My childhood best friend’s mother made the best snack I have probably ever eaten. Puppy Chow. Depending on where you live you might call it Reindeer Food or Muddy Buddies. I suppose the name comes from the idea that it resembles dog food kibbles, but that’s as far as the comparisons go. It’s an extremely addicting snack of epically delicious proportions. This version is a delightful riff on the usual peanut butter and chocolate version. No peanut butter here, but the coffee flavor mixed with the chocolate gives it some mocha love, with little bits of cinnamon and toffee coming through to make this a more “grown-up” version. Eating it today as an adult brought back such a sharp, nostalgic memory of the joy of childhood that I wanted to run outside and find a Slip’N Slide or Pogo Ball (I was a child of the ’80s). However, I realized something I had forgotten after I made these. I have an appalling lack of self control when it comes to puppy chow. I can’t keep my hands out of the bowl, and I literally can’t be in the same room as the sweet and salty snack, because my eyes glaze over and I can think of nothing but putting puppy chow in my mouth. Needless to say, because of this I do not make it too often even though it is one of my favorite things.
note: This can easily be made gluten free with gluten-free pretzels.
slightly adapted from: Chex
4 cups Chocolate Chex cereal
2 cups Cinnamon Chex cereal
1 cup bite-size pretzel twists or sticks
1 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup chopped toffee bits from Heath or Skor bars
1 tablespoon instant coffee or espresso granules
1 teaspoon hot water
1 cut semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter, cut into chunks
1 cup powdered sugar
In a large bowl, mix cereals, pretzels and pecans. Sprinkle toffee bits on top of the cereal mixture.
In a small microwaveable bowl, stir coffee granules and water until coffee is dissolved. Add chocolate chips and butter. Microwave for 1 minute on high, then stir. Microwave up to 30 more seconds and stir again until the chocolate mixture is smooth. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated.
Pour into a 2-gallon storage bag. Alternatively you can use a clean paper grocery bag or an over-sized mixing bowl. Add powdered sugar to the mixture either in the bag or the large bowl and shake/stir gently until the mixture is well coated.
Spread on a large parchment or waxed paper lined baking sheet and let mixture cool. Store in an airtight container. Try to have one small handful. I dare you.