I was about 10 when I got my first taste of sweet Chex mix. My Auntie Carol, who lived in North Carolina at the time, made it with a Southern praline syrup. I wasn’t a fan of the overly-salty version of Chex Mix that was common at the time, so this was a game changer.
My mom and I got the recipe and grabbed a bottle of praline syrup on our way back to Chicago. We’ve been making Praline Chex Mix every Christmas since.
This past Christmas, I wanted to make Praline Chex Mix for my husband. I looked into the praline syrup, but it’s not sold in Chicago, and I was running short on time to get it delivered. I researched other sweet Chex Mix recipes and tried a few—they didn’t quite measure up to praline Chex Mix.
But then I thought—this is exactly why people hate spaghetti squash. They replace spaghetti squash for pasta and they’re disappointed that it doesn’t taste like pasta. Of course it doesn’t! Spaghetti squash doesn’t taste like pasta. And any concoction of butter and brown sugar doesn’t taste like Southern praline syrup.
So I set out to create a new Chex Mix, one with the warm flavors of cinnamon, molasses, and ginger. It’s not Praline Chex Mix, but according to my husband, it’s even better. It’s Apple Cinnamon Chex Mix: a sticky-sweet mixture of crunchy Chex, a sweet cinnamon-infused syrup, dried apple slices, and toasted pecans.
And it’s a great party snack. I’ve made it several times now, along with a savory Chex Mix, for get-togethers. It’s an excellent dinner party snack while the food is cooking. It’s perfect for football watching or guys’ nights. It happens to taste great with a beer or hard cider. And it’s a tasty snack for watching the Olympics!
Next week, we’re having some neighbors over for a neighborhood happy hour and Olympics watching party. My friend Amanda organizes these neighborhood get-togethers once a month. We’re new to the area, so we’re excited to meet our neighbors and get to know them a bit more by hosting one ourselves.
I wanted a fuss-free party experience, both for us as the hosts and for our guests. We told guests to stop by anytime between 6:30pm and 9:30pm on a Thursday evening for a drink and appetizers. That way, guests can come and go as they please, and I can make a variety of appetizers instead of a complete dinner.
This Apple Cinnamon Chex Mix is definitely on the menu, along with a Cheese & Charcuterie Board (get the how-to on creating a gorgeous cheese board here!).
I’m still undecided on the rest of the menu, but I’m debating on a few of these:
We’ll grab a few bottles of wine and a case of beer, and we’ve also asked guests to bring either their favorite drink or their favorite appetizer.
And that’s it! We really just wanted to give our neighbors an opportunity for a casual get-together—nothing fancy, come and go as you please, and with an option to bring something really easy (like a bottle of wine or 6-pack of beer) since it’ll be a Thursday night. We’ll be tuning into the Olympics to watch snowboarding, figure skating, and short track speed skating (YES!) that evening, and munching on lots of Apple Cinnamon Chex Mix as we watch.
Apple Cinnamon Chex Mix
- 3 cups Rice Chex
- 3 cups Corn Chex
- 3 cups Wheat Chex substitute more Rice or Corn Chex to make gluten-free
- 1½ cups pecan halves
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1½ cups apple chips
- Preheat oven to 250°F. Place the Chex and pecan halves on a large baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
- Place the butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the butter melts and the sugar is dissolved.
- Stir in the cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and kosher salt. Mixture will foam a little bit.
- Pour the butter and sugar mixture over the Chex and pecans. Toss to combine.
- Bake for 60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.
- After 60 minutes, remove from the oven. Cool for 5 minutes, and then pour the mixture onto wax paper to cool, breaking it up with your hands.
- Stir in the apple chips. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.