I’m one of those people who loves awards season. I love all the beautiful people in their gorgeous clothes on the red carpet, and I love when someone funny does a great job hosting. The atmosphere at awards shows seems somehow both laid back and also buzzing with excitement, and I like feeling like I’m a part of it, even though I’m just sitting on my couch. As the Academy Awards are coming up this weekend, I thought it would be fun to create a very fancy snack to eat while watching, since I can’t go be a very fancy person at a huge, televised event.
I looked up the menu for this year’s official Oscars after-party, always catered by Wolfgang Puck. Among other things, he’s planned gold-dusted truffle popcorn. A decadent popcorn seems like just the thing to snack on while watching the Oscars, but I do not have access to gold dust. I mean, I probably could if I tried hard enough, but who really wants to eat gold dust on popcorn, when you can just coat it with beautiful, golden caramel instead? So I started thinking about what would go nicely with caramel, and chocolate came to mind, as it is the most obvious answer in the world. I wanted to add a little something extra, a little more glamour. I’d seen freeze-dried berries in a recipe from my name is yeh recently, and thought they might be the perfect addition. (You have to click on that link, by the way – her photos are gorgeous).
I went with freeze-dried raspberries, and I was so right about adding them to my popcorn. The combination of the slightly salty caramel, the sweet, almost bitter chocolate, and the tart raspberries is completely amazing – and addicting. The tartness of the berries really diffuses the bitterness in the chocolate, so every bite is perfect. This is the kind of recipe you can’t make too often because it’s very rich, but the compelling flavors make it easy to eat the whole batch. The recipe makes a good amount, so there’s plenty to share – if you have the self-control for that.
It starts with whipping up a basic caramel popcorn (only takes 20 minutes, and I highly recommend you eat some of it right away), and then you add a dark chocolate drizzle, followed by chocolate chunks, and crushed, freeze-dried raspberries. You can play with quantities, depending on what you like, but I promise the raspberries give this popcorn some serious star quality. This might be the Meryl Streep of popcorn.
It’ll keep for a couple days in an airtight container, if you have it around that long. Dark Chocolate Caramel Raspberry Popcorn is like a fantastic Oscars dress: custom made for the occasion, but talked about for years to come!
Dark Chocolate Caramel Raspberry Popcorn
- 8 cups air-popped popcorn
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks of butter
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup chopped dark chocolate; I just used dark chocolate chips divided use
- 1 cup whole freeze-dried raspberries
Start by popping your popcorn with an air popper - you can also do this in a brown paper bag in the microwave. Place popcorn in a large bowl.
2. Melt brown sugar, butter, and salt together over high heat. Bring just to a boil - (right when you start to see tiny bubbles), and then reduce heat and let simmer, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes.
3. Pour caramel over top of popcorn and stir until the popcorn is all coated. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Pour popcorn out onto the baking sheet, and spread into an even layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.
4. While the popcorn is in the oven, melt half of the chopped dark chocolate in a piping bag - you can also use a sandwich baggie. Be sure to melt it in 10 second bursts in the microwave to keep the chocolate from seizing. Crush the freeze-dried raspberries into small pieces.
5. When the popcorn comes out of the oven, let cool until you can handle it without burning yourself. Eat some, and then drizzle half of the melted dark chocolate over the whole tray. Sprinkle on a 1/4 cup of the chopped dark chocolate bits and half of the raspberries.
6. Place the tray in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from freezer and check that the melted chocolate has mostly firmed up. Stir popcorn around on the tray. Drizzle on the rest of the melted chocolate, and top with the rest of the chopped dark chocolate and raspberries. Freeze for 5-10 more minutes, and then pour into a bowl and enjoy.