Friday, November 1, 2013

Pumpkin Spiced Nutella Puppy Chow

This update comes a day late because yesterday I worked from 10am to 10:30pm and, because it was Halloween, went out after work with Greg for a bit to enjoy the holiday. (The Irish pub had a great Alice Cooper!)

I got the idea for Pumpkin Spiced Nutella Puppy Chow from Pinterest. It should be noted that many of the recipes I come across there do not call this type of snack "puppy chow," instead referring to it as "muddy buddies." I asked friends from all over the U.S., and they all call it puppy chow, which is what I, too, grew up calling it. As far as I can tell, they are the same thing. (I want to add that I am currently typing this blog one-handed because I can't stop eating this stuff!) 

Traditional puppy chow (or muddy buddies) is made with peanut butter and chocolate. Substituting Nutella for peanut butter makes the flavor much richer! Something else I'd like to try substituting for peanut butter is cookie butter, which Greg and I have bought a few times from Trader Joe's and used for milkshakes, pancakes, and other tasty things. Cookie butter is the Trader Joe's name for Speculoos spread, also known commercially as Biscoff. Since it also behaves much like peanut butter, here is another idea for what you can do with cookie butter. 

Here is the basic puppy show recipe:

9 cups of Chex cereal
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

I used milk chocolate chips because I prefer them to semisweet, though to cut some of the richness, especially when substituting Nutella for peanut butter, semisweet chips are probably the better choice. One recipe I found for making this pumpkin spiced was to substitute Hershey's Pumpkin Spice Kisses for the chocolate chips. I couldn't find any when I made the recipe, though, so instead, I added some generous dashes of pumpkin pie spice to the butter, chocolate, and Nutella mixture as it melted on the stove. I have since found the Pumpkin Spice Kisses at Target and Meijer, and they are pretty delicious. 

As I said, melt the butter, chocolate, and Nutella in a pan on your stove on low or in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave. Stir in the vanilla and pumpkin pie spice, if you are using the spice. To coat the Chex cereal, you can either pour the cereal in a large resealable plastic bag with the chocolate mixture and shake, or, to make less mess, attempt to stir the chocolate mixture with the cereal in a large bowl until it is coated. I chose the former method; mess be damned. (The bag was not salvageable.)

Once the cereal is coated, you want to carefully pour the powdered sugar into the bag with the chocolatey coated cereal pieces. (Or pour the cereal into a large plastic resealable bag followed by the powdered sugar.) Here, you could also add a few dashes of pumpkin pie spice with the powdered sugar. Shake, shake, shake! Then pour the contents of the bag onto a cookie sheet, spread it out, and allow it to cool before moving to whichever storage contained you have chosen to serve it in. Your kitchen will probably be a mess at this point. A tasty, tasty mess.

Et voila! Pumpkin Spiced Nutella Puppy Chow.

I think for December, I will attempt Cookie Butter Puppy Chow, mayhaps with some kind of holiday spice like cinnamon or nutmeg. I think that would be pretty good. There is no end to the possibilities. Trader Joe's (and probably other stores) sells a cocoa almond spread that has quite a different taste to Nutella, but is of the same consistency. World Market offers a wide array of sweet spreads, like cappuccino flavored, which would also be an interesting attempt. I think Cappuccino Puppy Chow sounds very grown up and decadent. 

Since it isn't Halloween anymore, I will instead wish you a happy Fall, and offer a happy birthday to the Mighty Mackinac Bridge, which opened on November 1st, 1957.

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