I love candied popcorn. I love popcorn in general, so when you add a bunch of sugar, and some yummy flavors, I could eat bowls of it. And I better eat my bowl-fulls now before the resolutions set in, right?
I made three different candied popcorns this year, inspired by my trip to Whole Foods in Trolley Square, SLC, Ut. They hosted this great evening for bloggers so we could sample their yummy catering menu, and then they set us loose in the store.
We were told to pick about 5 items that were holiday related, or something we’ve never tried before.
Today’s post is the holiday related post, check back soon for the something new post.
For the holiday post I stuck with the bulk section. This is absolutely my favorite way to shop. If you’ve never shopped in the bulk foods section before, you need to try it. I love how much cheaper (almost) everything is.
I have plenty of containers at home so I just bring home the bags and empty it into my containers. Here’s why Whole Foods recommends shopping in the bulk section.
I want to add to this list that you know the products are fresher. Some of those boxed goods I have no idea how long they’ve been sitting on the shelf. At least in the bulk foods section the food is getting rotated regularly.
To be honest, I’ve never shopped in the Whole Foods bulk section, but I regularly shop in bulk foods at my other favorite grocery store. I was so happy with the selection at Whole Foods. Four of my five items came from the bulk section. I got enough popcorn to feed my neighborhood (I passed out these candied popcorns as my neighbor gifts this year). I also stocked up on our favorite nuts. Because my other favorite holiday snack food is candied pecans (check back tomorrow for that recipe), and of course, pecan pie.
Enough of the back story, let’s get on to the recipes.
We’ll start with the easiest.
White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn
1 1/2 bags of white chocolate chips (11 oz bags, so about 16.5 oz)
8-10 small candy canes, broken into small pieces
10-12 cups popped popcorn (about 1 1/2 c unpopped kernels)
Pop the popcorn in an air popper, no need for oil. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave. I pour the chips into a freezer zip top bag (they are sturdier), place the bag upright in a bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments until fully melted and smooth. Snip the tip of one corner on the bag and pour the melted white chocolate over the popped popcorn. I like to use 2 meat forks to toss the popcorn. Once all the popcorn is evenly covered add the smashed candy cane pieces. Pile the popcorn onto a cookie sheet (or your counter top) lined with parchment or wax paper. Allow the chocolate to harden and cool completely.
Dark Chocolate Cherry Popcorn
1 c butter
3/4 c sugar
1 (3 oz) cherry flavored jello mix
1 Tbsp Karo syrup
3 Tbsp water
10-12 cups plain popped popcorn
1 medium bag dark chocolate M&Ms
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place popped popcorn in a large bowl.
In a heavy saucepan combine all ingredients except popcorn and M&Ms. Cook on medium heat with a candy thermometer. Continue to stir mixture until it reaches 260-265 degrees. Keep stirring ingredients to avoid scorching. Pour saucepan ingredients over popped popcorn. Stir with 2 meat forks to evenly coat all popcorn.
Pile the popcorn onto the lined cookie sheet. Place in preheated oven and cook for 5 minutes.
Chop the M&Ms (or not).
Remove the popcorn from the oven, stir it and toss in the M&Ms. Make sure they are evenly distributed. Bake for about 3-5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool on the counter covered with wax paper. Toss the popcorn after about 5 minutes. Allow to cool for about 30 minutes total.
3 sticks of salted butter (1 1/2 c)
1/2 c slivered almonds
2 1/2 Tbsp white Karo syrup
4 Tbsp water
2 scant cups white granulated sugar
10-12 cups popped popcorn
Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Rub the butter on the inside walls of the pan. Add the almonds. Gently stir them to coat with the butter. Add the karo syrup and gently stir. Add the water and gently stir. Add the sugar and stir until it is fully incorporated. Be careful to avoid splashing the sides of the pan too much or you may end up with crystallized sugar spots in the finished product. Turn the temperature to medium and allow the mixture to boil until it reaches 280 degrees or soft crack on a candy thermometer. This should take about 30 minutes.
Place the popped popcorn in a large bowl. Pour the toffee over the popped popcorn. Toss with 2 meat forks. Make sure all the popcorn is evenly covered. Pile the popcorn onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Allow the coating to cool.
Here’s a little secret:
This toffee popcorn recipe is a secret family recipe.
If you want to make super yummy toffee, skip the popcorn. Cook the toffee the exact same way but don’t pour it over popcorn. Line a cookie sheet with non-stick foil or foil coated with butter. Pour the toffee onto the foil lined pan. Spread it into the corners so it is level in the pan.
Allow the candy to cool for just a minute or two and sprinkle chocolate chips or chopped chocolate over the top. Allow the chocolate to sit for a minute and then spread the melted chocolate over the toffee. Sprinkle some crushed slivered almonds over the chocolate. Cover the toffee with 2 pieces of wax paper.
Grab another cookie sheet the same size and place the bottom of the cookie sheet on top of the wax paper. Flip over the whole thing (cookie sheet, wax paper, toffee, foil, cookie sheet). Remove the first cookie sheet and place it right next to the inverted cookie sheet. Slide the wax paper (with toffee and foil) into the first cookie sheet. So now the toffee should be chocolate side down inside the first cookie sheet. Remove the foil.
Cover this side with chocolate chips. Allow it to sit for a few minutes. Spread the melted chocolate. Sprinkle with more crushed slivered almonds. Cover with 2 more sheets of wax paper.
Place in a cool, covered area and allow to set up for a couple of hours. Break into pieces and enjoy.
Do me a favor, please? Don’t pass on this recipe because it is a family secret. I’ll share it with you but I might get into a little trouble sharing it with everyone! (*wink, wink)
What are your favorite holiday recipes? What do you look forward to most this time of year? I’d love to hear about your traditions!