It’s funny how you can take something as plain and simple as freshly popped corn and turn it into one of the tastiest and most addictive treats known to man. It’s a little like good social media marketing that way.
In the world of social media, we take common, every day companies (popcorn) and look for the things that make them special (unique offerings, personality, melted caramel, pure milk chocolate…you get the point). We research the target audience to find out what flavor of communication they like best. Do like they like their information served straight up (with butter and salt) or are they looking for a unique variation (white cheddar or jalepeno)?
The basic goal is to find that unique add-on that appeals to your target audience in a way that makes them stop in their tracks, check you out and then share you with all of their friends. In the case of our good friend popcorn, the absolute best way to do this is to glaze it in home made caramel and then drizzle it with decadent pure milk chocolate.
The last time I made this recipe, I did a double batch and watched almost every last bite vanish in the course of a single family Christmas party. Much like a good social media campaign, this one takes awhile to make, but it’s well worth the effort. Try it yourself and get a little lesson in “word of mouth.”
Not So Commonly Coated Caramel Corn
Time: 3-4 hours
Oven Temp: 200 degrees
6 quarts air popped popcorn
2 cups brown sugar
2 sticks butter
1/2 cup clear Karo
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla
16oz chocolate chips
1. Combine the brown sugar, butter, Karo and salt in a heavy bottomed pan and melt over medium heat.
2. Once melted, stir constantly and increase heat until mixture is simmering. (Do NOT boil.)
3. Simmer, stirring constantly, for five minutes.
4. Remove from heat and add baking soda and vanilla immediately, stirring to mix.
5. Pour mixture over popcorn in a very large bowl. Stir until all popcorn is coated.
6. Spread coated popcorn out over two lightly greased cookie sheets.
7. Bake at 200 degrees for one hour, stirring every twenty minutes.
8. Turn finished caramel corn out onto wax paper and break it into smaller pieces as it cools.
9. Place half of the chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and add half a teaspoon of crisco.
10. Microwave the chips at 80% power for 30 seconds, then stir. Repeat process until chips are melted.
11. Carefully drizzle chocolate over half of the cooled caramel corn, allowing some clumps to be fully coated and some to simply have a thin line of chocolate.
12. Repeat steps 9-11 to coat second half of caramel corn.
Allow chocolate to fully cool and set, then store in a tightly sealed container for up to one week. If you’d like a little variation, try using peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, vanilla chips or dark chocolate chips. If you want things to go REALLY viral, mix and match a couple of flavors in the same batch and throw some cashews in there as well.