The perfect snack food is an elusive thing, especially if you can't make up your mind between going for something salty or something sweet. To solve this age-old riddle, chef and nutrition coach Mia Rigden offers an ideal solution: chocolate popcorn bark.
In the latest episode of Alt-Baking Bootcamp, Rigden demos this recipe, which is so simple yet satisfying that it's certain to become a staple. "It's the perfect balance between salty and sweet, with salty, crunchy popcorn paired with sweetness from dried cranberries and vegan marshmallows, all coated in chocolate—which is just absolutely delicious," she says.
- Mia Rigden, chef, nutritionist, and the founder of RASA, a company specializing in individualized nutrition programs
Popcorn, Rigden explains, is pretty much a flawless snack food all on its own given that it's a fiber-rich, gluten-free whole grain packed with antioxidants. Here, she's paired it with a variety of sweet—but not too sweet—elements to appease and titillate even the most indecisive of palates.
But those ingredients pull their weight, too. Dark chocolate is also antioxidant rich and therefore anti-inflammatory, and it's potentially beneficial to your cognitive health, too. Cranberries, meanwhile, are also replete with antioxidants and fiber, and though sweet they're relatively low in sugar compared to other fruits. And while there's no nutritional magic to the vegan marshmallows tossed into this mix—aside from the fact that they're corn syrup-free—their relative indulgence is nicely balanced here with the dense healthfulness of the rest of the treat.
The result is a compulsively munchable bark that's just as easy to eat on the go as it is from your couch, where you'll ideally be spending less and less time as this year progresses. To get the recipe in full as well as more details on each ingredient involved, watch the video for Rigden's latest turn on Alt-Baking Bootcamp.
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