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With these MVP Bars you’ll be the STAR of big game! A peanut butter pretzel crusted chocolate chip cookie topped with the most incredible chewy peanut butter marshmallow popcorn topping!
Oh how I love football season! The tailgating, the cheering on your favorite team, the yelling at the refs over calls you think are stupid (admit it – you do it too!), the game superstitions and the food. OMG the food! Let’s face it, if you’re not playing in the actual game, the food is the second most important thing. You need proper eats if you want to be “the house” that every one wants to be at for the big game. You could literally put out milk crates or couch cushions for folks to sit on but as long as you have a killer tv and even better food you’re place IS the hot spot (well that is unless you’re actually at the game).
When the folks from Orville Redenbacher® wanted a new recipe featuring their AMAZING (seriously it’s ridiculously good!) Movie Theater Butter Popcorn for the Big Game I was stoked! You see I have a slight obsession with this popcorn and movie theater popcorn. Ever since I was little, going to the movies and getting my very own tub of popcorn was a huge treat. All that butter and warm popcorn with a great movie – seriously perfect! Popcorn to me meant happy times. It was something we’d share as a family bumping hands in the buckets of popcorn trying to get the ‘best pieces”.
Then when the microwave came into our homes and the creation of microwave popcorn, the trips to the movie theater got less and less. Sure we’ll still go from time to time but honestly I love nothing more than vegging out at home watching a movie and making up a few batches of the Orville Redenbacher Movie Theater Butter Popcorn. It’s light, airy and omg so butterlicious! They really nailed that movie theater butter popcorn recreation at home.. and for waaaaaaaaay less!
For real.. last time Mr. Fantabulous and I went to the movies our tickets were $15 and the 2 sodas plus a giant bag of popcorn was almost $20! RIDICULOUS! So now we stay at home and I pop our own bags of this popcorn (yeah we each must get our own bag as I am not sharing mine! No way, it’s soooooooo good!) and enjoy incredible movies. Popcorn and movies is our family time however we never limit it to just movies. Almost every get together we have with friends I’m always popping up a few bags for us to nosh on while we’re playing games or watching the big game.
With the big game approaching it’s “game on” when it comes to foods. While I’ll still have a big bowl of this popcorn ready I had to go with something that stole the show; that MVP of the game… the food game that is. Now these MVP bars I’ve been making for the past 10 or so years however full confession I never made it with microwave popcorn. Yep, I was old school popping it on the stove top in a pot. I never thought it would work with microwave popcorn as any kind I tried that was deemed “movie theater butter” tasted fake. But this popcorn, when I made a test batch to try (wha??? I need to taste test….the whole bag. Shush… don’t judge me!), it was so good! Like we’re talking legit movie theater butter popcorn taste!
Last time I was at Walmart doing my weekly shopping I picked up the value size box (let’s face it, popcorn is one of the best snack foods ever!). While I was there I picked up a bag of pretzels for the crust and some marshmallow topping. The rest of the ingredients are basic pantry staples. So yeah as I said I wanted to make these bars using my MVP Bars recipe but I wanted to see if this popcorn could hold up to the task. I mean it’s seriously delicious but could it hold up against that…. wait for it…
PEANUT BUTTER MARSHMALLOW POPCORN TOPPING
Yeah, drool over that for a minute.
That topping alone makes one of the BEST treats EVER! Like for real.. I’ll make up a batch of this and mix in some chopped chocolate candies and form it into small bars or balls. The topping on the popcorn makes it all chewy and ridiculous in flavor. It’s sticky enough that you can pull off chunks and see strands of that peanut buttery marshmallowy topping but not sticky that it sticks to your fingers. But let’s be real if it did you’d still lick your fingers.
This recipe I first made to take to the big game get together. My hometown team was playing and I wanted to make something that mimicked our teams’ colors (black and gold). These bars stole the show when it came to the foods on the table. The way we set up our food tables here is in sections:
Popcorn, Chips, Nachos
These tables can be of various sizes but the desserts table is just as big, if not bigger, than the wings table.
So when I got there I set these bars on its designated table. Normally desserts aren’t “supposed” to be touched until half time. It’s just unheard of. Football food etiquette is simple: you’re allowed to eat off of table 2 – veggies and snacks but under no circumstance are you allowed to touch the dessert or main food table. Well someone who shall remain unnamed even to this day “broke into” these bars. How do I know who it was? I found them in the kitchen hovering over the sink trying to stuff one into their mouth as fast as they could without being caught. I chuckled but then had to pinkie swear that I would not rat them out.
Well at the end of the first quarter someone spied that someone hacked the dessert table and OMG it was on. Plastic covers came off and people just started inhaling left and right. Those bars were the 2nd thing to go as let’s face it – pizza trumps all. They loved these bars so much that someone literally took the tray off of the desserts table and put them on the main food table! Yes, my bars were no longer the J.V. squad but were now a starting player!
My team ended up winning the big game that year and folks swear to this day that it’s because of those bars. And thus another football superstition was born. I’m not sure about you but I love our football superstitions. Do you have any?
We have a few – we always sit in the same seat every week. We always wear the same outfit. If we have to get up to go to the bathroom during a play AND our team scores, it’s because someone left the room. That person then is banned from the room until our team starts to do bad. If they do bad, then they are allowed back into the room. Seriously if you pee and the team scores, you’re stuck watching tv in the kitchen and someone has to love you enough to bring you beer or food. We’re talking extreme here folks.
So now we’re prepping for the big game I felt it only appropriate to include these bars with this popcorn. Anyway, as I mentioned above I never made this recipe with microwave popcorn before however after making this batch with Orville Redenbacher Movie Theater Butter popcorn I will never make popcorn on the stove again. This is my GO TO POPCORN from now on! It saved me so much time and um hello.. no dirty popcorn pans to clean and no burnt popcorn!
This recipe is really easy to be honest as it’s just crushed pretzels, chocolate chip cookie dough (okay fine you can cheat and use store bought if you want) and just a few ingredients for the topping. The hardest part is not eating all of that Peanut Butter Marshmallow Topping before putting it on the bars. It’s THAT good!
So now it’s your turn to take popcorn beyond the bowl and include into some awesome Big Game recipes! Find More Inspiration for Your Game Day Party HerePrint
- 3 1/4 cups Mini Pretzels, crushed to 2 cups
- 8 Tbl butter, unsalted
- 12 Tbl creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer
- 8 Tbl butter – chilled and unsalted
- 1/4 cup plus 3 Tbl brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups plus 3 Tbl flour
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup melted milk chocolate, cooled but spreadable
Chewy Peanut Butter Marshmallow Topping
- 1 bag Orville Redenbacher Movie Theater Popcorn, popped (about 5 cups)
- 7 ounces marshmallow topping
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 4 Tbl butter, unsalted
- Melted chocolate for drizzle
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line two 8×8 baking dishes (or can use a 9×13” pan) with parchment paper leaving a 1” overhang.
Make the crust:
- In a bowl melt together the butter and peanut butter. Add in the crushed pretzels and brown sugar. Mix until coated and well combined.
- Press the mixture into the bottoms of both pans.
Make the cookie dough:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter and sugars. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until just combined.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- Add the flour mixture into the egg mixture and mix just until combined. Add the chocolate chips and mix until incorporated.
- Press the cookie dough mixture on top of the pretzel crusts in both pans.
- Bake for 20-27 minutes or until the cookie dough is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan.
- While the bars are cooling spread out the melted chocolate over top of both cookies.
Make the Peanut Butter Marshmallow Topping:
- Place the popcorn in a large bowl (removing any kernels that didn’t pop). In a medium sauce pan add the butter, marshmallow topping, peanut butter and corn syrup and heat over medium heat until smooth and creamy.
- Pour the mixture over the popcorn and gently mix coating all pieces.
- Place spoonfuls of the popcorn topping on top of the cookie pressing it into the melted chocolate.
- Once cooled drizzle the melted chocolate over top and cut into bars. Store in an air tight container.