Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Popcorn Marshmallow Bars

Lately it seems my boys never stop eating.

They are hungriest right after school. I've been struggling to find semi-healthy snacks they want to eat — that also make them feel full.

They love rice krispie treats these days, so I started thinking about ways to bulk up the current snack du jour. If you can mix cereal with melted marshmallows, why not popcorn?

The salty-sweet results are pretty delicious. Drizzle a little chocolate on top and the kids will think it's extra-special. In fact, my 9-year-old asked for some in his lunch box and told me, "Mom, if you make these every week, you'll never have to buy snacks again!"

Score one for Mom.

Mangia! Mangia!

Popcorn Marshmallow Bars

20 ounces mini marshmallows
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
20 cups air-popped popcorn 
1/4 to 1/2 cup chocolate chips 

**A note on the popcorn. If you don't want to pop your own corn, grab a bag of air popped popcorn at the grocery store. If it's lightly salted, omit the kosher salt.

Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with enough parchment paper so that paper hangs over edges of pan. Lightly coat parchment with cooking spray.

In a large Dutch oven or pot, combine marshmallows, butter and salt. Melt over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth.

Remove from heat. Stir in popcorn and combine until all of the popcorn is coated in marshmallow mixture. (Depending on the size of your pot, it may be easier to mix popcorn and melted marshmallow in a giant bowl.)

Transfer popcorn mixture to pan. Press down using spatula or parchment paper coated in cooking spray.

Microwave chocolate chips for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave for another 30 seconds and stir. Repeat as needed until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Drizzle over popcorn in pan. Refrigerate until chocolate hardens, between 10 and 20 minutes.

Remove pan from refrigerator. Holding edges of parchment paper, lift popcorn mixture from pan and place on cutting board. Cut into bars. 

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