Sweet and savory party mix with maple, rum, pecans and spices. This home-made party mix is crispy crunchy and addictive! But don’t worry, I made it a little more healthy for December’s Recipe Redux challenge.
Given that I have been looking for inspiration for how best to write an introduction, the front-matter, and back-matter for Maple, 100 Sweet and Savory Recipes Featuring Pure Maple Syrup (due out fall 2015 Quirk Books) for the last several weeks, I have more than a half dozen cookbooks within arms reach at my desk. When I get stuck, or I need a little inspiration, or a distraction so I don’t bang my head on the keyboard, I pick up one of these books, flip to a random page and recenter myself. It is like homeopathic cookbook writers’ therapy.
I have a pretty random collection here right now. So it was with some strategic planning that I reached for Winter Cocktails (also Quirk Books) with hopes that page 42 would yield a December worthy recipe to take on for this challenge. This book has been my little cookbook’s idol, and I have flipped through it often in the last six months. It’s written by Maria Del Mar Sacasa and is loaded with GORGEOUS photography by Tara Triano. Page 142 could not have had a more apropos recipe for December 22. It is a fast, delicious and unexpected version of Chex mix. Perfect for those of us who have been procrastinating getting their menus in order for Christmas, but who would be having lots of snack loving family members sipping drinks and wanting a salty snack to go with it around for the week. Who doesn’t have time to throw a batch of this in the oven?
There are two versions of Party Mix on page 142, and I chose the Brown-Butter Pecan version, since I thought that sounded way awesomer than any Chex Mix I had ever had. There is also a more traditional flavored one made with fresh garlic and smoked paprika in it. Yum to that too!
I made some changes to the original brown butter pecan party mix recipe. First, I decided to use an organic cereal instead of Chex. I was worried that there would be texture issues, but it worked really well.
Instead of brown sugar I used dark maple syrup instead of the brown sugar the recipe called for. Why? Because I am a maple girl and I have been living and breathing it for the last twelve months that I’ve been doing my own cookbook on the subject. Obvi, I love the way maple tastes. To make sure I could still taste the nuance of the maple, I dropped the ginger in the party mix in half. I figured the flavor of the maple would be good with the Bourbon the recipe called for.
Then I climbed up onto the counter top to reach up into the liquor cabinet to get said Bourbon, and realized there wasn’t any. Hmmm, I seem to remember having this issue when I made this Salted Bourbon Caramel Sauce, and having to drive to the liquor store to make it. Perchance this re-occurrence is due to a certain tall dark and handsome Webster’s fondness for Bourbon. I settled instead for one of the three open bottles of dark rum. The fact that there are three open bottles of dark rum may or may not have to do with a certain short, blond and flighty Webster’s fondness for including said ingredient in recipes and is too short and flighty to see that there is already an open bottle, in the back. Are you following me? That’s okay, I’m not either.
The last thing I changed was that I dropped the butter from 12 tablespoons to 6, this is the Recipe Redux after all! I am so happy with the way it came out. It has just the right level of sweetness to balance the saltiness. And I love the tiny bit of rum flavor left after baking it for an hour. It really goes well with the maple and pecans.
What cookbooks to you have nearby?
How do you choose cereal?
Do you have several open jars or bottles of something in your fridge or cabinet?
I won’t be posting again until after Christmas, so if you celebrate Christmas, have an extra super happy one. I will be back on the 26th with a healthy recipe and cookbook giveaway, so make sure you come back to see me then!
Brown butter, maple, pecans and rum make this Chex party mix an unexpectedly sweet and savory.
- 6 cups multigrain squares cereal or chex, about 12 ounces
- 2 cups roughly chopped pecans
- 2 cups bite-sized pretzels
- 3 cups trans-fat free bagel crisps, broken into bite sized pieces
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup dark pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup dark rum
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- Arrange oven racks evenly in upper and lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Coat two large rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray.
- Mix cereal, pecans, pretzels and bagel crisps in a large bowl.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling occasionally until the milk solids brown, 6 to 8 minnutes. Remove from heat, and carefully pour in maple syrup and rum (mixture will bubble.) Whisk in cinnamon, ginger, salt and cloves. Pour butter mixture over the cereal mixture, and stir to coat. Spread party mix out on the prepared bakng sheets. Bake, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until the party mix is dry and the nuts are fragrant, about 1 hour. Cool before transferring to air tight container, about 1 hour.
6 mg Cholesterol, 3.5 g Added Sugar