In the spirit of Valentine’s Day next week, I wanted to share a healthy, chocolate-y treat for you to shared with a loved one (or keep to yourself – I won’t judge).
Who doesn’t love chocolate-covered strawberries? But they can be expensive to buy and difficult to make. I usually leave the chocolate making to the professionals because I tend to burn it, but then I started brainstorming ways to make it easier and healthier, at least as a topping.
Then it hit me: coconut oil! I found this amazing recipe by Coconut Mama for chocolate bars using coconut oil and knew I had to try it on popcorn. (I used Coconut Mama’s chocolate bar recipe as the chocolate sauce in this recipe, so all credit for the chocolate goes to her.)
Popcorn! Yes, popcorn. Chocolate-covered strawberries alone are delicious, but popcorn is a cheaper snack and it’s easier to share. Combining the two maintains the flavor while saving a few bucks.
There are many Valentine’s Day-themed popcorn recipes out there, but they all involve M&M’s, marshmallows, and melting actual chocolate chips. So, I decided to whip up a batch that’s not only healthier, but also easier. The best part? It tastes just like chocolate-covered strawberries!
- 1/4 cup + 1 Tbs. coconut oil, separated
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder*
- 3 Tbs. honey
- 1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
- 1 oz. freeze dried strawberry slices
*Instead of cocoa powder, you can also use cacao powder or ground up cacao nibs, depending on what you have in the pantry.
- In a small saucepan, add 1/4 cup coconut oil. Turn burner on to low heat.
- When the coconut oil melts, add the cocoa powder, honey, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir well with a rubber spatula until thoroughly combined. This only takes a few minutes.
- You can also melt and mix in the microwave, but it’s easier to stand at the stove for a few minutes.
- Once the mixture is smooth, dip the back of a spoon in the chocolate to taste test. If you like dark chocolate, you should like it as-is. If you like milk chocolate, add more honey 1 Tbs. at a time until you like the taste. Turn off heat.
- In a large saucepan or pot, add 1 Tbs. coconut oil and two popcorn kernels. Cover. Turn on to medium-high heat. As the oil melts, shake the pan back and forth a bit to coat the entire bottom of the pan with oil. When the two kernels pop, take the lid off, and use a wooden spoon to carefully remove them.
- Sometimes the oil will spit out of the pan, so use caution when taking the popped corn out. You can tip the pan slightly to have the oil fall to one side of the pan while picking up the popped pieces outside of the oil.
- Add 1/3 cup popcorn kernels to the pan and cover. Shake the pan often within the first few minutes of making the popcorn so it does not burn. Once it starts popping, it is less likely to burn.
- In a small storage bag, add half the freeze dried strawberry slices. Close bag tightly, ensuring there is little to no air inside. Crush strawberry slices into powder by punching the bag softly against the counter.
- You can also use a food processor, but honestly, who wants the extra dirty dish?
- Stir the chocolate. You’ll notice it thickens as it cools.
- When the popcorn popping slows, turn off the heat. Wait about 30 seconds to ensure it’s done popping. (Or be impatient and have popcorn fly across your kitchen. It’s up to you. I haven’t done that or anything…)
- Pour popped popcorn into a large bowl. Sprinkle the strawberry powder on your popcorn in sections, shaking the bowl to evenly distribute the strawberry-ness.
- With the rubber spatula or a spoon, drizzle the chocolate on top of the popcorn. Add some strawberry slices. Wait a few seconds and then shake the bowl again, distributing the chocolate and strawberries. Add more chocolate sauce and strawberries, and shake until most popcorn pieces are covered.
- If you don’t mind sticky fingers, dig in right away! If you prefer the chocolate to be hardened on your popcorn, let cool. If you leave on the counter, it will cool in a few hours. If you place it in the fridge, loosely covered with plastic wrap, it will cool much faster.
I know this looks like a lot of work for a fancy bowl of popcorn, but this all really took me less than 20 minutes. Plus, you can make the chocolate sauce ahead of time and melt it before use.
Note: You should have enough chocolate sauce for two batches of popcorn (or double the amount of kernels to begin with). Just melt the chocolate sauce for about 15-30 seconds in the microwave to make it pourable.
Please let me know if you tried this recipe by posting a comment! ❤