This recipe takes caramel popcorn beyond candy to a decadent dairy-free dessert. It makes a great homemade gift and will satisfy even the sweetest sweet tooth.
- ½ cup canola oil
- ½ cup popcorn kernels
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup water
- ¼ t. salt
- 1/3 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- Candied walnuts or pecans (optional)
1. Fill a small pot of water and boil over medium heat. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a 3-quart stock pot (or bigger) over medium-high heat.
3. Add popcorn kernels, cover.
4. When kernels begin to pop (after about 45 seconds), shake pot every few seconds to toss kernels, making sure that the lid stays closed.
5. After most of the kernels have popped, turn off heat, and let pot rest for about twenty seconds, to ensure that all corn has popped before opening the lid. Pour popcorn onto prepared baking sheet, and set aside.
6. Make the caramel sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, water and salt, mixing well to dissolve the sugar. Once sugar is dissolved, cook without stirring about 5 minutes or until liquid is deep amber in color, washing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Remove from heat.
7. Working quickly, pour sauce over popcorn, turning with a spoon or spatula to coat evenly.
8. Place chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl and place over, but not touching, the boiling water until melted.
9. Meanwhile, place peanut butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. After peanut butter begins to “melt,” add the chocolate chips, and cook just about 30 seconds more, until mixture is slightly thick, but not stiff. Pour over caramel popcorn, turning to coat with a spoon or spatula.
10. Dust popcorn with cocoa powder while still warm, turning to coat, then with the powdered sugar. Allow to cool at room temperature, about two hours. Mix in candied nuts if desired. Serve.