Ohhhhhh lovelies, if there is one recipe you take away from the Pig & Quill this year, let it be this one. Is that putting the popcorn on too high a pedestal? Perhaps.
I’ll correct myself.
Ohhhhh lovelies, if you like things that are salty. That are sweet. That are nutty and crisp and ever-so-slightly caramelized, junky and comforting and just completely, justifiably snack-worthy, have I got a recipe for you.
A few weeks back, on the eve of my cousin Lauren’s bridal shower, I found myself staring down a dozen kraft paper favor bags adorned with bridal-worthy decals and bows when it occurred to me I had no idea what I was going to put in them. I wanted something light. Something airy. Something that would fill a favor bag that I probably bought two sizes too big. Whoops. And I immediately thought: popcorn.
Fortunately, popcorn puts the IN in Pinterest these days, so when I began browsing ideas for poptastic recipes, there was no shortage. As in, there were like thousands of recipes out there. But I wanted something uniquely snacky. Sweet and toasted and…well, potato-chippy, darnit. So I picked and pulled and whined and got kinda ghetto superstar and scraped together a technique that turns some pretty tasty snacks into a pretty tastier snack with very little effort involved. Did I mention that I also dragged Chris into the kitchen at midnight for moral support? I did. Bless his heart, he didn’t even sample the stash as we went along, just rubbed my back and said, “looks good, babe,” while I did my best to avoid covering us both in scalding sugar. What a trooper.
Anyhizzle, give this recipe a try. Pack it up in these super cool reusable food wraps when it’s your turn to bring the baseball snacks or stash some in your ridiculously oversized purse for when you need that second wind at work. (Hey, there’s protein in there — it’s totally balanced.) Best yet, fill a big-ass bowl with this stuff and park yourself in front of House of Cards with your buds. I can think of few better complements to Kevin Spacey’s sweet Southern draaaaawwl.
Notes: I know the title says sticky, but I actually like the idea that it’s sticky more than actual stickiness. If you want a truly sticky (read: slightly chewy) popcorn, bake this for 15- 20 mins. To get it extra crisp, leave it in for at least 30, stirring every 10.
- 7-8 oz popped kettle corn
- 10 oz salted kettle
shipschips, lightly crushed
- 8 oz honey roasted peanuts
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup (I know, I’m sorry, it’s kind of essential…)
- 1 stick salted butter, cubed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 5 oz dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- sea salt
Preheat oven to 250F.
Combine popcorn, potato chips and nuts in a large bowl. Set aside. In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave an additional 2 minutes. Stir. (Butter will be separated.) Microwave 2 more minutes. Mixture should be hot and bubbly and butter should combine easily now. (Be careful – mixture is incredibly hot!)
Add vanilla and baking soda and stir to combine. Mixture will froth up. Pour frothy mixture over popcorn, chips and nuts and stir quickly but gently until coated.
Turn mixture out onto parchment-lined cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Bake for 15-30+ minutes, stirring every 5, until desired crispness is reached. (See note.) Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
While mixture is cooling, add chocolate chips to a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high in 30 second increments, stirring between, until chocolate is completely melted. Be sure to stir between zapping — the chips will retain their shape if undisturbed even though they’re melting. Using a fork, carefully drizzle melted chocolate over cooling popcorn. Top with plenty of sea salt. Allow mixture to finish cooling completely, then use a sharp knife, scraper or wooden spoon to break into pieces.
Try not to eat the whole dadgum tray in one sitting.