One of my earliest memories of being really “wowed” by food was the first time I ever had puppy chow. It was at my Grandma’s on Christmas Eve, and my aunt introduced me to that wonderful combination of Chex cereal, chocolate, peanut butter and powdered sugar. (Insert singing angel choir here.) What can I say, I had simple tastes! It’s still a favorite of mine, but every now and then it’s fun to throw a little twist in a well-loved recipe. To elevate it, if you will. Listen to me, sounding all chef-y.
This mix has all the fun of traditional puppy chow, balanced with salty pretzels, crisp popcorn, rich pecans, luscious dark chocolate and a hint of peppermint. It’s a great treat during a movie, a present-wrapping marathon or to bag up as gifts or party favors. The recipe I include is gluten-free, although you can make it with regular pretzels if you’d rather. This is a really fun recipe to make with your kids…popping popcorn, mixing with your hands, shaking the mix in bags of powdered sugar…yep, have your broom ready!
- ¼ c popcorn kernels
- 3 T coconut oil (or 2-3 cups popped plain popcorn)
- 3 cups rice Chex cereal
- 1 cup mini pretzel twists
- 1 ½ cups white chocolate chips
- ½ cup crushed candy cane
- ½ cup powdered sugar, separated
- 1 cup 60% cacao Ghirardelli chocolate chips (these are the perfect size and texture for this mix!)
- ½ cup pecan pieces
Candy Cane Chow Mix
First, pop popcorn. The method I use is a foolproof stovetop method. In a large saucepan or pot, melt 3 tablespoons of coconut oil on medium high heat. Place 3-4 popcorn kernels in oil. When they pop, remove pan from heat. This lets you know when the oil is at the right temperature. Spoon out popped kernels. Place the rest of the kernels in the oil and place lid on pot. Count to 30. This gets all the kernels to the right temperature, so they pop at the same time. This prevents you from ending up with half your popcorn burnt and half unpopped. Place pot back on heat. When the popping begins start shaking the pot gently back and forth on the burner to keep the kernels moving. When popping has slowed, remove lid gently as there will be quite a bit of steam escaping. Spoon into a bowl, being careful to remove any unpopped kernels.
To melt white chocolate, place in a heat safe bowl in the microwave for 1 minute. Mix well. If there are still unmelted chips, place back in microwave for 30 seconds and mix until completely melted.
In a large bowl, combine cereal, pretzels and popcorn. Pour in white chocolate and toss until well coated. Add in candy cane pieces and toss again. Place ¼ cup of powdered sugar in a large ziploc bag. Spoon half of the mixture into bag and shake until coated. Repeat with rest of powdered sugar and mixture. Spread out on cookie sheet for chocolate to set up, if necessary. If chocolate has already set after the shaking, pour the mixture back into the bowl and add the dark chocolate chips and the pecans. Taste mix. Add more candy cane if you’d like a more pronounced peppermint flavor. Store in a ziploc bag or airtight container. Enjoy!