I must confess to you all, I have a mad addiction to popcorn. I could eat it everyday for the rest of my life if it was readily available.
Hi everyone. My name is Diana.
and I have an addiction to popcorn. It’s been about 18 years now, and I don’t think I can stop myself.
The only problem is that I run out of popcorn so fast. Anyone that has spent time with me knows of my popcorn problem. I’ve have even received popcorn as presents from good friends. I was given the gift of making the best microwave popcorn in the world. No lie. The trick is to microwave it long enough till the insides of the kernel turn a light grey, then right after taking it out of the bag you salt it so it sticks. My absolute favorite is the buttery popcorn you get at the movie theaters. There’s nothing quite like it. It’s mostly my excuse to go see movies. I get those big buckets that normally a family of four would split but all to myself. I also eat popcorn with chopsticks. It’s my invention to prevent greasy hands, but that’s a different story.
This past weekend I attended the Chicago International Movie and Music fest, among other things. I wanted to celebrate the intensity of watching a million movies in the span of one weekend with one of my favorite movie snack, but this time with a twist. I found this caramel popcorn recipe and decided to add chocolate for the hell of it. Turned out to be delicious. So follow these easy peasy steps..
Use an air popper to pop about one cup of kernels to get about 5 1/2 quarts of popcorn. Air poppers are good for caramel popcorn making because the texture comes out rounder and more consistent than microwaved popcorn. You also don’t use any oil/butter combination in an air popper so it doesn’t mix with the sweet caramel mixture you’ll add to it later. If you don’t have an air popper, you can pop kernels on your stovetop with just a eeensy bit of oil.
Make sure to put your popcorn in a large bowl or container. I put mine in two different containers for easier mixing, but the preference is yours.
I’m going to admit that this was my first time making caramel. It’s actually pretty simple. But don’t compare it to the fancy stuff that European candy makers do – they’ll probably lower their heads and shake their head in disgust if they saw me attempting to make this.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the corn syrup and brown sugar and salt. Keep stirring and bring to a boil. Once you reach a boil, you can stop stirring, but keep the mixture boiling for about 4 minutes. You can watch the caramel get darker and thicker. Your heart should be pulsating heavily at this point. You might be dancing and jumping around in the kitchen as well.
Turn off the heat and add the baking soda and the vanilla extract. Stir all together and then with ladle, drizzle the caramel over your popcorn. Use a large spoon to stir all together, making sure to coat every single kernel. Sample a few while still warm. If unsatisfied, sample a few more.
Preheat your oven to 250F. Take out three shallow baking pans and pour out warm oozy caramely popcorn onto them. Spread them out in an even layer. Throw the pans in the oven. Don’t throw. Place gently. Stir the popcorn trays with a spoon every 15 minutes for an hour. Heart rate should equal 170 bpm right now. Take trays out of the oven and let rest. Wait about 45 minutes for the caramel to set. If not happy about that news sample a few more kernels.
Now time for the best part. Put two cups of chocolate chips with one tablespoon of shortening in a microwave bowl. Microwave in 20-second intervals on 50% power, stirring every time in-between until your chocolate is smooth and velvety.
Pour melted chocolate into a disposable piping bag. If you don’t have one, use a ziplock bag. Snip the corner of the bag and drizzle over popcorn. You can channel your inner Jackson Pollock if needed. If you prefer to use more chocolate than mentioned, you can also do so. I won’t tell anymore.
Step #4 is probably the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do in your lifetime. It’ll take about another hour.
#5 is probably the easiest thing you’ll probably do in your entire lifetime. Just break up the popcorn with fork and enjoy. If somehow you end up with extras (which I can’t imagine myself having to deal with this problem), you can store in an airtight container.
Adapted from Allrecipe’s Caramel Popcorn
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 1/2 quarts popped popcorn
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (95 degrees C).
- Using an air popper, pop about 5 1/2 quarts of popcorn (about 1 cup of unpopped kernel). Place popcorn in a very large bowl.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat. I found it helpful to work in half batches, using a large ladle to drizzle the caramel and a wooden spoon to stir.
- Place in three large shallow baking dishes and bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- Place chocolate chips and shortening in microwaveable bowl. Heat on 50% power for 20-second intervals, stirring until fully melted, about 1.5 minutes total. Pour melted chocolate into disposable piping bag, or if you don’t have one, a ziploc quart size bag will do. snip the very end of one corner with scissors and drizzle over popcorn.
- Try your hardest to wait till its fully dry before eating!! Break into pieces and store in airtight container if you have any leftovers… IF you have any leftovers.