It’s December, which means I’ve now entered into full-on gift basket mode! You may recall the Christmas gift baskets I made last year; I still love the collection of reindeer Oreo pops, hot cocoa mix, chocolate stirring spoons, pretzel treats and banana bread, so I don’t intend to change things up too much this year. Plus, there’s been so much going on that I’ve been too lazy to research totally new gift basket items. Just for variety’s sake, though, I do plan on supplementing the pretzel treats with mini turtles (same recipe as the pretzel treats, except you substitute a mini Rolo for the Hershey’s Kiss and a pecan for the M&M), and adding one totally new item to some of the baskets: Furikake Chex mix!
What is furikake, you ask? It’s a delightful seasoning made of seaweed flakes, roasted sesame seeds, salt and a bit of sugar (many versions exist, but those are the basic ingredients), usually sprinkled over rice.
For Asian kids, it’s the equivalent of mac and cheese or chicken nuggets — it’s comfort food, it’s what parents pull out to entice their kids to eat, it’s the stuff of childhood memories. I know I speak for millions when I say that furikake is da bomb. I’ve only had it over rice, though, so when my friend Jennell mentioned that she recently made furikake Chex mix, I was intrigued. Jennell said she got tired of bringing furikake Chex mix back to Cali from Hawaii, so she looked up and tweaked a recipe for it. Even before trying the recipe, the thought of savory furikake mixed with the sweet crunch of Chex mix had me drooling. As soon as humanly possible, I made a batch, and the result was that I gained five pounds. No, just kidding, but I couldn’t stop eating it! It’s not for everyone; some people might find the juxtaposition of seaweed and sweetness off-putting, but seriously, it’s good. I liked it so much that I decided I would feature this new item in some of my gift baskets this year. So, thank you yet again, Jennell! (Ever since she introduced me to Oreo Monkey Muffins, Jennell has earned my trust when it comes to recipe recommendations. ;))
Furikake Chex Mix
Makes 6-8 generous servings
- 1 12.8-oz corn or rice Chex, whichever you prefer (I bought rice Chex and wheat Chex, using half of each box)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup honey or light corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 bottle nori fumi furikake (found in the seasonings aisle in Asian markets; you can also try looking in the Asian aisle in a regular grocery store. If all else fails, click on the bold words and order it off Amazon)
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with foil or parchment paper.
While the oven is preheating, put the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar into a small pan. Put the pan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until butter melts and sugars dissolve. Next, add oil, corn syrup or honey, and soy sauce, and continue stirring. (The original recipe advised measuring out the oil first so that the honey or corn syrup doesn’t stick to the measuring cup.) When everything in the pot is well-mixed, remove it from heat.
Put the cereal in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle some of the syrup over the cereal and mix it very gently with a wooden spoon.
Sprinkle furikake over the cereal and mix again with the wooden spoon.
Once the cereal is well-coated, spread it in a single layer on the baking sheets, then bake for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let the cereal cool before eating (trust me on this … I couldn’t resist the smell and ate a few bites before it was cool, resulting a burned tongue!).
Store in an airtight container at room temperature, or divide into small bags or containers to give away. Enjoy!
Speaking of gift baskets, I’ll be back later next week to post pictures of this year’s baskets!