Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Gourmet Popcorn: Chocolate Peanut

For Christmas I had to be very creative with my gifts as we just didn't have the money to spend on gifts. And I wanted to think outside my handmade/homemade gifts. And still giving gifts I thought my friends and family would enjoy.

One of the gifts I created was "Gourmet" Popcorn. The popcorn kernels are very inexpensive as well as the ingredients to use on them. I then packaged them in ziplocks and designed and printed out little toppers for the bags.

The reason though I am posting this now is because any of these would make a great treat for a Super Bowl party. I served them at a Christmas party and they were gobbled up. And everyone was in awe that I made them...that they weren't "store bought" gourmet popcorn. I have 3 recipes but will post one a day for the next 3 days as I don't want this to be a huge long post.

Chocolate Peanut Popcorn
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 1/2 cups peanuts (other nuts would be good I am sure too - such as cashews or almonds)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoons coarse salt

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Take a rimmed large cookie sheet (or jelly roll pan or 2 smaller rimmed cookie sheets) and line it with tinfoil. Spray it with cooking spray. Pop the popcorn and place in a large bowl. Add the peanuts and set aside. Put sugar, corn syrup, butter, cocoa, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until mixture comes to a gentle simmer, about 5 minutes.

Pour sugar mixture over popcorn and nuts; toss to coat. Keeping tossing even if it doesn't look like it is coating well. And even if you are having trouble getting it to coat "well" - it doesn't need to have chocolate on every bit of popcorn. It will be good no matter how the chocolate mixture coated the popcorn. Transfer to baking sheet. Bake until dry. Stirring every 20 minutes and cooking about 1 hour. Cool on sheet on wire racks. And then break apart into pieces. Store in airtight containers or ziplocks.

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