Growing up, my mom typically made puppy chow for me to take to birthdays, holiday parties, or sleepovers. And every time, I’d leave with a (nearly licked) clean bowl.
What is Puppy Chow?
Whether you call it muddy buddies, puppy chow, or another name, it’s all the same thing: chocolate and peanut butter covered cereal pieces dowsed in powdered sugar.
Read: highly addicting.
What Makes These Puppy Chow Bars Healthy?
Indulgence is great, but traditional puppy chow has a sh*t ton of sugar (hence why it’s so addicting), and you usually end up eating way more than intended only to be left with the inevitable puppy chow hangover.
Creating healthier options of my favorite childhood treats means less sugar hangovers and better moods. Something we’re all striving for, right?
This healthy puppy chow bar recipe is made with simple, minimally processed ingredients and has much less (unrefined) sugar, while not lacking in sweetness.
They’re also dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan making them a great treat for everyone.
Puppy Chow Bar Ingredients
- Peanut butter. aim for natural creamy peanut butter with the only ingredients being peanuts and salt.
- Crispy brown rice cereal. This provides texture and the size is nice for a bar. Make sure you use brown rice cereal and NOT brown rice puffs (puffs will be soggy).
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips. Since this recipe only has a small amount of added sugar on the top, the majority of sweetness comes from the chocolate chips. For dairy-free chocolate chips, I love this brand.
- Dairy-free butter. I love Miyoko’s vegan butter, but any other brand will work.
- Vanilla extract: This helps elevate and balance the flavors.
- Powdered sugar: This gives it that true puppy chow effect and provides a little extra sweetness. I like using organic powdered sugar to keep it unrefined (less processed).
Please remember that recipes are meant to be used as guides/templates. How can you make these healthy puppy chow bars using what you already have? Here are some ideas…
No peanut butter? Sub almond or cashew butter.
Nut-free? ➝ Use sunflower seed butter. Because sunflower seeds are less sweet than peanuts, you’ll likely want to add 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey. Add-in at the same time as the sunbutter.
No brown rice cereal? ➝ . Use another plain gluten-free cereal. Even if it’s in the shape of ‘O’s, they’ll still taste great. Just make sure to buy plain cereal (not flavored). Rice Krispie cereal will work, but it’s not gluten-free.
No chocolate chips? ➝ Use a 60% cacao chocolate bar instead.
No dairy-free butter? ➝ You can either use refined coconut oil (for no coconut taste) or use real butter if you consume dairy.
No vanilla extract out? Just leave it out.
No powdered sugar? ➝ It won’t have that puppy chow look, but you can leave it out. It’ll still taste delicious.
How to Melt the Chocolate
You can melt the chocolate in two ways: in the microwave or using the double boiler method.
For the Double Boiler Method
- add an inch or two of water to the bottom of a small pot over medium heat. Next, place a medium bowl on top of the pot so that it’s not touching the water.
- Place the chocolate into the top bowl and as the water heats up, the chocolate will begin to melt. Stir gently until melted, and remove the bowl from the heat. (The bowl will be hot so be careful.)
For the Microwave
- melt the chocolate in 20-30 second increments, give it a stir and continue these steps until the chocolate has melted.
Want More Healthy-ish Dessert Recipes?
If you loved these healthy puppy chow bars, be sure to check out
Healthy Puppy Chow Bars
- Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Add the cereal to a large bowl and set aside.
- Melt the chocolate using one of the methods mentioned above. Once melted, add in the peanut butter, butter, vanilla (and salt if using). Stir until well combined.
- Add the chocolate mixture to the bowl of cereal and mix until the cereal is well coated.
- Press the puppy chow mixture into the parchment-lined pan forming an even layer and sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.
- Put the pan in the fridge to firm up before serving (about 1 hour).
- Cut into squares and store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Take out a few minutes before serving to soften.