But this year, until a few days ago, I wasn't sure I was going to attend. Sorry to be a whiner, but I've been exhausted from a rough work week and a wedding the other night that went very late. I just wanted to lay low. But some friends were going and, long story short, we threw together a last minute pre-parade brunch plan that ended up being a blast. Nothing is quicker, and more adaptable than Puppy Chow - which, by the way, is for humans only, not dogs - and my favorite adaptation to just about any recipe that involves Nutella.
I've added Nutella to Puppy Chow before, and I highly recommend it. It always tastes more gourmet (as much as can be expected with something called Puppy Chow) with the hazelnut flavor than it does with the traditionally-used peanut butter that you've probably seen in other recipe.
Not that the crispy, sweet and chocolate-hazelnutty mixture needs a helping hand, but I wanted to brighten it up to make it look a little more festive and appetizing in the bowl. It's hard to make this snack look terribly appealing because, by the time you cover the chocolate layer with powdered sugar, everything turns this sort of colorless greyish-brown that is unappetizing enough to act as your first line of defense...against yourself...from eating the entire bowl in the blink of an eye. Sadly, as soon as you taste it, you will no longer register the slightest observation of how it looks, since you will be busy shoveling handfuls in your mouth. But that's a whole other issue.
The sprinkles were intended to convey both deliciousness (because obviously sprinkles make everything enjoyable to consume) and - given that they are rainbow sprinkles, obviously - Pride. But you can, and should, feel free to replace these with any holiday-appropriate sprinkles (like red, white and blue, perhaps?) to make this simple, addictive treat appropriate for any occasion.
And if this feels like a bit of a cop-out Fourth of July post, don't worry: I have you covered. Stay tuned on Wednesday for something a little different that will definitely put a little sparkle in your Fourth.
Festive Nutella Puppy Chow
4 cups sturdy cereal (I recommend corn Chex)
1/4 cup chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup Nutella*
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup festive sprinkles (optional, if not using, use an additional 1/2-3/4 cup powdered sugar)
*Note: I like Puppy Chow to be as crispy as possible so, given that and the fact that we were eating this at 10am, I went light on the Nutella. If you prefer thicker-coated cereal in your Puppy Chow, use 1 cup Nutella and 1 3/4 - 2 cups powdered sugar.
Pour cereal into a gallon zip top bag and set aside.
In a heatproof cereal bowl, combine chocolate, butter and Nutella. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir until completely mixed and melted.
Pour chocolate mixture into the zip top bag with the cereal and gently massage into the cereal to coat. Then pour 1 cup of the powdered sugar into the bag and shake 2-3 times. If the sugar soaks in completely and is not visible at all, add the remainder of the sugar and shake 2-3 more times. Finally, add the sprinkles and continue to shake gently until cereal is thoroughly and evenly coated with sugar and sprinkles.
Makes just over four cups of puppy chow. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
If you are having a celebration, you can also adapt my Celebration Cookie Cups with event-appropriate sprinkles
If you are a fan of chocolate and Nutella combined, you'll be a big fan of my Nutella Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Of course, if you're a Nutella purist, you'd probably prefer Nutella Swirl Pound Cake