Food & Drink Magazine

The Student Blogger Series; The On-the-Go Student ~ Salted Caramel Popcorn Trail Mix Bars

By Bec Dickinson

Salted Caramel Popcorn Trail Mix BarsYou know what I just realised?
Despite me chatting on about this new exciting student blogger series in a previous post, it looks like I’ve told you nothing about my studentish life at uni! (apart from the fact that I’m as ‘broke as a bee without honey’… but that bit is pretty obvious according to my moaning wallet).

So i’m gonna be real boring and lay it all out ‘speed dating style’, bare with me…
I’m a first year Uni student studying Nursing and Midwifery and loving it 150%!
It’s noice and hands on from the get go, which suits me to a T.
Placement is already coming up and the course is flying by in the best way possible!

(Wow, I feel like we already know each other so much better! Next step, secret handshake. Yah know it bra.)

Salted Caramel Popcorn Trail Mix Bars
Anyways friends, this weeks theme for the student blogger series is recipes perfect for students on the go.
Enter snack heaven.

Soooo as ya do, at Uni I always feel peckish mid-morning in the awkward time between breakfast and lunch, it’s too late to be an extended breaky, and too early to be lunch,  AND I’m dashing between classes….as you can see, not much time to smash my face with food.

Desperate times call for desperate measures … AKA Salted Caramel Popcorn Trail Mix Bars!

Caramel for that sugary energy burst, a few oats and seeds in there for good measure, popcorn for a fun crispy crunch, and chocolate chips cause… well, you know… (no explanation needed). Plus easy munchy bar size, so I can eat it in 3 noms… AS I run to a lecture.
Now, I can safely say, my awkward (and loud) uni belly rumbles have been solved!
Everybody take the day off.

Salted Caramel Popcorn Trail Mix Bars
Let’s turn to caramel for a second shalllllll we?
Really, cooking anything involving caramel on a stove top fa-fa-fa-reaks me out.
Maybe it’s the small window, where it’s like; 1 second caramel perfection, nec minut you’ve got a burnt pot that is gonna be the biggest pain in the ‘you know what’ to clean up.
You don’t wanna cross me when i’m honing in on a caramel… i’m like a ticking time bomb…
That is until it’s all cooked and good, then bam i’m happy as larry again.

But seriously. Caramel, you’re my kryptonite.
Luckily for us caramel battlers, the legendary Naomi from Baker’s Royal has you sorted on how to make a caramel sauce, you da best Naomi!

AND if you’re the silliest klutz that ever lived like me, you’ll be so in the ‘caramel moment’ you’ll forget to grease the tin then be forced into the chin stroking dilemma of how to remove caramel popcorn from a tin in the smoothest way possible….
…now i’m just making things hard for myself. It’s really beyond me how I got them out!
Moral of the story… grease ya tinnnns

Salted Caramel Popcorn Trail Mix Bars
ALSO, now this is a little fun… we have marshmallows in the caramel, wooooo!
annnnnd with a recipe calling for just white marshmallows all i could muster up to buy was the white AND pink pack … no plain white marshmallow packets for bec..
So, as an avid pink marshmallow avoider, I’ve put myself in the pickle of having a wholllle lotta pink marshmallows up in ma grill…
any tips for using them?/ alternative ways to put them in the trash…. I’m open.

Onto a lighter note…
These bars are sweet with a salty balance, crispy, crunchy and chocolatey in allllll the right places.
As my sister describes it; ‘gooey goodness’ and as I say ‘moorish to the max‘.
All up, it’s all you’ll need for you mid-morning snack (or late night tea accompanier).

Enough blabbing from me, it’s snackin’ time!

Salted Caramel Popcorn Trail Mix Bars
SALTED CARAMEL TRAIL MIX BARS
(recipe adapted from Shutterbean)

Ingredients:
12 cups plain popped popcorn
1 cup salted peanuts, chopped
1 1/3 cup rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup seed mix
1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
2/3 cup thick cream
2 cups miniature white marshmallows

Method:
1. Coat a 9 x 13″ baking dish with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, toss together popcorn, peanuts, rolled oats, 2/3 cup chocolate chips, seeds.
3. In a medium saucepan, bring sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup water to a boil over medium high.  Boil, undisturbed, until mixture is amber in color–8-12 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and slowly pour in cream (mixture will sputter).  Immediately add marshmallows; stir until melted.
4. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn mixture and quickly stir with a rubber spatula to coat.
5. Transfer mixture to the baking dish, pressing down to form a flat surface. Sprinkle over a heavy dose of kosher salt, then the rest of the chocolate chips
6. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

Salted Caramel Popcorn Trail Mix Bars
Show our #gradstudentbloggers and #undergradstudentbloggers your support! Check out the whole list of featured Starving Student recipes now:

Blackberry Slice via PicNic

Easy Lemon Bars via Go Bake Yourself

Healthy Tropical Bars (Raw, Vegan) via Wallflour Girl

Omelette Sandwich via Bacon Egg Cheese(cake)

Want to join, or know a university food blogger who would? We would love to have you: email Ala at [email protected] to sign up!

The #gradstudentblogger and #undergradstudentblogger series showcases the lives and talent of insanely busy food bloggers from across all stages of their higher education pathway. Thank you for joining us, and we hope to see you again in two weeks!

Salted Caramel Popcorn Trail Mix Bars

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As always, thanks for stopping by!
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