that keeps me from losing my mind.
- Make sure you have enough empty pans and enough cleared space for the cooked Chex Mix that will be accumulating rapidly. Very large rectangular aluminum foil lasagna pans (12 x 20 x 4 inches) (full steam table size) will hold 48 cups (3 batches) of Chex Mix and can be reused year after year.
- Stir all the Chex Mix cereal together in a very large container or lined box.
- Prepare the sauce for one batch.
- Put 6 cups cereal in the pan in which you will cook them in.
- Pour the sauce over the cereal and stir carefully with a flat edge spatula. You are seasoning the cereal first because it is the blandest ingredient. It will suck up the sauce but leave plenty for the other ingredients.
- Add a box of crackers (6 c), a cup of peanuts, and 5 cups of pretzels. Stir carefully with the flat-edge spatula. You are using a flat-edge spatula rather than a spoon because the spatula will make much better contact with the bottom of the pan, where the sauce tends to congregate and cook in clumps if not stirred in carefully. If you have no clumps, you will not be tempted to eat them and burn holes in your tongue.
- Cook for 60 minutes total, stirring intermittently. Many recipes recommend stirring at 15 minute intervals. If your pan is deep and heavy, 30 minutes should be fine.
- At the 30-minute mark, put a stick (1/4 c) of butter in an oven-proof dish and put the dish into the oven next to the pot. If your oven is like my oven, this will be the right amount of time to thoroughly melt the butter without browning it. When this batch is done, your melted butter for the next batch of sauce will be ready to hand. You will save time and your melted butter will be perfect.
- At the 60-minute mark, remove the Chex Mix and transfer to a large pan where it can thoroughly cool. DO NOT cover it or package it until thoroughly cool!
- If you are continuing your cooking, put the cereal in the pot, mix up the sauce, and repeat.
- The selection and proportion of dry ingredients can vary. My dry ingredients are about 1/3 Chex cereal.
- I use Corn and Rice Chex. The Wheat chex, with their stronger taste and color, are often avoided by friends and family.
- Cheese crackers come in a variety of shapes, flavors and colors. Ditto, pretzels. Variety adds to eye appeal.
- The low cooking temperature (250 F) makes this recipe almost fool-proof. You have time to stir the sauce up from the bottom so it doesn't burn there, and you can even forget to take it out of the oven on time without overcooking.
- I have made Chex Mix in canning pots, disposable aluminum roaster pans, and even a slow cooker (with lid on). My current favorite is my very very large cast iron kettle.
- If you are cooking the chex mix in a heavy pan, you can turn off the oven after the the last stir and it will finish cooking with the residual heat. This means you can turn off the heat, go to bed, and wake up in the morning to perfect Chex Mix.
- Save the cereal boxes and interior waxed bags if you plan to mail the Chex mix, and you won't have to worry about finding or retrieving containers. Or save the boxes and use zip-lock bags within them... handy for the recipients if they do not plan on eating the whole box at once.
Shipping Chex Mix
I make bushels of Chex Mix in early December and ship them out to children, sisters, nieces, nephews and friends. I used to put all the chex mix for family members who lived closed together in one box, but over the years I realized that sometimes the chex mix didn't get shared as I expected. Now I just take a "don' make me think" approach:
What size shipping box to use?
- After Halloween, I check my inventory of USPS flat-rate boxes and order more if necessary.
- In early November, I purchase the ingredients I will need. Double check your supplies of Worchestershire and Tabasco sauce!
- Pick a weekend in late November to do your cookings.
- When cooking time comes, carefully open all Chex cereal and cracker boxes and save both the internal waxed bags and the boxes.
- Make and completely cool the Chex mix.
- Re-pack into the original internal bags and boxes (if a bag rips, I replace it with a plastic zip-lock one);
- Pack the boxes of Chex Mix into the USPS boxes;
- Print mailing labels, including one for the inside of each box;
- Bring to the Post Office or schedule a pickup from the doorstep.
- Medium Flat Rate (000) ($16.25 2021): one 21 oz cracker box + 12 oz cracker box.
- Medium Flat Rate box (001)($16.25 2021) will hold:
- 1 12-oz cracker box and one 12-oz chex;
- - or - one 24 oz Rice Crispie box;
- - or - two 12 oz cracker boxes;
- - or - one 12 oz + one 21 oz cracker boxes;
- - or - one 18 oz chex box
- Medium Flat Rate box (002) ($16.25 2021) will hold:
- 2 12-oz cracker boxes with lots of empty space;
- -or- 1 12 oz cracker box + one 21 oz cracker box + 3 peanut cans.
- Large box (018) (NOT flat rate) will hold:
- 4 12-oz cracker boxes + 1 21 oz cracker box + 1 ritz cracker box;
- -or- 1 12-oz chex box and 5 12-oz cracker boxes.
- Large flat rate box (020) ($22.65 in 2021) will hold: 1 12oz cracker box + 1 21 oz cracker box + 1 trisket box + 1 peanut can.
Maura Enright, Proprietor
Last update: Dec 2021
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