Salted Caramel Fruit & Seed Popcorn Bars - Vegan, Nut, Egg, Refined Sugar, Gluten & Dairy Free


Oh.My.Goodness. Have I got a delicious recipe for you today? These Salted Caramel Fruit & Seed Popcorn Bars are the dog diggity bomb. Think a caramel covered popcorn slice filled with cranberries, apricots, sunflower and pumpkin seeds covered in glorious dark chocolate all sprinkled in some extra goodies. I have been so inspired in the kitchen lately and I am so happy that I have got my mojo back. I find throughout my pregnancy and in the early postpartum days my interest in cooking wanes significantly and to try and conjure a basic meal is hard enough let alone trying to be creative. I'm glad that has all changed. Mind you it seems most recipes are chocolate or cake related but I can live with that if you can. The waistband on my pants might have something to say about it though.




I've been playing around with this recipe for a couple of weeks now. Trying to get the perfect salted caramel flavour without headache inducing sugars, bloating creams and the fuss that it takes to make a caramel. My first variation of this recipe was trying to make a caramel out of honey and coconut milk. While it turned out okay I found I had to use way to much honey to get the consistency I needed and after eating a piece both hubby and I got awful headaches. So back to the drawing board it was to try and come up with another version that didn't rely on honey. I had a little poke through my cupboard to see what else I could use instead. I come across a half a bag of dried dates and my mind started ticking over again. Dates + coconut milk = caramel sauce. Yes! I thought this would be a great alternative and it's also dairy free. I wanted to create a treat for those who like me struggle with allergies but still, want to enjoy a treat every known and again.

 Marks and Spencer




 The kids and hubby gobbled these down quick smart and little Miss H was quite smitten with her "clockclit". She is a girl after her mummy. Can't get enough of the chocolate this little one. These bars are best served from the fridge alongside a good cup of coffee. The perfect pick me up! I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed developing this recipe for you.






Salted Caramel Fruit & Seed Popcorn Bars
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: nil
Makes: 8 large bars
Ingredients:
    Caramel Sauce
    • 1 cup coconut milk
    • 1 cup dried pitted dates
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla essence
    • 5 tablespoon coconut oil
    Filling
    • 8 cups popcorn
    • 1/4 cup apricot, diced
    • 1/4 cup cranberry
    • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
    • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
    Topping
    • 200g 70% dark chocolate {I use lindt chocolate}
    • 2 tbsp toasted coconut flakes
    • 1 tablespoon cranberries, roughly chopped
    • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds, roughly chopped
    Instructions:
    1. Line an 18 x 28 cm slice pan with baking paper and set aside.

    Caramel Sauce
    1. In a small saucepan add the coconut milk, dates, honey, salt, vanilla essence and coconut oil.
    2. Bring the mixture to the boil and simmer on low for 4-5 minutes or until the dates are very soft. Set the mixture aside to cool slightly.
    3. Using a stick blender, blend the caramel mixture together to a smooth consistency. Let it sit aside for 10-15 minutes to cool.

    Filling
    1. In a large mixing bowl add the popcorn, dried apricots, cranberries, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds to the bowl.
    2. Pour the cooled caramel mixture over the popcorn and mix to combine making sure all the filling ingredients are covered in the caramel sauce.
    3. Pour the filling mixture into the lined baking tray and pop in the fridge to chill for 2 hours.

    Topping
    1. Break up the dark chocolate and place into a microwaveable bowl. Heat the chocolate in 30 seconds bursts and stir between each until the chocolate is completely melted.
    2. Pull the chilled slice out from the fridge and pour over the chocolate. Using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate evenly over the slice.
    3. Sprinkle the garnishes over the chocolate and pop back in the fridge for a further hour to chill.
    4. Cut into 8 even bars or smaller sized pieces if you choose.

    Cooks Notes
    • These bars keep in the fridge for up to two weeks in an airtight container.
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