I have been making a concerted effort lately of packing magnesium-rich foods into my daily eating habits. Halibut and cooked spinach makes a tasty meal, but I cannot eat that every day. Also, munching on a variety of seeds can get boring pretty quickly. Then I realized, it doesn’t have to be that way: cocoa beans are a natural source of magnesium too!
Inspired by the Domestic Goddess herself, I modified this tasty crunchy snack. Goal: make in-taking more magnesium most enjoyable. Like Nigella says, the most difficult part of making granola is actually assembling the pantry ingredients (her granola recipes also appear in one of my favorite cookbooks, Feast). Almost every ingredient in my modified recipe is high in magnesium, and bonus points when added to yogurt, whole or soy milk. P.S. Also easily Vegan-friendly
1/4 cup natural cocoa
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon instant espresso
1/3 cup clover honey
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses*
1 cup light brown sugar
2 cups cocktail peanuts (nut allergies – replace with more seeds)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 300-degrees.
Mix everything together very well in a large mixing bowl (sometimes clean hands are the best and easiest tools for thorough mixing here). Half the mixture and spread in two baking tins (I had cookie sheets and lined them with parchment) and bake for 40 minutes, turning over half-way through baking. Allow to cool, break apart, and store in an airtight container.
*if you care for less of a molasses tang, use light molasses or substitute brown rice syrup/rice malt syrup like Nigella uses. I used blackstrap due to magnesium content and also because I happen to enjoy the molasses tang.
They do exist! Mind you, I have never been to Paris, but the macarons at Madeleines Bakehouse are worth my (and your) while. I have mainly had their fruit macaron selections (Apricot, Raspberry, Key Lime, Blackberry) up until this weekend. My mom and I stopped in the bakehouse for some French Pressed Coffee yesterday and took a few macarons to go. She chose Coconut, and said that “it is five times better than a Snoball!” I chose Crème Brûlée and Pumpkin. Pumpkin was yummy, with a fresh pumpkin butter center, but Crème Brûlée is my new favorite. The “trinity cream” dessert is in a sparkly, bite-sized sandwich poof of light, sweet indulgence. Airy flavor vibrance, AHOY.
While my sister and her family were in town this weekend, we held a Grapehead Popcorn Ball vs. Lemonhead Popcorn Ball contest. Even though one lost, they were both sour. Lemon won by a slightly sweet head, though my sister maintains that grape is her favorite.
Make the sweet and tart popcorn balls yourself: Over medium heat, melt together 3 T butter, 1 C mini marshmallows, one small box lemonheads (be patient, the lemonheads will dissolve). Mix in 4 C popped corn until well coated. With oiled or buttery hands, form into balls. Makes six small orbs.
My niece held up her lemonhead popcorn ball in the air, took a bite, and said, “look, I am eating the moon!”
Awww, two sparkly bird bellies nuzzled atop a buttery mallow nest; Easter candy is the cutest.
I opted out of the traditional coconut nests this year and modified the form of my simple popcorn ball recipe to make fluffier nests for my Peeps. Shredded wheat and coconut cannot be easy on those soft chickymallow bums. For the caramel-colored ones, I used the same recipe, except I scorched the butter till golden before melting in the mini-mallows: especially tasty with Whoppers and roasted peanuts. The decorated nests slide easily into cellophane bags filled with edible Easter grass and make for bright and sugary Spring-colored favors or small gifts for giving.
Assembly can also be an easy interactive treat-craft activity for all ages. Prepare the popcorn nests in advance and store them in an airtight container (or simply mold them into muffin tins and cover). When it’s time for the fun, set out supply bowls of jelly beans, nuts, sprinkles, chocolates, Peeps, or whatever works with your company’s aesthetic and dietary needs/desires. Each person begins with an empty nest and fills it up with whatever it takes to make a sweet, treat-filled home. It turns out that I like sour jellybeans in my popcorn nest!
You know surprise cupcakes; the ones where you bite down and find there’s more than just cake in there? I actually never make them myself (my sister does them so nicely with the chocolate cake, cream cheese, and chocolate chips), but I have been tasting out different popcorn ball recipes, and I thought, “these balls could stand a surprise inside.” Chocolate was my initial instict, but chocolate alone seemed much too boring. Something with extra gooeyness and more flavor dynamics… a Snickers, YES. If you eat one of these surprise balls within an hour of assembly, the chocolate is still melty. It’s like you have this great ballgame or movie snack compacted into one efficient junk food treat: mallow, popcorn, peanuts, nougat and caramel, all in the palm of your hand.
I made the less-traditional version of popcorn balls with marshmallows and butter. They are much simpler to make, softer, and there is extra “molding” time in which you can properly stow and hide the Snickers surprise.
Chop or unwrap surprise middles.
Melt 3 T unsalted butter over medium heat.
Stir in 1 C mini marshmallows until melted.
Add 4 C popped corn.
Mix until evenly coated with stickiness.
Scoop out popcorn mix into greased muffin tins or small bowl forms. Press popcorn down into the form and place candy bar bit in center. Cover with remaining popcorn mix and mold into a ball (leave no Snickers trace!). It may be necessary to coat your hands in oil or butter to keep excessive sticking away. Wrap balls in wax paper and store in airtight container until munchie time. Makes 3 baseball-sized treats or 6 mini-balls.