Bitter Buddies

Well, it was bound to happen. My awesome 4-posts-in-a-row spree was followed several no-posts-in-a-row. Darn.

Regardless, I’m excited to talk with you about my Christmas baking! We’re not quite done yet, but we have two of our main treats made, White Trash and Velveeta Fudge. We still have to make cookies, caramel and white fudge. (My little brother loves it for some reason; he’s the only one. White chocolate chips + marshmallow cream = bleh, and way too sweet in my opinion.) I think in my last post, I said I was going to try to veganize and healthify our classic Christmas recipes. I still would absolutely love to do that, but I finally came to the conclusion that it’s way too expensive to do that, especially on a large scale. Unfortunately Smart Balance Light (dairy-free) is not as cheap as $0.60 boxes of margarine, almond milk costs more than regular milk, and ground flax is more expensive than a carton of eggs. Obviously in my own home, for regular purposes, we make these substitutions. But to try to do those things for every single one of our recipes and make enough to enjoy AND deliver? It’s simply not feasible. So, my mom said I could Kels-ify a couple of our classic recipes, and White Trash (or Puppy Chow, or Muddy Buddies, as I’ve heard it called) is one of the ones I chose.

I grew up with this recipe. We have made it every year at Christmastime for as long as I can remember. I knew it was going to be a feat to make the health-ified recipe as good as the original, but I think I succeeded.

In a way. This is different from the original in a lot of ways, but it also has lots of similarities. It is made with dark, bitter, 100% cocoa powder, but the subtle sweetness of the cereal and raisins make it absolutely perfect. I like it much more than the original powdered sugar version, and I’m not just saying that. The other thing I like is that I can eat it with no guilt! I try to not feel guilt anyway, but this “treat” honestly contains the exact same ingredients I would use on a regular day, specifically peanut butter, peanuts, raisins, coconut, coconut oil and cocoa powder.  The only things that are less common are the Rice Chex, honey grahams cereal and margarine. Still, the amount in each serving is so little that it doesn’t really concern me. I can grab a handful for a snack without anticipating a sugar rush, and that is what I love. Without further ado, I present to you…

Bitter Buddies

(I’m partial to the name White Trash, since I grew up with it, but Bitter Buddies sounds better than Bitter Trash. So I digress.)

  • 12 oz all-natural cereal*
  • raisins (I used about 6 oz, I believe. This recipe is NOT down to a science, so use as much or as little raisins as you like)
  • peanuts (again, I used 1/4 of a 24 oz bottle, so about 6 oz. Feel free to use more or less)
  • 2 handfuls of coconut shreds (optional)
  • 1 cup organic, all-natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup dairy-free margarine (i.e. Earth Balance, Smart Balance Light, etc.)
  • 2 tbsp solid coconut oil
  • 1-2 cups 100% cocoa powder

*I used a combination of Rice Chex and all-natural honey graham cereal, but you can use whatever you like. I highly recommend the Golden Grahams of some sort though—they make this treat!

Toss natural cereal, raisins, peanuts and coconut shreds together in a large mixing bowl. Combine peanut butter, coconut oil and margarine in a saucepan over medium heat. Melt them together, stirring occasionally. The mixture should be pretty thick, not liquid-y. Do NOT thin it out, especially not with almond milk like I did. I’m not sure what I was thinking, because cereal + milk = soggy brown trash!

Spoon the thick peanut butter/coconut oil/margarine mixture into the bowl with the cereal combo and gently stir it around. Be careful not to crush the cereal. At this point, you may have to use your hands to stir and make sure every piece is thoroughly coated. Leave no man behind. 😉 Once the cereal, raisins, coconut and peanuts are completely covered in the PB mixture, add your cocoa powder. Some of the pieces will start to clump together at this point, and that’s okay. Clumps are the best part, in my opinion. Whether or not you use two cups of cocoa powder is dependent on how coated you want it. 1 cup will leave it pretty wet still, and 2 will make it powdery like the original White Trash. I think I used some amount in between (I didn’t measure, to be honest) because some pieces were powdery and others were a little wetter. After that, you are done! Eat and enjoy!

Step-by-step with pictures:

Combine dry ingredients (except cocoa powder) in a mixing bowl.

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Here is the all-natural honey grahams cereal I used.

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Hehe. Do you like my cute mommy in her slippers in the background?

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I found these at my regular, run-of-the-mill grocery store! Not even a health food store. I thought that was pretty awesome.

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Could’ve lived without the non-fat milk, but Golden Grahams are a MUST for this recipe. Rice Chex are good, but nothing compares to Golden Grahams. I was ecstatic to have found a natural version without even looking, so I wasn’t about to cry over spilled non-fat milk.

Melt coconut oil, peanut butter and non-dairy margarine together in a saucepan over medium heat.

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Melt, melt, melt. Stir, stir, stir. (The white stuff is coconut oil. :D)

Spoon peanut butter mixture over cereal combo and thoroughly coat every piece.

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Toss and coat the mixture with the cocoa powder. Make sure to get everything, especially the stuff at the bottom.

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Eat and enjoy!

As you can see, mine is very dark and slightly wet. It was awesome though; I absolutely loved it. This was not sweet, but honestly, it was not as bitter as I thought it would be. The slight sweetness of the raisins and cereal played off the dark chocolate and it was great. I think it strikes a good balance between dark enough for those of us that love 100%, and sweet enough if you like around 80%. But then again, my friend who doesn’t like dark chocolate at ALL tried it and loved it. It’s hard to explain. Just make it. You can always add some powdered sugar if you need to. 🙂

Here are pictures of the original, as well as some of our fudge.

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Mix the cereals. In the bowl is Rice Chex, Golden Grahams (not the natural kind), raisins and peanuts.

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This is my mom melting together butter, chocolate chips and peanut butter. 😀

Pre-powdered sugar…

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And I forgot to take a picture of the post. Here’s one I found online. 🙂

white trash

(source)

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This is our favorite Velveeta Fudge. Yes, it actually contains Velveeta cheese. It seems kind of weird, but it is amazing. We make it every year and I love it! Don’t mind my red pepper in the back there.

It should be mentioned that even though I made my own healthy treat, I DID try some of the regular kind. Those are our Christmas classics, and I wasn’t about to miss out on them. I only had one tiny piece of fudge and a little handful of regular White Trash, but if I had wanted more, I would have had it. Christmas baking is about fun and enjoyment, not deprivation. It just turned out that one tiny piece and one little handful was all I wanted. The goodies ended up being too sweet for me (which I anticipated) and I found myself enjoying my goodies much more.

Well, with that all said, I think this post is at its end.

Question of the Day: What are some of your classic holiday treats? Will you be making a healthy version of them, or are you going to indulge a little this season?

Thanks for reading!

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8 responses to “Bitter Buddies

  1. yumm! i’ve never tried anything like this!! I usually try to makehealthier versions, but my family HATES healthy stuff.. so I’ll probs make a single serve version of something ahah!

  2. spoonfulofsugarfree

    YAY!!!! It is like Puppy Chow 🙂

    Some of my favorite holiday treats have been different this year! I have been enjoying a lot of raw mint chocolate crinkles and gingerbread men, and bitter chocolate cake 🙂

  3. Those bitter buddies look awesome! It’s something I would definitely try! But the velveeta fudge, ahhahah, where does that recipe even come from? 😛 I’m so shocked!! Cheese and chocolate!? Ok ok, I’ll calm down now 🙂
    My favourite holiday treat is gingerbread cookies! So tasty!

  4. Oh my goodness I seriously LOVE this stuff!! As a kid we always called it “puppy chow” 🙂

  5. umm we made holiday pretzels this weekend with pretzels, chocolate wafer candy and m&ms. Usually we have some sort of cookie, and I might reduce sugar and butter a little, but I won’t change recipes too much because I don’t want to miss out on all the yummy flavor! =P

  6. theflourishingfoodie

    Your bitter buddies look wonderful. I am a big fan of the original but I’d probably find it a bit too sweet now. I wanted to healthify some of my favorite things, but being out of town it’s probably not going to happen. Oh well. I’ll just enjoy our favorite things in moderation. My family loves peanut butter balls and toffee made with those tollhouse crackers.

  7. Love your Bitter Buddies! I find that it’s good to try to make healthier versions of things, but I don’t always expect everyone to like it! But I think my family would enjoy this recipe!

  8. So they’re like puppy chow? I looooovvveeee puppy chow! 😀

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