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Sweet and salty with plenty of crunch, this Candy Coated Crispix Mix is the most munchable, absolutely addicting snack mix to make this holiday season! It’s hard to resist grabbing a handful of the caramel covered clusters of cereal, peanuts, and M&M’s every time you walk by the kitchen! Perfect for sharing with friends and neighbors!

Crunchy, chewy, salty, and sweet treats are some of our favorites! Be sure to also try our Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats, Blarney Stones, or Salted Caramel Sauce.

Clusters of crispix cereal and peanuts in a bowl.

Christmas Crack Snack Mix

I’ll come clean and admit that I just lose all self-control when it comes to this Crispix mix. Sure, I love Christmas cookies and other holiday baking, but there is just something about a really excellent snack mix that speaks to me.

It’s dangerous stuff though. You will find yourself craving it and unable to resist the siren call of this Crispix mix when it’s just sitting on the counter, beckoning for you to come over and take just ONE MORE HANDFUL.

I have to hide it out of sight in the cupboard just to have any hope of making smart choices for the day.

Caramel coated crispix mix in a decorative tin.

This recipe comes from my friend Michaela, from the blog An Affair From the Heart. Michaela regularly hosts a “blog swap” once a quarter where a group of us food blogging friends are each secretly assigned someone else’s site to recreate one of their recipes. Then we all post on the same day and find out who had who and what everybody made. It’s such a fun event and I love participating. Check out my past Freaky Friday recipes!

Christmas cookies next to whole spices

This time around is our annual virtual cookie exchange and I was randomly assigned Michaela’s blog! Which was so fun and exciting because she always makes the BEST stuff! Seriously, every time I see one of her recipes I find myself thinking “I have GOT to make that!”.

But since it’s the holiday season, we were asked to focus on things you might see at a cookie exchange, like holiday cookies, candies, or bars. I was tempted by Michaela’s sugared pecans. They always make me think of the mall at Christmastime! Her frosted eggnog cookies and peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough truffles also looked incredible.

But when I saw her Christmas Crispix Mix, I knew that’s what I really wanted to make! Those caramel-coated clusters of crunchy cereal and roasted peanuts are balanced with just a bit of chocolate and it’s dangerous. It’s candy-ish without being difficult to make at all. And I just knew that the texture and salty-sweetness would be right up my alley.

A close image of crispix mix with peanuts and chocolate candies

Ingredients in Crispix Mix

  • Crispix cereal: You could use Chex cereal instead, if you want, but I love the unique hexagonal shape of Crispix, which are corn on one side and rice on the other side for delicious flavor and crunch!
  • Salted, dry roasted peanuts: These provide the salty part of the salty-sweet combo that makes this snack mix so addicting!
  • Brown sugar: Light brown sugar holds its own in this simple recipe. Dark brown sugar could also be used.
  • Light corn syrup: This adds sweetness and helps prevent crystallization of the sugar when making the sticky candy coating.
  • Salted butter: The buttery flavor of this snackable mix is unmistakable and so, so delicious.
  • Baking soda: Adding the baking soda to the hot mixture will cause it to foam up and helps achieve the perfect texture in the finished snack mix.
  • Salt: Just a bit to make sure the salty-sweetness comes through.
  • M&M’s: I love the holiday colored milk chocolate M&M’s, but really you could make this mix any time of the year with any color M&M’s, or any flavor of M&M’s like dark chocolate, pretzel, or caramel.

How to Make

  1. Prep work: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray. Combine the Crispix cereal and peanuts in a very large bowl and set aside.
  2. Make the caramel coating: Combine the butter, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes.
  3. Get ready to mix: Add the baking soda and stir well. The mixture will foam up a bit. This is where you get in a bit of a time crunch and will be sorry if you didn’t prep your pan in advance: Immediately pour over the cereal and peanuts, stirring to evenly coat the cereal with the candy mixture. It’s okay if not every piece gets coated. This step is to distribute the candy coating as evenly as possible, but you don’t want to crush the cereal by stirring too much or too vigorously.
  4. Bake slowly to “set” the caramel: Dump the coated cereal mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, using a spatula or large wooden spoon to turn the snack mix over every 15 minutes or so. The low heat keeps the candy coating soft and sticky and turning helps most of the cereal eventually get evenly coated, while also drying it out a bit. Technically you could just skip this step and eat the Crispix Mix right away, but the pieces of cereal wouldn’t be as evenly coated and it will be stickier and chewier and not quite the same texture as when you do the low, slow bake.
  5. Cooling & storage: Remove from the oven and cool for 15 to 20 minutes until cool enough to add the M&M’s without them melting. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to about 1 week.

Variation Ideas

This snack mix all on it’s own is basically perfection, but it’s also a great jumping off point for you to get creative and jazz it up even more. Here are some ideas I brainstormed for things I’m going to try the next time I make it.

  • Add some sweetened coconut flakes. I’m definitely doing this with the next batch I make. I think maybe 1 to 1 1/2 cups should do the trick.
  • Drizzle with melted white or dark chocolate after cooling completely, then let it set until the chocolate rehardens.
  • Add another type of nuts like pecans or cashews.
  • Swap out some of the Crispix cereal for pretzel twists.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the butter/sugar mixture while it is cooking for a warm and cozy spiced version.
A bowl of crunchy crispix mix

Gifting and serving suggestions

I mean, we honestly just start by sneaking clusters of this snack mix while it is cooling on the counter. But if you can retain enough of your self-control to put some away, this keeps beautifully in an airtight container for at least a week, which makes it great for gifting.

Portion handfuls of it into paper cupcake liners to set on a cookie plate for a cookie exchange or pile it in the middle of your plate for a more dramatic presentation. If you want larger servings, use a mug or plastic cups for holding the crispix mix.

Or double the batch and package it up in a cellophane bag with a ribbon or a decorative holiday tin for gifting to friends, neighbors, and coworkers!

snack mix with M&M's on a baking sheet

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Candy Coated Crispix Mix
Yield: 12 servings

Candy Coated Crispix Mix

Sweet and salty with plenty of crunch, this Candy Coated Crispix Mix is the most munchable, absolutely addicting snack mix to make this holiday season! It's hard to resist grabbing a handful of the caramel covered clusters of cereal, peanuts, and M&M's every time you walk by the kitchen! Perfect for sharing with friends and neighbors!

Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 17 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (17-ounce) box Crispix cereal
  • 2 cups salted dry roasted peanuts
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pound milk chocolate M&M's (a little more than 2 cups)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray. Combine the Crispix cereal and peanuts in a very large bowl and set aside.
  2. Combine the butter, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the baking soda and stir well. The mixture will foam up a bit. Immediately pour over the cereal and peanuts, stirring to evenly coat the cereal with the candy mixture. It's okay if not every piece gets coated. This step is to distribute the candy coating as evenly as possible, but you don't want to crush the cereal by stirring too much or too vigorously.
  4. Dump the coated cereal mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, using a spatula or large wooden spoon to turn the snack mix over every 15 minutes or so. The low heat keeps the candy coating soft and sticky and turning helps most of the cereal eventually get evenly coated, while also drying it out a bit.
  5. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 to 20 minutes until cool enough to add the M&M's without them melting. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to about 1 week.

Notes

  • You can use whichever M&M's you like best, whether that is milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or the pretzel ones. I personally like the milk chocolate best, so that's what I stick with.
  • Add some sweetened coconut flakes. I'm definitely doing this with the next batch I make. I think maybe 1 to 1 1/2 cups should do the trick.
  • Drizzle with melted white or dark chocolate after cooling completely, then let it set until the chocolate rehardens.
  • Add another type of nuts like pecans or cashews.
  • Swap out some of the Crispix cereal for pretzel twists.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the butter/sugar mixture while it is cooking for a warm and cozy spiced version.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 594Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 381mgCarbohydrates: 71gFiber: 2gSugar: 63gProtein: 6g

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Take a look at all of our 2020 Freaky Friday Holiday Cookie Exchange Recipes:

  1. An Affair from the Heart – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies
  2. Bowl Me Over – Homemade Buckeyes Recipe
  3. Devour Dinner – Holiday Brownie Cookie
  4. Fresh Cooky – Mint Fudge Brownies
  5. Hostess at Heart – Homemade Butter Cookies
  6. House of Nash Eats – Candy Coated Crispix Mix
  7. Lemoine Family Kitchen – Nutella Thumbprint Cookies
  8. Life Currents – Easy One Hour Cinnamon Rolls
  9. Life, Love & Good Food – Peppermint Brownie Drop Cookies
  10. Or Whatever You Do – Easy Thumbprint Cookie Recipe
  11. Sugar Dish Me – Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies
  12. Take Two Tapas –  Chocolate Caramel Brownies
  13. The Speckled Palate – Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge