Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday's Twist: Poppy Chow

Tuesday's Twist:  A basic recipe with a fun twist.  In other words, just another excuse for me to play around with weird recipes I've been dying to try.

Whether you call it puppy chow, Muddy Buddies, or monkey munch, I'm sure you'll agree this classic treat is addicting.  It's also extremely versatile, so let's give it a twist and run with it.

Traditional puppy chow is made with cereal squares such as Chex or Crispex. This fun twist uses popcorn in place of the cereal. (Get it?  POPpy chow. And no, I did not come up with that, I saw it here a couple of years ago.)  I love popcorn, but why stop there?

There are so many ways you can change up this recipe.  For example, you could stir in a few extras like nuts, raisins and pretzels. Or, try using different kinds of cereal. Chocolate and peanut butter are a sure hit, but feel free to use other flavors of chips or nut butters. Powdered sugar provides the instant melt-in-your-mouth sensation, but don't be afraid to try other coatings as well.

Below are a few ideas to get you started. Mix and match to make your own flavor twist.

Base- popcorn, cereal or combination of both
(try anything from Chex to Golden Grahams to Cheerios. I've even used Kashi Go Lean)

 Add ins- nuts, raisins, dried fruit, pretzels, mini marshmallows

Chips- chocolate, peanut butter, dark chocolate, butterscotch, white chocolate, mint, carob, cinnamon

Nut butter- peanut butter, almond butter, chocolate hazelnut butter, soynut butter, cashew butter

Extract- vanilla, almond, lemon, mint, rum, maple, orange

Coating- powdered sugar, hot cocoa mix, cake mix, powdered peanut butter, malted milk powder, carob powder, protein powder

 As always, I have a million ideas in my head.  I love brainstorming, but there's just not room to write it all out here.  Shoot me an email if you'd like some specific combination suggestions.  

We've been cleaning out things at my grandma's house.  She always bought an extra container of her favorite foods every time she went to into town. Many these extras got buried in her pantry and were never opened.  It's been interesting to see how much the labels and packaging have changed over the years. Observing  years of storage also gives a new meaning to shelf life.  (Did you know peanut butter becomes hard and waxy?)  Inspiration for the variation below comes from the multiple containers of popcorn kernels, hot cocoa mix and instant coffee she kept on hand.

Mocha Poppy Chow
inspired by Zoe Dawn via Tasty Kitchen

12 cups popped popcorn
2 Tbsp instant coffee granules
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup  hot cocoa mix
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla

* Remove any unpopped kernels from popcorn. Place popcorn in a large bowl that can be sealed tightly with a lid.
* Using a coffee grinder, grind instant coffee granules to a fine powder. In a small bowl combine powdered coffee granules, powdered sugar, and hot cocoa mix. Set Aside.
* In a microwave-safe glass dish, combine chocolate chips and peanut butter.  Microwave on high 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla.
* Pour over popcorn and stir carefully until all pieces are evenly coated.  Add powdered sugar mixture to bowl and seal tightly with lid.  Shake until evenly coated.  Let cool and store in airtight container.

Food for Thought: "What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?" -unknown

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