Thursday, December 15, 2016

Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Bear Popcorn from Our Best Bites

1.    16 cups popped popcorn (about 2 bags microwave popcorn)
2.    1 cup butter
3.    1/3 cup Karo syrup
4.    2 cups Red Hot candies
5.    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon oil (more or less to taste)
6.    1 cup chocolate chips
7.    1 tablespoon shortening
1.    Place the popcorn in a very large, heat-safe bowl and set aside.
2.    Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil and grease or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
3.    In a medium saucepan, combine butter, Karo syrup, and Red Hots. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring very frequently, and then reduce heat to medium-low and boil for 5 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon oil and then pour over the popcorn, stirring with wooden spoons to evenly coat the popcorn in the candy mixture.
4.    Divide the popcorn evenly between the two baking sheets and spread in a single layer over each baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
5.    In a microwave-safe jar or measuring cup, add the chocolate chips and the shortening. Heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time, until the chocolate is smooth and liquidy. Using a fork, drizzle the chocolate over the popcorn and allow to harden. Break into pieces and serve or divide into bags to deliver as gifts.

*My own notes after trying their recipe. 
         1. I bought my red hots at Wal Mart. They looked a little pink instead of red.  I know WinCo has red hots in their bulk section and they look more red than the ones I had.  I didn't have much time the day I went to get supplies and Wal Mart was closer than WinCo.
        2.  Cinnamon oil- next time I will buy 2 pkgs of cinnamon oil.  Those little bottles don't have much in them.  I like more cinnamon flavor than the 1/2 tsp called for in the recipe.  Would have been nice to add a little more to each batch.  
       3.  I pop the popcorn on the stove top instead of buying microwave popcorn,  I think it tastes better and it's cheaper.  
       4.  Once I put the popcorn in the oven the cinnamon syrup tends to pool underneath the popcorn.  I stirred the popcorn a couple of times in the oven to get the syrup all over the popcorn and I did the same once it came out of the oven.  No sense in leaving all that syrup on the foil.  
       5.  Once the cinnamon oil is added to the syrup you might want to just lean back away from the stove a little.  Stirring in the oil tends to create this puff of steam that's pretty intense if you breathe it in right away.  

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