There’s a famous store in my local mall that sells “Zebra” popcorn, which, translated into English, is caramel coated popcorn with dark and white chocolate drizzled on top. It is quite delicious.
Well, our church youth group is having an activity tonight, and one of the young women I work with suggested having zebra popcorn as a treat. It’s a large group, so I decided to try my hand at making a knock off version. All the recipes I found called for baking the caramel corn in the oven before drizzling it with chocolate.
There’s only one problem with that. I don’t have an oven right now. It broke a week and a half ago, and I’m suffering without it. The repairman ordered the necessary part to repair it, but it’s not getting installed until tomorrow. And the activity is tonight!
Since I promised to make this yummy caramel corn for tonight, I had to find a substitute. I took my mom’s popcorn ball recipe and used that instead of a traditional caramel corn. It turned out really well! It also came together really fast and didn’t heat up my kitchen. That’s a definite plus!
If you want a crisp, crunchy caramel corn, this recipe isn’t for you. The resulting caramel corn from this recipe is softer and a tad chewy, but not overly or unpleasantly so.
Want to know how I made it? Watch and see.
First, I made the popcorn by popping it on the stove in a big pot with a little oil. I didn’t take pictures. Sorry. You can use whatever kind of popcorn you’d like to use, but I think it is best if it is plain, unbuttered popcorn.
Next, I made the “caramel” in another large pot (you can use a Dutch oven) by combining sugars butter, corn syrup (I made two recipes with light corn syrup and one with dark corn syrup), and salt (see actual recipe at the bottom of this post). When it was heated and combined, I added the popcorn and stirred it for a couple of minutes until the popcorn was coated with the caramel mixture. Next, I spread it on a parchment coated cookie sheet and let it cool. (This is the batch using dark corn syrup.)
And, voila! That was is! It took me less than an hour from start to finish to make three double sided batches of this corn. Now it’s bagged up and ready to serve tonight. I hope they like it as much as I do!
Before I close, here’s the promised recipe for the caramel corn.
Popcorn Balls (or No Oven Needed Caramel Corn)
Recipe from my mom
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup corn syrup (light or dark)
1/2 teaspoon salt
A few drops of food color (optional, I didn’t add any)
8-10 cups popped popcorn
Heat all ingredients except popcorn to simmering in a Dutch oven or a large heavy pot over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in popcorn taking care to remove any unopposed or partially popped kernels. Cook, stirring constantly until popcorn is well coated, about 3 minutes. Cool slightly.
If making caramel corn, spread popcorn on a parchment covered cookie sheet and let cool. Is making zebra corn, break into pieces once the corn is cool. Then drizzle with chocolate of your choice. I used dark and white melting chocolate. Store in a sealed container or bag.
If making popcorn balls, while popcorn is still warm enough to shape, but is cool enough to handle without getting burned, dip hands in cool water and shape mixture into 8 popcorn balls about 2 1/2 inch in diameter. Place on waxed or parchment paper. Cool completely. Wrap individually or place in plastic bags and tie or seal.
This is particularly fun for Halloween and a throwback to the days of homemade treats given out alongside store bought candy.
Hope you enjoy this fun recipe!
Laurel Laurie Staten Nguyen Newhall, CA