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Snack Mix for Your Party

November 5, 2012

Sweet and Salty Snack Mix

Tomorrow, finally, election day! I made some calls for my candidate this year at a local phone bank and got the typical mix of responses: people who were gung ho and had already voted, people who told me they were “tired of these damn calls” and hung up on me, people who aggressively stated there was no way they were going to vote for my candidate and of course, a handful of sweet old ladies who just wanted to chat.

I understand all of these responses, even the rude ones, but the people I had a real problem with were the few who said they had no intention of voting of all. One man stated quite proudly that he hadn’t voted once in his entire life and had no intention of starting now. Really? How can you live in a country and enjoy all the opportunities and freedoms it generously offers and then think that voting doesn’t matter? You only have to take a quick peek at the headlines all over the world to understand that the right to vote and have your voice heard without fear of retaliation should never be taken for granted.

So whichever party you’re voting for, get out there and vote (unless you’re a republican in Wisconsin or Iowa….) and then while you’re nervously awaiting the results keep yourself occupied with some mindless snacking. This sweet and salty trail mix is the type of party food that makes people yell, “take this bowl away from me!” It’s is a snack mix that will see you through all the upcoming holiday parties and can even be put in a cute jar as a gift for friends. My favorite part about homemade snack mix is that you can leave out the fillers you don’t like (you’ll never find a peanut in my snack mix) and add more of what you love (lots of pecans, please!).

The inspiration came from two very experienced hosts who know their way around party food, David Lebovitz and Martha Stewart. I combined David Lebovitz’s Holiday Snack Mix recipe with Martha’s Chesapeake Bay Snack Mix. The result is a totally addictive bowl of crunchy nuts and pretzels with a sweet and salty coating that is neither too sweet or too salty.

Total Time in the Kitchen: 30 minutes
Servings: A big old bowl of party mix, for a party of 8 to 12 people

Ingredients:

5 to 6 cups of raw, unsalted nuts (I used 3 cups of cashews, 1 cup of pecans and 1 cup of almonds)
3 large handfuls of mini pretzels or pretzel sticks

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
3/4 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions:

Spread the nuts out in a baking pan and roast in an 350 F oven for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. When the nuts are done take them out, but leave the oven on.

Melt together the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup and Old Bay seasoning.

Pour half the nuts and half the butter in a large bowl and mix well, then add the rest of the nuts and butter and mix until evenly coated.  Next, add the pretzels and sprinkle in the salt while mixing well.

Spread the mixture back in the baking pan and bake for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice while cooking. Remove from the oven and cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Eat within a week.

Note that the nuts will be a little soft when still hot, but once they cool completely they will have a crunchy, roasted texture.

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