Happy Friday! I have some great news. I was completely honored to find out last week that I was named one of Mamavation top 100 Healthy Mom Blogs. What a wonderful surprise to be included among 99 other amazing health and fitness bloggers. I have been a huge fan of Mamavation for many years and admire and support all that Leah does to improve the standards of food in America. If you haven’t checked out her site, please head over there and find out what’s going on– she goes head to head with big food companies to ensure that companies are labeling their food properly among many other things!
In my house, Friday nights are all about Pizza, Popcorn, and movies! It’s been a tradition for as long as my kids have been in school and will continue as long as they are willing. I know my years are numbered before they are off with friends to parties and movies outside of the home, so while they’re still young, I am going to enjoy our time together as a family.
What is it about coming home on a Friday afternoon after a long week of work and school? I love that feeling of just being able to exhale and plop down on the couch. Knowing we don’t have to rush out the door Saturday morning is a blissful feeling and I have always loved kicking off the weekend with a casual meal of pizza in front of the TV, followed by a movie and popcorn. It seems celebratory, you know?
When I was a kid it was a tin pan you placed on the stove that grew into a big silver blob that resembled my Grandma’s blue hair– who else remembers Jollytime? In hindsight, I shutter to think what chemicals were leached into our stove top snack. During that time, the beginning of GMO corn and packaged foods started to emerge. It was convenient and kitschy– it still is, but all that glitters isn’t gold– you really need to read those labels!
Now that I am the Mom of three and know better the risk of some packaged foods, I do two things when it comes to Popcorn, make my own Microwave version by placing Non-GMO heirloom kernels in a brown bag, or we eat SkinnyPop. SkinnyPop is Non-GMO and is perfectly seasoned with a scant bit of sea salt. My kids love it too. We buy the big bag at Costco and lunch sized bags on Amazon. We eat a very large amount. Like a lot. So much so that sometimes we need a break from it, so when I had a half a bag left and no one was interested in snacking on it, I decided to do my thing and re-purpose it into another recipe, and I’m so glad I did.
We went from everybody being tired of Popcorn, to buying another two bags at Costco so I could make a bigger batch of these Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Vegan Chocolate “cream” bars with a popcorn crust.
The crust is sweet and salty with the crunchy perfect texture, and the chocolate “cream” tastes similar to a cream pie filling, minus the dairy. Oh my goodness, you need these in your life! I used a heart shaped silicone mold, but you could easily use 6 Cup Jumbo Muffin Tin or small brownie pan.
We still eat our popcorn on Friday nights, but these bars are a great way to use up Skinny Pop that might be close to going stale. Making them for Friday movie nights is also a great idea! If you don’t have SkinnyPop, no worries, just make your own. I think it tastes better with SkinnyPop because theirs is perfectly salted and when you mix that with sweet, you’ve got perfection in my opinion.
So let’s get this party started. To make this delicious, clean eating dessert you will need the following:
- For the Crust:
- 1 snack sized bag of Skinny POP original, or 1½ cups of air popped popcorn
- ⅓ cup of Organic Coconut sugar
- 6 Tablespoons of melted coconut oil.
- For the Top Layer:
- 1½ cups of raw cashews
- 3-4 seedless dried dates
- 2 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup
- 5-6 Tablespoons of Almond Milk or water
- ⅓ cup of melted Good Life Brand Chocolate Chips
- For the Crust:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Place the popcorn and coconut sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times. Melt the coconut oil and allow to cool slightly. While the food processor is going, slowly add the oil. Blend until all ingredients are well blended and popcorn is a fine sand like texture.
- Press mixture into the bottom of greased large muffin tin. It should fill about ¼ of the way up.
- Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- For the Top Layer:
- While the crust is baking, place the first four Top Layer ingredients in the food processor and blend until desired texture. I like my slightly chunky, but you make like it silky smooth like a chocolate pie. Melt the chocolate chips and allow to cool slightly. Add melted chocolate mixture into the food processor with the other ingredients and blend until well mixed.
- Spoon on top of the cooled baked popcorn crust. Refrigerate until nice and firm- about 2 hours.
Chocolate Dream Bars with a @theskinnypop popcorn crust. #Vegan #GlutenFree Click To Tweet
What traditions do you and your family have? Are you a popcorn lover?