I’m fairly certain the name “Muddy Buddies” is trademarked so I’m creatively naming these- but let’s be real: these are Candy Cane Muddy Buddies! You can call it puppy chow if you want, but that kind of grosses me out. Something so crazy delicious should not be named after dog food. I’ve had this recipe mulling around in my brain for the last few Christmases. Chex actually sells a peppermint muddy buddy mix, but it’s white chocolate, and I was sorely disappointed when I tried it (Target however sells a chocolate version, but not even close to as tasty as these homemade ones). The thing that was holding me up was that one of the signature elements in not only the flavor of muddy buddies, but the texture, is the creamy peanut butter and I couldn’t find a perfect replacement for that. It wasn’t until I tried that crazy peppermint chocolate peanut butter that Jif makes that it dawned on me that it might not be crazy after all to just include peanut butter in my peppermint version. So I tried it out and, surprise! They’re amazing. So don’t be weirded out when you see peppermint and peanut butter together here. It works. I promise. The amount of peanut butter isn’t enough that it competes with the peppermint. It actually enhances everything and rounds out the flavor profile, while at the same time lending itself to the soft chocolate texture. Just trust me and go with it. These might change your life (or if nothing else, your jean size.)
To start off, we’ll make one of the world’s greatest creations (if I don’t say so myself.) I figured if regular Muddy Buddies are tossed in powdered sugar, than candy cane Muddy Buddies should be tossed in candy cane sugar. Solid thinking, right? Place some powdered sugar in a food processor, and break up a bunch of candy canes in there with it. I was too busy instagramming to actually take a photo of this part, but lucky for me I was so busy instagramming that I instagrammed it.
Pulse that a few times to break up the candy canes, and then let that baby rip.
I keep it processing until it goes from loud crunching to smooth little cracking sounds. You can tell when it’s done when you open your food processor and you have fluffy white peppermint snow. It’s soft powdered sugar with little teeny crunchy bits of peppermint.
This is great on all sorts of things you would use powdered sugar for. Try making a buttercream frosting with this stuff. Holy delicious.
Take a few more candy canes and put them in a ziplock bag.
Grab a heavy rolling pin, or a mallet, or the bottom of a heavy cup, or anything that can smash stuff. And smash them. You don’t need to pulverize them like we did in the food processor. These little bits are getting tossed in with our cereal mix so you want little bites of peppermint.
Place your Chex cereal in a big (no really, BIG- it will make mixing so much easier) bowl. I’m showing my crushed candy canes in here, but I actually think it works better if you toss them in after the next step, so you’ll see that reflected in my directions, just FYI.
Now here comes the good stuff. I love these Mint Chocolate Chips that Hershey’s makes. These should be available at most grocery stores right now (check the holiday end caps!) but if you can’t find them (or another brand of mint chocolate chips), no worries. You can still make these, just use a bit more extract, or preferably, peppermint oil if you have some. There are a couple brands of chocolate that make peppermint flavored chips that aren’t actually chocolate (they’re just peppermint flavored candy coating) and I would avoid those. We want chocolate here, so use something that is actual chocolate chips, with peppermint flavoring.
Place those in a microwave-safe bowl,
and add some butter, and peanut butter. I know that sounds strange, seeing as we’re using peppermint, but trust me on this one. If you have peanut allergies, you could use a different nut butter, or I did experiment with 1/2 the amount of coconut oil. While my taste testers all agreed that the PB version tasted better, the coconut oil will work as a replacement.
Melt it until it’s creamy and smooth and immediately add in some peppermint extract, or peppermint oil. If you’re using regular chocolate chips, I would try to find some peppermint oil, and then add in extra. You’ll have to do it to taste, and I would suggest adding more than you think you’ll need, since the flavor will be mellowed once it’s combined with the cereal. If you use extract, I’d double it.
Dump the chocolate in with the cereal and candy cane bits.
and mix, mix, mix. The chocolate mix may be slightly thick, and seem like it’s not covering everything at first, but just keep stirring and you’ll soon see that all of those cereal pieces has a nice chocolatey coating.
Then dump in the peppermint-sugar.
Quickly toss everything together. Mix, mix, mix again until it’s all dusted snowy white.
Now stick your fingers in there and taste them. Amazing, right? This is the perfect little treat to package up for gifting.
Or for holding the entire bowl in your lap while you watch your favorite dvr’d shows after your kids are in bed.
You get that creamy smooth chocolate, with cool burst of peppermint, and cute little pieces of red and white candy. It’s pretty addicting, so consider yourself warned.
Chocolate Peppermint Chex Mix (Candy Cane Muddy Buddies!)
Recipe by Our Best Bites
8 cups Rice Chex Cereal
1 cup Mint Chocolate Chips
½ cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup butter (4 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon peppermint extract, or peppermint oil to taste
16 standard sized (in a box size) candy canes, divided*
1 cup powdered sugar
*As a candy cane connoisseur, I suggest Bob’s (hand’s down the best) or Brach’s. I would avoid Spangler brand for baking because the flavor and texture is far inferior.
Place cereal in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Place 1 cup powdered sugar, and 8 candy canes in a food processor. Pulse several times to break up candy canes and then process until smooth. You’ll have very tiny bits of candy cane still visible.
Place remaining 8 candy canes in a ziplock bag and use a heavy rolling pin, or meat mallet, or whatever the heck you want, to crush them into little bits. Set aside.
Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl with peanut butter and butter. Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Stir in extract (or oil) and immediately pour over chex mix. Quickly pour in the crushed candy canes from the ziplock bag over the chocolate and then stir to coat the cereal. The chocolate mixture might be slightly thick, but keep stirring and it will coat everything.
Once the cereal mixture is coated with chocolate, dump in the powdered sugar mix and stir until everything is dusted in white.
Eat out of the bowl, or package up for sharing!
Allergy Warning: I think it’s a good reminder, since many of you will be giving this for gifts and sharing at holiday parties, to keep in mind that snacks like this, that don’t *appear* to contain peanut butter, can be especially dangerous for those with nut allergies. Be courteous, and if you are gifting to someone you don’t know well, or are sharing at a party, include a note clearly labeling that it does contain peanut butter.