Chex mix is something I only allow myself to make between the day after Thanksgiving and the end of January. I can’t handle myself around it and eat myself to the point where I feel like a turtle stuck on its back. A happy turtle, but a little less capable of moving under my own power, nonetheless.
My normal Chex Mix is the classic savoury one; butter, salt, garlic, onion, Worcestershire, yaddayaddayadda. That’s the one that puts my willpower to the test. However….
This one comes a close second. This one is dangerous, people. Sweet, salty, crunchy… I find myself with pieces of this in my hand and think, “I don’t even remember grabbing these. When did THIS happen?” Heath Bars will never win a prize for glamour, but DANG they sure do taste good. They are my Grandma’s favourite candy bar and she made Heath-Bar-Like English toffee every Christmas to give as gifts. This is probably why I equate Heath Bars with Christmas. Naturally, then, when I wanted to whip up a toffee-laden Chex Mix, Heath and one of my Grandma’s recipes were the way to go. I poured the caramel coating from her famous Salted Caramel Corn recipe over a mixing bowl full of rice Chex and salty, skinny pretzel sticks and stirred carefully. This went onto lined baking sheets and into the oven to bake the molten caramel into a crispy caramel coating around the Chex and pretzels. When this was done, they got sprinkled generously with Heath Bit O’Brickle bits and miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Due to a miscalculation the first time around*, I ended up with three MONSTROUS HUGE pans full of the stuff. I wasn’t sure how we’d ever get through it, but, um, we managed faster than I ever would’ve thought possible. I’d say we took one for the team, but there was no hardship involved in eating it at all.
*I read Grandma’s recipe on the fly and thought she called for 8 cups of popcorn. I determined that 8 cups of Chex mix wouldn’t cut it any day of the week, so I doubled the caramel portion of the recipe and put 16 cups of chex and pretzels into the bowl. I noticed -as my giant cauldron of caramel boiled and bubbled- that the recipe called for 8 QUARTS. Ahem. Good thing I had extra boxes of Chex and several large mixing bowls.
The second time around, I dialed in and perfected it. While it still makes two goodly sized half-sheet pans of Heath Bar Crunch Chex Mix, it’s the perfect size batch to indulge yourself AND still have enough for gift giving. Oh, and should you put a bowl of this out on the table during the Super Bowl, I’m pretty sure you won’t have to worry about leftovers.
Heath Bar Crunch Chex Mix Cooking Notes:
- You can opt for semi-sweet OR milk chocolate, miniature or regular size chips, or chunks of chocolate. Milk chocolate delivers the classic Heath Bar flavour, but I really dig the toffee chunks with semi-sweet or dark chocolate. Choose what you like best!
- Rice or Corn Chex work equally well here. Use a combination or all of one type.
- Stirring it gently when it comes out of the oven will help break up any big clumps that may have formed when cooking.
The classic Heath Bar dolls up the Christmas stalwart Chex Mix for a sweet and salty, toffee and chocolate, crunchy treat that makes great movie munching and gift giving!
- 2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 cup butter
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 box (about 13 cups) rice or corn chex
- 1 pound bag (about 5-6 cups) salted thin pretzel sticks
- 1 cup Heath Bar Bit O’ Brickle bits
- 1 bag (12 ounces) semi-sweet mini or milk chocolate chips or chunks
- Line 2 half-sheet pans with silpats, parchment paper or non-stick foil. Preheat oven to 250°F.
- Combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, vanilla and salt in a heavy, medium-sized saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and add the baking soda. It will foam up big time! Don't worry, it's to be expected.
- Combine the rice or corn chex and pretzel sticks in a very large mixing bowl. Pour the molten caramel over the goodies in the bowl and stir very gently but thoroughly to evenly coat. Don’t worry about perfection here: just try to get the caramel mixture evenly distributed.
- Split the mixture between the two prepared pans and spread it out evenly. Bake in the oven for 1 hour, stirring well every 15 minutes. If the mixture is still quite damp in the middle, you may need to bake it another 15-30 minutes, still stirring after every 15 minutes. When it is mostly dry but still a little sticky, it is done.
- As soon as it comes out of the oven, stir well but gently once. Sprinkle the bits o’ brickle over the tops of the pan then the chocolate chips, using half of each over each pan. Let it cool on the pan (you may hear it crackling as it cools), break it up, and store in an airtight container at room temperature.