I waited until the last minute to make this popcorn. I toyed with the idea of skipping this week, even. I don’t like peanuts. I’m not super crazy about popcorn, especially one with a jumble of stuff mixed in with it. It turns out that this is pretty good.
The timing was right, though – I’m a volunteer baker for our local heritage museum and I was baking several batches of cookies for them anyway, so I figured I’d hoist the popcorn off onto them too. I still just made a half-batch, since a half cup of popcorn is the perfect amount to pop stovetop in my 8-quart dutch oven. and 24 cups of popcorn is a LOT.
This is actually pretty easy to make although there are a number of steps involved. The popcorn is good just as a caramel corn, no peanuts or chocolate needed. I think marcona almonds might work well instead of the peanuts, too. I didn’t have any issues popping my corn (stovetop works great!) or making the caramel. Once the popcorn went into the warm oven, I got to work on tempering my dark and milk chocolates.
Here’s where I cheated. I’ve tempered chocolate by hand before. I’m not particularly skilled at it. It involves melting the chocolate to destroy the crystal structure, then re-introducing new crystals in the form of already tempered seed chocolate and bringing the temperature back down to stabilize the new crystals. The result is chocolate that’s been melted but will harden back into a smooth, shiny surface when it cools down That’s my simplified version of the science of tempering.
As I mentioned, I’ve tempered chocolate by hand before, during my time taking the Ecole Chocolate course (which was fantastic – I learned a lot about working with chocolate). It was a pain and my results were always hit or miss, so I ended up with a tempering machine. Which made it very easy to temper my chocolate for the popcorn, although without a machine I’m sure my tempering skills would have improved during the class.
To get the recipe and see the other entries from this week’s Baked Sunday Mornings head on over to Baked Sunday Mornings.
- Caramel Popcorn with Peanuts and Chocolate (Baked Explorations, p. 189)