Listen up: Summer is the perfect time to make puppy chow. You can make it and freeze it, then enjoy the salty-sweet crunch whenever you want a cool hit of peanut butter and chocolate.
It’s one of those simple delights that can make a weekend at the cabin, a road trip, or a night on the couch more enjoyable. This happy snack can make any situation better.
The puppy chow that I grew on was more like cereal pieces, which were coated in powdered sugar. The puppy chow was served at room temperature, and each part of it was eaten one by one.
What’s more fun than that? You’ll get more clusters if you use MORE chocolate, MORE peanut butter, and MORE butter. If you freeze it, it becomes a deliciously thick and crunchy bite.
This jumbo-sized cluster is a more sophisticated version of the original. It’s the same as the original, but with a little more of everything: chocolate, peanut butter, butter. The texture, shape, and temperature add a bit more excitement. This makes for a supremely satisfying snack. It’s a real delight.
What is Puppy Chow?
Puppy Chow is also called Muddy Buddies by those outside the Midwest. It’s a snack. Prized possession? Wiki refers to it as “homemade candies” (lol) and coating cereals like Rice Chex make with melted chocolate peanut mixture, then tossing them with powdered icing sugar. It is meant to be eaten in handfuls, similar to a sweet version of Chex Mix.
This is one of my favorite Midwestern foods from the 80s and 1990s. Because of my strong opinion on freezing it, today I will make my case that this is the perfect sweet treat / fun thing to make for you in these last weeks of summer.
I’m calling this “Extra Good” – it only differs from the recipes on the back of the Chex boxes by having a lot more of that chocolate-peanut-butter coating, therefore making it extra thick, extra clustery, extra delicious.
How to Make Puppy Chow
Make a Chocolate Mixture
Melt chocolate, butter, and peanut butter in a large bowl. The microwave works well. We are in the Midwest. We are not fancy.
Melted chocolate is added to the cereal.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
After the cereal has been coated, sprinkle it with powdered white sugar until each piece is covered and dry enough to touch.
Midwestern kids from the 90s will agree that the proper and authentic technique is to mix the chocolate-coated cereal in a grocery paper bag. Does it even qualify as puppy chow if the bag isn’t there?
It is possible to use any large bag to do the job (ziplock bag, paper bag, or even a large mixing bowl you can gently toss so that the cereal doesn’t break).
Transfer it to a surface that will allow it to “dry,” aka become little crispy bites of delicious chocolate peanut butter heaven.
FROZEN PUPPEY CHOW IS LIFE-CHANGING.
Spread it out evenly to get the best clusters. Just let it lie as it will, and the freezing process helps the groups to form.
How to Store Puppy Chow
This addictive bounty should be stored in the freezer. I keep it in Ziplock bags or airtight containers.
The counter and the fridge will both work. The freezer is the place to be for a crispier, more satisfying crunch. It also travels well, making it last longer.
The perfect snack is puppy chow, especially when it’s out of the fridge.
- cabin weekends
- Road trips
- bonfire snacking
- Pool days
- Kids and teens in general. (We don’t have teenagers often, but we had one recently, and there was an actual cheer when we brought out the puppy chow, and then it got pounded.)
- Just grab a few clusters for a cool, crunchy snack after dinner
- One box of rice Chex cereal (about 10 cups)
- 2 Semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 Peanut butter
- 1/2 Salted Butter
- Two teaspoons vanilla
- Pinch of thumb Salt
- 2 Powdered Sugar More as required/desired
- Melt the butter, peanut butter, and chocolate chips in a large bowl using a microwave at intervals of 30 seconds until smooth.
- Add the vanilla and sea salt.
- Pour chocolate over cereal. This recipe makes a large amount, so I make it in two large bowls.
- Mix the cereal and chocolate with a wooden teaspoon, taking care not to break any grain.
- Add the powdered sweetener on top of the cereal coated in chocolate (yes, you can pour it in). Shake the bag gently to cover all the pieces with powdered sugar. I like to go for a wet/dry hybrid approach for optimal clustering rather than an each-piece-individually-coated-and-dry approach.
- To cool and set, transfer to two baking sheets or lay the mixture on parchment paper. This is best stored in the freezer to get the best crunch and clustering!