With all of this talk of hiking, backpacking and so forth (I really think it’s all I’ve been talking about for the past week — I’m so sorry if this is boring to you), I found it 100% fitting to share a trail mix recipe. Trail mix can get boring; like super, super boring. I really don’t think a trail mix can be called a trail mix without a combination of both sweet and salty. This is one of my favorite recipes to date, and since we are about to embark on another journey into the great outdoors, I decided to play around with it a little. This recipe combines everything that’s great in a snack food: nuts (cashews), seeds (pepitas), pretzels, and cereal (x3). It’s also tossed with a wonderful sugary concoction. Toffee peanuts are one of my favorite snacks, and I think this recipe totally embodies “toffee” without it actually being “toffee.” Go ahead, give it a try. It’s great on road trips. It actually stores pretty well, and it’s even more perfect when you’re frolicking around in the woods. =)
One of my favorite ingredients in an everyday trail mix is chocolate. However, the problem with chocolate is that it melts, and it melts fast. This doesn’t go over well when it’s buried in your backpack and it’s over 90 degrees F outside. This is where you have to get creative in the sweet department. I think toffee is the best route to go. Also, using sweet cereals helps out a lot too. Chex has a new cereal and it has brought vanilla front and center. I love the stuff. It’s perfect in trail mixes/chex mixes. Honey-Nut works also. This is where you have to get creative when bringing some sweetness to the table (or trail mix).
The syrupy sauce is also really important. I wanted to go for a sweet/salty/spicy sauce. If you are out for less spice, just decrease the amount of cayenne you put in. If you want the trail mix to be extra spicy, then I won’t be sad if you want to go overboard on the hot stuff. Hey throw a dash or two of hot sauce in there too! I won’t tell!
A couple of pointers when baking this pile of goodness:
Number 1: Low and slow is the way to go. For sure. You certainly don’t want the mix to burn and you want all of that syrupy goodness to be absorbed. This took me approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes at 250 degrees F. It may take you longer, which is totally ok.
Number 2: Don’t forget to stir every 15 minutes or so while your trail mix is baking. This will help to keep the mix from clumping together. You are still going to get some clumps (or brittle like pieces) when all is said and done, but if you just let it go, the liquid won’t absorb as fast and you will literally have a brick of trail mix when it’s finished. This is NOT fun, when you go to “scrape” it off the pan. Trust me. It’s happened to me before, and it will happen again I’m sure.
Number 3: You do not have to use the same cereals, nuts and seeds that I used. Use whatever is in your pantry or whatever is on sale at the store. This is exactly what I did.
Number 4: This batch makes a lot. When I put 12 servings in the recipe, I meant 12 HEAPING servings. It keeps for a while so don’t worry about it going bad too fast. Just keep in mind, that this batch does make a ton.
Anyway, I’m skipping the beer pairing today. If you are drinking a brew while hiking, then I think we may have a bit of an issue on our hands =). I think it’s great all by itself or with a glass of milk =). I hope everyone is having a great start to their week! See you tomorrow!
This trail mix combines the extra sweet with the extra savory. It has just a bit of crunch and is more addicting than you could ever know!
- 2 cups cereal, Cheerios
- 2 cups cereal, Honey- Nut Cheerios
- 2 cups cereal, Vanilla Chex
- 1 1/2 cups pretzels, sticks
- 3/4 cups cashews, salted and roasted
- 1/4 cup pepitas, salted and roasted
- 3/4 cups unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 250 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine the Cheerios, Honey-Nut Cheerios, Vanilla Chex, pretzel stick, cashews and pepitas. Toss to combine and set aside.
- In a large saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, soy sauce, honey, sea salt, turmeric, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and onion pepper. Heat over medium and allow the butter to melt, whisking occasionally. Once the butter has melted, remove from heat.
- Pour the dry mixture onto both of the baking sheets and spread to cover the entire surface. Drizzle the butter mixture on top of both batches and toss so that all of the ingredients are evenly coated.
- Place both baking sheets in the oven (one on the top rack, one on the bottom rack). Bake at 250 degrees F for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Every 15 minutes give each batch a stir, and rotate the baking sheets halfway through baking.
- Remove from oven and let cool COMPLETELY. Store at room temperature for 1 week. Enjoy!
Hardware: * Large Bowl * Heavy Wooden Spoon * Whisk * Large Baking Sheets * Parchment Paper * Measuring Cups * Measuring Spoons * Saucepan *