For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been helping my youngest daughter plan her Valentine gift bags. We’ve already made some Arrow Clips to add a cute closure to the bags and picked out a few goodies for the inside, but we struggled with the edible treat for the gift bag. There are tons of Valentine’s Day candies lining the store aisles, yet my daughter insisted on making something. Hmm, translation – I’ll be making something… can we say, #lifeofamom?
So off I went to Pinterest, my ‘go to’ source for inspiration. After a quick scan of all the options, we decided to make Valentine’s Day Gourmet Popcorn. Partly because it’s a super easy treat to make, but mostly because I had all the ingredients – ha! Don’t you just love it when there isn’t a supermarket run involved? I do!
Valentine’s Day Gourmet Popcorn
- Colored candy melts – pink and red
- M&M dark chocolate candy
- Various Valentine sprinkles
- Popcorn salt*
*Tip 1 – Popcorn salt is finely ground salt (Yes, it makes a difference). Finely ground salt allows it to stick into the nooks & crannies of the popcorn and gives a better overall flavor. If you do not want to buy popcorn salt, make your own by pulsing regular salt in a coffee grinder or try a food processor.
- Add 1/4 cup of oil to a 6 quart pot. Turn heat to just slightly past medium.
- Let oil heat* for about 3-5 minutes. Do not let oil smoke or burn.
- Add 3/4 cup popcorn kernels. Cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar.
*Tip 2 – Heat the oil before adding the popcorn kernels will allow for fluffier popcorn (I’ve compared) and less unpopped kernels. If you accidentally add kernels to cold oil, don’t worry, it will still pop.
- Allow the popcorn to pop. Resist the urge to shake* the pot while the popcorn is vigorously popping.
- When the popping begins to slow (about 2 seconds between pops), give the pot a nice shake to bring any unpopped kernels close to the heat, which should allow them to pop.
- Turn off heat. Shake again. Remove from heat and let the pot sit until the popcorn stops popping.
*Tip 3 – Continuous shaking of the pot brings unpopped kernels away from the bottom of the pot and heat source needed to pop the kernel.
- Spread a single layer of popcorn on a large baking tray. Depending on the size of your tray, this may need to be done in 2-3 batches.
- Microwave 1/2 cup of pink and 1/2 cup red candy melts in separate bowls for 2o seconds. Stir and microwave in 10-second increments, stirring between until melted. Place candy melt bowls in a hot water bath*.
- Use a spoon to drizzle each color candy melt onto the popcorn.
- Sprinkle popcorn salt and Valentine sprinkles onto wet candy melts. Taste for balance of sweet & salty.
- Press M&M dark chocolate* candies onto the larger globs of candy melts.
- Let the melted candy solidify and dry.
- Break up and put in gift bags.
*Tip 4 – Place melted candy bowls in hot water baths to prevent the melts hardening.
*Tip 5 – M&M dark chocolate keeps the mix from getting too sweet.
Isn’t it pretty?! Don’t let the simplicity of this treat fool you. You will become addicted to this sweet-n-salty Valentine’s Day Gourmet Popcorn, so be prepared to make more. Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!