Whether you’re gathering the neighborhood kids for a backyard celebration or going on a weekend hike with family, packing snacks that appeal to taste buds of all ages make fueling up for the fun easy.
Everyone loves popcorn, and it’s a tasty treat that works well in summer nibbles flavored to be sweet, salty or even zesty.
Creating a delicious trail mix to carry on an adventurous hike is a cinch when you combine fresh popcorn with your favorite sweet dried fruits and lightly salted nuts. Or, if you’re staying closer to home, use popcorn treats as a more nutritious alternative to traditional party desserts.
Each of these recipes features freshly popped popcorn paired with common ingredients that appeal to both kids and adults.
For more creative recipes that pop, visit www.popcorn.org.
Sweet n salty popcorn pretzel sticks
Yields 6 sticks
6 tablespoons peanut butter
6 large pretzel rods
3 cups popped popcorn
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
1. Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter over each pretzel, leaving a 2-inch “handle” without peanut butter.
2. Press and roll popcorn onto peanut butter to coat. Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles.
3. For optional chocolate drizzle, place chocolate chips in small sealable plastic bag and seal. Microwave 30 seconds or until chocolate is melted. Clip small corner from bag and squeeze to drizzle chocolate over popcorn.
4. Sprinkle with additional sugar sprinkles. Allow chocolate to harden before serving.
Nutritional analysis per stick, with chocolate: 248 calories, 15 grams fat, 19 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams protein, no cholesterol, 242 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber, 58 percent of calories from fat.
Chili-lime popcorn snack mix
Yields 1 quart
1 quart popped popcorn
1 teaspoon brewer’s yeast powder
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Spread popcorn on baking sheet. Sprinkle yeast powder, lime juice, chili powder and salt over popcorn.
3. Heat about seven minutes and toss just before serving. Serve warm.
Nutritional analysis per 1-cup serving: 35 calories, trace fat, 7 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, no cholesterol, 137 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber, 10 percent of calories from fat.
Blueberry & pomegranate power bars
Yields 12 bars
8 cups popped popcorn
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup toasted and coarsely chopped whole natural almonds
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
6 ounces melted bittersweet chocolate
1. Line 13-by-9-inch pan with foil; spray with cooking spray.
2. Combine popcorn, oats, blueberries, pomegranate seeds and almonds in large bowl.
3. Combine honey, brown sugar and butter in small saucepan. Cook over low heat to boiling; boil 2 minutes. Pour over popcorn mixture and mix thoroughly.
4. Using damp hands, press mixture firmly into prepared pan. Refrigerate until firm, about two hours. Cut into 12 bars.
5. Dip bottoms of bars into melted chocolate. Place on wax paper-lined pan. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Nutritional analysis per bar: 350 calories, 14 grams fat, 53 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 27 milligrams sodium, 6 grams dietary fiber, 35 percent of calories from fat.
Popcorn trail mix
Yields 5 cups
1 quart popped popcorn (air popped)
6 ounces diced, dried fruit (apricots, apples, etc.)
8 ounces raisins
Place freshly popped popcorn in large bowl. Add diced fruit and raisins. Toss popcorn and fruit until combined thoroughly.
Note: Add whatever your family enjoys: dried fruits, seeds, nuts, etc.
Nutritional analysis per 1-cup serving: 241 calories, 1 gram fat, 62 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, no cholesterol, 9 milligrams sodium, 6 grams dietary fiber, 2 percent of calories from fat.
Yields 20 pieces
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
10 cups freshly popped popcorn
1 package (10 1/2 ounces) miniature marshmallows
2 cups mini graham cookies (such as Teddy Grahams)
1 cup chocolate chips
1. Combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in medium saucepan. Cook over high heat for 5 minutes; remove from heat and stir in baking soda.
2. Combine popcorn and marshmallows in large bowl. Pour sugar mixture over popcorn to coat.
3. Gently stir in graham cookies and chocolate chips.
4. Spread mixture evenly into greased 15-by-10-inch pan. Let cool completely, then break into pieces. Store in airtight container.
Nutritional analysis per piece: 273 calories, 10 grams fat, 46 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, 12 milligrams cholesterol, 207 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber, 33 percent of calories from fat.