Last Friday we went to Costco and on a whim I bought a giant bag of Kirkland Trail mix.
It’ll be great! I thought. We can have it for snacks this summer, and it’ll add something fun to their lunches.
When we got home, I gave each boy a small bowl of trail mix. They only ate the M&Ms and left the rest of it. So maybe not as a snack. Then I got the email: there is a little girl at summer camp with severe peanut allergies. So much for peanut-heavy trail mix in their lunches.
Cringing slightly at the thought of four pounds of picked over peanut-loaded trail mix, I decided if I could salvage the situation.
The kids love to eat KIND bars — and by “eat” I meant take two bites, put it down and loose interest because they’ve been distracted by something else. KIND bars consist largely of mixed nuts, dried fruit and sometimes chocolate, held together by something sweet and sticky. The trail mix already had mixed nuts, dried fruit and chocolate, I just needed to figure out the something sticky to hold it all together.
After a bit of googling I came across a copy-cat KIND bar recipe that looked like it would work. TheYummyLife.com has several variations of KIND bar, but I was mostly interested in the ratio of stuff-to-sticky to hold it all together.
I used approximately 4 1/2 cups of trail mix (I could be wrong, Patrick helped me measure), with the following ratios as recommended by TheYummyLife for the sticky. I also followed her directions for how to cook the sticky,
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup (it’s what I had on hand, I had help so I got more than the recommended 1/3 cup)
- 1 teaspoon (possibly more, I eyed it) vanilla
I forgot to grease my bowl — you really should do that, and I used parchment paper instead of bothering to grease my 9×13 pan. I’d let it cool longer before cutting, but other than that I pretty much followed the directions.
A few notes for myself for next time, I’m probably going to coarsely chop the nuts/trail mix first. You have to work really fast once the syrup is heated and poured over the trail mix, it cools really quickly, and she’s not joking when she says you must grease the bowl and anything else that comes into contact with it.
These turned out really well: they’re a delightful mix of sticky, chewy, crunchy and chocolatey (the M&Ms get a little melty).
The kids like these about as much as they like the KIND bars, possibly more, because they “helped” me make them. I like that I can cut them down to a size they will eat most of before losing interest, and with four pounds of trail mix to use, I suspect we’ll be enjoying variations of these for a large part of the summer.