Easy to make.....
I think that we've covered all of our bases here with these chocolate popcorn muffins and I am pretty sure I do not need to convince you to make these. Trust me, they are a lot easier than you think! I used a few of my favorite brands to create this delicious recipe and only requires a few extra ingredients that I am sure you already have on hand (peanut butter, dates, eggs, chia seeds, coconut sugar....).
The other week Pipcorn, a NYC based snack food company reached out to me to see if I would be interested in trying their all natural popcorn! I am always game for new snacks and after hearing that the popcorn is vegan, gluten free, non-GMO, and high fiber, I was excited to give it a try! I was lucky enough to try a few different flavors: Sea salt, Kettle, and Truffle. It was honestly hard to choose which one I liked the best, but since I have a slight addiction to anything salty, my taste buds were leaning towards sea salt.
Okay, so by now you are probably wondering why I decided to stuff chocolate muffins with popcorn right? Well, the Pipcorn team is rolling out a new campaign over the next two weeks called "Reci-PIP" campaign by encouraging their fans to create amazing dishes using pipcorn as one of the ingredients! I knew I wanted to use the sea salt popcorn flavor and incorporate chocolate in the recipe because sea salt and dark chocolate is one of my guiltiest pleasures! I thought about making a few sauces to pour over the popcorn or popcorn balls, but was hoping to create something a little different and out of ordinary!
Then it dawned on me! I remembered that I had picked up a box of Simple Mills Chocolate Muffin & Cake Mix the other day at whole foods and knew this would be the chocolate addition in my recipe. Even though the muffin/cake mix is from a box, it never feels as if I had taken a shortcut. It is one of those mixes that actually makes you feel good after you eat it! No sugar crash and no bloat! It is made with ingredients such as almond flour, coconut sugar, and coconut flour, and not only is it high in protein but it is low in sugar. They are delicious with a hint of sweetness and super fudgy (if you under-cook them a bit like me!). Plus they only take 15 minutes from start to finish! You don't have to worry about forgetting any key ingredient at the store and they come out delicious every single time!
I followed the recipe for the muffins according to the instructions on the simple mills label but with a few additions; one being the sea salt flavored popcorn. Another addition was chia seeds, because I love adding them to the majority of my recipes for a little extra health boost! They are a great source of fiber and you can't even taste them! I also decided to fill a few of the muffins with either peanut butter and a homemade caramel date filling. Each bite was heaven! I am always team peanut butter, but the caramel date filling with the surprise bites of the crunchy popcorn took the chocolate muffins to another level of bliss! You can also get a little crazy and fill the muffins with both the peanut butter and the caramel date sauce- I am not stopping you!
You could always turn these into popcorn brownies with either a peanut butter swirl or a caramel date swirl (which I haven't tried!) or make your own homemade chocolate muffins/cupcakes...because lets be real, they are the same thing.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
For the muffins:
(Box calls for 12, I made them slightly larger to make 8 in total)
1 box of Simple Mills Chocolate Muffin/Cake Mix
2 organic eggs
3 tbsp. coconut oil
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups of Pipcorn Sea salt (or more!)
1/4 cup chia seeds
If you prefer a richer taste of chocolate add: 2 tbsp. cacao powder.
Caramel Date Filling:
Yields: 1/2 cup
8 large Medjool dates, pitted
1/4 cup warm water
Pinch of sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla
Peanut butter filling:
4 tbsp. of your favorite peanut butter (crunchy, smooth, any flavor!)*
*I would not use an oily based- one where you can see the separation and always have to mix before you use.
For the Caramel Date filling:
1. Add the pitted dates to a food processor and pulse until small bites of dates remain. Add warm water, slowly, while the food processor is on, until a paste is formed. You may need to scrape the sides a bite. Add additional water if needed, but you will want a sticky and somewhat thick paste/consistency. Dates will vary in size and dryness so you be the judge of how much water is needed. Once the consistency has reached a smooth silky sauce add in the salt and dash of vanilla. Adjust to taste.
For the muffins:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with muffin cups or grease the muffin tin with coconut oil. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the 2 eggs, 3 tbsp. of coconut oil, water, and chia seeds.
3. Add the Simple Mills Chocolate Muffin mix to the large mixing bowl with the popcorn. Mix by hand. Pour into prepared muffin tins.
4. Here, you can either do one of two things: You can bake the muffins for 15 minutes at 350 degrees and then fill each muffin with the fillings OR you can fill them before you bake them. After I filled the muffins with the filling, I sprinkled a few pieces of popcorn on top of the muffins and put them in the oven to bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
**I personally like to fill them before I bake the muffins because the filling separates a little bit throughout the muffin. Hence, each bite has a bite of the filling in it- such a bonus! (& also, I don't have one of those nifty muffin/cupcake cutters that perfectly cuts a hole in the center of the muffin after they have baked- that would come in handy here!).
To fill before you bake:
I filled 4 chocolate muffins with peanut butter (1 tbsp. each) and the other 4 with the caramel date sauce. Once the muffins were in the pan, I created a hole in the middle of the muffin (but not all the way through to the bottom) with a spoon as best as I could with a spoon to separate the mixture and scooped in either the peanut butter or the caramel. Once it was filled, the muffin seemed to naturally cave back in to its original form covering the filling.
To fill after you bake:
Cut a whole in the middle of the muffin after it has cooled off (but not all the way thru) and add desired amount of filling to the muffin.
Top off with popcorn, sea salt, and/ or a little coconut sugar! Store in an air tight container in fridge for up to 5 days.