It’s been two years since I moved to California and it’s become my new home. However, I’m still an Indiana girl at heart. What do you think of when you think of Indiana? Corn. And maybe cows. But corn should be pretty high on your list. When I was a kid, I was allergic to corn, so I didn’t get to learn the joys of popcorn until I was about eight years old!
Even though I follow a paleo diet, I’m not a paleo perfectionist and leave room for treats so I don’t feel deprived. One of them is popcorn! I love crunchy, salty snacks, and popcorn is a lighter alternative to chips which are easy for me to overdo. One of my favorite popcorn snacks is SkinnyPop, which is free of gluten, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, cholesterol, trans fat, and preservatives. It’s one of my favorite snacks when I’m traveling!
SkinnyPop recently invited me to create spring-inspired recipe using popcorn. My inspiration for this recipe was a snack I had at a seminar where I presented my research recently. So many desserts are made with wheat, but they had macaroons so of course I indulged. I love the chewy interior and crisp exterior of a macaroon!
While delicious, macaroons can be pretty dense. I decided to lighten them up with popcorn. When I told my parents (who still live in Indiana) about my idea, my dad came up with the idea to add pistachios to add a pop of color, rather than using food coloring, to look like the first touch of green in springtime. These macaroons are sweetened with honey rather than refined sugar. If allergens are your concern, look for chocolate without dairy, such as Enjoy Life.
With the weather warming and picnic season around the corner, these macaroons would be the perfect treat in your picnic basket!
Gluten Free Popcorn-Pistachio Macaroons with Dark Chocolate Drizzle
6 cups SkinnyPop Original Popcorn
1 5-oz bag shredded unsweetened coconut (about 2 cups)
1 6-oz bag shelled pistachios, ground to a coarse meal in a food processor, divided
5 egg whites
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tbsp virgin coconut oil
Sea salt flakes for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking tray or two medium trays with parchment paper.
- Add popcorn to a large bowl. Using the back of a measuring cup, crush the popcorn until the kernels are about half as big as the original size.
- Add coconut and all but 2 tbsp of the pistachios to the popcorn; set aside.
- Using a stand or hand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, begin beating the egg whites with the salt. Once foamy, add the cream of tarter. Whisk to stiff peaks. Add the vanilla and slowly add the honey. The egg white will fall slightly. Working quickly, fold the eggs into the popcorn mixture.
- Use a one ounce ice cream scoop or 1/8 cup measuring cup to measure the dough. Pack the dough in well, heaping it a little, before scooping approximately 18 cookies onto the parchment.
- Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on the tray.
- Melt the chocolate chips with the coconut oil, either in a double boiler or in the microwave. Drizzle each cookie with a little chocolate. Sprinkle reserved pistachios on top. Chocolate will harden slightly.
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