In last week’s Takeout Draft of salty snacks, I mentioned that I mispronounced Chex Mix as Chex Mex for most of my adolescence, which planted the seed of an idea for DIY Tex-Mex-spiced Chex Mix. At least one commenter urged me on, which is all it took to send me straight to the grocery store to load up on ingredients.
The appeal of Chex Mix is equally attributed to the addictive seasoning and the array of textures, so I needed to make sure my version nailed both. My plan was to substitute Mexican-ish ingredients one-for-one for the non-Chex components of traditional Chex Mix. Instead of bagel chips, I crushed up tostadas. (You could use tortilla chips, but the less-salty, more earthy tostadas actually do a better job balancing the rest of the intense, spicy flavors in the mix.) Instead of nuts, I used pepitas. Instead of pretzels, I used crushed Doritos Dinamita chile-lime chips, which are of such an unnaturally red color they’ll dye your fingertips crimson. Then I crushed some chicharrones in there, because crispy pork never made anything worse.
I made two batches of seasonings, pitting a garlic/onion/pequin-chili salt mixture against a packet of Old El Paso taco seasoning. I wish you could have smelled my kitchen as these baked—when will we ever get the scratch-and-sniff-internet future we deserve? Through rigorous testing, I determined that while both were tasty, the combination of garlic powder, onion powder, and pequin-chili salt—available in the poorly named “ethnic foods” aisle or on Amazon—most successfully bridged traditional Chex Mix flavors with a tangy lime note.
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Kate’s Chex Mex
- 4 cups corn Chex
- 2 cups wheat Chex
- 1 cup pepitas
- 2 cup crushed chicharrones
- 1 cup Doritos Dinamita chile-limon chips, broken into one-inch pieces
- 1 cup (about 4) crushed tostadas
- 6 Tbsp. butter, melted
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. chile-lime salt
Combine Chex, pepitas, chicharrones, chips, and tostadas in a large mixing bowl. Mix together butter and spices, pour over snack mix and stir to coat. Microwave on high 5-6 minutes, mixing every twominutes; or bake in a shallow pan at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour, mixing every 15 minutes. Let cool before serving.