'Leprechaun Bait' Puts A St. Patrick's Day Spin On Chex Mix

If you're looking for a fun way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with the kids this March, you've probably got traditional Irish dishes or green foods in mind: shepherd's pie followed by mint-chocolate ice cream would be a good start, for instance. But have you considered making the sweet, savory, and irresistably snackable "leprechaun bait" for your family or classroom? You're not likely to catch any real leprechauns with this sugary snack (although let everyone know if you find something) but it's likely to go quickly once everybody digs in. 

What is leprechaun bait? It's a dessert trail mix centered around St. Paddy's that includes Corn Chex, Lucky Charms cereal, peanuts, pretzel sticks, green M&Ms, and melted white chocolate chips. Sometimes it includes other add-ins like sprinkles, green decorating sugar, a different kind of nut, or even white popcorn. Unlike regular trail mix, which tends to lean more toward dried fruit and seeds, here the Chex Mix and the Lucky Charms are the most important components: the Chex because of its crunchy texture and the cereal because — besides the yummy stars, hearts, horseshoes, clovers, blue moons, rainbows, red balloons, and unicorns — if you believe the commercials, they also attract leprechauns!

Let the kids help out

Part of the appeal of leprechaun bait is that it's very easy for kids to help out in putting it together. All they need to do is pour all of the ingredients — except the white chocolate — into a bowl and mix. Then, separately pour a bag of white chocolate chips with a little oil into a microwave-safe bowl and heat them up long enough to melt. Once the chocolate has liquefied, pour it over the mixture straight away because it'll harden quickly. And as soon as it cools, it's ready to eat.

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It helps if you splurge a little on more high-quality white chocolate chips like Ghirardelli because they'll melt and spread more readily. As for the green M&Ms, the Mars candy company sell bags of the two-tone green M&Ms around the holiday, so don't worry about sorting out the green ones from a regular bag. However, if you can't get your hands on one, just tell the kids you're using the full spectrum of colors to represent the end of the rainbow, where the leprechauns keep their gold. 

St. Paddy's favorites

There are plenty of St. Paddy's snacks you can make using similar ingredients. For your leftover Corn Chex and pretzels, whip up the concoction known as Muddy Buddies, sometimes also referred to as Puppy Chow. You take these, add powdered sugar, then melt chocolate and peanut butter over it, and add some vanilla extract at the end. To make it fit the season a bit better, you could even add green jelly beans, mint chocolates, or other green-colored sweets.

Or, if you have any leftover Lucky Charms, get some regular marshmallows and butter, and bake the cereal on a sheet, just like you would to make Rice Krispie Treat bars. The best part about leprechaun bait, though? Once another holiday comes around, like Christmas, you can swap out the Lucky Charms for another cereal like Cheerios and add in green and red M&Ms. Now you've got yourself a bowl of Christmas elf bait instead.

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