Sweet and Salty Popcorn Granola Bars

There's no secret I'm a big fan of homemade snacks, I love to create my own little bites to satisfy those late afternoon cravings and keep myself fueled all day long. From simple and easy raw energy balls to more elaborated granola bars, nothing will ever beat something you've made from scratch with wholesome ingredients (and a lot of love!). Luckily things are changing and you can now find lots of good options to buy when you are hungry and busy...which in my case I'm hungry and busy most of the time, haha.
Some would think the best and healthiest snacking option is some fruit and a small bunch of nuts but, seriously, it can be so darn boring to do the same thing every single day. My advice: prepare a big batch of raw energy bites or granola bars on Sundays to keep in the fridge and enjoy throughout the week.
This week I'm bringing a recipe that will take your snack game to the next level: peanut butter granola bars with dark chocolate and mini popcorn. I was sent a nice package from Popcorn Shed to try out their new Mini Pop range: made from ancient grain of corn, half the size of the regular stuff and therefore easier to digest. Also, they are gluten-free, vegan and non-GMO, so everybody can enjoy them! There are five different flavors and all of them are seriously addictive (this is my honest opinion, no one payed me to write a positive review about this product). Maybe the white truffle flavor is a little bit "too special" for my taste but I ate the whole bag in the blink of an eye. ;-p
Since I love the sweet 'n' salty combo I topped these granola bars with their Sweet and Salty flavor and let me tell you it's a killer explosion of flavors and textures; peanut butter and dark chocolate is a match made in heaven, but add these little popcorn on top of each bar and you'll get a great snack to serve at birthday dessert tables or to bring to a fun gathering with friends. Also totally acceptable to devour these ones during your next Netflix binge.
Btw, Halloween is right around the corner and I already prepared something special to share with you, so keep your eyes peeled!
You can also find this recipe at Popcorn Shed's website.

¡Receta en español aquí!

Sweet and Salty Granola Bars
1 1/2 cups rolled oats.
1/2 cup raw peanuts.
1/3 cup peanut butter.
1/3 cup pure maple syrup.
2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil, melted.
A pinch of pink Himalayan salt.
- Toppings:
1 bag of Popcorn Shed's Mini Pop Sweet and Salty flavor.
80 g approximately dark chocolate, melted.

First of all, roast the peanuts in a large frying pan greased with a bit of coconut oil, until they look golden Brown. Set aside and leave to cool.
In a medium saucepan over low heat melt the peanut butter, maple syrup and coconut oil; stir until soft and fully combined. Set aside to cool a little bit.
In a large mixing bowl mix the rolled oats with the roasted peanuts and a pinch of pink Himalayan salt. Stir well and add in the previous peanut butter mixture, mixing with a large wooden spoon or a sturdy silicone spatula. It should form a sticky mixture.
Line the bottom of a square pan with parchment paper, leaving some extra centimeters overhanging the sides to easily unmold later, and firmly press the granola mixture into the pan. Finally use your clean hands or a silicone spatula to ensure you get a very compact and even layer.
Transfer to the fridge until very firm.
Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler and set aside.
Carefully unmold the granola mixture and cut into bars, dip each one in the melted chocolate and transfer to a lined baking sheet (chocolate side up). Immediately top with Popcorn Shed’s Sweet and Salty Mini Pop so the popcorn adheres to the chocolate.
Let the bars set in the refrigerator until the chocolate is firm.
Store the bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator.