I’m on an easy kick this week. Seriously. Just as it becomes the time of year wherein I like to delve into all sorts of complicated, hours-long recipes, I strangely keep finding myself making quick and easy dishes that amaze me with tastiness that arrives in so few steps.
That Brussels sprouts recipe from the other day was definitely a simple one, but this Salted Caramel Popcorn Bark totally takes the cake. Er, takes the bark? Whatever. This was my first time making chocolate bark and I’d appreciate it if you’d all just stand back, since I now plan on making it all the time and eating it every single day of my life. Forever.
Whyyy did it take me this long to figure out that it’s actually reallyreally easy to make your own chocolate bars? Why must I be drawn to the complicated recipes and ignore the stupidly easy ones? Oh! My life is so difficult. If you only knew.
This recipe in particular came about from a conversation I had with recently with a friend in the bar. We were in the Big Man’s new bar, in fact (which is awesome and you must check it out #SPON #OkNotSponsored). We were talking about a mistake she’d had in the kitchen, where she’d tried to make something and it didn’t work, so she gave up, melted a bunch of chocolate chips, and began throwing random cupboard items on top of the chocolate. (These sorts of kitchen escapades are why we’re friends). Eventually, she emptied a bag of popcorn on top and: Magic.
See, this is what i love about chocolate bark: it’s like the kitchen sink of candy. Leftover candied ginger? Throw it in! Dried fruit and nuts? Put it right there on top! Salted Caramel Popcorn? Kill me now, this is fricking incredible.
So that’s why, this month for The Leftovers Club (join us! Read more about it here), I melted a bunch of chocolate chips and some samples of dark chocolate kindly sent to me by Kallari- for shiz, the greatest organic bean-to-bar chocolate I’ve ever tasted- and added a handful of salted caramel popcorn. It was quick, it was simple, it was insanely delicious. Thankfully, this month I was paired up with the awesome Angela of Mind Over Batter, and I figured the lady had a pretty awesome palate, being as her blog has recipes like Banana Maple Caramel Corn (hello!?) and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars. I mean, it’s like this was meant to be. We met at the bottom of the escalator in the Plaza Food Court, which totally sounds like the beginning of a meet-cute (which, in way, it was, just with food) and she gave me this delectable pumpkin butter that I’ve been dipping apples, bread and my fingers into ever since. And I handed over this Popcorn Bark with not a little bit of difficulty.
Salted Caramel Popcorn Bark Recipe
- 2-3 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil
- 1/8 cup popcorn kernels
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 heaping teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 35 g dark chocolate
- 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- Heat the oil over medium heat and add the popcorn kernels. Let the kernels start to sizzle, then cover the pan tightly and let the popcorn pop, shaking often. As soon as the last kernel has popped, remove from the heat and pour the popcorn into a large bowl.
- Rinse and wipe the pan completely clean and dry, then return to the stove.Heat the sugar over medium heat, stirring often, until it is completely broken down and no lumps remain. Toss the melted sugar over the popcorn and immediately stir to cover the kernels. While the sugar is still hot, toss with the sea salt, coating the popcorn as evenly as you can. Set aside and let cool. (Do not touch! that sugar will burn the daylights out of your skin).
- Layer parchment paper on a baking sheet. Melt the dark chocolate and the semisweet chocolate chips together, either in the microwave or over a double boiler on the stovetop. Stir often while melting. When the chocolate is completely melted, pour it onto the parchment paper and spread it as evenly as you can, about 1/8″ thick. Try to keep the chocolate as rectangular-shaped as possible.
- While the chocolate is still hot, break the caramel corn up as much as you can using a wooden spoon and your hands, and add to the top of the chocolate. I like to take handfuls of the popcorn and spread it out by hand, working quickly before the chocolate cools too much to set around the popcorn. Use as much popcorn as you like; I like it to be mostly covering the chocolate, but some people prefer a more even chocolate-popcorn ratio.
- Move the baking sheet into the freezer and let the chocolate set for at least 20 minutes. Remove from the freezer and let defrost just slightly, about 5 minutes. Break apart either using your hands or a knife, then devour.