And, like many things that come from my childhood, part of the magic of the chex mix is that someone else makes it for me. It is a gift. A special treat. Something that only happens once a year (we get a big batch at Christmas) – so that we can savor it fully and then pine after it for another 11 months.
Until this year. You see… I have been determined to find a way to help tide my chex mix cravings in between the “Mother Batches” each December. And the ones you can buy just don’t cut it. It has to be homemade… so I started looking for a DIY chex mix that might measure up.
What I found does the trick. Now, mind you, it is not the same as my mother’s. Let me stress that again lest she thinks of cutting me off next year: It will never measure up to Mom’s homemade, all-day-affair, filled-with-love goodness. But it comes damn close. And so it’s a good rest-of-the-year substitute. 😉
And the best part? It’s done in a slow cooker; so no messing with the oven, paper bags, or messy clean-up. One of these days I’ll figure out how to make a gluten-free batch so I can surprise her. Then we can gift each other with chex mix each year!
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This batch is sized for a small slow cooker (3 quarts or less). If you’ve got one of those 5+-quart jobbies, you can double everything for a larger batch. This recipe represents lots of research and countless test batches to find just the right mix of spices. The final result is something that pleases my whole family – but by all means, feel free to continue to play with it until you find a blend that makes your tummy giggle.
1/4 cup butter (vegan, actual, or margarine)
2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce (something without MSG or you can try making your own!)
1/4 tsp sea salt (or 1/2 tsp if using unsalted butter)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
dash or two of paprika
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup pretzels
1 cup toasted O cereal (any brand is fine)
1 cup shredded wheat (ditto)
1 1/2 cup rice chex (yup – any kind will do)
- Put the butter, worcestershire sauce, and spices into your slow cooker. Don’t worry about stirring – just get it all in there.
- Pop it in the microwave and heat in 30 to 45 second intervals until the butter is melted. As you check it each time, swirl the mixture a bit to get everything well-incorporated. Once the butter has melted, swirl it some more until the spices and melted butter are well-combined.
- Put the crock back into the pot and turn your heat to high.
- Add the peanuts, pretzels, and all 3 cereals. Stir well, coating all of your ingredients with the melted butter + spice mixture.
- Let cook for 15 minutes (uncovered), then stir again. Cook another 15 minutes, stir.
- Reduce your heat to low and continue to cook, checking every 10 minutes or so, until the chex mix is dry and crisp. Be sure to stir each time you check so that nothing gets burned and the butter + spice mixture continues to get evenly distributed throughout.
- Once you’ve reached your desired crispness, turn off the heat and transfer the chex mix to an airtight container. You can store, at room temperature, for up to 2 weeks (it might last longer, but ours is never around long enough to find out!).