If you like caramel corn, you’ll absolutely love Holiday Caramel Chex Mix. It’s made like my Old-Fashioned Caramel Corn using Corn Chex in place of popcorn, but dressed up for the holidays. It’s totally addictive and makes delicious gifts for those special people on your list!
Ingredients for Holiday Caramel Chex Mix:
I used the following ingredients: Corn Chex, lightly toasted whole almonds, lightly toasted pecans, unsalted butter, light brown sugar, light corn syrup, salt, vanilla extract, baking soda, and red & green M&M’s.
Making the Caramel:
First, I lightly toasted the almonds and pecans in a 350° F oven for 10 minutes. After letting the nuts cool, I added them to the Corn Chex in a large bowl.
For the caramel, I stirred the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Once the butter had melted and the mixture had come to a boil, I lowered the heat to medium low. I let the caramel mixture continue to boil without stirring for five minutes. After five minutes, I removed the pan from the heat, and added the baking soda and vanilla extract. I stirred the caramel to ensure that the baking soda and vanilla were well incorporated.
Finishing the Chex Mix:
Then, I poured the caramel over the Corn Chex and nuts.
I quickly stirred the mixture with a wooden spoon to coat the Corn Chex and nuts. Then, I dumped it into a large disposable aluminum roasting pan (15-3/16 x 11-5/16 x 2-7/8 inches) and evenly spread the mixture. I didn’t worry too much at this point about making sure that everything was well coated.
Next, I popped it into a preheated 250° F oven for an hour. Every 15 minutes during the hour, I removed the roasting pan from the oven, and stirred the mixture to ensure that the Corn Chex and nuts were well coated.
After giving the Caramel Chex Mix one last stir, I dumped it onto a piece of parchment paper so that it could completely cool. I broke up any large clumps, tasting some of the pieces along the way!
Once the Caramel Chex Mix had cooled completely, I added the red and green M&M’s. Talk about good! It had the perfect amount of sweetness, and the nuts were incredible. Yum!
Holiday Caramel Chex Mix
- 1 (12-ounce, 340 grams) package Corn Chex, about 10-1/2 to 11 cups (See Tip 1)
- 1 cup (4 ounces, 113 grams) whole pecans, lightly toasted (See Tip 2)
- 1 cup (5 ounces, 142 grams) whole almonds, lightly toasted (See Tip 2)
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces, 113 grams) unsalted butter (See Tip 3)
- 3/4 cup (5.625 ounces, 160 grams) light brown sugar, packed (See Tip 4)
- 6 Tablespoons (4.125 ounces, 117 grams) light corn syrup
- 3/4 teaspoon table salt
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (6.8 ounces, 196 grams) red and green M&M’s (See Tip 5)
- Preheat oven to 250°F.
- Add Corn Chex to large bowl; add toasted pecans and toasted almonds on top. Do not stir. Set aside.
- Heat the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until butter is melted. Reduce heat to medium low; cook, undisturbed and uncovered, for 5 minutes.
- Remove saucepan from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla extract.
- Pour the caramel over the Corn Chex and pecans; quickly stir to coat.
- Spread the mixture onto an ungreased large disposable aluminum pan (15-3/16 x 11-5/16 x 2-7/8 inches). Bake for one hour, removing every 15 minutes to stir. (See Tip 6)
- Spread the mixture onto parchment paper to cool. It may seem sticky at first but will dry as it cools.
- Once cool, add M&M's.
- Store in airtight container. (See Tip 7)
- Yield: About 15 cups.
Chula's Expert Tips
- May also use Rice, Wheat Chex or Quaker Brown Sugar Oatmeal Squares.
- To toast pecans, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully.
- May also use salted butter. However, if you use salted butter, reduce the amount of salt to 1/4 teaspoon.
- The actual quantity of brown sugar can vary greatly depending on how one packs it. Therefore, I always weigh the brown sugar. My rule-of-thumb is 1 cup of packed brown sugar weighs 7.5 ounces.
- This recipe is easily adapted for different holidays by varying the color of the M&M's. For Mardi Gras, use green, purple and yellow M&Ms. For Valentines Day, use red, pink and white M&M's. For Easter, use pastel colored M&M's. For the 4th of July, use red, white and blue M&M's. For Halloween, use autumn colored M&M's.
- The reason that I use a disposable roasting pan is that I don't want to bother with cleaning the hardened caramel from a regular pan. Feel free, however, to use any large pan. Just make sure that it's large enough to easily hold all of the mixture.
- It's important to store this in an airtight container. The reason is that the sugars are hygroscopic. What this means is that they absorb moisture and can make the Holiday Caramel Chex Mix sticky.