With all of this talk of hiking, backpacking and so forth (I really think it’s all I’ve been talking about for the past week — I’m so sorry if this is boring to you), I found it 100% fitting to share a trail mix recipe. Trail mix can get boring; like super, super boring. I really don’t think a trail mix can be called a trail mix without a combination of both sweet and salty. This is one of my favorite recipes to date, and since we are about to embark on another journey into the great outdoors, I decided to play around with it a little. This recipe combines everything that’s great in a snack food: nuts (cashews), seeds (pepitas), pretzels, and cereal (x3). It’s also tossed with a wonderful sugary concoction. Toffee peanuts are one of my favorite snacks, and I think this recipe totally embodies “toffee” without it actually being “toffee.” Go ahead, give it a try. It’s great on road trips. It actually stores pretty well, and it’s even more perfect when you’re frolicking around in the woods. =)
One of my favorite ingredients in an everyday trail mix is chocolate. However, the problem with chocolate is that it melts, and it melts fast. This doesn’t go over well when it’s buried in your backpack and it’s over 90 degrees F outside. This is where you have to get creative in the sweet department. I think toffee is the best route to go. Also, using sweet cereals helps out a lot too. Chex has a new cereal and it has brought vanilla front and center. I love the stuff. It’s perfect in trail mixes/chex mixes. Honey-Nut works also. This is where you have to get creative when bringing some sweetness to the table (or trail mix).
The syrupy sauce is also really important. I wanted to go for a sweet/salty/spicy sauce. If you are out for less spice, just decrease the amount of cayenne you put in. If you want the trail mix to be extra spicy, then I won’t be sad if you want to go overboard on the hot stuff. Hey throw a dash or two of hot sauce in there too! I won’t tell!
A couple of pointers when baking this pile of goodness:
Number 1: Low and slow is the way to go. For sure. You certainly don’t want the mix to burn and you want all of that syrupy goodness to be absorbed. This took me approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes at 250 degrees F. It may take you longer, which is totally ok.
Number 2: Don’t forget to stir every 15 minutes or so while your trail mix is baking. This will help to keep the mix from clumping together. You are still going to get some clumps (or brittle like pieces) when all is said and done, but if you just let it go, the liquid won’t absorb as fast and you will literally have a brick of trail mix when it’s finished. This is NOT fun, when you go to “scrape” it off the pan. Trust me. It’s happened to me before, and it will happen again I’m sure.
Number 3: You do not have to use the same cereals, nuts and seeds that I used. Use whatever is in your pantry or whatever is on sale at the store. This is exactly what I did.
Number 4: This batch makes a lot. When I put 12 servings in the recipe, I meant 12 HEAPING servings. It keeps for a while so don’t worry about it going bad too fast. Just keep in mind, that this batch does make a ton.
Anyway, I’m skipping the beer pairing today. If you are drinking a brew while hiking, then I think we may have a bit of an issue on our hands =). I think it’s great all by itself or with a glass of milk =). I hope everyone is having a great start to their week! See you tomorrow!