Valentine Chex Crunch is a perfect treat for any special person on your Valentine’s Day list. It’s made like my Old-Fashioned Caramel Corn but with Corn Chex in place of the popcorn.
To dress this treat up for Valentine’s Day, I added some toasted pecans and red, pink and white M&Ms. Valentine Chex Crunch is totally addictive and makes memorable edible gifts for your special Valentine.
You won’t believe how easy it is to make this delectable Valentine treat. The caramel only takes minutes to make, and the Valentine Chex Crunch is slow cooked for the extra crispy crunch in every bite.
Follow along step by step on how I made this addictive Valentine’s treat.
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What You’ll Need
The ingredients for this special treat are similar to that used for caramel corn, except there is no popcorn!
For the caramel, I use unsalted butter, light brown sugar, light corn syrup, salt, baking soda and vanilla extract. That’s poured over Corn Chex and toasted pecans. For the Valentine’s Day theme, I add red, pink and white M&Ms.
- Chex Cereal: I used Corn Chex, but you could use a different cereal to your liking.
- The Nuts: My favorite nut is the pecan, so I used that in this recipe. I toasted the pecans to enhance their flavor.
- The Caramel: The caramel ingredients are standard – butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, salt, baking soda and vanilla extract.
Here’s How I Made The Caramel
- To start, I added the toasted pecans to the Corn Chex in a large bowl. I didn’t stir the two ingredients together. Rather, I left the pecans on top of the Corn Chex to prevent them from falling to the bottom of the bowl.
I set this aside while I made the caramel.
- For the caramel, I stirred the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until the butter melted.
- 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.
Here’s How I Finished The Recipe
- Once the caramel was ready, I quickly poured it on the Corn Chex and pecans.
- I quickly stirred the mixture with a wooden spoon to coat the Corn Chex and pecans. Then, I dumped the mixture into a large disposable aluminum roasting pan and evenly spread the mixture.
I didn’t worry too much at this point about making sure that everything was well coated.
- Next, I placed the Valentine Chex Crunch 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 pecans were well coated.
- After giving the Valentine Chex Crunch one last stir, I dumped it onto a piece of parchment paper so that it could completely cool.
Once the Valentine Chex Crunch was completely cool, I finished it with the addition of red, pink and white M&M’s.
Talk about good! It had the perfect amount of sweetness, and the pecans were incredible. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
While I like to use Corn Chex in this recipe, feel free to use Rice Chex, Wheat Chex or Quaker Brown Sugar Oatmeal Squares.
Raw pecans are delicious. However, toasting them significantly enhances their flavor. Therefore, I always toast pecans in my recipes.
I like to spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake them in a preheated 350°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes. I always watch the pecans carefully to ensure that they don’t burn.
Actually, if you look at the label of Karo light corn syrup, you will see that it explicitly says that it’s not high fructose syrup. The corn syrup is important in this recipe because it minimizes the sugar crystalizing.
I like to use a disposable roasting pan because 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.
If you’re a fan of other caramel type mixtures, you should check out these amazing recipes:
I first posted this recipe on February 6, 2021. This update contains the same amazing recipe with updated photos and text.
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Valentine Chex Crunch
- 12 ounce package Corn Chex, about 10-½ to 11 cups (See Tip 1)
- 2 cups (8-ounces, 226 grams) whole pecans, lightly toasted (See Tip 2)
- ½ cup (4-ounces, 113 grams) unsalted butter (See Tip 3)
- ¾ cup (5.625-ounces, 160 grams) light brown sugar, packed (See Tip 4)
- 6 Tablespoons (4.125-ounces, 117 grams) light corn syrup
- ¾ teaspoon table salt
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (6.8-ounces, 196 grams) red, pink and white M&M’s (See Tip 5)
- Preheat oven to 250°F.
- Add Corn Chex to large bowl; add toasted pecans 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 roasting pan. 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 Chex, 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 ¼ 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 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. For Christmas, use red and green M&Ms.
- 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 Valentine Chex Crunch sticky.