Friday, December 7, 2012

Smore Chow

Ever since I discovered cookie butter--or Biscoff spread, as they sell it in my grocery store--I've been wanting to substitute it for peanut butter in a number of dessert recipes. My friend Kathleen remarked that it tasted like graham crackers. I think it's the love child of a graham cracker and a ginger snap. Regardless, it's delicious. But the graham cracker comment got us thinking of smores, because everything is better with chocolate and marshmallows, right?

First, we took a spoonful of cookie butter and stirred it into a mug of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows. It was lovely.

Then, I decided to make puppy chow--that stuff with chex mix covered in powdered sugar.

Oh, Internet. Forgive me my arrogance. I thought puppy chow was easy, like Rice Krispie treats. I thought you just melted stuff, stirred in other stuff and it was idiot proof. Well, I managed to mess it up.

First of all, and I'm not passing the buck here but it must be said, I think I found the WORST recipe for puppy chow on the whole internet. I suppose it could have been worse if it didn't include measurements, but I didn't realize that I needed such specific instructions until I was already elbow deep in Chex. (Apparently there's a recipe on the box? But I had chocolate Chex, and I didn't even think to look for a recipe there.)

So, The Ingredients:
9 cups Chex cereal (This is the first part of the dumb--my box only had 8 cups in it)
1/4 cup butter (I used margarine)
1/2 cup peanut butter (and I used Biscoff spread, and this is beginning to look like I'm blaming a recipe that I didn't even follow, but just stick with me, ok? My real complaints come later, and have nothing to do with my numerous substitutions)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

The Instructions:
Melt chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in sauce pan.
Remove from heat, add vanilla.
Stir in cereal.
Put powdered sugar in large ziplock bag. Add cereal mixture, shake until well coated.

Seems straight forward, yes? Even substituting margarine and cookie butter, things couldn't go too wrong, could they? Oh, but they DID! Maybe cookie butter doesn't melt as well as peanut butter. I will admit that could be part of the problem in this formula, and accept the blame accordingly. However, "melt" isn't very specific. Melt over high heat? Medium high? Not quite so medium high? Low? What temperature? I guessed--and oh did I guess wrong. First things started to boil before everything was melted, so there was much stirring and turning down the heat. Then I had a lump of slightly cooked chocolate chips and cookie butter and a mess of un-melted stuff. So I turned the heat up, but it was useless. The mess just sort of...congealed. It was the consistency of peanut butter, but grainy--like unsolidified fudge, which sounds tasty but was totally ineffective for my purposes.

I forged ahead. I removed from heat and added the vanilla. It...didn't improve things any. I added the cereal. I stirred for all I was worth. It sort of worked. Some of the cereal got coated. And it was chocolate Chex to begin with, so there was that. Then I had the brilliant idea to make this into S'more chow by adding marshmallows (about 1/2 a cup for those who might care). It sort of helped things get meltier and more like a dessert instead of a jumble of ingredients. I was feeling mostly defeated, so I dumped the lot into the ziplock bag with the powdered sugar and shook well. I shook and shook and shook and... Well, the result was edible.

Which is to say that in 2 days a gallon-sized ziplock bag was demolished in about 24 hours courtesy of one birthday pot luck and an afternoon watching Supernatural with Captain Kammahroo.

I'm still not impressed with the recipe, but I will take the blame for not knowing how hot to have the pan to melt the things. Live and learn, eh?


Laura Diniwilk said...

That's so funny, someone else just posted their version of the Christmas chex mix (with the bagel chips and peanuts and pretzels) and I was like F that, where is the chocolate one? I think we used to call them muddy buddies, not puppy chow. Regional thing?

Kammah said...

It...I just...that wasn't GOOD? That wasn't GOOD PUPPY CHOW? The hell? Oh, god. Please don't let me ever try the good stuff. Please, please, please. That would...not be good.

Oh. But I bet it would be SO GOOD.

Lauren said...

I just made puppy chow last night! The box tells you to melt in the microwave and then pour the chocolate over the cereal. I think that makes it easier to coat! I bet yours was still ymy though

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