Chocolate-covered popcorn, a standout at any candy shop or specialty food store, satisfies a craving for a crunchy snack and dessert all in one. But gourmet food often comes with a hefty price. For a more cost-effective treat, you can make your own. Chocolate-covered popcorn also makes a homey hostess or birthday gift.
Hot to Pop
Pour kernels into a large pot preheated over medium heat with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Add white or brown sugar to the preheated oil for kettle corn, approximately 2 to 3 tablespoons per ¼ cup of oil. Use one-half cup of kernels per approximately 4 quarts, or 16 cups, of popcorn.
Cover the pot with a lid and lift it above the heat. Shake the pot continuously to keep the kernels from burning while allowing them to pop. Remove the pot from the stove after the popping sound slows to between 2- and 3-second intervals.
Transfer the popcorn into a large bowl and allow it to cool. Stir the sweetened kettle corn occasionally to break up any clumps.
Fill a saucepan with 1 inch of water and set it on medium heat. Allow the water to come to a simmer but do not boil it.
Place small dark, milk or white chocolate pieces or chips into a dry glass or metal bowl. Use about 12 to 14 ounces of chocolate per 4 quarts of popcorn; scale up or down to taste.
Cradle the bowl over the simmering water in the saucepan; stir gently until the chocolate melts about halfway. Remove it from the heat and continue to stir until it melts completely.
Use a microwave at 50 percent power to melt the chocolate instead of the double-boiler method, if you prefer. Microwave the chocolate pieces in a non-glass microwaveable safe bowl on 30-second intervals. Stir the chocolate after each interval, repeating the process until the chocolate turns creamy and smooth.
Pour the melted chocolate onto the cooled popcorn. Use a dry mixing spoon or gloved hands to gently toss the chocolate and popcorn together.
Cut one or several pieces of parchment paper large enough to accommodate the popcorn.
Pour the chocolate-coated popcorn onto the parchment paper, spreading it out in one layer. Set the popcorn aside and allow it to cool and harden.