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Combine the flavors of a popular candy bar into a new twist on a classic muddy buddies recipe. Almond Joy Puppy Chow is a sweet no-bake snack mix with Chex cereal and almonds covered in almond butter, chocolate, and coconut. You won’t be able to stop eating them!
Puppy Chow without Peanut Butter?
Puppy Chow. Muddy Buddies. Chex Mix. Whatever you call it, you know what it is. That sweet cereal snack mix coated in peanut butter and chocolate then tossed in powdered sugar. It may look like kibble, which is how it got its name, but it’s not for dogs to eat. Humans, on the other hand, can’t get enough.
But if you don’t like peanut butter, are allergic, or just want to change things up, you may be wondering if you can make muddy buddies without peanut butter.
The answer is, of course, YES!
There are so many puppy chow recipes in all kinds of flavors and combinations. Many simply coat the cereal in chocolate, which is great for those with nut allergies. However, if you are simply looking for something new, or you just love Almond Joy candy bars. Then you have to try this version.
It swaps the peanut butter for almond butter! Then with some almonds added in with the Chex cereal, coconut oil in place of the butter, and a sweet coating of powdered sugar and coconut flakes, there is no shortage of deliciousness. Just try to keep your hands away!
- Powdered sugar
- Shredded sweetened coconut flakes
- Chex cereal – you can use any variety, or a combination. Just be sure to use Rice or Corn Chex for gluten free. Even Chocolate Chex works for extra chocolaty flavor.
- Unsalted almonds – lightly toast them in the oven or in a skillet over low heat, if you like.
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips – vegan chips are an option to make this completely dairy free.
- Almond butter – creamy works best.
- Coconut oil – gives the chocolate an extra hint of cocnut flavor, but you can also use butter and about 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract added with the vanilla.
- Vanilla extract – be sure it is gluten free, if needed.
How to Make Almond Joy Puppy Chow
Make the coconut-sugar coating. In a mini food processor or blender jar, combine the powdered sugar and coconut, and pulse until the mixture is mostly a powder. It is fine to leave some larger pieces of coconut. Pour it into a large plastic storage bag.
Combine the Chex and almonds. Toss them together in a large bowl, and set aside.
Make the chocolate mixture. Combine the chocolate chips, almond butter, and coconut oil in a medium bowl and microwave on High for 1 minute (or melt on the stove over low heat, preferably in a double boiler). Stir until completely melted, then stir in the vanilla extract.
Coat the cereal in chocolate and powdered sugar. Pour the chocolate mixture over the Chex and almonds, and stir until the cereal is completely coated. Transfer the mixture into the bag with the sugar and coconut, seal, and toss until the cereal and almonds are evenly coated.
Let it cool. Finally, pour everything onto a sheet pan lined with wax paper and spread it in a single layer to cool and dry.
Muddy buddies should be stored in an airtight container and can be kept at room temperature for 3 or 4 days. Because these contain coconut oil instead of butter, if it is warm in your house, they may be a little stickier than the ones made with butter. If you prefer, you can keep them refrigerated for up to a week.
You can also freeze puppy chow for up to 2 to 3 months. When you are ready to thaw them, keep them sealed tightly until they have come up to temperature to avoid condensation that could dissolve and melt the sugar coating.
Tips for Success
No mini food processor or chopper? If you have a standard blender with a blender jar, screw the blade off of the bottom and screw it onto a standard mason jar.
Don’t overheat the chocolate. It’s very important or it will seize. Start by microwaving it for about a minute. Then give it a stir and it should be smooth enough. If not, only heat it in additional 10-15 second increments. Should you decide to do it on the stove, a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water is the safest option.
Customize your puppy chow. Swap out the nuts and nut butter to make other flavor combinations, or even try white chocolate. If you really love the classic version with peanut butter, try adding extra peanuts too.
Speed it up. You can pop your sheet pan into the refrigerator if you want it to firm up more quickly.
If you managed to not finish it all, here are some fun recipes to make with the leftovers…
Such a fun party snack. Just replace the peanut butter with almond butter, then crush your leftover Almond Joy Puppy Chow to coat it.
Turn this sweet snack into an even sweeter dessert. Again, you’ll want to replace the peanut butter with almond butter or give it a swirl of fudge instead. Then stir in the Almond Joy Muddy Buddies before freezing.
Things you’ll need
SPATULAS – I like to use silicone spatulas because they are heat-resistant and easy to clean. I used the small one for stirring the melted chocolate and a larger one for tossing together the Chex mix.
WAX PAPER – You’ll need this to keep the puppy chow from sticking as it cools.
SHEET PAN – a nice large one will allow you to spread the muddy buddies in an even layer. I used these for Nordicware pretty much every single day.
BAGGY HOLDER – while not exxential, these do make it easier to hold the bag open while you pour in the ingredients so you are less likely to spill stuff all over your counter.
Almond Joy Puppy Chow
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut flakes
- 8 cups Chex, any variety or a combination (use Corn or Rice Chex for gluten free)
- 2 cups unsalted almonds
- 1 ccup semi-sweet chocolate chips use vegan and/or gluten-free chocolate chips, if needed
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 1/4 cup coconut oil – see note below
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a mini food processor or blender jar, combine the powdered sugar and coconut, and pulse until the mixture is mostly a powder. It is fine to leave some larger pieces of coconut.
- Place the sugar-coconut mixture in a large plastic storage bag.
- Combine the Chex and almonds in a large bowl, and set aside.
- Combine the chocolate chips, almond butter, and coconut oil in a medium bowl and microwave on High for 1 minute (or melt on the stove over low heat, preferably in a double boiler).
- Stir until completely melted, then stir in the vanilla extract.
- Pour the chocolate mixture over the Chex and almonds, and stir until the cereal is completely coated.
- Transfer the mixture into the bag with the sugar and coconut, seal, and toss until the cereal and almonds are evenly coated.
- Pour onto wax paper to cool and dry. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.