Mushroom popcorn kernels are recommended for this recipe because they pop up pretty and fluffy, yet are sturdy enough not to collapse under the heat of a warm chocolate drizzle. Ask your favorite gourmet retailer, or buy the mushroom kernels online.
Kristina Kern of Stella's PopKern also likes to use virgin coconut oil here, because it is flavorless and tolerates fairly high heat.
If desired, add crushed peppermint candy, orange zest, crystallized ginger or crushed vanilla snaps to the just-drizzled popcorn (before the chocolate has set).
Make Ahead: The popcorn can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days. It's best not to re-crisp this kind in the oven.
Yield: Makes about 12 cups
- 1/2 cup good-quality chopped dark chocolate (about 2 ounces)
- 3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons virgin coconut oil (see headnote)
- 1/2 cup mushroom popcorn kernels (see headnote)
- Fine sea salt, for sprinkling
Fill a small saucepan with a few inches of water; bring to just below a boil over medium heat.
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, then place the bowl over the saucepan. Once the chocolate has melted and you've stirred it smooth, remove the pan from the heat.
Line one or two baking sheets with waxed paper.
Heat the oil in your popcorn popper or in a deep pot placed over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the popcorn kernels; begin stirring or shaking the pot right away to make sure each kernel is coated. Cover the pot and cook until the popping sounds slow down, with long pauses in between.
Transfer the melted chocolate to a zip-top bag, squeezing the chocolate down to one of the bottom corners.
Immediately transfer the popcorn to the baking sheet(s), spreading it in an even layer. Turn the short end of the baking sheet(s) to face you. Use scissors to snip off a small bit of the bottom corner so you can drizzle the chocolate over the popcorn; hold the bag at a slight angle and start drizzling from the side closest to you up to the top, trying to hit about 75 percent of the popcorn.
Sprinkle lightly with salt. Let the chocolate set before serving or storing.
From Kristina Kern, of Stella's PopKern (www.stellaspopkern.com) in Washington.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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