Saturday, February 18, 2012

Puppy Chow Cupcakes and a Blogiversary!

366 days. That’s how long I’ve had this blog. One year and one day. That’s a long time.

I had initially wanted to do this post yesterday, on my actual blogiversary. But I just couldn’t get myself to sit down and right. I tried, as I’ve done so many times before, but the words just wouldn’t come. I wasn’t going to force them to, I know that doesn’t work.

We can just consider these cupcakes fashionably late – and completely delicious! I thought of them ages ago while I was sitting in class (my tuition money hard at work right there). I have always had a soft spot in my stomach heart for puppy chow. When my mom made it when my sisters and I were little it was like a holiday, a day that should have been nationally recognized! We would eat cup after cup of it, watching the layer of powdered sugar get thicker and thicker on our fingers, refusing to lick them clean until our mom cut us off from the goods.

Now that I’m a big girl, I can make puppy chow on my own, and do with it what I please. Turning it into frosting to slather on some of the best chocolate cupcakes I’ve ever made just seemed like an obvious conclusion.

The cupcakes and frosting recipe were the first dishes I made out of one of my new cookbooks, and I am so happy with the results I can’t wait to continue working through it. How I am going to top Chocolate Cupcakes with Puppy Chow Buttercream, I don’t know, but I’m awfully excited to try.

Cocoa-Buttermilk Cupcakes with Puppy Chow Buttercream (makes 2 dozen cupcakes, recipe source Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my Home to Yours)

Puppy chow

1 box Crispix cereal

2 cups (1 bag) semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup creamy peanut butter

3 TBSP unsalted butter  

4 cups (1 pound) powdered sugar

Lay out a large square of wax or parchment paper on the countertop – to be used later.

Pour cereal into large (biggest one you’ve got) mixing bowl and set aside.*

In a microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter and cook for 1 minute, stir. Continue cooking at 20 – 30 second intervals, stirring after each time, until chips are fully melted and mixture is smooth.

Pour chocolate mixture over cereal. Toss and stir to coat. Spread coated cereal on prepared paper to cool for a few minutes.

In a paper grocery bag, pour one cup of powdered sugar. Sprinkle an additional half-cup over the cooled chocolate coated cereal.

Being careful, pick up edges of paper and pour cereal into bag, going slowly so as not to get powdered sugar everywhere. Add another cup of powdered sugar and close bag tightly.

Shake bag to coat cereal. Allow powdered sugar to settle before opening bag. Add remaining powdered sugar for a thicker coat, if desired.

Pour in large, air tight container until ready to use. Lasts for one week at room temperature.

*Alternately, you can mix the cereal in two batches.

Cocoa-Buttermilk Cupcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 ½ cups sugar

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pan with liners, set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping sides of bowl as necessary. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until fully combined and mixture is light and fluffy. Add egg yolks in same manner. Add in vanilla.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until combined, again scraping bowl if necessary. Add ½ cup of buttermilk and beat until combined. Continue process of 1/3 flour, ½ the buttermilk, ending with final 1/3 of flour mixture. Mix until fully incorporated. If using melted chocolate, stir in after scraping the bowl.

Fill liners ¾ of the way full with batter and bake in preheated oven for 18 – 22 minutes, until cakes spring back when lightly touched.

Remove from oven and allow to cool in pans for ten minutes before removing to rack to cool completely.

Puppy Chow Buttercream

1 cup sugar

4 large egg whites

3 sticks (1 ½ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature

¼ cup fresh lemon juice (freshly squeezed preferred, but bottled will work)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups pulverized puppy chow (I used my food processor to do the pulverizing)

Combined sugar and egg whites in bowl of a mixer and place over a pot of simmering (not boiling!) water. Whisk mixture constantly until warm, creamy, and smooth, about 3 minutes. Sugar should be dissolved.

Using a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip sugar and eggs until bowl is cool to the touch, about five minutes. Add butter, one stick at a time, beating until fluffy and incorporated. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla. Fold in the puppy chow.

Top cooled cupcakes with frosting and a few puppy chow pieces, if desired.

Store cupcakes in an airtight container for up to three days.

A bite-sized version means I can eat more!


  1. Happy blogiversary! I never had puppy chow growing up. I think the first time I actually encountered it was in college and I had no idea what it was. It's sooooo good. I'm kinda mad my mom didn't make it for us as kids :P

    Anyway, lovely idea! I love the idea of adding
    "stuff" to buttercream, but can't ever think of a good mix-in. This is perfect!

    1. Thanks so much! I've really only been "active" for about half of that time, but I felt I should mark the occasion! As for the puppy chow, maybe it's best you never had it as a kid - it's a hard habit to kick ;) I can't wait to try adding more mix-ins to a simple frosting!

  2. Your tuition money would work even harder if you spent it on culinary school. Just saying... :)

  3. I came across your recipe on Pinterest and it sounds YUMMY! I'm just wondering about the lemon juice in the frosting, I doesn't sound like a flavor that would go with chocolate and peanut butter. Can you explain?

    1. Anonymous: While you don't taste the lemon juice in the frosting, it is actually essential to making the frosting. This is a meringue style frosting instead of a simpler, quicker buttercream (which doesn't involve egg whites) and the lemon juice helps keep things together! If you're hesitant though, a buttercream frosting that doesn't use egg whites or lemon juice could work too - it will just be heavier on the cupcakes and more sweet, possibly taking away from the puppy chow's flavor. Hope this helps!

  4. Hi I saw this on pinterest and it looks amazing! I'm 17 and my mom has made puppy chow for my sisters and I for as long as I can remember we will definitely be making these thanks for the amazing recipe!

    1. You're very welcome! Thanks so much for reading and commenting! These really are fantastic cupcakes!

  5. Is there an easier, less time-consuming way to make the frosting?? the puppy chow and cupcakes are easy to make but it seems that the frosting is a bit complicated. is it as complicated as it looks? about how long does it take?

    1. You're welcome to try a simple buttercream frosting (using only butter and powdered sugar) in lieu of the boiled sugar method, but the reason I use the one I do is because it is lighter and fluffier and doesn't overpower the flavor of the puppy chow - which is what the cupcake is all about! The frosting really isn't as difficult as it may seem, and can be done in the time it would take butter to soften for a different recipe!

  6. VVERRY GOOD friends loved it sooo much:)

  7. These were good, but the frosting was entirely too buttery. I would suggest cutting the butter in half probably. Otherwise, a really fun, creative recipe!

  8. I have a cupcake blog called My Year of Cupcakes. I featured your Puppy Chow Cupcakes recipe on Day 88. Here's the link if you wanna take a look:
    Thanks for the fun recipe!!