Not all popcorn has to be buttered. Try Spiced Chocolate Popcorn Crunch for movie night in or the next time you're entertaining--this sweet and spicy treat is sure to be a hit!
8 cups popped popcorn
1/2 cup dry-roasted, lightly salted peanuts
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 300ºF. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Combine popcorn and peanuts on baking sheet.
Mix brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in a small pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil without stirring for 4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda. Quickly pour caramel over popcorn and peanuts; toss with 2 rubber spatulas or spoons. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring twice.
Place chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium heat in 10-second bursts, stirring in between, until almost melted, 40 to 50 seconds total. Stir in cayenne and cinnamon. Transfer to a ziplock bag, cut a small hole in a corner and drizzle chocolate over popcorn. Let stand until set, 3 to 4 hours. Break into pieces and serve.
This recipe was pretty easy, but I certainly need to work on my "toss the popcorn in the caramel sauce" technique, as I don't feel I got everything evenly coated. Also, even after letting it set after baking, my popcorn wasn't crispy, but chewy. Maybe it's the summer humidity. I like the spiced chocolate, but be warned: you may want to reduce the amount of cayenne if you don't like hot-spicy foods. It is not too overwhelming, but I felt it had an "afterburn" as I like to call it. I'd probably cut back a bit next time I make this. I LOVE the combination of cinnamon and chocolate, so you could go with just that as well!
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