Sep 17, 2017

S’mores Snack Mix

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Like so many wholly unrelated things in life, I tend to liken this utterly habit-forming snack mix to parenting. Hear me out.

So here’s me at my desk in my little “office” in a corner of the attic, right? The space that has a door that I can use to close myself away from my children so I don’t even care that it’s just an alcove and not a real office. Now don’t get me wrong, people. I love my children. They are delicious and precious and I love them even more since the third week of August when they were dispatched to their separate schools and are no longer finding themselves inexplicably and repeatedly drawn to my ONE, NICE, ONLY, NICE, sitting room sofa trying to kill each other for sport all summer long. Because I give my all to my children, really I do. I’m not the very best parent on the planet, but I can confidently say that I do the very best I can. I caress them, listen to their needs and their stories, tell them they are wonderful and look at their stick drawings with Monet-observing awe. I really try to not lose my shit on them every single day, tell them fascinating things about art and music and culture, feed them nutritious food so they can grow and thrive and leave their unique, never-to-be-replicated mark on this big, beautiful, uncertain world.

And then I watch them nod slowly and politely (9-year-old female) or outright ignore me (4 1/2-year-old male) and wordlessly retreat to the basement, from which they ask for frozen pizza and why all their colorful and loud shows on Netflix aren’t working. And then I wonder why I work so damn hard to provide all the other stuff. Maybe I should just start with frozen pizza and Netflix? But I love them with my whole self anyway, and have actually grown to appreciate the cycle of sometimes very complex demands, but often simple desires. It’s a delicate dance, this business of parenting.

And in case you forgot, here’s me at my desk in the attic, right? I’m surrounded by stacks of cookbooks and scribbled on legal pads with ideas and bits of recipes for the new book I’m writing between episodes of parenting. It’s here that I’ve sometimes stressed over, but mostly happily developed a countless number of recipes, always tweaking amounts, techniques, baking times and more. Down in the kitchen, I’ve lovingly mixed batters and massaged doughs just so, listening to what they need to become their very best selves and be released into the world and the lives of others. I’ve strived for the gentle balance of understanding and perfecting baking techniques, and then learning to love the process enough to forget about all of those specifics and just have a good time in the kitchen. Again, a delicate dance, this business of baking.

I’m getting somewhere with all of this, I promise.

So two weeks ago, I “developed” a “recipe” for this S’mores Snack Mix for the Today Show. Now, I don’t know if I should reveal alllll of my trade secrets, but the very scientific process of devising this formula involved dumping a bunch of stuff from boxes and bags into a big bowl and stirring it around until it looked right. EXTREMELY HIGH LEVEL CULINARY ACHIEVEMENT.

And yet! I’ve never received so much email after a TV appearance in my life. Three separate people at my cousin’s baby shower came up to me to say it was the “new thing” that they were all bringing to “all their things”. We gave away bakers’ twine-tied bags of it for my daughter’s camping-themed birthday party soon after, and more than one mother texted to admit she’d eaten the whole bag, out of sight of her children the very same evening and demanded the “recipe”. Maybe there’s more magic in easy combinations than any of us realize. Don’t overthink it. A delicate balance, indeed.

S’mores Snack Mix

I know it’s a verrrrry complicated, bougie recipe, but let me just say that if you need more mix, just use more stuff in these ratios. Boom.

(It is worth noting, however, that the best salted peanuts for sweet and salty snacks or baking are the cocktail variety that just have peanuts, oil, and salt listed as ingredients. Other salted peanuts can be subtly flavored with savory spices like paprika and garlic which just end up tasting odd. So check your nuts, is what I’m saying.)

Makes 8 cups

4 cups Golden Grahams cereal
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup salted cocktail peanuts

Combine all in a large bowl. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Sit back and wait for that James Beard award.

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