As promised, a recipe.
Tim’s Chocolate Popcorn
3 T canola oil
2 T unrefined sugar (we use organic evaporated cane juice)
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
1/2 t pure vanilla extract
1/2 t pure chocolate extract
1/2 oz dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
***It is very important throughout this process to keep the popcorn kernels moving around in the pan to prevent the sugar from burning.***
In a medium saucepan, stir together the oil and sugar. Add in the popcorn kernels and make sure they are coated well with the sugar mixture.
Adjust the burner temperature on your stove to just below high heat (our stove top burners don’t heat evenly, but high heat is necessary for the kernels to pop, so set your burner accordingly).
Stir the mixture over the heat to allow the sugar to dissolve. Add in your extracts. Stir some more. Add in the chocolate pieces. Stir, stir, stir, stir, stir.
Put the lid on the pot. Lift the pot off the burner and swirl the contents. You will need one hand to hold the lid on, and the other to hold the pot handle. Return to the heat for a moment (10-15 seconds, maybe longer depending on your heating element). Lift and swirl… Return to heat… Lift and swirl… See the pattern? Continue to do this until the popcorn starts popping. Pop! Pop! Pop!
Shake the pan a lot once it starts popping to prevent the kernels and sugar from burning and sticking. The popcorn will pop slowly at first, and then speed up, and then slow again. Once the popping slows at the end, turn off the heat, but continue the lift, swirl and return to the burner pattern. When the popping pretty much stops, it’s done!
At this point, Tim and I pour the popcorn into a bowl. It will stick together nicely and have a crunchy, crackly coating. If you prefer, you can spread your popcorn out onto a rimmed baking sheet to cool and break it apart. It will be hot, so don’t dive in and burn your mouth like we did (and still do)!
Phew! It sounds complicated, but really it just requires constant attention and movement in the pan to prevent burning. If you stir the contents well at the beginning and move and shake and keep everything heated, you should have success!
If you are not a fan of chocolate (?!?!!) or cannot eat chocolate, you can make this a vanilla popcorn instead. Just omit the chocolate extract, increase the vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon, and omit the chocolate pieces. You could shake on some cinnamon if you preferred too. This recipe is pretty versatile, so experiment and have fun! Let me know if you come up with other combinations, I’d love to hear about them!