Now that my two girls are away at college, the assemblage of care packages has become my principal maternal duty (though I have also proofread some writing assignments, care of the miracle of the Internet). There is also the emptying my bank account into various other accounts, but I chose to gloss over that to avoid depression.
I have been looking forward to this task since the kids were little. My own college care packages were not optimal. My mom assembled vitamins, the driest of granola bars, sanitary napkins and cutout newspaper articles about Toxic Shock Syndrome to send to me and these were hardly share-worthy items in my dorm room. I used to be quite envious at the amazing packages that came for my roommate Liz -she of Greek extraction- which contained foil-wrapped packets of spanakopita and baklava, or my Cuban-born roommate Lourdes, full of pasteles.
Anyway, I have been having fun putting together little packages for my college kids and some of their friends. Hot chocolate mixes, lip balms, tissues (toilet and facial), tea bags, microwave popcorn, index cards, energy bars, sticky notes and nail polish have all made their way into various boxes, but there has to be some kind of homemade treat or is just doesn't seem like a real blast from home.
Enter puppy chow (some people call it Muddy Buddies). We like various concoctions of gluten-free Chex cereals tossed with melted chocolate chips, powdered sugar and other flavorings, and now that there is a new gluten-free Chex flavor, Vanilla Chex, I played around with it to make some care package treats.
The Vanilla Chex is pretty sweet, so I took the standard Puppy Chow recipes and tinkered with them to use less powdered sugar and add in our favorite Crispy Cook flavor, Peanut Butter, to make a Peanutty Puppy Chow. The results? Fantastic! It was hard not to snack on it as it was cooling and as I was bagging it up. The taste reminds me of peanut-flavored Cap'n Crunch cereal, although not as mind-numbingly sugary.
Here's my recipe for Peanut Butter Puppy Chow:
9 cups Vanilla Chex cereal (almost 2 boxes worth)
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter (I used chunky, and I would even add more finely chopped peanuts in this, as this is what we like, but I understand the creamy peanut butter gene has evolved in some families)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
Melt butter in small saucepan. Add in peanut butter and white chocolate chips and melt until smooth, stirring constantly to avoid scorching.
Divide cereal into two batches on baking sheets. Drizzle over melted peanut butter sauce and pour powdered sugar over both batches. Mix gently but evenly with spoon to coat.
Let cool and dry, about 1/2 hour. Bag up immediately or place in airtight containers.
Makes about four care package servings.
There are many more gluten-free recipes using the various flavors of Chex cereals on the Chex.com website. Link is here.
Note: I received two free boxes and some coupons for Vanilla Chex from the General Mills Company, but I was not obligated to post a review about this product. All of the above information and my thoughts are completely my own.