A perfect kid friendly Halloween snack, this themed puppy chow recipe, aka Monster Munch recipe, is an easy treat to make with the little ones. A great simple spooky sweet snack for a party.
We are heading into one of my FAVORITE times of year… cooking season is almost upon us! I just adore how everyone gathers in the kitchen as the weather cools. We look for ideas for parties and gatherings, and it’s just wonderful! The recipes just get to be so much fun with all the holiday celebrations! Halloween kicks off kitchen season, and to help you get in the spirit (ha), I’m sharing an easy themed puppy chow recipe! And of course, we call it Monster Munch!
What is Puppy Chow?
First off, it’s not dog food haha. Puppy chow, also called muddy buddies, is a sweet cereal mix made with chocolate, a nut butter (or substitute), and powdered sugar. There isn’t really a clear story as to how it came to be, but I’m going to guess it’s probably the marketing brain child of a cereal company. The recipe has been around some time though, with no definitive creator.
Because puppy chow is such an easy sweet snack recipe, and so popular, you can even find pre-made bagged versions at the store. And all the Chex cereals and similar cereals from other brands have a version of the recipe printed right on the box. If you have a big bowl or stock pot, some measuring spoons, a bag and a spatula, you’re pretty much good to go. In fact, you don’t even need your stove!
A couple themed puppy chow versions exist, like this one called Reindeer Chow. Since mine is Halloween themed though, we’re dubbing it Monster Munch. It’ll be a hit with ghouls both big and small, promise.
Can I make nut free puppy chow?
Of course! While puppy chow is typically made using a nut butter, often peanut butter, you can make a nut free puppy chow. It’s as easy as substituting a nut free peanut butter substitute like sun butter. Just stir the alternative nut butter into your chocolate mixture and you’re good to go.
For a dairy free puppy chow, just use a vegan butter like Earth Balance in the recipe. It’s a 1 to 1 substitute, so use equal parts vegan butter to regular butter.
How do I make Monster Munch?
What I really love about making this monster munch recipe is that it’s so easy. If you have kids, it’s a fun recipe to make with the kids. No kids? You’ll still love this recipe because it’s perfect for novice cooks. If you can stir, you can make monster munch.
Start by gathering all your ingredients. There are the basics of course, but to make this Halloween puppy chow recipe really fun, you’ll need more. And by more, I mean you’ll want sprinkles, probably some candy corn or other favorite Halloween candy, and definitely some eyeballs… of the candy variety, of course.
What mix-ins you choose are up to you and the available assortment at your local store. I chose purple and green sprinkles, candy corn and candy corn pumpkins (because they’re iconic), and candy eyeballs.
Side note, if you aren’t sure what to do with extra candy corn, might I recommend my candy corn chocolate chip oatmeal cookies? They’re scary good. 😉 Recipe coming on Wednesday.
I also like to include pretzels in my Monster Munch to balance all the sweet with a little salt. If you’re also a fan of the salty/sweet combination, definitely don’t skip the pretzels. I think this also takes the Monster Munch from a snack that belongs on the dessert table, to an “anytime” snack recipe.
Start by placing your cereal in the largest mixing bowl you own. If you don’t have a large mixing bowl, use a stock pot. Melt together the chocolate and peanut butter in the microwave until smooth. Pour over the cereal and mix well. Add the powdered sugar, cover the bowl or stock pot. Hold the lid tightly in place, and shake until all the cereal is coated in powdered sugar.
Open the lid. Add your pretzels and mix ins and stir. Transfer the mixture to a lined baking sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate has hardened, about 20 minutes or so. Transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. It’s at its best within the first 48-72 hours.
Use a big container if you plan to serve at a party. Alternately, bag the monster munch in individual portions and give as favors, leave in the break room, or pack for lunches.
- 9 cups corn squares cereal (rice squares work too)
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 2/3 cups powdered sugar (see notes)
Optional Mix Ins
- 1 1/2 cups mini pretzels
- 1/3 cup jimmies sprinkles in Halloween colors
- 2/3 cup candy corn or candy corn pumpkins (or a mix)
- 1/2 cup candy eyeballs
- Place the cereal in a large mixing bowl with a lid, or a stock pot.
- Put the chocolate chips, butter, and peanut butter in a smaller, microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high 1 minute, then allow to stand for 30 seconds. Stir. Heat for additional 30 second intervals as needed until you get a smooth mixture.
- Pour the chocolate peanut butter mixture over the cereal and stir to combine.
- Add the powdered sugar to the bowl, cover, and shake until well coated.
- Remove the lid and add your pretzels, sprinkles, and candy. Stir to distribute.
- Transfer the mixture to your lined baking sheet, breaking up any large clumps of cereal you may find (if any). Refrigerate about 20 minutes until the chocolate has set.
- Store the monster munch in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Best if consumed within 3 days.
To make a nut free version, substitute sun butter or another nut free butter for the peanut butter. For a dairy free version, use a dairy free butter substitute like Earth Balance and dairy-free chocolate chips.
If you've made puppy chow before, you know the recipe usually calls for 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar. I use extra because I don't transfer the cereal to a 2 gallon bag for mixing with the powdered sugar. To account for some of the powdered sugar sticking to the sides of my pot in the mixing, I add a little more. This is optional.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.