The delectable sweetness of frosted circus animal cookies, pink frosting, and white chocolate mixed with the satisfying crunch of Chex cereal makes this recipe for Circus Animal Puppy Chow a must-make! Whip up this easy dessert recipe for your kids to snack on over winter break today!
I have an irrepressible sweet tooth – I can’t deny it. This candied version of the classic Midwest snack we call “puppy chow” may be a new favorite since it features one of my most loved childhood cookies. Even better, it’s super simple to make.
SAVE THIS CIRCUS ANIMAL PUPPY CHOW RECIPE TO YOUR FAVORITE PINTEREST BOARD!
Puppy Chow vs. Muddy Buddies
Depending on where you live, you might call these types of sweet Chex-based recipes by different names. Puppy Chow has been around for decades! But around 2002, Chex caught on to the popularity of this sweet snack mix and started putting a recipe for “Muddy Buddies” on cereal boxes. You might also hear it called “muddy munch”, “monster munch”, or even “reindeer chow”.
Circus Animal Puppy Chow Ingredients
You only need a handful of common ingredients to make these tasty treats. Notice that the flavor profile is different than traditional puppy chow, which uses milk chocolate and peanut butter. You won’t need those for this recipe.
Gather the following things:
- Chex rice cereal
- Frosted circus animal cookies
- White candy melts (I used Wiltons) or vanilla almond bark
- Powdered sugar
- Rainbow nonpareils
- White chocolate chips
- Red gel food coloring (I prefer the no-taste brands)
Can I use a different kind of cereal in this recipe?
I love to use rice cereal squares in this recipe because they make a great base for any other flavor due to the mild flavor of rice. However, any type of cereal square would work.
Is Circus Animal Puppy Chow gluten-free?
Many of the ingredients in this recipe are gluten-free. Rice cereal, Wilton’s candy melts, and white chocolate chips are all gluten-free. Powdered sugar is usually gluten-free but sometimes uses wheat starch to keep it from clumping, so check the ingredient list.
However, traditional frosted circus animals are not gluten-free. If you want to make this recipe without gluten, try to find Lieber’s frosted animal cookies, which many Kroger grocery stores carry. You can also look at any local specialty grocery store.
How to make Puppy Chow
Here’s a simple recipe you can make to get these sweet treats in your mouth before your craving runs out!
The first step is to place your Chex cereal in a large bowl and set it aside. Crush 1 ½ cups of the frosted animal cookies in a food processor until they resemble fine crumbs. If necessary, you could pound them in a Ziploc bag with a rolling pin.
Chop or crush the remaining circus cookies into small pieces and set them aside for later.
In a separate microwave-safe bowl or double boiler, melt the white chocolate candy melts according to the package instructions. Then pour the melted candy over the rice cereal and use a rubber spatula to mix evenly. The mixture will be hot, so don’t use your hands.
Coat the mixture with circus animal cookie crumbs and sprinkles, followed by powdered sugar. To help evenly coat the cereal, I like to add the cereal mixture to a large Tupperware container with a lid before sprinkling the mix-ins and powdered sugar. Then, close the lid tightly and shake until everything is coated and well combined.
If you don’t have a large enough container, you could use large plastic bags instead. Just close it and shake it well to combine everything.
Stir in the remaining chopped frosted animal cookie bits. Serve the puppy chow as is or decorate with pink frosting by following the next step.
Make Pink Frosting for Puppy Chow mix
To make the pink frosting, melt ⅓ cup of the white chocolate chips according to the package directions and stir in a few drops of red gel food coloring until you reach your desired color. Spread the puppy chow on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then drizzle the melted white chocolate across your puppy chow before serving and enjoy! This might just be the childhood treat of my dreams!
Storing leftover Circus Animal Puppy Chow
This sweet treat will keep well in an airtight container for up to a week at room temperature, or for 2-3 months in the freezer. Eat some now and save some for Valentine’s Day!
Other Circus Animal Dessert Recipes
I wasn’t kidding when I said these little frosted cookies are a favorite childhood treat. They are delicious as part of these Circus Animal Cookie Dream Bars. I also can’t get enough of these Circus Animal Cookie Rice Krispie Treats!
All the Cereal Treats
It’s so much fun to make delicious treats out of everyday cereal. If you loved this recipe, try another sweet version with Funfetti Puppy Chow. How about cereal in cookies? Make these Fruity Pebbles Cookies for a crunchy fruity twist. For a chocolatey treat, these No-Bake Peanut Butter Smores Cookies make great use of Golden Graham cereal. And of course, we have all sorts of variations of Rice Krispie Treats that you can find here. Which one is your favorite?
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Circus Animal Puppy Chow
- 8 cups Chex rice cereal squares
- 2 ½ cups frosted circus animal cookies divided
- 6 ounces white candy melts
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ½ cup rainbow nonpareils
For Pink Frosting
- ⅓ cup white chocolate chips
- red food coloring gel
- Place chex cereal in a large mixing bowl. Crush 1 ½ cups of the frosted circus animal cookies until fine crumbs in a food processor orpound in a ziploc bag with a rolling pin. Chop or crush the remaining animal cookies and set aside.
- In a separate mixing bowl, melt the white chocolate candy melts according to packageinstructions. Pour the melted chocolate over the Chex mixture and use a spatula to mix evenly. Do not try to use hands, mixture will be hot)
- Coat the mixture with the circus animal cookie crumbs and sprinkles. Follow with the powderedsugar. To evenly coat you can shake the mixture in a ziploc bag or large tupperware container.
- Stir in the remaining chopped frosted circus animal cookies. Serve as is or decorate with pinkfrosting by following the next step.
To Make Pink Chocolate Frosting
- Melt ⅓ cup of white chocolate melting chips according to package directions and stir in a fewdrops of red gel food coloring until you reach your desired color. Drizzle across the top of your puppy chow before serving and enjoy!
- To store, keep muddy buddies in an airtight container for up to 1 week at room temperature orup to 2-3 months in the freezer.