I hosted girls night recently with my two favorite little girls, Rachel and Carley! We had a blast in the kitchen making a kid-friendly, no bake dessert. The Chex box calls it muddy buddies, some people call it reindeer chow this time of year, but we fondly refer to it as puppy chow! As I was planning for the girls to come over I realized I just don’t have that many toys, well, technically I don’t have any unless my Foosball table counts? My favorite thing to do is bake, so maybe the girls would want to too? Soon after the girls arrived I displayed the back of the Chex box trying to make puppy chow look as enticing to the girls as possible and referring to it as “muddy buddies” in case they really thought puppy chow was Chief’s dessert. Their eyes lit up, and so began my night filled with laughter, chocolate, silly jokes that I still can’t believe the girls were entertained by, and lots of craziness in my small kitchen.
Here are my lovely baking assistants, Carley and Rachel. I gave the girls the choice of what type of Chex they could use and they decided on a mix of both corn and rice.
As an aside: Thank you to General Mills for changing your Chex recipe to make your Rice and Corn, Honey Nut, Chocolate and Cinnamon varieties gluten free! Fairly recently molasses was used to replace the barley malt in the Chex Cereals and all are labeled gluten free with the obvious exception of Wheat & Multibran Chex. See this 2009 blog post for more info on the change. Even though I could not find manufacturing policies on the GM Chex site, the same blog post quotes General Mills as saying ” General Mills has taken the requisite steps to prevent cross contamination and has tested the formula based on the proposed FDA standards. Questions & comments are welcome at 1-800-328-1144.” The President of the Celiac Spruce Association (CSA), Bill Eyl, told me the proposed FDA standards are a product can be labeled Gluten Free if it has been tested to contain less than 20ppm gluten. Here is the Chex website for more info and gluten free recipes. Oh, and when I was on their website I found this link to sign up for a free GF newsletter and a chance to win a free sample of GF bisquick mix. And I found an interesting General Mills site called liveglutenfreely. I’m not trying to specifically promote their products, but I’m all for more info on how to live gluten free!
Ok, back to the kitchen, and to important things like chocolate!
I gave the girls the choice of semi-sweet chocolate or milk chocolate and after a long and careful deliberation with lots of taste tests, they decided on half and half! I’ve never used the milk chocolate chips from Ghirardelli and I’ve got to say they are a remarkably larger size than the traditional semi-sweet. This cracks me up, because I’d just been reading a post the food blogger Userealbutter (who is a fantastic cook and an amazing photographer- check out her recent Yosemite photos!!) wrote about how large the Ghirardelli chips were and how they seemed to “overwhelm the cookie with too much chocolate”. I thought that was crazy, I had used Ghirardelli chocolate chips all the time and didn’t notice any thing unusual, and how could a cookie have “too much” chocolate. Well, apparently the semi-sweet chips are a normal chocolate chip size, but I have to admit, Userealbutter was right; the milk chocolate chips are quite large for a regular cookie. I’ll have to just make huge cookies sometime and then the ratio of chocolate to cookie with be perfection . . . Anyways, we were melting the chips and so size really did not matter in this case! I typically would use my make-shift double boiler to melt the chips, but their mother was entrusting me with their safety, so we used the microwave.
Next, peanut butter! Does anyone else have this handy dandy liquid AND dry measuring cup. It’s probably old news in the baking world, but I still get a kick out of it.
At this point the pooch looked up at us incredulously as if to say “how can you cook with my favorite treat and not give me ANY??” I noticed the pitiful look, but the girls holding the peanut butter/Chief’s-dog-treat jar did not. Soon we heard the beast emit a pitiful moaning whine and the girls looked at him confused. We soon remedied the situation.
Chief enjoyed the fact that once Rachel did something, Carley couldn’t be left out!
At this point both girls decided I was having too much fun with the camera and they wanted to try. I forget who took this, but I couldn’t resist posting it. . .
After lots of handwashing, we got back to the mixing bowl.
Shakin’ it up and almost done!
That’s a big tray for a little girl!
Now for the recipe:
|9||cups Rice Chex, Corn Chex or Chocolate Chex cereal (or combination)|
|1||cup semisweet chocolate chips|
|1/2||cup peanut butter|
|1/4||cup butter or margarine|
|1 1/2||cups powdered sugar|
|Peanut butter and chocolate are a favorite flavor combo, but peanut butter lovers can substitute peanut butter chips for the chocolate chips to intensify that flavor.|
|1.||Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.|
|2.||In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.|
|3.||Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.|