Craving: Chocolate Chex Crunch

Chocolate Chex Mix Buddies

Maybe you’ve heard of this chocolatey-peanut-buttery snack mix as “Puppy Chow” or “Muddy Buddies” – but I think those are terrible names! So maybe “Chocolate Chex Crunch” isn’t very creative, but at least it’s descriptive (and a little more appetizing). Easier to make than Rice Krispies Treats, this Chex™ cereal recipe should be in every chocolate lover’s repertoire. Truth be told, I can’t stop eating the stuff – to the point where my kids have started to hide the container from me (“for my own good”). I use good-quality Ghirardelli semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips, so the addition of vanilla (per the Chex recipe) isn’t really necessary. You can find the original recipe on the back of Chex cereals, or my version below. Continue reading

Family Granola

Like our family, this granola is basically an eclectic mix of nuts, bound together and elevated to a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts. It’s also wholesome, packed with protein, lightly sweet, delicately crunchy and moderately addictive. If you – like me – are facing a pantry full of impulse-purchased holiday baking ingredients (nuts, coconut, corn syrup, brown sugar), now’s a great time to make granola. As a snack, it’s delicious straight out of a jar or sprinkled onto yogurt. Because I have a sweet tooth and love extra crunchy everything, I add it to salads and even butternut squash soup.  My husband thinks this is weird.  I say we’re all entitled to be a little nutty.

Family Granola

  •  2 cups Quick/1-minute oats
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut (preferable, but unsweetened is OK too)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup raw pine/pignoli nuts
  • ½ cup unsalted pistachio nuts
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup (amber or dark)
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup corn syrup (light or dark)

Important first step any time you cook with nuts or seeds: taste a few before proceeding. Nuts can go rancid fairly quickly, especially if they’re not stored in the freezer.  I’ve had a few dishes ruined by bad nuts; don’t let this happen to you!

Preheat oven to 350°F. In large bowl mix together oats, shredded coconut, nuts and sesame seeds.

In a small bowl or Pyrex measuring cup, whisk together maple syrup, brown sugar, vegetable oil and corn syrup. Pour over oat/nut mixture and stir to coat evenly.

Spread granola onto rimmed baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes; remove from oven and stir/scrape so mixture cooks evenly. Return to oven and bake another 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

Cool on baking sheet; granola will crisp up as it cools. Store in airtight containers; will keep at least a week. For longer-term storage, keep in freezer.

Makes about 5 cups.