Kids love snacks. They’re growing machines that seem to eat constantly. I need to keep the pantry shelves stocked at all times. Knight is a grazer – he never eats very much at one sitting, but then will be starving half an hour later. Over the years, his teachers and day care workers have strongly suggested that I pack extra snacks in his lunch bag to help him concentrate during school. I guarantee them that I have been! He just seems to need more fuel than I can reasonably predict on some days!
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During the school week, his bag is stuffed with a healthy lunch and nutritious snacks with a side offering of pudding, or a cookie for desert. No doubt which one he chooses to eat first, but his bag comes home empty. On the weekends he’s allowed some more fun treats. Friday night we usually have popcorn to celebrate the end of the school/work week. Saturday and Sunday are when chocolate and candy come out more frequently, though the emphasis is still on good food.
This past weekend, inspired by his Chickadee magazine, Knight insisted on making his own Saturday afternoon snack. Popcorn, melted chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows. Supposed to be graham cracker crumbs in there too, but we both don’t like them so forget that!
It was a great bonding experience, it encouraged his cooking interests, and he learned a little bit of science in there too! Chocolate has this unique quality where it doesn’t lose it’s shape when it’s melted slowly. We’ll be putting the chocolate into the microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring it each time. We want to keep the chocolate at a steady low temperature in order to get that smooth, glossy result that we’re looking for. This is called tempering. Heat it too quickly, and you’ll end up with a hard, crumbly, burnt mess. Not what we’re looking for.
The snack was really yummy! Sweet, salty, and crunchy! Both kids liked it. The one thing I would do better next time is to not make so much of it again – uncooked popcorn kernels increase their volume exponentially when popped, so two cups of kernels equals a mountain! (If you want the un-exaggerated version, 1/2 of popcorn = 15 cups popped.)
The ultimate popcorn marshmallow bark recipe
- 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn
- a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup mini marshmellows
- 1/4 cup smashed graham crackers (optional)
- 1/4 butter
- baking sheet
- parchment paper (optional)
hot air popcorn popper
- Gather all of your ingredients.
- Pop the popcorn – keep an eye out for wayward pops!
- While the popcorn is popping, melt the butter. 30 seconds on high in the microwave should work.
- Take half of the chocolate chips and set aside.
- Put the other half into a microwaveable bowl (not the same one as the melted butter).
- Put the bowl of chocolate chips in the microwave for 20 seconds on high.
- Take the bowl out. Stir. Watch to see if the chocolate turns into a chocolate river. This will take a few tries, so don’t get discouraged.
- Keep zapping the chocolate until it is fully melted.
- Line the baking sheet with parchment paper (if you have it). Less clean-up for mom at the end of this.
- Spread the popped popcorn over the sheet.
- Scatter the marshmallows over popcorn.
- Drizzle the melted butter and chocolate on top.
- Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs over the still warm, melted chocolate – they’ll stick randomly.
- Transfer the whole lot into a large bowl.
- Plop onto the couch for movie time, or cuddle up for story time, yummy treat in hand.
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