With all the nuts, this mixture is very similar to that delicious Moose Munch that Harry and David sells. Except when I make it, I can add more nuts. And more chocolate. And coconut. It's also great with other nuts (macadamia nuts and almonds are tasty) and/or pretzels. You pretty much can't go wrong. —Erin McDowell
bags plain popcorn, popped (this is about 20 cups of popcorn, so you can pop it any way you wish)
3 1/2 cups
cashew halves, toasted
unsweetened coconut, toasted
2 1/2 cups
water, or more as necessary
vanilla bean, split
generous pinch of sea salt
dark chocate, melted (or more as needed)
Toss the popcorn, nuts, and coconut together to combine. Line a large space of countertop with parchment paper, wax paper, or aluminum foil. Spray lightly with pan spray. Spread the popcorn mixture out on the counter.
Place the sugar in a large pot. Add the water and mix to combine. It should feel like wet sand. Add more water as necessary to achieve that sand-like effect. Begin to cook over medium high heat. Stir the caramel until it begins to boil, then allow it to boil undisturbed. (Wash the sides of the pot down as necessary if sugar begins to accumulate on the sides.0
Cook the caramel to the desired color. Remember to remove the caramel from the heat as it’s reaching the finished color, as it will continue to cook for a few moments. (If you prefer, use a candy thermometer to determine the right color for your caramel. The sugar will be evenly caramelized around 230 degrees).
When the caramel has finished cooking, add the butter and stir to combine. Then add the milk or cream and stir to combine (it will bubble up violently, but never fear). Pour the finished caramel on top of the popcorn mixture. Allow to cool completely. Break it up slightly, removing any large pieces of caramel or uncoated pieces. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Mix the melted chocolate with the oil. Pour it over the cooled caramel-coated popcorn mixture. Toss lightly to coat completely. Allow to cool until the chocolate has set. Break it up any large clumps if necessary. Store in an airtight container.
I always carry three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's pie. My first cookbook, The Fearless Baker, is out on October 24, 2017.