The past week has mostly been what one would expect it to be. Textbooks and running gear strewn across the kitchen counter tops, Christmas lights twinkling outside, a “secret Santa” gift exchange being planned for, shopper traffic congesting the roadways, the weatherman talking about snow, five exams being jammed in two days before winter break…
Everything was characteristic of a typical holiday season. But something was awry.
There weren’t any baked goods!
For my family, this Christmas will be a rather understated event. It’s just me, my parents, and a ridiculously cute toy poodle. Yet even an understated Christmas is simply not Christmas without some sort of confection lying temptingly on a platter. Call me old-fashioned, but it’s true.
Staying true to my quirky baking style, I couldn’t just make a textbook Christmas cookie. Oh, no. I’m simply not a recipe-follower (a fact that tends to either produce beautiful results or blow up in my face).
Long ago, I remember trying puppy chow (a.k.a. muddy buddies or reindeer food) for the first time. Dare I say it was better than a cookie? Few things in life are better than a cookie. Puppy chow just might be one of them.
And as I sit here before the computer screen in pajamas – yes, it’s 3:00 PM and my daytime attire is pajamas - I’m comforted to know there is a pan of puppy chow granola within a 20-foot radius. In spite of the frigid weather, the contents of an 8″ x 8″ pan makes it feel a little warmer inside. It feels like Christmas.
Puppy Chow Granola
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread oats evenly across parchment. Bake oats for 11-14 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Melt chocolate, peanut butter, and butter in microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring after each interval. Stir in vanilla.
- Stir oats into chocolate mixture until well incorporated.
- Transfer oats to a large ziploc bag or sealable container. Add confectioners’ sugar and shake bag/container until oats are coated.
- Store puppy chow granola in sealed containers for up to several days.