When I have a nursing baby, I get into this ... habit ... of eating a big bowl of popcorn every night. It kind of becomes a lifestyle thing. I get a bad case of the munchies in the evening, partly because the kids are finally in bed and I can unwind and eat alone (!) but mostly because I actually get hungry from the extra calorie burn of milk production. It's a perfect snack for sitting and reading a book by myself or watching a show with my husband - I might even share with him if I'm feeling generous!
Usually I just make it salty, but every now and then I want it to be more like a dessert. Like a chocolate dessert. I love kettle corn, so I thought, could I just add some cocoa powder? I tried, it worked, and this became a snack/dessert that satisfies me on so many counts. It's got the sweet/salty combo, it's crunchy, and it's chocolatey. It kind of reminds me of the chocolate rice cakes I used to eat when I was a kid.
If you've got a Whirly Pop, this couldn't be easier. Otherwise just get yourself a big ol' pot and you're set!
chocolate kettle corn
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa powder*
a generous pinch of kosher salt
Combine the sugar, salt, and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Have a large bowl ready for the popcorn.
[Whirly pop method] Add oil and popcorn kernels together in whirly pop and set over medium heat, turning handle slowly, until sizzling. Pour in the sugar cocoa mixture and turn to coat. Put the heat up to medium high, turn rapidly as popcorn pops, and when it slows down or stops, pour popcorn out into the larger bowl.
[Pot method] In a large pot with a lid, heat the oil and three popcorn kernels over medium heat. When a kernel pops, remove lid and pour in the remaining kernels and the sugar cocoa mixture, swirling pot to combine. Keeping the pot over the heat, turn heat up to medium high and shake the pot back and forth. Keep shaking vigorously as all the kernels pop. When the popping has slowed significantly or stopped altogether, pour popcorn out into the large bowl.
The popcorn will be very hot at first because of the sugar! Let it cool briefly and then break apart the larger clumps and ENJOY.
* I sometime add a dash of cinnamon to make it like Mexican hot chocolate and it is yum.