Tuesday, July 8, 2008

the obligatory "Om Nom Nom"

Because it's birthday season, I can get away with composing a few snacks that are normally banned from the premises. I always aim for the same three: cake, lemon squares, and puppy chow. (Taiyaki would be the fourth if I had the skill to make it.) In any case, I have recently discovered that "puppy chow" is not in everyone's vocabulary, let alone in most standard cookbooks.

We shall rectify this situation!

Puppy Chow (puh-pee CHAow), noun: A homemade treat composed primarily of chocolate, peanut butter, and crunchy cereal. Intended for human consumption only. Do not feed this stuff to dogs, or to diabetics for that matter. (V. sweet)

And now, a recipe. Please note that puppy chow, like krispy squares, is in every respect a homemade sweet. Amounts and flavors can be fudged, tactics are customizable, and clean up
will be necessary. Let the mess begin!

Ingredients! ...and commentary!

One (14oz) box crispy corn cereal squares

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 and
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups confectioner's sugar

You can use any brand of sturdy, puffed corn cereal, but the traditional one is Chex. (Chex rhymes with Quex.)
The butter is necessary to make the chocolate/pnut butter mix liquidy enough to coat the cereal. If you use more chocolate, you'll want to add a little more butter, too.
Vanilla extract is optional. It makes a subtle difference to the chocolate element of the flavor range.
If you use crunchy peanut butter, the coating step becomes more difficult by several orders of magnitude. It
can be done, but not pleasantly.
Other flavors of chips make for exotic chow. I have heard of great love for butterscotch and white chocolate.
Be liberal with the powdered sugar. It's the key to getting the pieces to be "pieces" and not "clumps."


0) Get a big pot and a slightly smaller pot that fits inside it. We're rigging up a double boiler. (If you have an actual double boiler, go get that instead.) Put some water in the bigger pot, then nest the smaller pot inside of it so that the water comes up against the bottom and about an inch up outside of the little pot. Put the whole thing on the stove and turn the heat to medium-high. This is all so that when you melt your chocolate, it actually melts and doesn't burn like it would if you just put it in a single pot directly on the stovetop.

1) Melt the chocolate chips. Add the peanut butter, vanilla, and margerine when enough of the chips are melted that you can stir the mixture together. Keep melting and mixing until smooth.

2) Remove the mixture from heat and add the cereal. Stir the cereal around in the mixture to coat all the pieces as well as you can. It helps if you use a flat spoon and use kind of a "folding" motion. Don't be afraid of all the crunching that this step produces; most of the cereal survives crushinating.

3) Get a big container with a lid that you can shake. Big tupperware works well... so does a paper grocery bag. Anything large that can stay shut. Put a thick layer of confectioner's sugar in the bottom of your shaking device, then dump in the sticky mess of coated cereal. Cover it with another layer of sugar, then close it up tight.

4) Shake it like you mean it. No, but seriously. Shake the container very, very well. Your goal is to get the surface area of the sticky cereal bits into contact with as many sugar particles as possible.

5) Open the container and check your chow. If there are any huge clumps, break them apart, add some more confectioner's sugar, and repeat step 4. If everything looks okay, try a piece. It should look like processed dog kibble, but it will taste awesome.

6) Store in an airtight container and hide the container from your voracious family keep it in a cool, dry place. Serving size is about 1/3 cup of chow, and this recipe makes about 10 bazillion servings (something like 40~50, actually).


David said...

it was delicious - thanks for bringing it to bon odori practice!

Ku said...

Aaaaaugh! You found me! Sorry it was so messy... I need to learn to make things that are both delicious AND cute, like Rachel. -_-;

Nikki said...

It is absolutely heinous that a good percentage of the general populace is ignorant of puppy chow, both in name and in tummystuffin's. Thank you for doing your part to educate the masses :3
Also: SHIZ WOMAN, yo' blog looks all spifftified! Help me make mine not-suck (>;A;)> plzplzplz

kalany said...

For the double-boiler thing: You can also use a mixing bowl as the top half of the double-boiler. It's generally a good idea to either use an old one that isn't actually circular, or an old pot, or both, or stick something (like a cheap bamboo chopstick) between the two. Otherwise you can get a water seal forming and then bad stuff happens.

Also, while I'm familiar with several derivatives of puppy chow, I've never actually had this. I may have to try it. I'm a little wary of all the sugar---is it possible to use cocoa powder instead?