I am not a huge cookie person, and I hate to admit this, but I don't get into the whole holiday cookie baking thing. No cookie swapping for me. Don't get me wrong, I love a single good cookie every once and a while, but a plate of cookies hanging around during the holidays…...meh. Not my thing.
Also, I am not much of a popcorn person. Wait a second. I take that back. As soon as I sit down with a bowl of popcorn in from of me, then it's like .... ohhhhh, yes ....I get it. This stuff is crazy addicting. I can't stop shoveling popcorn into my face.
I assume that you are well aware that the microwave popcorn that you and I grew up on, and that was a staple on saturday evenings in our home (with a movie, of course), is no longer a "good for you" snack. Microwave popcorn, which was once thought to be the perfect solution to low calorie binge snacking, is actually evil evil stuff. In fact, anything that goes in the microwave should probably not go into your body, but that is a long discussion for another day. I ditched the microwave years ago, and to be perfectly honest, I never miss it. The oven and stovetop can do exactly what the microwave does, and they do it better. So today, we are popping our popcorn on the stovetop, the old old fashioned way, and making this chocolate covered popcorn party mix. My alternative to the cookie plate this holiday season.
I like to think of this popcorn party mix as something fun that you can put out in little bowls at a holiday party, or at the end of a dinner party. You could even take some ice cream out of the freezer and serve it with this popcorn. I was also thinking of handing out this popcorn in mason jars as gifts for over the holidays. I might even take it one step further and gift it with an extra side of the rosemary sea salt. A martha-stewart-ey homemade gift, that is easy and impressive. Who doesn't love getting a homemade gift? You can even do it last minute, the night before….. solving any last minute gift idea panics. You know that is what I will be doing.
dark chocolate popcorn party mix + rosemary sea salt
MAKES several servings
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
1 cup of almonds
1 cup of pumpkin seeds
5 oz of dark chocolate (2 regular sized chocolate bars), broken up into small squares
for the rosemary sea salt:
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 large sprig of rosemary (plus a little more for sprinkling over the top)
Make the rosemary salt:
- Using a mortar and pestle, grind the salt and rosemary.
- Then, transfer the salt mixture to a cutting board and mince the rosemary into the salt. Set aside while you make the popcorn.
Pop the popcorn, and toast the nuts and seeds:
- In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, add a couple of kernels and cover. When the kernels pop, add the remaining kernels to the pot, cover, and give it a good shake to distribute.
- Once the kernels start to pop, wait until the popping slows down to 2-3 second between each pop. That's when you know it's done. Remove it from the heat immediately, and transfer the popped popcorn to a large mixing bowl.
- While the popcorn is popping, you can toast the nuts and seeds in a dry skillet for a couple of minutes. Then transfer them to the same large mixing bowl as the popcorn.
Melt the chocolate and coat the popcorn party mix:
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using a double broiler, melt the chocolate while stirring constantly.
- When the chocolate has completely melted, pour it over the popcorn mixture, and stir it to coat evenly.
- Pour the mixture out onto the parchment lined baking sheet and spread it out evenly. Place it in the fridge for about 15 minutes to allow the chocolate to harden, and the you can serve.
- This will keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for at least a week (maybe more). You can also divide the mixture into individual mason jars are hand them out as gifts or use them as individual servings.