Saturday, October 15, 2011

Spicy Party Mix

If you know me at all then you know that I love munchies and finger food. I know I'm fighting a losing battle when confronted with a bowl of anything that just pops into my mouth too easily. This mix does just that. A bowl full of pretzels, nuts and chex covered with a sweet and spicy glaze. A little bit of heat, a little bit of sweet, and a whole lot of crunch creates a beautiful fusion of flavors and textures.

I think this is the perfect mix for the cool weather; the flavors are warm and comforting. Pull it out at Thanksgiving or Christmas and watch it disappear. If you're looking for something a little different to serve before or after dinner to satisfy your munching cravings, this is the mix for you. I found this recipe in the book The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz, an excellent book for anyone interested in food and Paris. The only thing I changed this time around was adding some Chex. He originally calls for two cups each of nuts and pretzels, but I love the airiness and crunch of Chex, so I decided to add some in, and I think it was a good addition. So go ahead, throw this mix together and be amazed. In the book, David Lebovitz writes, "it makes an excellent nibble." I couldn't have said it better myself.

Sweet and spicy and irresistible

You need some maple syrup, 
make sure it's the real stuff

Pour it into a bowl to start

Start adding some delicious flavors,
first up, cinnamon

A little bit of cocoa powder

And the chili powder

A little brown sugar and some butter
round out the yummy glaze

Grab your nut mixture, 
I chose almonds, cashews and peanuts

Mix it all up with the chex and pretzels and bake

Ready to party!

Spicy Party Mix
Adapted from The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz
  • 1 1/3 cups (275 grams) raw nuts - any combination of pecans, almonds, peanuts, cashews and hazelnuts
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) butter
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder or smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened natural or Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 1/3 cups (100 grams) small pretzel twists
  • 1 1/3 cups corn Chex cereal
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, chili powder, maple syrup and cocoa. 

Stir the warm nuts into the spice mixture to coat them completely, then sprinkle on the salt. 

Mix in the pretzels and Chex, then spread the mixture on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the nuts are well glazed and browned. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Once cool, break up the clusters and serve.

(If you would rather leave out the chex and follow the original recipe, increase the nuts and pretzels to 2 cups each and omit the chex.)

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