This recipe makes a hot and spicy version of Chex® Party Mix. The secret is boiling down the Lea & Perrins® Worcestershire Sauce and the hot sauce to concentrate the flavor and thicken them before adding to the cereal. The recipe is sized to use one box each of Rice and Corn Chex and two boxes of Wheat Chex in four batches. I make about 16 batches a year and send them to family for Thanksgiving.
Warning: I boil the Worcestershire outdoors since the fumes permeate the entire house and it can take several days for the odor to completely dissipate. The same is true to a lesser extent of the baking process. I make the mix on a day when I can open all the windows. Even then, it may take a day for the odor to fully leave the house.
So, you're looking for a day with temperate weather so you can open the windows and with low humidity so the mix won't absorb moisture from the air while its cooling.
You can adjust quantities to your taste but be aware that this Chex Party Mix doesn't taste good until it has been baked dry. The sauce and wet Chex Party Mix have a harsh unpleasant taste and will have a lot more pepper-heat than the end result. The flavor mellows a lot in the last 15 minutes of baking. When taste-testing, eat at least 1/4 cup of the finished mix--the heat builds with each bite.
On your first attempt, you will want to mix up a small test batch and bake it dry before proceeding with a full batch. If it's not peppery enough for you, don't add much more hot sauce--that will make the batch too salty. Add cayenne powder instead; either to the sauce or sprinkle onto the finished dry mix.
Ingredients to make 4 batches of "turkey-size foil-pans.
- 30 oz of Lea & Perrins® Worcestershire Sauce (don't substitute another brand)
- 10 oz of Franks® Cayenne Sauce, Tabasco® Sauce, or similar
- 2 tablespoons of onion powder (not onion salt)
- 2 tablespoons of garlic powder (not garlic salt)
- 12 cups each of Rice, Corn, and Wheat Chex®
- 3 quarter-pound sticks of butter (3/4 pound)
- 8 cups of cashews (preferably whole)
- 4 cups of skinless peanuts (salted or unsalted but not dry roasted)
- 4 cups of pretzels (thin sticks or small twists). Guess at how many are roughly equivalent to a cup.
This is an ideal list, you can make do with less.
1. Combine the Lea & Perrins® Worcestershire Sauce, hot sauce, onion powder, and garlic powder and bring to a slow boil. Reduce to about 16 oz--or when it just starts to get syrupy. Warning: the mixture tends to foam and boil over early in the reduction. Stir frequently to make sure it's not sticking on the bottom or getting too thick.
You want a light-syrupy mixture that will evenly coat the nuts and cereal but not get them overly wet. There's no need to make an effort to keep the mixture warm. This mixture is referred to as "the sauce" below.
The following steps make one batch. Don't proceed past this point unless you can proceed at deliberate speed and have an open slot in the oven. (If sauce-coated cereal sits around before going into the oven, it gets soggy and collapses.) Most ovens can hold two foil pans and thus bake two batches at a time.
2. Melt 6 Tablespoons of butter and add it to the mixing bowl or foil pan.
3. Add 1/4th of the sauce (4 ounce if you ended up with exactly 16 oz). Mix to combine the butter and sauce.
4. Add 2 cups of cashews and 1 cup of peanuts. Be careful not to add the loose salt that will be at the bottom of the nut and pretzel containers. That will make that batch too salty.
Stir to coat the nuts with sauce. This step is important in evenly distributing the sauce throughout the cereal when you add it in the next step. (The nuts keep the cereal out of the pool of sauce and will transfer small amounts of sauce evenly onto the cereal pieces.)
5. Add 1 cup of pretzels and 3 cups each of Corn, Wheat, and Rice Chex and stir gently to evenly coat. Dump the mixture into a foil pan.
6. Immediately bake in a preheated oven at 250° for about 1 hour or until dry and crisp stirring every 15 minutes.
7. Remove from oven.
8. Allow to cool, then seal in airtight containers.
9. The flavors will mellow and blend over 24 to 48 hours.
- Vary the proportions of nuts and Chex® cereal to match your tastes.
- Substitute olive oil for some or all of the butter.
- Vary the amount of hot sauce to match your tastes. I use the specified 10oz of Frank's hot sauce in batches made for families and friends. I add cayenne powder to my personal batches. That helps keep me from eating more than 1/4 cup at a time.