Tasty, fun, and completely addictive, this ultra-chocolate brownie batter puppy chow is my favorite variation on the popular, indulgent little snack!
While puppy chow (or muddy buddies) may be a strange name for a delightful, chocolatey treat, even the best of marketers would probably be unable to change the classic name of this popular, indulgent snack.
If you are unfamiliar with it (as were my in-laws when I recently told them to “go open up that tupperware of puppy chow and dish yourself up a bowl” – the look on their faces was hysterical), the concept is simple.
Crunchy Rice Chex cereal is enrobed in velvety, decadent ribbons of chocolate + peanut butter, and the whole mixture gets a sweet dusting of brownie batter. At least for this version.
If you do any amount of googling, you’ll see there are endless variations of puppy chow/muddy buddies. But this brownie batter puppy chow is my very favorite in the land of all puppy chow favorites.
I first made it months and months ago when I packaged it up for 125 brown bag lunches (don’t ask; it was messy). We’ve since made it a habit to whip up this simple little treat very often.
Can we talk for just a sec about brownie mix? It’s called for in the recipe to give the peanut butter and chocolate covered cereal a little dust bath in more chocolate (of course). I don’t usually keep brownie mix on hand, but this recipe has made me rethink that in a serious way (sidenote: there is a really easy cocoa powder + powdered sugar sub for the brownie mix in the notes of the recipe below; I’ve used it a couple times and it’s tasty but the brownie mix will give it a more defined brownie flavor, obvs).
I almost always use Thrive Life’s handy dandy brownie mix; it’s my brownie mix of choice for this recipe (and makes rather delicious brownies – I found that out after my sister made them for a family reunion this summer). I have also used the Ghirardelli brand of brownie mix from Costco when I made this brownie batter puppy chow recipe for a bazillion people as I mentioned above.
The point is, make sure you choose a dry brownie mix with more chocolate flavor than cardboard flavor, ok?
This brownie batter puppy chow is tasty, fun, and completely addictive (just warning you so you don’t get mad at me when your kids never see the batch you whipped up while they were at school).
The salty addition of mini pretzels is the perfect compliment to the sweet nuggets of peanut butter and chocolate. Even better, once made, this keeps awesomely for at least a week (well-covered). Of course, if it lasts even close to that long, I’m going to have serious doubts about your character.
Let's talk brownie mix for a second. I use this delicious brownie mix from Thrive Life. I'm not a brownie mix expert since I'm usually whipping up easy homemade brownies for brownie eating, but I like to keep the dry mix on hand for this recipe because it's sooooo delicious.
Having said that, I've been out of brownie mix a time or two (yes, we make this a lot) and I've used a combination of powdered sugar and cocoa powder that's been whisked together (about 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar + 1/3 cup cocoa powder). You won't get quite that same "brownie batter" taste but it's still delicious.
- 9 cups Rice Chex cereal (about 9 ounces which is half of a family-size box)
- 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup (4.5 ounces) creamy peanut butter
- Pinch of coarse, kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups (7.5 ounces) dry brownie mix powder (see note above for substitutions)
- 4 cups small pretzels (about 4 ounces)
- Pour the cereal into a large bowl.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and peanut butter. Microwave at 1-minute intervals, stirring inbetween, until the mixture is smooth and creamy (don't overheat). Stir in the salt.
- Drizzle the chocolate mixture over the cereal and using a flat rubber spatula (this works better than using a thick spoon, which tends to crush the cereal), fold the mixture until the cereal is evenly coated with the warm mixture.
- Place the dry brownie mix in a large bag and add the chocolate-covered cereal (you may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your bag). Close the bag and shake like your life depends on it until the cereal is coated with the dry mixture.
- Alternate method: I've also spread half of the dry brownie mix in a large rectangular tupperware, added the cereal mixture, and then sprinkled the rest of the dry mix on top. I add a lid to the tupperware and shake back and forth gently until the cereal is coated. If there are still uncoated pieces when you open the tupperware, toss everything together a couple times with your hands. Discard any dry mix that sits at the bottom of the bag or tupperware.
- Let the mixture cool completely and add pretzels.
- This keeps for several days well-covered at room temperature.
Recipe Source: adapted from this recipe at Your Cup of Cake