We are already in the second lockdown and it's a proven fact that during lockdowns we eat more. Especially snacks. Obviously we need to be more conscious of what and how much we eat.
But if you have kids at home you know that snacks are the alpha and the omega (a greek expression, meaning everything). We can't skip them, so the better solution is homemade, a better and healthier option.
In this blog post I will share two of my favourite snack recipies. Easy to make even with your toddlers or you can even teach older kids to make it themselves. They will be much healthier than store bought snacks as you control the quality of your hand- picked ingredients.
I introduce the Salted caramel Pop corn & the Salted Coconuts Chips.
Salted caramel pop corn
During the first lockdown I developed a passion (you could even call it an obsession) for pop corn, which became my favourite lockdown snack when having quarantini drinks online with my friends in Greece.
So I did lots of on line research and can say that I have perfected the art of making pop corn at home, in order to enjoy the puffiest, 100% popped, non burnt pop corns. I re-discovered pop corn mainly through my friend Alex, who has a small device that makes air popped pop corn at home (which is the healthiest way to make), and persuaded me that I need one of those in my life, and is now next on my kitchen gadgets wishlist. So this recipe is for you Alex!
Home made pop corn (and I will emphasize homemade and not the cinema bucket) esp. air popped one, is probably one of the healthiest savoury nibbles (at least healthier than a bag of crisps) since it is lower in fat and higher in fiber. But beware of the micro oven poppable corns and the buttered cinema ones as the contain carcinogens. So opt for home made pop corn when you crave it, where you at least know about the oil that it has been cooked with. I prefer to use coconut oil which has a higher heat oxidation point, but you can replace with olive oil if you don’t have any and if you end up becoming a pop corn aficionado, then its definitely worth considering an air popper.
When I saw this salted caramel recipe by www.deliciouslyella.com I only though of one thing:
Salted caramel pop corn which is one of my most beloved guilty treats.
And it was a match: I already had some as a Halloween desert, but one thing I know for sure is that it doesn't have to be Halloween to make them. I also have to add that one dose is never enough. You have been warned: double the quantity as you will most definitely want to make more!
For the pop corn
¼ cup of organic corn kernells
1 tbs coconut oil or extra virgin oil
For the salted caramel sauce:
3 tbs coconut oil
2 tbs maple syrup
2 tbs coconut sugar
2 tbs almond or peanut butter (make sure is not salted,if it is just skip the extra salt)
¼ tsp sea salt flakes
You will need a medium sized non stick saucepan with a lid. Put on medium to high fire and melt the coconut oil. Drop 3-4 pop corn kernels. When all the kernels have popped you know it’s the time to drop the rest. This stage ensures that your saucepan and oil have reached the temperature needed for popping.
When all the kernels have popped, close the fire and drop in the saucepan all of your kernels, by closing the lid (and with the fire switched off). Count for 30 seconds and swoosh the saucepan a couple of times to ensure that all kernels have been warmed up. This stage ensures that all your kernels have reached the same temperature to start popping when you put the fire on, and therefore have less burnt/ unpopped ones.
When the 30 seconds are over, turn on the fire again and heat the kernels at medium to high fire. Its best to start with the close lid and then slightly open when most of the kernels have popped. This is when the ‘popping party’ starts and the kernels start popping.
When the pops start noticeably slowing down (one every 5 seconds) remove from the fire and place the pop corns in a bowl.
In parallel you can prepare the sauce by mixing all the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir well in medium to low temperature for 6-8 mins until the mixture reaches a thin liquid consistency.
Pour the sauce all over the pop corns. You can eat immediately (that’s how I ate all the first batch) or leave for a couple of hours in room temperature for the sauce to solidify.
Salted Coconut chips
This recipe is another proof of the rule that simple things are sometimes the most delicious things. You only need 3 ingredients (unless you want to make homemade chocolate, then you need 6) and 10 minutes!
You can imagine how well coconut matches with chocolate, but the biggest surprise is the salt which gives an unexpected salty feeling to the palate. I made a dozen and gave some to our neighbours, as our new boxer, Hank, has been quite noisy!
Ingredients (for 10 pieces)
1.5 cup of coconut chips
½ tsp of salt
200gr of dark chocolate, or if you want. You can make your own chocolate
200gr of cocoa butter
2 spoons of raw cacao powder
1 spoon of maple syrup
Put the coconut chips in a pan and pour a pinch of salt on it.
Put it in the oven at 180 degrees for 3 minutes until they start getting brown golden.
At the same time, melt the chocolate in a pot. If you make homemade chocolate, melt the cocoa butter in a double an and then add the raw cacao, the maple syrup and stir.
Pour the coconut flour in the pan with melted chocolate and stir until it’s well covered. Take a teaspoon of the mixture and place it on a tray that you have covered with greaseproof paper.
Sprinkle with some salt and let it freeze for about 20 minutes.
Looking forward to hear your thoughts? Have you tried them?