Sweet snack suggestion

This week’s sweets are brought to you by the letter N for nostalgia (also maybe nachos and newspaper).

When I’m in The Tartan office each week, I inevitably run down to Entropy to grab some chips or popcorn to munch on while I work. It’s all just part of my process, because I’m a genius and geniuses just have those. But I’m getting pretty tired of potato chips, Doritos, and Smartfood popcorn while I swig from my gallon-sized jug of Arizona iced tea. It’s delicious, but I need a change of pace. Maybe something sweet. Something I can still mindlessly munch on. And ideally, something easy. You know what’s all of those things? Puppy chow.

If you’ve never heard of puppy chow, you are in for a treat. Depending on where you come from, you may know it as muddy buddies, sweet minglers, or white trash. It doesn’t matter what you call it, it’s still perfect. Classic puppy chow is Chex cereal coated in a delightful chocolate peanut butter mixture, then tossed in powdered sugar. So simple, so addicting, and not for the weak-willed.

While the original is delicious, there are actually hundreds of variations. Cookies and cream, red velvet, lemon, peppermint, thin mint, hot chocolate, cookie dough, and the list just keeps going. Since I am so benevolent, I wanted to make enough for the whole office to enjoy. And I figured, why not make two kinds? Twice the fun! I made both the classic — because it’s kind of a sin to mess with something that’s already so perfect — and also a cake batter variation. Cake batter is one of my favorite dessert flavors ever, only second maybe to cotton candy.

Quick equipment suggestion: I actually don’t have any mixing bowls in my apartment. I do all my baking in a large pot, which is pretty strange. So when I was at Giant Eagle to shop for ingredients, I found a set of two big plastic Tupperware mixing bowls for only $6.50. They even have lids which were perfect for shaking in the powdered sugar at the end. Using these inexpensive tupperware or something similar will greatly improve the ease with which you can create this delicious treat.

Original Puppy Chow
5 cups of Chex cereal
1/2 cup of chocolate chips (I prefer milk chocolate, but if semisweet is your thing, you have my blessing)
1/3 cup of peanut butter
2 tablespoons of butter
3/4 cup of powdered sugar

This is a recipe where the work is so little and the reward is so tremendous that you might start dancing with joy. Start by measuring out the cereal into a pretty big bowl or even a gallon sized zip lock bag, if you’re short on bowls. Next heat the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a small pot over pretty low heat, stirring frequently because burned chocolate is a tragedy. When this melts into a smooth shiny sauce, pour it into the bowl of cereal. Then stir it up, but be really super gentle so you don’t crush the cereal. Finally dump in the powdered sugar and shake it all up. Let it sit for a little while so the chocolate coating can come back to room temperature. After five or so minutes, dig in!

Cake Batter Puppy Chow
5 cups of Chex cereal
1/4 cup of butter
3 tablespoons of heavy cream
10 ounces of white chocolate
1 teaspoon of almond extract
2/3 cup of rainbow sprinkles
1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar

This is going to be almost identical to the first recipe, but with a few tweaks here and there. Still start out by putting the cereal into a big bowl. Next melt the white chocolate, heavy cream, and butter over low heat, stirring all the while. This mixture will be much less beautiful than the chocolate peanut butter one, because white chocolate just has a different texture. It will be a little thick and goopy, but delicious nonetheless! Once it’s all melted together, stir in the almond extract and pour the mixture over the cereal. After that’s all mixed up, add the sprinkles and give it another stir. Add the powdered sugar, shake it around, and you’re done. Let it set for a few minutes, then proceed to stuff your face. I will be incredibly impressed if you have any left the next day.