The traditional Puppy Chow recipe gets a few upgrades in my Peanut Butter Pretzel Puppy Chow. There is also a secret ingredient that will take it to another level so read on!
When someone mentions puppy chow I don’t immediately think of dog food I think of the Chocolate and Powdered Sugar coated Chex Cereal. This is a blog about party foods and appetizers, with some adult beverages sprinkled in, not dog food. I like dogs, and cats so I am not discriminating, but I don’t care about their food or making “fru-fru” doggie ice cream treats. You can get dog food at the grocery store and that is all I need to know. Rant over.
I am not even sure how the peanut butter and chocolate covered Chex cereal got the name, Puppy Chow. It doesn’t even look like dog food so I can’t even try to put the two together. Dogs can’t even eat chocolate so why are we calling a tasty sweet HUMAN treat Puppy Chow?
I prefer the other name, Muddy Buddies, over Puppy Chow because it makes me feel like I am having a snack with a friend. My friend being a bag of chocolate chips tossed in powdered sugar. Now there are many variations on Muddy Buddies but I am going to show you how to take it to a whole other level all the while making a total mess of my kitchen making my Peanut Butter Pretzel Puppy Chow.
Let’s talk traditional Puppy Chow
Puppy Chow, Muddy Buddies, or whatever you want to call it consists of just 5 ingredients. Chex cereal, chocolate chips, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and some butter. Simple yet very messy. The way to make traditional puppy chow/muddy buddies is to melt the peanut butter with chocolate chips and butter, pour it over the Chex cereal and stir, then toss the chocolate covered pillows in powdered sugar and you are ready to cram them in your face.
Some other variations include Brownie Puppy Chow where the chocolate covered cereal is tossed in brownie mix, or tossed in white chocolate with crushed Oreo cookies, or even mixed with butterscotch and toffee to make a Harry Potter Version. So fun!
All of these versions have something in common, the cereal. Let’s start with changing that!
Here come the pretzels!
If you have been following the blog this year you have seen me make some snack mixes and most recently some seasoned pretzels. When I brainstorm new recipes I will usually do it in a batch where I think of a topic, like seasoned pretzels, and write down all the different seasoned pretzel flavors I want to try and make. I follow this same technique when I am thinking up new dip or slider recipes too. Batch cooking and shooting has also helped me to get more posts finished and photographed so when I batch a type of recipe I usually have a large quantity of the base in my pantry. Right now I have about 16 blocks of cream cheese in my fridge because I am making a bunch of cheese balls right now.
This means I have about 12 bags of pretzels on my dining room table as well right now. Trying to keep my kids from eating them helps me to get busy and get the recipes made. All the pretzels lying around got me thinking about sweet versions to make and Muddy Buddies immediately popped into my head. Because I have so many bags of pretzels (currently buy one get one free so I can save money too) I thought about using them instead of the cereal, which I don’t currently have in my pantry.
The container of peanut butter stuffed pretzels stand tall on the table because they are not in a bag but a plastic container so I grab these. Puppy Chow has peanut butter mixed in but why not use peanut butter stuffed pretzel nuggets instead? These are what make the peanut butter pretzel puppy chow an over the top recipe!
The peanut butter stuffed pretzel nuggets are slightly bigger than the traditional cereal but it doesn’t really affect the recipe outcome. Now that we have the peanut butter portion taken care of, what are we going to mix with the chocolate? I am not a fan of peanut butter overload and I have a half a bag of butterscotch chips leftover from another recipe so I add these instead. The butterscotch chips add a layer of caramel flavor and increase the butteriness overall. Because Puppy Chow isn’t rich enough already.
Now that we are good with changing the base cereal to peanut butter stuffed pretzels and adding in butterscotch chips instead of more peanut butter, let’s talk powdered sugar. Which also means we are talking about a huge mess. At this point in the recipe I have two bowls covered in chocolate, two zip-top bags open, chocolate on my face, and stray butterscotch chips on the floor that I keep stepping on like Lego bricks, so why not add to the mess?
The traditional recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar which is “enough” to coat the cereal adequately. The words enough and adequately concern me and are just now what I am about so be prepared to use 3 cups. These Peanut Butter Pretzel Puppy Chow Pretzel Nuggets have triple the surface area of the cereal squares so we need more powdered sugar. No naked pretzel nuggets are allowed in my house.
Here are some tips to evenly coat the peanut butter pretzel puppy chow nuggets
Start with 2 zip-top bags instead of one.
If you stuff all the pretzels in one bag you won’t be able to shake it and you will end up with a block of chocolately pretzels. Not a bad thing but not what were are going for with this recipe.
Add a 1/2 cup of powdered sugar to the bottom of each bag before you add the chocolate coated pretzels.
This will keep the pretzels from sticking to the bag and not letting the powdered sugar cover all sides of the pretzels.
Add a 1/4 of the total pretzels to each bag and then add another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar to each bag.
This breaks up the large block of chocolate pretzels into manageable blocks and helps to coat the pretzels evenly.
Add the other 1/4 of the pretzels to each bag and add the last two 1/2 cups of powdered sugar.
Now you have layers of pretzels and powdered sugar that don’t crowd the bag and allows you to shake and manipulate the chocolate covered pretzels to get the powdered sugar to coat each pretzel much easier than if you have all the sugar on top and the chocolate covered pretzels are all stuck together.
While adding the powdered sugar to the peanut butter pretzel puppy chow bags, with chocolate on your hands and all over the bags, the powdered sugar is going to form a cloud like a fog of fine powder. That’s the whole point of powdered sugar of course, but what they don’t warn you is that once it gets airborne, it floats and then settles all over EVERYTHING in your kitchen.
I have black countertops so I can see it but what I can’t see is it settling on my cabinets, refrigerator, stovetop, window sills and blinds, and all over the flip flops that I am wearing while making the recipe.
Turn off your ceiling fans while making Peanut Butter Pretzel Puppy Chow or you will have to make them out on the patio from now on.
Keep the Peanut Butter Pretzel Puppy Chow stored in the same bags you use to shake them in. This will help keep them separated if the excess powdered sugar is left in the bag. You can re-shake the bags just before you start eating again.
FYI-I hate sticky shoes.
- 26 ounces peanut butter stuffed pretzels
- 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
- 12 ounces chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar
Get prepared for the mess that is about to happen in your kitchen.
Grab 2 gallon-sized ziptop bags.
Put a 1/2 cup of powdered sugar in each bag.
Grab a large bowl and add your peanut butter stuffed pretzels to it.
In a large microwave-safe bowl add the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and butter.
Microwave in 30-second bursts until the butter and chips are melted, stirring between bursts to prevent burning.
When the chocolate is all melted, pour over the peanut butter stuffed pretzels and stir to coat all the nuggets as even as possible.
Scoop out a 1/4 of the chocolate covered pretzels and place one in each bag with the powdered sugar.
Add another 1/2 cup powdered sugar into each one.
Add another 1/4 to the chocolate covered pretzels into the bag.
Cover with the last 1/2 cup of powdered sugar to the top of the chocolate covered pretzels to each bag.
Seal the bags.
Shake the bags and use your hands to break up the chocolate covered pretzels so they can get completely covered.
Store the peanut butter pretzel puppy chow in the bags with the extra powdered sugar. You might need to reshake every now and then.
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