Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Chocolate Chex Mix

My husband's family has a New Year's Eve tradition of making large batches of Chex Mix, and watching movies all afternoon and evening. He looks forward to that Chex Mix and relaxation. Try as I might, I haven't been able to get the Chex Mix recipe. It's not quite the original, which easily can be found online, but my mother-in-law has been making it for so many years that she no longer uses a recipe and doesn't know the measurements. So I've been unable to replicate the tradition. I've tried several substitutes -- Barbecue Chex Mix (FAIL!), Chex Muddy Buddies (too sweet and not munchy enough), and others. This year, a friend gave us some white chocolate Chex Mix as a Christmas treat. It was pretty good. Mind you, Ben does not like white chocolate at all, and since we've been married, I've lost my taste for it because it's so rarely, if ever, in the house. But this snack was really good. We gobbled it up almost entirely in one night.

So I decided to try to make it for New Year's Eve this year. I thought that Chocolate Chex might be a yummy twist on an original, so I bought that.

I also did little pretzel rods, dry roasted peanuts, M&M's, and, at the last minute, I added marshmallows.

I thought I had a bag of white chocolate chips in the cupboard, so I didn't buy any with the rest of the goodies. I'd forgotten that I had used about 2/3 of the bag on a yummy cookie recipe for a church activity at the beginning of the month. I still had a little less than 2/3 cup left. I also had about half a bag of vanilla-flavored white baking chips in the freezer. I'd asked my friend about her white chocolate coating. She said she just heated the white chocolate in the microwave with a little oil.

It didn't work. Not for me. For one thing, the baking chips are most definitely not the same as white chocolate chips (despite the ingredients being just about the same). They cooked differently, and I ended up burning the whole thing.


My husband suggested that I just make a chocolate coating instead.


I decided not to take anymore chances (read: waste anymore chocolatey goodness), so I Googled "chocolate candy coating recipe." The first hit was a dipping recipe from Hershey. Chocolate chips and shortening. Not oil. Not butter. Not margarine. Shortening. I wasn't sure I had any. The last time I remember buying any was probably two years ago.

Fortunately, that stuff has a shelf life longer than Twinkies. Yay!

So I made the chocolate coating -- in a double boiler, instead of in a less reliable microwave -- and poured it over the dry mix. I spread the whole thing out on parchment paper on two cookie sheets and stuck them in the fridge to solidify quickly, since it was already about 7:00pm on New Year's Eve.

Verdict: It was really good, but a little too sweet. I think my mix would have been fine if I'd been able to go with the white chocolate coating. The chocolate chocolate was good, but I'd have made a few modifications if I'd known I was going that route. First, I wouldn't have used Chocolate Chex. Second, I would have used less M&M's and more peanuts and pretzels. Either way, I should have used more marshmallows. The world can always use more marshmallows. I might also add a little peanut butter to the coating. Mmmmm...

8 cups Chex (though by the time I was done snacking before adding the chocolate coating, this may have been down to 7 cups...ssshhhh!!!)
2 cups dry roasted peanuts
2 cups pretzels (I'm a little anal and didn't want big pieces, so I used mini rods and broke them in half first)
2 cups plain M&M's
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
2 cups chocolate chips
2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp shortening

Mix the cereal, peanuts, pretzels, M&M's, and marshmallows in a large bowl or roasting pan. In a double boiler over medium heat, melt the chocolate chips and shortening together. When smooth, pour over dry mix. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the boiler bowl and get every bit of yummy goodness! Mix the wet and dry ingredients together thoroughly, until all the dry goodies are well-coated.

Line two rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper. Spread half of the Chex Mix on each one. Leave out to harden, or put in the fridge to harden more quickly. I think it only took 20 minutes for me in the fridge. Break into pieces and store at room temperature.

(Sorry I didn't get a dry picture -- the coated pictures are still while the chocolate was hot and melty.)

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