Cupids Health

Popcorn Bars | My Kids Lick The Bowl


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I love making homemade lunch box snacks for my kids. These yummy popcorn bars have been a real favourite lately.

Brown ceramic bowl filled with 6 popcorn bars, a bowl of popcorn in the background.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Quick to make
  • Simple ingredients
  • A tasty vehicle for nutritious seeds

Ingredients you will need

To make my popcorn bars you will need popcorn, butter and honey. I use vanilla to add a little additional flavour. You can then choose to add small seeds such as hemp seeds or chia seeds to add a little more plant based goodness to the popcorn bars.

Ingredients to make popcorn bars laid out on a bench top with text overlay.

Substitutes

  • Honey: This can be substituted for maple syrup or granulated sugar. If using maple syrup the popcorn bar will be delicious but they will be a little softer and chewier as the maple syrup forms a softer caramel.
  • Salted Butter: Coconut oil will work as a substitute, if using coconut oil, add a pinch of salt as this will enhance the flavour of the caramel.
  • Chia and hemp seeds: These seeds are optional and can be left out. Other small seeds such as sesame seeds or flaxseeds could also be used as an alternative.

This post was made possible by Countdown Supermarkets,

Countdown has so many great products at affordable prices to make easy,healthy options for school and lunches

My kids’ lunchboxes are full of Countdown’s own-brand products such as their hummus, free-range eggs and baby carrots, check out my earlier post if you are looking for more quick grab and go lunchbox snacks you can pick up at Countdown!

Mandarins are in season and in stock at Countdown now too, they are just perfect for easy lunchbox packing.

A child's bento style lunchbox packed with an assortment of food including popcorn bars.

Step by step instructions

Below are illustrated step-by-step instructions to make my energy bars, if you prefer just the written instructions then head straight to the printable recipe card below.

Step one: If you are not using premade popcorn you will need to pop your popcorn kernels. Follow the packet directions or you can learn how I pop my popcorn on the stovetop in my cinnamon popcorn recipe. Line a small square/rectangular cake or loaf tin with baking paper.

Small rectangular cake tin lined with baking paper.

Step two: In a large saucepan heat the honey and butter, this will foam and will begin to darken in colour. As you heat the butter and honey will form a caramel, you will know it’s ready when you can draw a spatula through the mixture and you will be able to briefly form a channel. 

Butter and honey in the bottom of a large saucepan.
Bubbling caramel in the bottom of a large saucepan, a spatula drawn through the caramel has left a channel.

Step three: While the caramel is boiling, use your hand to crush the popcorn into slightly smaller pieces

Womwns hand holding slightly crushed popcorn.

Step four: Remove the caramel from the heat, stir through the vanilla and then stir through the crushed popcorn and seeds if you are using them.

Popcorn and seeds stirred through caramel in a large saucepan.

Step five: While the popcorn bar mix is still warm, use a spatula to press the mix into the bottom of the baking paper-lined loaf tin or small square cake tin.

Caramel covered popcorn being pressed into a lined cake tin with a blue spatula.

Step six: Allow the popcorn bars to cool in the tin. This can you can do this on the bench or more quickly in the fridge, remove from the loaf tin and slice into bars.

Popcorn bars on a bench top scattered with loose popcorn kernels.

Step eight: Store in an airtight container. I would recommend storing the popcorn bars in the refrigerator, especially if you live in a warm climate. Out of the fridge, the popcorn bars will be crispy and crunchy, they will be softer and chewier if stored in a warmer environment.

Popcorn bars sitting on a piece of baking paper, bowl of popcorn in the background.

Top Tips

Here is how you can make these popcorn bars perfectly every time!

  • If you don’t think your kids will try the popcorn bars when they have seeds in them, that’s ok, skip the seeds, or use fewer seeds, and gradually build up the quantities so they aren’t put off by the seeds.
  • If you have substituted the salted butter for unsalted butter or coconut oil, be sure to add a pinch of salt to the caramel, this will really enhance the flavour of popcorn bars.
  • For a crunchy crispy bar store somewhere or in the fridge, for a softer chewier texture store at room temperature.
  • If your popcorn bars do not set, this means the caramel was not boiled for long enough, make sure it has darkened in colour and thickened enough for the channel test, before removing it from the heat.
Popcorn bars on a wooden chopping board.
My popcorn bars without the seerds

FAQs

Can I send these popcorn bars in a school lunch box

These popcorn bars are nut free so are suitable for school, popcorn can be a choking risk for young children so I wouldn’t recommend them for preschoolers. My school-aged children take them in their lunchbox which is packed with an ice pack, and they love them.

How to store popcorn bars?

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

These popcorn bars are based on making a quick honey caramel and then adding the popcorn, the process is similar to my seedy energy bars and my rice bubble slice.

Brown ceramic bowl filled with 6 popcorn bars, a bowl of popcorn in the background.

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If you made my popcorn bars or any other recipes on the blog please :

  • leave me a comment and a star rating below to let me know how you got on, I love hearing from you.
  •  FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK,  INSTAGRAM,  PINTEREST to see more kid-friendly food and what I’m getting up to.
Brown ceramic bowl filled with 6 popcorn bars, a bowl of popcorn in the background.

Popcorn Bars

These popcorn bars are such an easy recipe, made with a quick honey caramel they are nut-free, fun to eat and perfect for the lunchbox.

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Course: Snack

Cuisine: Western

Keyword: Popcorn bars, popcorn bar,

Servings: 12 bars

Calories: 53kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Popcorn 35g This is popped popcorn
  • 30 g butter
  • 80 ml honey One third of a cup
  • 1 tsp vanilla 5ml
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds 9g (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp hemp seeds 18g (optional)

Instructions

  • If you are not using pre-made popcorn you will need to pop your popcorn kernels. Follow the packet directions or you can learn how I pop my popcorn on the stovetop in my cinnamon popcorn recipe. Line a small square/rectangular cake or loaf tin with baking paper.
  • In a large saucepan heat the honey and butter, this will foam and will begin to darken in colour. As you heat the butter and honey will form a caramel, you will know it’s ready when you can draw a spatula through the mixture and you will be able to briefly form a channel. 

  • While the caramel is boiling, use your hand to crush the popcorn into slightly smaller pieces

  • Remove the caramel from the heat, stir through the vanilla and then stir through the crushed popcorn and seeds if you are using them

  • While the popcorn bar mix is still warm, use a spatula to press the mix into the bottom of the baking paper-lined loaf tin or small square cake tin.

  • Allow the popcorn bars to cool in the tin. This can you can do this on the bench or more quickly in the fridge, remove from the loaf tin and slice into bars.

Notes

Tips

  • Store in an airtight container. I would recommend storing the popcorn bars in the refrigerator, especially if you live in a warm climate. Out of the fridge, the popcorn bars will be crispy and crunchy, they will be softer and chewier if stored in a warmer environment.
  • If you don’t think your kids will try the popcorn bars when they have seeds in them, that’s ok, skip the seeds, or use fewer seeds, and gradually build up the quantities so they aren’t put off by the seeds.
  • If you have substituted the salted butter for unsalted butter or coconut oil, be sure to add a pinch of salt to the caramel, this will really enhance the flavour of popcorn bars.
  • For a crunchy crispy bar store somewhere or in the fridge, for a softer chewier texture store at room temperature.
  • These popcorn bars are nut free so are suitable for school, popcorn can be a choking risk for young children so I wouldn’t recommend them for preschoolers. My school-aged children take them in their lunchbox which is packed with an ice pack, and they love them.
  • If your popcorn bars do not set, this means the caramel was not boiled for long enough, make sure it has darkened in colour and thickened enough for the channel test, before removing it from the heat

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Honey: This can be substituted for maple syrup or granulated sugar. If using maple syrup the popcorn bar will be delicious but they will be a little softer and chewier as the maple syrup forms a softer caramel.
  • Salted Butter: Coconut oil will work as a substitute, if using coconut oil, add a pinch of salt as this will enhance the flavour of the caramel.
  • Chia and hemp seeds: These seeds are optional and can be left out. Other small seeds such as sesame seeds or flaxseeds could also be used as an alternative.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 53kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 20mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 23IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg

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