Thursday, December 16, 2010

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Chex Mix

All right, I've been shamed into revealing my super-secret family recipe for the most amazing Chex Mix ever. Considering that I have about four regular readers, I don't think this revelation will stop the world from spinning while everybody rushes out to buy ingredients and devote 2 hours to babysitting the simmering snack.

I try so hard to provide my work family with this seasonal treat. But it's been getting out of hand. Some of them wolf it down in one sitting, and demand more. On Wednesday morning, my phone rang two minutes after the 1st hour tardy bell. It was Basementia Commander.

"First of all, I want to thank you for the Chex Mix. I look forward to it every year. But I want you to know that I called you a piece of crap. I came into the office and discovered my secretary eating Chex Mix. 'Where is mine?' I asked. And she said you didn't leave any for me. So I said, 'That Hillbilly Mom is a piece of crap!' But then I found it on my desk. So I wanted to call and thank you."

Heh, heh. I want to make a call, too. I call shenanigans! Of course he just called me to give me the heads up in case somebody else got ahold of me in that two-minute period and relayed that he called me a piece of crap. Well played, Basementia Commander. Always CYA. I bear him no ill will. It's not like my vocal opinions of his actions have all been unicorns and rainbows. No harm, no foul.

I told Basementia Commander that there was obviously a conspiracy afoot to deprive him of his Chex Mix. Later that afternoon, The Pony, my one-armed Chex Mix delivery service, said that he had asked Mr. Commander how he liked his Chex Mix. And that Mr. Commander had said, "It's all gone, and I want some more." Well. What's he going to do next, twist The Pony's good arm until he gets some?

So my roundabout point is that instead of just giving these people fishes, all along I should have been teaching them how to fish. Let them make their own Chex Mix. And eat it, too.

Disclaimer: the following recipe is not guaranteed to send your tastebuds skyrocketing into the stratosphere on your first attempt. If that happens, it's a happy accident. It might take years of practice to hone your Chex skill. I'm sorry that I can't provide specific quantities of ingredients. The only thing I measure is the oil.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Famous Chex Mix, Super Batch Edition.

One of these, no lid.
The big roaster, not small.

Two of these, 9 x 13, non-stick.

1 box Corn Chex
1 box Rice Chex
1 box Cheerios
1 bag pretzel twists
1 bag pretzel sticks
1 can cashew pieces
1 can deluxe mixed nuts
1/2 bag pecans
vegetable oil
Worcestershire sauce
garlic powder
garlic salt

You might want to start with a smaller batch for your first time.

Pre-heat the oven to 250.

I layer the dry ingredients first, in this order:

pretzel sticks
Corn Chex
pretzel twists
mixed nuts
Rice Chex

Fill to the top of the pan.
Sprinkle with garlic powder.
Sprinkle with garlic salt.
Shake on some Worcestershire Sauce at random.
Drizzle the oil over the top layer (just under 3/4 cup for
the 9 x 13s, just under 1 cup for the roaster)
Stir the ingredients to distribute the oil.
Put pans in oven, roaster on top rack, 9 x 13s on bottom rack.
Stir every 15 minutes, for a total baking time of 2 hours.

You can not speed up the process. You can not increase the oven temp. When you are ready to take the pans out to stir, only take out the roaster first, stir, put it back, then take out the 9 x 13s, stir, and put them back on the other side, reversed. Get it? You're rotating the pans every stir. Same with the roaster, give it a half turn when you put it back. Stirring should bring the oily bottom-dwellers to the top for baking each time, and prevent sticking. Don't go overboard on the stirring, or you will crush your Chex. It's more like scooping the bottom pieces to the top. I use two serving spoons for this task, because I'm extra coordinated like that.

Do not be tempted to taste the pieces that fall out during stirring. They will not develop their flavor until about the last 15 minutes of baking. Early tasting might tempt you to add more of an ingredient, and spoil the broth, so to speak.

The first time you open up the oven for stirring, the Worcestershire fumes might overpower you, so don't put your face right in there and inhale.

You might worry that your batch is too oily. But you still need to start with between 2/3 and 3/4 cup oil in each 9 x 13, and a bit more for the roaster. If you are a good stirrer, that oil will be baked into the mix by the end of the two hours.

GOOD LUCK! Let me know how it turns out.


Chickadee said...

Hooray!!! Thanks for the recipe.

Jennifer said...

Oh My Gosh!

Of course now you know I am going to have to make some of the famous HM Chex Mix..

'Course I figured you would go to your grave with this recipe..

Hopefully I didn't pressure you into anything.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Hopefully, it turns out better than your chocolate peanut butter pie.

No, I just felt guilty in keeping so much deliciousness to myself. In a fit of Christmas spirit, I decided to share.