It’s that time of year. That time of year when American office workers start suffering from sugar overload due to all the irresistible holiday treats parading around the office. It’s also the time of year when I start experiencing grass-is-greener complex about working from home. While it is true that working at home is totally awesome, my December has been pitifully devoid of holiday treats. My nonexistent co-workers aren’t presenting tins of peppermint bark and fudge at every corner. You lucky office people, you.
Yesterday, I decided to take matters into my own hands and make myself the kind of holiday treat that I’ve been craving. I made a big batch of my favorite light, salty snack (stove-top popcorn) and drizzled it with melted dark chocolate and crushed candy canes. Twenty minutes later, I had my peppermint-and-chocolate fix. I know that top photo makes it look really decadent, but keep in mind that I only drizzled the topside of the popcorn with chocolate. It’s not so rich that I feel sick to my stomach after a few bites. And it’s gluten-free, so I’ll be sharing my leftovers at girls’ night tonight.
You could go in a lot of different directions with this basic chocolate-drizzled popcorn concept. You could mix some lightly salted, roasted nuts in with the popcorn before drizzling it with chocolate. You could sprinkle it with coconut flakes or sprinkles instead of peppermint. You could trade white chocolate for the dark chocolate, or hey, drizzle it with both for a more decadent, classic peppermint bark approach. Just be careful when you’re melting the white chocolate, as it is more likely to scorch.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or vegetable oil
- ½ cup popcorn kernels
- sea salt
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- 4 standard-sized peppermint candy canes (you'll need about ⅓ cup finely crushed peppermint)
- Maldon salt or flaky finishing salt (optional)
- Cover a large jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Pour the oil into a large, heavy-bottomed pan with a lid (if you have a medium-sized Dutch oven, it's perfect for this). Turn the heat up to medium, add 2 kernels of corn, and cover.
- Once the kernels pop, remove the lid and pour in the remaining popcorn kernels. Cover the pot and give the pot a little shimmy to distribute the kernels evenly.
- Cook over medium heat, shaking the pot occasionally. Crack the lid just a smidge so the popcorn stays crisp, and cook until the popping sound slows to about one pop per every few seconds. Remove the pan from heat and dump the popcorn onto the parchment paper-covered pan. Lightly salt it and pick out any kernels that didn't pop.
- Place the candy canes in a plastic bag. Cover the bag with a tea towel and crush the candy canes by rolling a rolling pin over it. A hammer works, too. You want the candy canes to be pretty finely crushed when you're done.
- Melt the chocolate chips over a double boiler or in the microwave in twenty-second bursts, stirring between each, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
- Use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the popcorn. Working quickly, sprinkle the popcorn with the crushed candy canes. Lightly sprinkle with a pinch of Maldon/finishing salt or sea salt. Transfer the pan to the refrigerator for ten minutes, or until the chocolate is set completely. Break up the popcorn sheet with your hands and serve.
Storage suggestions: Store in an airtight plastic bag. The popcorn is best served on the day it's made, but should keep for a couple of days.
Make it vegan/dairy free: Substitute the dark chocolate chips with your favorite dairy-free chocolate chips.