I wish I could call these “Pretty in Pink Popcorn Balls” but the pictures would reveal the truth – there’s not a whole lot of pretty going on. But that’s ok because the theme of today’s post really is the Power of Pink.
The Power of Pink Challenge was started by my friend Jen of Beantown Baker as a way to promote breast cancer awareness during the month of October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the US. You may remember Jen because she was my co-host for Blogger Bake for Hope in 2011, which successfully raised almost $3000 for Susan G. Komen for The Cure.
This is the fifth year in a row that Jen has sponsored the Power of Pink Challenge. She is inviting all bloggers to think about breast cancer awareness this month and to make our point by developing a PINK recipe. At the end of the month, Jen will choose a winner among all the participants and make $100 donation to the charity of the winner’s choice. There is still time to enter and you can catch up on all the details on Jen’s Power of Pink event page or by clicking the logo below.
The most important piece of developing a pink recipe, to me, was making sure that my food got its color from a natural source. Beets, pomegranate, and raspberries were all likely choices! (For more PINK food inspiration, check out Jen’s very pink favorites.) Beets won out, and ultimately became the “food coloring” for sticky, ooey gooey dark chocolate caramel popcorn balls. And if you can’t imagine that beets taste good in caramel… don’t worry, you can’t taste them! Because they’re so saturated with an intensely vivid hue of magenta, a little goes a long way to color this recipe.
It was also important to me to make a healthy recipe (well, isn’t it always?!) especially because I am doing this in honor of helping women with breast cancer and their families. I say, let’s have our sweets and do something good for our bodies too! These treats are naturally sweetened and vegan. They provide plenty of healthy fats from the coconut (shredded, milk, AND oil!) and heart-healthy cashews. And let’s not forget the antioxidant-rich dark chocolate. I never say no to chocolate! These sweet snacks would be great for so many occasions, but I’m especially happy to munch on them in honor of all things pink during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
What can PINK do you for you? Make a statement by entering Jen’s Power of Pink Challenge by October 31st!
Pink Cashew-Coconut Caramel & Dark Chocolate Popcorn Balls
Yield: 15, depending on size
These sweet treats are vegan and naturally-sweetened, and full of healthy fats from coconut and cashews. And they get their surprising pink hue from a secret ingredient!
1 small beet, peeled, and roasted or steamed until very soft
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut milk
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup un-popped popcorn kernels, or 11-12 cups plain, air-popped popcorn
3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
Place the coconut and cashews in a food processor and blend until a runny, almost-smooth nut butter forms. This process will take about about minutes and you will have to stop several times to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. It's ok if it's still a bit grainy from the coconut at the end, but the texture should be very soft.
Add the maple syrup and continue to blend until smooth. Add coconut oil, coconut oil, vanilla and salt and process again until incorporated.
Cut the beet into a few pieces and add one at a time, processing until smooth and evenly-combined, until desired hue is reached. (I used about 1/3 of a small beet.)
Pop the corn in an air-popper and transfer to a very large bowl, making sure to discard any un-popped kernels. Toss with the dark chocolate pieces. Scrape the pink caramel mixture into the bowl.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix the caramel into the popcorn and dark chocolate. Hands will probably work best!
Wet your hands and scoop and roll balls of the popcorn mixture, placing them on the parchment-lined sheet. You will probably need to re-wet your hands every 2-3 balls.
Refrigerate for 3-4 hours before serving. Store leftover popcorn balls refrigerated in an air-tight container.
Cara Lyons, www.carascravings.com