Fall is one of my favorite seasons of the year. Although summer always gets the prize, fall provides a breath of fresh air. The cooler weather, dazzling colors and lack of bugs (hope you’re listening lantern flies and mosquitoes), make it pleasant to finally spend long amounts of time outdoors.
It’s also when I start baking again. Nothing beats fall baking weather. From apple pies to muffins and scones, it’s a wonderful time to use the oven.
Now, if you aren’t really a baker, the good news is that this fall snack mix doesn’t really require any real baking skill. Some spreading and stirring, but you don’t need to let it rise or anything.
The bad news is that it’s addictive. Really addictive. Like can’t stop eating it, so you make a second batch addictive.
Originally, the first snack mix batch was supposed to be for neighbor gifts. You know. To celebrate fall. So, my family sampled it to make sure that it tasted okay. Then, we sampled it again. And again.
The sampling process led to a lack of snack mix for gifts. So, we decided to go ahead and finish up the first batch. It was just easier than telling everyone to stop munching.
Sadly, the second batch of snack mix ended in the same way. Not a chocolate chip to be had.
I haven’t decided yet if I should attempt a third batch or just accept the fact that this fall snack mix might be too good to gift to others.
If you enjoy having fall get togethers, it’s also a fun snack mix to serve to guests. It’s the perfect complement to munch on while watching football or take it along to a sports tailgate event. Really, any fall celebration will do.
Or pack a container of it when you head to cheer on your kids’ sporting events. It makes being up early on a Saturday morning that much better. Maybe it’s the sweet and salty flavors or delicious dried cranberries that pop in your mouth. Or it could be the chocolate textures that mix perfectly with coffee. Which can be good early in the morning.
The truth is that you don’t really need a reason. If snacking on a fall snack mix makes your days brighter (as it did for our family), than keep some in the pantry. You never know when you might enjoy it and the snack mix keeps for up to a week in an air tight container. Just don’t be surprised when you find yourself munching on it as a pre-dinner snack. And no that doesn’t come from personal experience.
You will need:
3 cups corn cereal squares (rice works well too or mix them up – it’s your snack mix)
2 cups bite sized pretzels (I love the Snaps version)
2 cups bite sized cheese crackers (you could use Goldfish crackers if you are making this for kids)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chocolate coated candies (such as M & Ms)
1/4 cup of white chocolate chips
Non-stick spray or parchment paper (affiliate)
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Spray a (size) baking dish with non-stick spray or cut a piece of parchment paper that fits the bottom.
Note: You can bake your mix on baking sheets if you prefer. I used baking sheets the first time I made it. When stirring the fall snack mix in the oven, the pieces sometimes fell off and were never seen again. Using a large glass baking pan allowed me to spread out the snack mix, but still stir it safely while baking.
2. In a bowl, stir together the cereal squares, pretzels and cheddar cheese crackers.
In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar and salt until the sugar and salt have completely dissolved.
3. Carefully pour the butter mixture over the snack mix. Stir to coat the mix completely.
4. Pour the mixture evenly into a baking pan. (See note above.) Bake the snack mix for 45 minutes or until light golden brown and slightly toasted. Stir every 15 minutes.
5. Once out of the oven, break up any clumps that stick together. Let the snack mix fully cool. (This process can take some time. If you need your snack mix quickly, consider placing it in the refrigerator or freezer to speed up the cooling process.)
6. After the mix has cooled, stir in the white chocolate chips, chocolate candies and dried cranberries. Your fall snack mix is ready to enjoy. Not eating right away? Store in an air tight container and it will keep for up to a week.
The trick with making this snack mix really delicious is to make sure it is completely cooled before adding the chocolate elements. If it is even the slightest bit warm, the chocolate chips and candies will melt into a gooey mess.
When planning your party, bake the snack mix the morning of your celebration. Leave it to cool while you work on the rest of your party details. Then, about ten to fifteen minutes before guests arrive, mix in the chocolate chips, cranberries and chocolate candies. This will give your fall snack mix enough cooling time so you don’t have any melting.
If you need the snack mix for a morning event, then make it the night before. Cover or put in an air tight container. Then, add the cranberries and chocolates in the morning. You will have a delicious snack ready to go without having to worry if it’s cooled enough.
Want to give as a gift?
This fall snack mix also makes a wonderful gift for neighbors and friends. Fill small white ice cream cups (affiliate) with the fall snack mix and place in a clear cello bag (affiliate). Snip off the self sealing portion of the cello bag and tie with a piece of bakers twine (affiliate). Attach our free printable Happy Fall tag to the top. It’s a delicious way to spread some fall joy in your neighborhood.