These Sweet & Salty Popcorn Bars are seriously the best of all things movie related in my eyes. Sans movie of course.
I’ve always been one of those people who love movie theatre popcorn. I actually still remember the first time I tasted it. I was going to see a James Bond movie with my family at the first multi theatre cinema to open in Trinidad and we each got a gigantic bag of popcorn. It was quite a change from the homemade salted popcorn I was used to, but it was definitely love at first buttery handful. In fact, for a long time, if I ever got a craving for popcorn when I wasn’t watching a movie on the big screen - 9 times out of ten - I’d go see a movie just so I could satisfy my craving with movie theatre popcorn. Weird, I know. But so worth it.
Needless to say, I was more than a tad upset when I realised that not being able to eat dairy meant that theatre popcorn was out. If I’m being honest, I actually didn’t make the connection right away. I was too busy lamenting the loss of ice cream, fro yo, pizza, cheese and all my other favourite dairy filled foods. Popcorn was sadly not on my radar for the first few months after cutting dairy out of my life. But the reality is, now that I can’t eat dairy, I have to stayed away from the ‘good stuff’ because of the butter contamination. The horror.
Fortunately, I’ve come to terms with my fate and re-discovered how good the homemade stuff is. Popping your own popcorn is way healthier, regardless of any intolerances, plus it’s fun to make. There’s also something strangely satisfying about making your own popcorn and seeing the successful fruits of your labour in each perfectly - or imperfectly - popped kernel.
While I’ve seen a lot of recipes for spiced up popcorn around the internet I stuck with traditional salt for the most part. As fun as it is, making homemade popcorn from scratch can be a little nerve wracking. I live in constant fear that I’m either going to burn all the popcorn or an overly enthusiastic kernel will send the pot cover flying and I’ll be left will popcorn all over my kitchen. Needless to say, going the step further to make a caramel sauce or whip up a faux cheese something to sprinkle on top my popcorn is a little beyond me by the time the actual popcorn making ordeal is over.
So when I went home to Trinidad for the Christmas holidays and discovered that my parents had bought one of those nifty air popcorn poppers - in bright red, by the way - I was ecstatic. Now that I could set aside my irrational fears where popcorn making is concerned, there was no way I was going to pass up the chance to make some kind of life changing popcorn treat.
Since, as I mentioned, my popcorn eating habits are linked to the movie theatre, I decided to mix together some of the snacks I loved to eat while watching movies into one treat. I began with the popcorn - of course - then added chocolate chips and peanut butter as a nod to the Peanut M&M’s I’d always get as part of my popcorn combo. The sweet and salty combination of peanut butter and chocolate is one of my favourites and it did not disappoint with this time around.
These Sweet and Salty Popcorn Bars chewy, flavourful and full of fibre. They’re exactly what you’ve been waiting on to spice up your popcorn on movie nights.
- ⅓ cup unpopped popccorn
- salt to taste (I used about a tsp)
- ½ cup quick cooking oats
- ⅔ cup salted almonds lightly processed
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
- ⅓ cup cinnamon agave
- ½ cup mini chocolate chips
- Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper and set aside
- Pop the popcorn using your preferred method and sprinkle with salt to taste
- To a large bowl, add the popped popcorn, oats, processed almonds and chocolate chips and mix well
- Mix together the coconut oil, peanut butter and agave and pour over the dry ingredients
- Stir everything together until well incorporated
- Press the popcorn mixture into the dish and freeze for at least an hour before cutting
- Serve and eat immediately or store in the freezer