This Cookie Butter Puppy Chow is an addicting nut-free holiday treat that tastes like gingerbread! This no-bake snack is a Christmas twist on a classic that is loved by kids and adults alike.
Nut-free friends, rejoice! Finally, a peanut-free puppy chow is here. And dare I say…it may be better than the original? This cookie butter puppy chow is the newest Christmas classic… sweet, crunchy, and tastes like gingerbread!
What is cookie butter?
Cookie butter is a spread made from cookies called speculoos. It looks like peanut butter, but it’s nut-free and tastes like gingerbread. Depending on the brand, it is vegan, but does contain wheat and soy.
Why you’ll love this
- Nut-free. There are no peanuts or tree nuts in this puppy chow, making it perfect for those with allergies. (As always, be sure to check labels to verify that the brands you’re using ARE nut-free).
- Holiday Flavors. The blend of gingerbread and cinnamon scream “Cozy Christmas”.
- Quick and Easy. The holidays are busy. We need treats that taste delicious with very minimal prep.
- Crowd Favorite. Kids and adults go crazy for the crunchy texture and sweet flavors of puppy chow. Bonus: it makes a ton!
- Gingerbread Cake and Cookie Mix – you’re only using the dry mix, you’re not making the batter or baking it into a cake. If for whatever reason you can’t have cake mix or maybe can’t find it, try using another cake mix such as a spice cake mix or replace with a 1 pound bag of powdered sugar.
- Cinnamon Chex – regular chex, such as corn or rice, can be used instead if you can’t find cinnamon chex. Another cereal, like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, can also be used, but it may be sweeter. Regardless, you’ll need 1 (12 oz) box or about 11 cups.
- Dark Chocolate Chips – are less sweet, but if you like a sweeter treat, try semi-sweet, milk chocolate, or even white chocolate. You’ll need 1 (12 oz) bag or about 2 cups. If you’re having trouble with your chocolate chips melting, they may be expired or you may need to try another brand.
- Cookie Butter – the MVP for our nut allergy friends! Cookie butter looks like peanut butter, but it’s made with cookies and tastes like gingerbread. This was tested using the Biscoff brand, but any variety of cookie butter (like the one from Trader Joe’s) should work.
- Unsalted Butter – helps to thin out the chocolate and cookie butter so it can effectively coat the cereal. Salted butter will work also. Vegan? Use a plant-based stick butter.
- Vanilla Extract – isn’t necessary and can be omitted if you like, but does add additional warm and cozy flavors.
- Salt – helps to balance out the sweetness and enhance the gingerbread flavor.
- Powdered Sugar – helps the cake mix coat the cereal. It adds additional sweetness and also makes it look really pretty!
How to make
- Melt chocolate chips, cookie butter, and butter in a microwave safe bowl, stir in vanilla and salt, pour over the cinnamon chex. Then stir until the cereal is coated.
- Stir in the cake mix and powdered sugar until the cereal is completely coated. Shake off excess in a colander, if necessary, then enjoy!
Do I have to bake the cake mix?
For this recipe, we’re using the dry cake mix in addition to the classic powdered sugar to coat the outside of the cereal. Baking the cake mix (also called heat treating) kills any potential bacteria the cake mix may contain, which makes it safe to eat raw. You have a few options if you don’t want to bake the cake mix:
- Skip the heat treatment. Do this at your own risk. I personally don’t worry about it, but you have to decide for yourself if that’s a risk worth making.
- Ditch the cake mix. Replace with a one pound bag of powdered sugar. You’ll lose out on that really good ginger flavor, but it will still be delicious. If you wanted to gain back some of that flavor, you could try stirring in some cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg into the powdered sugar before tossing it with the cereal.
Is this gluten-free?
Unfortunately, this is not gluten-free due to the cake mix and cookie butter. If you’re looking for a gluten friendly version, be sure to check out my classic puppy chow recipe instead!
Can i make this vegan/dairy-free?
Yes! Simply use a plant-based butter and dairy-free chocolate chips and you’ll be good to go. The cereal, cake mix, and cookie butter I used were already vegan, but as always, check the labels to verify.
How to store
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in at room temperature or the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Cookie butter puppy chow can be enjoyed at room temperature, chilled, or frozen… they’re all great!
Cookie Butter Puppy Chow
Equipment for this recipe
- 1 (14.4 oz) box gingerbread cake and cookie mix *
- 1 (12 oz) box cinnamon chex
- 1 (12 oz) bag chocolate chips I used dark chocolate, but semi-sweet/milk/or even white should be fine
- 1 (14.1 oz) jar cookie butter **
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup powdered sugar plus more to coat the cereal if necessary
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, dump the dry cake mix onto an unlined rimmed baking sheet, then bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes or until the cake mix has reached 160 degrees F*. Set aside to cool.
- Place cinnamon chex into a large bowl. Set aside.
- Place chocolate chips, cookie butter, and butter in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 60 seconds, then stir until smooth. If the chocolate chips haven't melted enough, microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the mixture is completely melted.
- Stir in vanilla extract and salt, pour immediately over the cereal, then gently stir until the cereal is evenly coated. DO NOT OVER MIX. The chunks are the best part!
- Sprinkle the cake mix and powdered sugar over the mixture and gently stir to combine. Again, don’t over mix. If you’re finding that you have a lot of excess powdered sugar/cake mix that’s not sticking to the cereal, simply dump the mixture into a colander and shake out the excess into the sink.
- Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container!
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*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.