Holiday Snack Mix

December 16, 2011

Many of you readers know that when it comes to baking, I’m impaired. Severely. I’d like to blame my baking failures on high altitude, but there are plenty of other food bloggers out there who live at this elevation and bake things like French macarons, for heaven’s sake.

I blame my children. Baking takes focus, people!

When you bake, you need to follow directions, which I can’t do anyways, let alone with children clamoring at my knees, begging for licks of the spoon and fighting over who gets to crack the eggs. Cooking with kids is fun, but it’s chaos.

Except during the holiday season. For some reason, baking chaos is welcome at Christmas. That’s the time when, on a snowy afternoon, I’ll crank up the Christmas tunes (much to the annoyance of my husband), call the girls into the kitchen, and we’ll get our bake on. During the holidays, we bake our butts off. We deliver plates of assorted homemade cookies and fudge to friends, neighbors and teachers over the coming weeks, and feel proud of our efforts.

This year?  Not so much. We’ve had a leeetle too much weirdness going on.  My oven has been quite lonely this December, save for a hasty batch of cutout cookies that were devoured in two days. There’s been a shocking lack of butter in my refrigerator this holiday season, so cookie tray, Sayonara!  This year, you’re getting the boot.

Since I’m embracing my inner sloth, I needed something decidedly low-maintenance to hand out, and this snack mix fits the bill.  I adapted it from a Bon Appetit recipe–a recipe that sounded perfectly lovely, mind you, but it called for mustard and my family doesn’t “do” mustard, nor does our grocery store carry Terra Stix or un-wasabi-ed peas, so this version was born.

I must warn you that this stuff is a bit addictive if you’re Salty Snack Queen like me. I had trouble keeping my paws out of it.  Still, I managed to fill quite a few gift bags and still have a bit left for my greedy self, so don’t feel too guilty if you sneak a bit for personal consumption. Cook’s prerogative, I say.

Holiday Snack Mix

makes about 12 cups

loosely based on a recipe from Bon Appetit

3 cups mini-pretzels (I used square-shaped)

4 cups Bugles (original flavor)

1 cup pumpkin seeds, shelled

2 cups unsalted roasted peanuts

2 cups Asian-flavored snack mix (the kind with wasabi peas in it)

2 cups sesame sticks

6 tablespoons butter

4 garlic cloves, smashed

2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder

salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 250.

Combine first six ingredients together in a gi-normous bowl. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the smashed garlic cloves and cook over low heat until the butter is infused, about 5 minutes. Discard garlic. Stir in Worchestershire sauce, curry powder, 5-spice powder, and a dash of salt and pepper.

Pour the butter mixture over the dry ingredients, tossing gently but thoroughly to coat.

Line two rimmed baking sheets with non-stick foil. Spread mixture out on both sheets in an even layer. Bake for about an hour, stirring mixture and rotating baking sheets every 25 minutes.

Cool completely and pack into airtight containers.


Am I the only one who turns into a gigantic gassy ball of nonsense after eating copious amounts of wasabi peas? Is it the wasabi or the fact that peas are legumes? I don’t know. Just pass the Beano.

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon December 16, 2011 at 10:22 am

Are there people that don’t get the salty/sweet combo? I can’t imagine a world without that.

PS, I think Bugles may be the most perfect junk food ever invented.


Alex@LateEnough December 16, 2011 at 10:23 am

Happy birthday Miss M

I’ve been baking for the first time ever. The void is filled! So is my waistline!


Kristen @ Motherese December 16, 2011 at 11:48 am

Like Wendi, I saw the Bugles and I was putty in your hand. (What is it about those things?)

Happy birthday, Miss M! Happy 10th anniversary of becoming a mom!!!


Contemporary Troubadour December 16, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Happy birthday to Miss D. Holy cow, it’s been forever since Bugles were on my radar. I remember eating them on road trips. We turned them into pretend claws in the back seat and ate them off our fingers one by one.

We are totally forgoing holiday baking this year as well, not even (or especially?) “no-bake” treats. When your fridge dies while you’re on vacation and requires a week to replace and refill, the oven isn’t exactly the first thing on your mind :P


Stephane December 16, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Oh my heavens ~ I hope there wasn’t anything horrifyingly over-smelly ripening inside your refrigerator/freezer while you were away!!! Yeesh. Not a nice welcome back.


Katybeth December 16, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Happy Birth Day to0 you and Birthday to Miss D. ! Ten what a great number. Looking for an alternative to sweet so I think I will give this a try.


Erica@PLRH December 16, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Baking is chemistry. Nuff said.

Happy “mother” day!


Phoo-d December 16, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Happy Birthday Miss D! 10 years, wow. That happened in the blink of an eye!


rebecca @ altared spaces December 16, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Sorry there is something keeping you out of the kitchen this December. Baking is so healing and bonding over fudge is…delicious.


Dana December 16, 2011 at 2:19 pm

I’m going to be posting about something similar very soon. Recipe looks very interesting!


Stephane in Alaska December 16, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Call me a kill-joy but I’ve always thought mamas get a little short-changed on the birthday celebration thing. I mean, which party-of-the-first-part did all the work?!? I know, I know, there’s Mother’s Day but isn’t that just recognition for all the other stuff moms do 365 days a year? Dads get Father’s Day and they certainly didn’t have to push a ginormous baby head through a teensy-weensy opening!? So, please allow me to wish you a happy ten-year anniversary of an amazing and wonderful accomplishment. And a happy, HAPPY birthday to the sparkling and effervescent Miss D.


grace December 17, 2011 at 1:30 am

bugles! i haven’t seen those for ages. i used to put them on my fingertips and pretend i was a witch. :)


bryan December 17, 2011 at 7:19 am

Happy Birthday to the beautiful Miss D!

The snack mix sounds wonderful I LOVE my slightly too savory snacks! and Bugles may be the perfect junk food.


Jana@AnAttitudeAdjustment December 17, 2011 at 10:04 am

This is right up my alley! Thanks! Merry Christmas!


unicorn December 17, 2011 at 1:21 pm

HERKY! and glitter and hearts for Miss D.


Heather December 17, 2011 at 9:42 pm

You said “wasabi” and my honey practically screamed for me to hit print! I’m certain we’ll be checking this recipe out :)
Glad Miss M is on the mend. Happy 10th to Miss D!!!


Privilege of Parenting December 18, 2011 at 8:57 am

Andy, who loves to bake, recently coached me that my problem with baking is a) it takes patience, and I tend to cook everything on has high a flame as I can blast and b) if I’m using low heat it’s so low as to require days (like a soup). Or maybe it’s that I just love salt and crunch more that sweet and soft (at least for culinary treats) and maybe bakers are okay and non-bakers are okay too. All Good Wishes across the palette.


Ink December 18, 2011 at 10:06 am

Anything with Bugles = genius.

Happy birthday, beautiful Miss D!


Mary Lee December 18, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Happy Belated Birthday to the divine Miss M! Wonder if this will be the year she agrees to eat something green?


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri December 18, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Happy Happy Birthday to Miss D! 10 years. I am a little over halfway there with my daughter.


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes December 19, 2011 at 5:26 am

I’m one of those ‘baking moms’ . Sorry. The mix does sound good though.


Tiffany December 19, 2011 at 8:15 am

I’m game for anything with Bugles. I hope Miss M had a wonderful birthday!!!!


Jenna December 19, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Well I certainly wouldn’t be complaining if I got that in a gift bag instead of the usual sweeter-than-sweet holiday fare. Happy birthday to Miss D.–I remember how big of a deal it was to enter the land of double digits!


BigLittleWolf December 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Today was run-around-for-supplies day. Yep, that oven will be verrrrry busy over the next 2 or 3 days. (Someone has to make naughty cookies, no?)

Wishing you a delicious holiday week.


Velva December 19, 2011 at 7:55 pm

I am baking challenged too! It’s those damn directions.

The holiday mix is a good alternative. No doubt its like crack.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.



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