I grew up with a fair amount of popcorn in my life. Every Friday and Saturday night my dad would pull out the hot air popper and pop a big bowl of popcorn. If you were really lucky, you’d get to share the big bowl on my dad’s lap in the recliner while watching Dallas. If not, you’d get a smaller bowl of your own. Win, win either way.
My parents still have their popcorn ritual. Their dog Bandit is guaranteed to make sure they don’t forget it. He loves popcorn too. And when my kids and I visit Minnesota, the kids list the popcorn as one of the highlights of the trip.
I’m not sure why, but I don’t make popcorn very often here at home. I hate the microwave stuff. After finishing supper and doing baths and reading time, I guess I don’t feel like we have much time for popcorn…except in the fall when there is time for caramel corn and in December when there is plenty of time for this PEPPERMINT POPCORN for CHRISTMAS!
One of my friends calls this stuff “Christmas Crack” or something similar. Once you take a bite, you need another one and maybe just a little more, and then another one, and pretty soon you have eaten a gallon of popcorn, and you don’t even care. Popcorn is sort of healthy, right?
I make quite a few different Christmas goodies, and I’d say this one is probably in my top three favorites. It is really good. Of course you get the crunch of popcorn, but then there is this coolness in your mouth from the peppermint and a sweetness from the chocolate. It tastes like Christmastime. It makes a great gift for teachers, neighbors, or friends. It’s no-bake, gluten-free, and egg-free. Or you can just eat it all yourself.
If you decide to make this, you may want to buy enough ingredients for more than one batch because you will almost certainly want more.
- 16-20 cups of popped popcorn (enough to fill a gallon pitcher and then some)
- 24 ounce package of vanilla almond bark
- 6 ounce package of peppermint candy canes or 6 ounces of peppermint candies
- 2 teaspoons of peppermint (not mint) extract or a few drops of peppermint oil (Extract can be found in the baking aisle of your grocery store near the vanilla and almond extracts. Peppermint oil will likely be found in the cake decorating and candy making department of a department store or at a craft store such as Hobby Lobby or Michaels. I use LorAnn Oils Peppermint oil–the tiny bottle in the ingredient picture.)
- 1/2 cup or more melted chocolate chips for drizzling over the finished popcorn (I use semi-sweet)
- Melt the almond bark on low in increments in the microwave or in a double-boiler on the stove. If you don’t have a double-boiler, a heat-proof bowl set over a pot works just fine. (Tip: I prefer the double-boiler method because I don’t want to have to babysit the microwave. I put the bark in the bowl on very low heat and let it melt while I crush the candy and pop the popcorn. It is usually melted by the time I am ready to use it. Your bowl should be just above the water, not touching it, and the heat should be only on about 2-3. Low and slow.)
- Pop the popcorn and crush the candy canes. I usually use my food processor to crush the candy canes, but it was dirty this time; a rolling pin and a zip top bag work just fine. (Tip: Instead of measuring out cups of popped popcorn, I overfilled a gallon pitcher, and called that good.)
- Put the popped popcorn in a very large bowl, being sure to sift out any unpopped kernels or hard pieces. Pour the crushed candy cane pieces over the top of the popcorn.
- When the almond bark is melted, add peppermint extract or peppermint oil to the bark and stir to combine. (Note: If you use extract, your bark may seize or clump up a little. Just proceed quickly and it should be fine. Oil should not cause clumping.)
- Pour the melted almond bark over the bowl of popcorn and candy and stir well to combine.
- Pour coated popcorn out onto a counter lined with parchment or wax paper or foil. Spread and separate a bit to try to get a single layer.
- Melt desired amount of chocolate in a small bowl. Use a fork or squeeze bottle or small zip top bag with the corner clipped to drizzle melted chocolate evenly over the popcorn.
- Allow the popcorn to dry and set. When dry, break up into chunks and store in an airtight container or package for gift-giving.
Source: I originally saw this at Our Best Bites.