When you think about it, it’s pretty hard to find a snack that is relatively healthy, homemade, very easy to make, and delicious, right? Most delicious foods are usually unhealthy and mass manufactured, or most healthy and homemade foods are not as tasty as the unhealthy stuff. So we make compromises and balance our diet to maintain our health and shape. But this granola bar recipe is a loophole! Of course, you can gain weight if you eat too much of it but it’s a great overall balanced snack.
It only takes 10 or so minutes of active cook time and it’s surprisingly easy to make! This is an incredibly convenient and calorically-dense snack if you’re an athletic person. But you don’t really need to be into sports to munch on this delicious snack. It’s also great as a party finger food or a movie snack to enjoy with your friends and family. If you like the sound of that, let’s take a look at how this addictively good snack is made!
Popping the Popcorn
We’ll need to pop the popcorn first so that it’s ready when we’re ready to combine everything together into a sweet and decadent snack. As usual, we’ll be giving the instructions for our stovetop method, but feel free to pop your popcorn with whatever method or equipment you’re comfortable with. You can also use the store bought popcorn or microwave popcorn but we recommend them as a last resort choice because most of them contain a lot of sodium and fat, and these granola bars are already rich enough. Now, invite your family and friends to watch the new blockbuster movie and get ready to get poppin’!
What You’ll Need
- 2 tbsp corn kernels – yields 4 cups of popped popcorn
- 1 tbsp coconut or neutral oil
- Small pinch of salt
- Large pot with a tight fitting lid
- Large bowl
- Put the pot over medium heat and start heating up the oil
- After a couple of minutes, toss in a few corn kernels and wait for them to start popping
- Toss in the remaining kernels when they start popping, give them a quick stir or shake, and cover the lid
- After the popping sound starts to die down, take them off the heat and dump to a large bowl
- Sprinkle over a small pinch of salt while they’re hot and give them a stir
How to Make Dark Chocolate Pistachio Popcorn Granola Bars
These granola bars are as versatile as they’re delicious. It doesn’t always have to be a movie night or a party, you can also make these to eat and boost your energy before or after your gym sessions because they’ll get you going! Healthy-ish sports food doesn’t always have to be dried fruits and subpar energy bars. You can work out regularly and still enjoy life! They’re also a great way to use up leftover popcorn, though having leftover popcorn is pretty rare since it’s usually devoured in a few minutes. Either way, if you want to give this healthy-ish, delicious, and decadent snack, here’s what you’ll need:
- 4 cups popped popcorn
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cups rice krispies
- ½ cup pistachios, lightly crushed
- ½ cup honey
- ⅓ cup dark chocolate chips, 60-65% cocoa
- 2 oz butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Small pinch of salt
- Line a 9×13 sheet pan with parchment paper
- Mix the popped popcorn, rice krispies, oats, crushed pistachios, and salt in a large bowl
- Melt the butter and honey in a medium saucepan over low heat and then add the vanilla extract
- While the butter and honey is heating up, melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave and then pour the honey mixture into the melted chocolate and stir well
- Pour the melted chocolate mixture over the popcorn mix and stir until every dry ingredient is evenly coated with the melted chocolate mixture
- Transfer everything to the sheet pan, put another parchment paper on top of the mixture and even out the mixture using a flat bottomed pot or a glass, making sure the mixture isn’t too dense or too crumbly
- Refrigerate for a few hours to harden and slice into your desired shapes
Substitutions or Additional Ingredients
- You can use hazelnuts, almonds, pecan nuts, or whatever type of nut you like instead of pistachios
- You can add additional ingredients you enjoy such as desiccated coconut, shaved chocolate, peanut butter, various seeds such as flaxseed, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, or your glazes such as lemon glaze, chocolate glaze, strawberry glaze and so on.
- You can use milk chocolate chips, semisweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, or finely cut chocolate bars if you prefer
- You can add dried or fresh fruits but note that fresh fruits will shorten its shelf life
Your options are limitless!