BAE Trail Mix

Store-bought trail mix is fine, but it can’t hold a candle to this flavor-bomb cardamom-scented treat from chef Kena Peay

Are you camping in a low-bandwidth area? Before you hit the road, download or print this recipe so you’ll have it on hand.

Is a camping trip really a camping trip if there’s no trail mix involved? The answer, duh, is no, particularly if that trail mix happens to be Kena Peay’s BAE trail mix. A sort of turbo-charged Chex mix, it’s a sweet-salty-nutty flavor bomb seemingly precision-engineered to light up every dopamine receptor in your brain. It also happens to be an excellent source of fuel for the trail, not to mention during everyday, non-camping life. 

This is a make-ahead recipe that you can whip up a few days in advance of your trip, though be warned that the longer it sits around, the more tempted you will be to eat all of it before you so much as load up your car. Note that the chocolate chips here are optional: Peay likes to add them to the mix when it’s still hot so they melt, but if that’s not your thing, you can add them when the mix is cool, or skip them altogether.

BAE Trail Mix Recipe

Serves enough for you and BAE

Makes about 9 cups


4 cups Chex cereal (you can use rice or wheat Chex, or even mix the two)

1 cup chopped raw pecans 

1 cup salted roasted peanuts 

1 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

1 cup mini pretzels 

1 teaspoon kosher salt 

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

⅓ cup melanin sugar (aka brown sugar)

⅓ cup honey

⅓ cup canola oil 

½ cup chocolate chips (dark chocolate for the culture) (optional)


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet tray with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the cereal, pecans, peanuts, pepitas, mini pretzels, salt, cardamom, and cinnamon. Mix well.

Step 2

Mix the brown sugar, honey, and canola oil in a medium saucepan. Bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat once it starts to bubble. 

Step 3

Carefully pour the hot mixture on top of the cereal mixture, and stir to combine. Work quickly like you’re in a Peloton class. Once the cereal mixture is fully coated, pour it onto the parchment-lined sheet tray and spread evenly. 

Step 4

Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Be sure to mix every 5 minutes as it cooks; this helps everything toast evenly. 

Step 5

Remove the tray from the oven, stir once more, and let sit until cool. Do not taste until the trail mix has fully cooled, or you run the risk of severely burning yourself and I don’t want that for your life. Plus I don’t know how your health insurance is set up. 

Step 6

Once your trail mix has cooled, mix in the chocolate chips, and store in airtight containers. Will last up to 10 days. 

Step 7

Put it in a cute box for BAE.

Kena Peay is an outdoor enthusiast and chef who’s passionate about diversifying the outdoors and the food we choose to enjoy outdoors. Dina Avila is a photographer in Portland, Oregon.
Recipe tested by Deena Prichep

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