Looking for fun and crunchy snack that reminds you of sunny day ice cream treats or maybe an adorable treat for a St. Patrick's Day party? How about one that is healthy, too - whole grain, naturally gluten free, easily made vegan, and isn't loaded with sugar? You and your kids are going to love making and munching on Mint Chocolate Chip Glazed Popcorn.
Mint Chocolate Chip Glazed Popcorn
I don't know about all of you, but I am so sick of winter. As we speak (or as I write), my hubby is getting over a nasty cold, I have a fever and chills, the baby is teething and sniffly, and the three-year-old has a massive case of cabin fever. We can't open our back door, we have nowhere to put anymore snow if we have to shovel the driveway again, and our gas bill is through the roof. When it comes to food, I am totally over pumpkin and apple and hearty soups and chilis. I want steaks on the grill, summer salads and ice cream.
Although let's be honest, I am not above sending my hubby out to pick me up a sundae, even when the snow is falling. In fact, on Valentine's Day, after the kids went to sleep, my mom stayed with them while he and I went out for frozen yogurt. But for those of you that may not be so inclined to make yourselves even colder than you already are, I thought I'd come up with a bright and cheery, healthy snack inspired by a popular ice cream flavor - mint chocolate chip!
I love the light, fresh flavor and the little pops of chocolate. While I'm not going to turn down chocolate covered popcorn (like this Bourbon Pecan Chocolate Popcorn, perhaps?), or even popcorn-inspired cupcakes (a la Peanuts & Cracker Jacks), not only is this glazed version healthier, but it also stays crunchy for days… if it lasts that long. The only reason I still had popcorn sitting around after a week and a half was that I was working on this recipe and Glazed Mexican Chocolate Popcorn at the same time, and each one took me a couple of attempts. And guess what, I ate some of the chocolate one last night - still crunchy!!
Popcorn is a whole grain, I coat it with a glaze with just a little honey and butter (or agave and coconut oil, if you want a vegan option), and when you use mini chocolate chips, a little goes a long way (though feel free to use more if you want to amp up the chocolate factor). So this Mint Chocolate Chip Glazed Popcorn is a treat you can feel good about giving your kids. I did add a couple drops of green for coloring, just to give it that fun mint chocolate chip, but that's totally optional, if it's not how you roll.
So make up a batch for an after school snack and dream of sunny days. Or double it and fill little bags or maybe you can even find little leprechaun gold pots at the dollar store for your kids' class parties for St. Patrick's Day. Whatever you do, just try this easy, fun, and yummy popcorn recipe!
Mint Chocolate Chip Glazed Popcorn
- 4 c popped popcorn (see Note*)
- 3 Tbsp honey (should be able to use agave or maple syrup for strict vegan)
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter or coconut oil
- ⅛ tsp vanilla
- ½ tsp mint extract
- a few drops green food coloring (optional)
- 1 Tbsp (or more, if desired) mini chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 325°F and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Place popcorn in a large bowl.
- In a small pot, combine honey and butter or coconut oil over low heat, and stir until melted and smooth.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, mint extract and food coloring (if using)
- Drizzle mixture over popped popcorn and gently stir until evenly coated. This may take a couple of minutes to ensure the glaze is evenly distributed.
- Spread popcorn into a single layer on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 5 minutes, remove from the oven and stir, then spread back out into a single layer.
- Return to the oven and bake in 3 minute intervals, stirring each time until the popcorn is nearly dry. You will probably need two or three more 3 minute intervals. Be careful to avoid burning the popcorn.
- Remove from the oven, let cool for a couple minutes, then use a spatula to push the popcorn pieces close together. Carefully sprinkle the chocolate chips over the popcorn, trying to keep most of it on the popcorn and not falling through and landing on the baking sheet (some will, which is okay). The chips will slightly melt and adhere to the popcorn.
- Allow to cool completely, until the chocolate chips have resolidified. Popcorn will continue to harden as it cools. Store in an airtight container, if it lasts that long.
*You can pop your own in the microwave or air popper without any oil or butter, or if you use microwave popcorn, use the plainest kind you can find, usually labeled “Natural”. I like this technique.
Brianne is a former chemical engineer turned stay-at-home mom to two adorable, but crazy little boys. She is the creator of and recipe developer at Cupcakes & Kale Chips, a food blog with a little bit of everything, reflecting her philosophy on balance and her love of making and eating both nutritious meals and decadent desserts. She also loves to share fun, healthy snacks that you can make for (and with!) your kids.