Sweet and Crunchy Popcorn Treat
Growing up I was a huge fan of Cracker Jacks. While it’s been years since I’ve struggled to open (it was tough, right?) a box and then rifled through it looking for the novelty “prize” inside, I still crave the idea of a sweet and crunchy popcorn treat.
Ultimate Popcorn Clusters with Chocolate Drizzle
This is it… a recipe for Cracker Jacks, all grown up. Wholesome, packed with nutritious seeds and almonds. No heavily processed sugars and corn syrup. Home made, delicious, easy to prepare, this really is the ultimate snack! Watch this video to see how I make them.
I’ve served this at a party. Just put it on the table in front of your guests and you will wow them for sure. “What is this?” “Oh my…this is amazing.” “So delicious.” Whenever I serve it, people rave. Humans love crunchy, sweet and salty food and these Ultimate Popcorn Clusters with Chocolate Drizzle totally hit the mark!
Method for Popping the Pop Corn
The Ultimate Popcorn Clusters with Chocolate Drizzle recipe calls for 10 cups of popped popcorn. That’s 1/2 cup of un-popped kernels. My favorite method for popping the popcorn is to use a silicone popcorn popper, This is the one I have.
I put 1/2 cup of kernels in the popper. Cover it. Then I microwave for 2 minutes and 45 seconds. I didn’t include this timing in the recipe. After trial and error I have found this is just the right amount of time to pop just about all of the kernels without burning any. Too much time and they do burn a bit.
Different microwaves vary in power. So try yours out, if new to a silicone popper, and see what time works best for you.
The Chocolate Drizzle
There are a few things to know about the Chocolate Drizzle. First of all, use a non-dairy chocolate chip for this fully plant-based popcorn treat. My favorite brand of chocolate chips is this one from Guittard. More and more companies are making a dairy free chocolate chip. Trader Joe’s has a very good one if you happen to have one of their stores nearby.
Chose Your Method
Again, the recipe calls for using a microwave but you could definitely melt the chocolate over a double boiler. If using a microwave, heat for short periods of time and then give the chocolate coconut oil mixture a stir. Repeat until melted keeping in mind that it will continue to heat once removed and you don’t want to overcook/burn the chocolate. I would give you a time here, but again this will vary depending on the power of your microwave.
Drizzling the Chocolate
Use a fork to drizzle the chocolate. Dip it into the melted chocolate and then flick your wrist over the Ultimate Popcorn Clusters to create a drizzle. Think Jackson Pollock…this video might help.
Nuts and Seeds
Use any combination of nuts and seeds you would like..pistachios, peanuts, pecans or pine nuts would be a delicious option. The recipe calls for 1 cup + 6 tablespoons – so mix it up and use what you like in that quantity.
The addition of nuts and seeds makes this Ultimate Popcorn Clusters with Chocolate Drizzle recipe a healthy snack. They tend to be a good source of plant-protein and free from dietary cholesterol.
Nuts and seeds are high in dietary fiber. This is an important component of a healthy diet – and one that many of us don’t get enough of. Dietary fiber helps to minimize our risk for chronic disease such as Type 2 Diabetes and Coronary Artery Disease.
Additionally, nuts and seeds are rich in phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Chocolate Dessert Lover
If you are a chocolate dessert lover, try this vegan Chocolate Mousse. It is another crowd favorite!
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The Ultimate Popcorn Clusters with Chocolate Drizzle
- 10 cups popped popcorn (½ cup kernels)
- 6 tbsp sunflower seeds
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- ¾ cup + 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp dairy free chocolate chips
- ½ tsp refined or unrefined coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Cover a baking sheet with a silicone sheet or parchment paper.
- Pop the pop corn using your method of choice. I use a Salbree silicon popper to air pop mine without oil.
- Add the pop corn, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and slivered almonds to a large bowl.
- Pour the maple syrup and salt over dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly to evenly coat.
- Spread the coated mixture out evenly onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 12 minutes, remove from the oven and use a spatula to toss the popcorn around a little bit so that the outer pieces are moved to the center and vice versa.
- Bake for an additional 5 minutes and remove from oven. The popcorn will still be a bit moist, but will dry and harden as it cools.
- Meanwhile, combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a very small bowl. Microwave until melted - stopping repeatedly to stir the chocolate as it melts. Cooking times will vary depending on the power of your microwave.
- Use a fork to get creative and drizzle the melted chocolate on top of the popcorn clusters.
- Allow to the popcorn to cool and the chocolate to harden either at room temperature or place the baking sheet in the fridge to speed this up.
- Once cooled, lift the popcorn off of the baking sheet and break apart into large 2-bite clusters.