Recipe 3: White Chocolate Popcorn Ghosts
For the ghosts -you’ll need white chocolate, of course. But I’ve tried just about everywhere I can imagine and I can’t seem to find bulk white chocolate chips. I can find chocolate chips up the wazoo but not white chocolate. I’ve looked in bulk aisles, in grocery stores, chocolate shops, even those pick-n-mix candy stores, which are super expensive by the way.
But what I did learn, is that some stores, like certain Whole Foods or gourmet markets, have small chocolate departments, and during the day, they have live humans working in them. Humans who, if you are sweet to (hah, get it sweet?), usually don’t have a problem using my own containers/bag when they chop off a piece off their giant chocolate blocks, instead of wrapping it in plastic.
Con: they still put a barcode sticker on the lid, which is hard to peel off sometimes. If you use a cloth bag, the sticker is easy to take off, but they have to go to landfill either way. Bummer. Either way, that’s inevitable. I hope they come up with a biodegradable sticker soon.
I was able to find white chocolate at $5.00 per half pound, which is twice as much as I need for this recipe, just about 200 grams of white chocolate, chopped into little bits.
200 grams might look like a lot of white chocolate but I was surprised that. the final product wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet, the popcorn seems to balance it out. The vanilla flavor is most pronounced. It’s like riding a vanilla horse down a vanilla beach, while drinking a vanilla milkshake and listening to Milli Vanilli.
Just kidding. Most of that sounds awful.
Anyway, the first thing to do is pop the popcorn per your favorite popping method. I did the paper bag trick this time to get a second use out of a bread bag. Just pour 1/3 cup popcorn kernels into a paper bag, fold the top of the bag a few times to seal, and pop for about 2-3 minutes (it’s done when the popping slows to 1-2 seconds between pops).
Pour the popped popcorn into a large bowl and make sure there are no un-popped kernels. – you don’t want to crunch down on those by accident.
Next, take the chopped white chocolate and melt – either on a double boiler or in the microwave. If melting on the microwave, do so in 25 second intervals on high, stirring in between and making sure it doesn’t burn. This usually takes just over a minute in total.
Once melted, stir in the vanilla, the pour the mixture over the popcorn and mix gently to coat.
This is the point where most of the popcorn ball recipes tell you to line a muffin pan with plastic wrap and put the popcorn balls in the holes to form.
To this I say, nayyyy.
I had to come up with a plastic free alternative. Surely if I just put the popcorn balls in the muffin tin without plastic, they’d get stuck.
So in a moment of desperation, it hit me: wide mouth mason jar tops! Yas. I have tons of them. I plopped 6 upside down on a piece of parchment paper and gently filled them with the popcorn mixture. I decided I wanted them flatter like rice cakes than balls, so I gave them a little smush down afterwards.
Smushing them was actually quite therapeutic.
Now let them set for at least an hour at room temperature. In the meantime,
Chocolate baking discs are another ingredient I can find in bulk, but if you can’t, regular chocolate chip will work, but instead of using the whole disc as a mouth, just melt more chocolate and paint on a mouth. This is also the chocolate I will use to make the pupils on the frosting eyes. I melted about 4 discs (learn my tea melting method here) and using the end of a metal bottle stop, I dotted on little spots on each eye. Since these are monster eyes, I made some bigger than others.
Allow to dry before assembling. Don’t get impatient with this step. If you try to move the eyes too early, they’ll smoosh everywhere. I speak from experience. Now would be a good time to make more candy eyes, if you haven’t already.
Once the popcorn is hard and set, you can flip them over and gently pop them out of the mason jar lid onto a plate.
Once the eyes are hard and set they are ready to be carefully applied. For the mouth, I just use a chocolate disc, but if you can only find chips, just melt them and paint a mouth on, I bet it will look cuter.
When attaching the eyes and mouth, use melted chocolate (white probably will look better) as a “glue” to stick the eyes and mouth to the popcorn ball.
That’s it! Adorable spooky little popcorn ghosts!
Candy eyes – recipe here
1/3 cup popcorn kernels – bulk (here are two ways you can pop them)
White chocolate (200g) – bulk
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 chocolate discs or 1 tablespoon chocolate chips –bulk
1.) Pop 1/3 popcorn kernels per your usual popping methods. Pick out any unpopped kernels.
2.) Melt white chocolate, and gently pour into popcorn. Stir to coat evenly.
3.) Line 6 large mouth mason jar lids upside down on parchment paper (see above) and stove a handful of the popcorn mixture into each, flattening as needed to fill the circle.
4.) Allow to harden, about one hours. Speed it up by placing circles in the fridge.
5.) Once hard, pop them upside down onto a plate, flat side up.
6.) Melt chocolate (use the tea melting method) and use the melted chocolate as an adhesive to stick on the eyes and chocolate disc mouths – or paint on your own mouths.