I confess I’m not a big sports fan. I enjoy going to games, but more for the totality of the experience, than because I particularly care about the outcome. Sign me up for tail-gating, socializing, eating, and just soaking in the excitement of the crowd. But I have no idea what an ‘off-sides’ is, and have to be reminded what color jersey is “our” team.
With that in mind, you likely won’t be surprised to hear that with the Superbowl coming up, I DO know that’s football by the way, it’s really all about the food for me. If you’re looking for a great, easy, snack to make for a crowd – this is one of my favorites. It’s a great twist on a favorite snack from my childhood – Chex Party Mix. It incorporates popcorn and a little toffee to sweeten it up a bit, and it’s easy to take gluten-free with corn chex and gluten-free pretzels.
A Few Cooking Notes:
Makes 9 – 10 cups (aka: a lot, but never quite enough)
The toffee hardens up quickly. The warmth of the baking sheet will help you to manage this when coating the party mix with it.
If using unsalted popcorn, sprinkle additional salt on the mixture when you toss it every 15 minutes in the oven.
Toffee Party Mix
Makes 9 – 10 cups
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
- 4 1/2 cups corn chex cereal
- 3 cups of popped pop corn
- 2 cups pretzels (I use gluten-free pretzels to make this a gluten-free snack)
- 1 cup salted pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds)
- 1 cup sunflower kernels
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 250° F and place a baking sheet in the oven to warm it up.
In a large bowl, combine the corn chex, pop corn, pretzels, pepitas and sunflower kernels. Toss gently with your hands, being careful not to break up the popcorn or chex cereal.
In a small, heavy pot, combine the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer over medium heat until the butter and brown sugar melt into a syrup. Simmer for about 1 minute to make sure the brown sugar is completely dissolved into a liquid form. This is your toffee, which will start to solidify very quickly as it cools.
Remove the warmed baking sheet from the oven, spill the party mix onto the sheet, and pour the toffee evenly over it. IMMEDIATELY, gently toss with a large spatula to coat the party mix as well as possible. Tip: I recommend a hard spatula similar to what you might use to flip pancakes. Scrape the spatula along the bottom of the baking sheet, under the chex mix and flip it over so that you’re flipping the chex mix along with the toffee over dry chex mix, allowing the toffee to drip down to coat the mix.
Return the sheet to the oven and bake for 45 minutes, turning the chex mix over every 15 minutes to continue to coat as much of the mix as possible. It will be impossible to completely coat everything, nor do you want to unless you want a snack that’s more sweet than salty, but a little a little of the toffee should be on everything.
If using unsalted popcorn, sprinkle additional salt on the mixture when you toss it every 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and break up any large clumps while warm. If you wait until the party mix cools to do this, you won’t be able to do it without breaking the chex, pretzels and popcorn.
Store in a sealed container, assuming it lasts longer than a few hours.