I was putting together my list for Christmas brunch (flank steak, cheese for the cheese grits, fruit and gelatin for Rosa’s Fruit Salad, etc.) and I realized that I hadn’t even thought about making nuts and bolts this year! It’s one of my favorite Christmas-time snacks and the season almost passed without me making a batch!
Nuts and bolts started in our family with my Oma (also named Marian). I have memories of her sitting in front of the stove, stirring the snack mix in a large roasting pan. The smell of butter, season-all, and Worcestershire sauce would waft out of the oven and creep through the house before the door was closed again. I could hardly wait for it to be finished and cool enough to eat. I often wouldn’t wait and would snag a few pieces from the roasting pan while the mix was being stirred.
She would pour the contents of the roaster pan into a Charles Chips tin and that would be the snack for all of the kids and grandkids for days. It was a race to the bottom of the tin and then we would coax her to make some more.
My Oma hated sweets, so this was her way of “baking” for her grandkids.
I still use her recipe, which I believe is the classic recipe that was on the back of the Chex cereal box, but I have made some adjustments based on our tastes and the fact that we have two people allergic to peanuts in our house. So, of course, I don’t put peanuts in. Also, I never liked the wheat Chex and always picked them out, so I don’t add those and nobody in our family misses them.
The printable recipe card is below, but I’ll walk you through making it as well. If you haven’t ever made your own Chex Mix/Nuts & Bolts, it is so simple! If you’ve already made it a bunch, this might just be another option to consider.
Since I don’t have a large roasting pan, I use a couple of shallow baking dishes every year. You could also purchase some of those large disposable aluminum roasters from the grocery store.
I mix in pretzel sticks, Rice Chex, Corn Chex, and Original Gold Fish “Soup Crackers”. I added about a cup of cashews to one of the dishes, since I like cashews, but the boys do not.
Melt an entire box of butter on low heat. I mean, anything that starts with four full sticks of butter has got to be good. One important note, since the snacks are already salted and more seasoning is being added, I always use unsalted butter, so it doesn’t end up being overly salty. Trust me, it’s plenty salty.
Mix the seasonings into the melted butter (Worcestershire sauce, season all, and a little bit of garlic powder.)
Pour the seasoned butter over the snack mix and stir it up with a spoon. This is where having a larger baking dish really helps. Snacks are always jumping out of my baking dishes, but I just let the clean-up crew take care of it. The clean-up crew is Sebastian, in case you didn’t guess that.
Bake it for an hour on 250, stirring every 15 minutes. That’s it! You do have to babysit it a bit with all of the stirring, but other than that, it’s super easy.
If you watched my instagram stories, you know that my oven stopped working as I was cooking my Nuts & Bolts. I actually took the dishes with me to Marshall’s violin lesson and finished cooking them in the teacher’s oven! I called Kitchen Aid and they scheduled an appliance repair professional to come out on Friday to take a look at it. When I got home, I tried turning on the oven again to see what happened. It just seemed wrong that it wasn’t working. Everything else was working fine and the stove is just over a year old!
Well, when I turned the oven on again, it worked! And I figured out the larger baking dish I was using was preventing the door from fully closing. It was only open a smidge, but it was enough for the oven to shut off (a safety feature that I wasn’t aware of.) So, it was operator error and all is well with my beautiful range.
And, it was a happy ending all around, because the Nuts & Bolts turned out great, too.
Classic Nuts & Bolts (Chex Mix)
- baking dishes (large aluminum ones work great for this, but you can use casserole dishes, cake pans, roasting pans, etc.)
- 1 1 lb bag pretzels
- 1 box corn chex mix
- 1 box rice chex mix
- 3 bags original goldfish soup crackers
- optional - nuts, wheat chex, bagel chips, etc.
- 1 lb real unsalted butter (that's four sticks!)
- 6 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp season-all
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- preheat oven to 250°
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add last three ingredients once butter has melted and stir.
- Mix all of the dry ingredients in roasting pans
- Pour melted seasoned butter over dry ingredients, distributing it evenly between the pans. Mix to coat dry ingredients in butter & seasoning.
- Bake at 250° for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring & rotating pans every 15 minutes.