The other day a few flakes of snow were drifting around. Nothing much just a few flurries. It was the first snow of the season so I needed to start thinking about Christmas. I have no idea why people make this around Christmas but it seems lots of people do and everyone has their own version. Some people call this Bits and Bites. I was actually given this recipe in 1983 by a coworker. I tucked the card away in a recipe book and found it years later. I hadn’t ever made it. I didn’t need to because my sister always made some and if I was lucky I’d get some free! But now I make my own Nuts and Bolts.
The first time I made this was to give as gifts to the many staff I worked with. Mr. H was pretty disappointed that I gave most of it away so I made another batch. The following year some of the staff hinted they were looking forward to getting some more. So it became a tradition. The cereals and crackers you use are up to you. It really doesn’t matter. The most important thing is using snacks you like, having a good variety and adding the liquid and seasoning in smaller amounts and stirring carefully so everything gets coated evenly.
I like a combination of a rice cereal, oat cereal, pretzels, peanuts and lots of cheesy crackers like Cheese Bits, Cheese Nips and even Cheesy Fish! Many people use Shreddies. I prefer something less sweet because I find they don’t pair well with cheese crackers, however if you’re not using cheesy options in your mix, the Shreddies are good! Mixed nuts are nice too if you feel like splurging.
Start by emptying all the cereals, crackers etc. into a large roasting pan. Fill it quite full but leave a few inches so you can stir without everything falling out. It’s more of a folding technique than stirring. You don’t want to break up the pieces. Try to keep an even proportion of each item so don’t use the extra big cereal boxes. Or save some for breakfast.
Melt the butter and stir in the oil and Worcestershire.
Combine the 3 spices in a shaker or bowl. You can use garlic salt or powder. You can use onion salt or powder. Just don’t use all 3 salts. I find it’s a little too salty. I usually use the combination of celery salt, garlic powder, onion powder. The butter and Worcestershire are salty enough.
Pour about 1/4 of the butter and oil mixture over the dry ingredients. Shake about 1/4 of the seasoning over. Now gently fold from the outer edges in carefully. Add another quarter of liquid and seasoning and fold again. Continue until all the dry ingredients are coated evenly. Pour, sprinkle, stir. Repeat.
Bake in an oven set around 225 degrees and stir every 15 or 20 minutes for about an hour. Turn the oven up to 250 and roast another 30 minutes, stirring at the halfway point. Be patient. It will be drier every time you stir. After the last stir, turn off the oven and leave in for about 20 more minutes. Remove and stir one last time. It should be nicely roasted. Allow to cool and store in tins or plastic containers.
It doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
Pour some into festive cellophane and share with your friends!
Here’s the recipe:
Nuts and Bolts
Nuts and Bolts Ingredients 1 cup butter, melted 1 cup canola or vegetable oil 5 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce 5 tsp celery salt 5 tsp onion powder 5 tsp garlic powder 1 box Cheerios or other oat cereal 1 box Rice Chex or other rice cereal 1 bag pretzel sticks 1 jar peanuts or mixed nuts 1 box Cheese Nips 1 box Cheese Bits or 2 packages Cheesy Fish Method Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Empty all snacks into a large roasting pan and stir gently. Melt butter in a large measuring cup. Add oil and Worcestershire. Mix spices in a bowl or shaker. Pour 1/4 of the oil mixture over the snack mixture. Sprinkle 1/4 of the spice mixture evenly over top. Gently fold to mix in. Repeat until all oil and spices are evenly mixed in. Bake for an hour, stirring every 15 or 20 minutes. Turn heat up to 250 and bake another 30 minutes, stirring at the halfway point. Turn oven off and leave in for another 20 minutes. Remove and stir. Cool before storing in bags or tins.