Skinny 100-Calorie Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Mix
Whatever name you call it, I love snack mix, party mix, Chex mix, and puppy chow.
I can inhale many handfuls in very short order. Hello hundreds of empty calories in about 3 minutes flat.
What’s not to love about puppy chow. It’s no-bake, fast, easy, and made with cereal. I have a huge thing for cereal-based treats, especially chocolate and peanut butter ones.
However in recent years, tossing it with sprinkles, mini peanut butter cups, Nutella and peanuts, or even buttery waffles has crept in. Plain puppy chow wasn’t enough and it had to be trashed up, even more. You know, keeping up with the virtual Jones’ on Pinterest. I’m as guilty as the next, but whoa, it all adds up to a whole lot of mindless calories that no one needs.
That’s where this snack mix comes in. It’s skinny, vegan, gluten-free, there’s no butter or oil added, and it’s ready in less than 5 minutes. It also makes a modest batch because I don’t need a gallon-sized tub of puppy chow laying around, skinny or not.
I included the stats from SparkRecipes. The whole batch makes about 5 cups and came in at just over 1000 calories for the entire batch. If you have 1 cup, you’re looking at about 200 calories.
If you have more self-control and can get by with 1/2 cup, there’s only 101 calories per serving.
A half cup of my skinny mix is still more quantity than you’ll find in most of those very skimpy 100-calorie store bought snack packs, and much more satisfying. Those snack packs are truly like eating air. You’re clearly paying for forced portion control and convenience because there’s hardly any actual food included.
To make the mix, melt together peanut butter and your sweetener of choice. I used corn syrup because it’s cheap and it makes a great glue. Use brown rice syrup, agave, honey (not vegan), or another really sticky liquid sweetener. I don’t recommend maple syrup based on taste.
Stir in a bit of vanilla, pour over the cereal, and stir to combine. I used Corn Chex which is both vegan and gluten-free. If you want to use other flavors like Chocolate, Honey Nut, or Cinnamon, Wheat Chex, Rice Chex (less hearty and may crush more easily) or Crispix, I’m sure they’ll be just fine. If you’re monitoring vegan/GF status, read the labels because not all cereals are appropriate for all dietary paths.
Rather than tossing with confectioners’ sugar like most puppy chow, I tossed with unsweetened natural cocoa powder, which is very low in calories at just 40 calories per 1/4 cup. You need something to dry up the gooey melted peanut butter mixture.
Because the cocoa is unsweetened, it causes the mix to take on a not-so-sweet but very chocolaty profile. The chocolate flavor is more dominant than the peanut butter flavor, and I love how intensely chocolaty it is, without being overly sweet. If you find it needs a little more sweetness, sprinkle on a packet or two of your favorite zero-calorie sweetener.
Optionally, for a salty-and-sweet mix, sprinkle with Kosher or sea salt. You could also swap in waffle-board style pretzels for some of the Chex for more salty-and-sweet crunch. Calorically, I don’t think there’s a significant difference between pretzels and cereal, although the former won’t likely be vegan/GF.
The mix is crispy, crunchy, and chewy. It’ll tame your fiercest chocolate cravings, and with peanut butter undertones, it’s satisfying and tastes far more decadent than the stats indicate.
When I’m feeling snacky, lots of crunch in the form of chocolate and peanut butter without eating a half day’s calories in minutes is absolutely perfect.
It’s good it’s a skinny recipe because multiple servings were a must.
Skinny 100-Calorie Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Mix (vegan, GF, no butter/oil)
This skinny version of ‘puppy chow’ is vegan, gluten-free, there’s no butter or oil added, and it’s ready in less than 5 minutes. It also makes a modest batch when you don’t need a gallon of puppy chow around, skinny or not. It’s crispy, crunchy, and chewy. It’ll tame your fiercest chocolate cravings, and with peanut butter undertones, it’s satisfying and tastes far more decadent than the stats indicate at just 100 calories per half cup. It’s fast and easy to make and is ready in less than 5 minutes for times when you want a comforting snack without mindlessly eating a half day’s worth of empty calories. For a salty-and-sweet twist, substitute half the cereal for waffle-board style pretzels. As written, the recipe is vegan/GF. Always read labels to make sure all products and brands are appropriate for your dietary needs.
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (don’t use natural or homemade, too runny)
1/4 cup light-colored corn syrup (or brown rice syrup, agave, honey)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups Corn Chex (or similar, i.e. Honey Nut Chex, Chocolate Chex, Crispix)
about 1/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder, or to taste
pinch or packet(s) of zero-calorie sweetener Truvia, Splenda, stevia, etc., optional and to taste (I didn’t need any)
pinch Kosher or sea salt, optional and to taste for a salty-and-sweet treat
- In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine peanut butter, corn syrup, and heat on high power for 30 seconds to melt. Stir mixture smooth.
- Stir in the vanilla; set mixture aside.
- In a large bowl, add the cereal.
- Pour wet mixture over the cereal and toss to coat.
- Sprinkle with about 1/4 cup cocoa powder, or to taste, and toss to coat.
- Taste the mix and optionally add a pinch or packet(s) zero-calorie sweetener. I didn’t find it necessary, but I’m not bothered by the bitterness of cocoa powder.
- For a salty-and-sweet treat, optionally sprinkle with salt, to taste.
- Mix will keep airtight for up to 1 week.
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