I was chatting with an elder in a checkout line and she told me that every Christmas she fills huge stockings for all of her ten grandchildren. Since she lives on a fixed income she needs to be very creative about it. Before Christmas she pops a massive tub of popcorn, and puts a large bag of popcorn into the top of each stocking. I laughed as she explained- it’s cheap, takes up lots of room in the stocking, and as a bonus, it gives the grandchildren something to munch on, keeping them busy and giving the adults just a wee bit longer to sleep on Christmas morning. Brilliant! (of course the little ones still need some supervision and children under four shouldn’t have it- popcorn can be a choking hazard)
Afterwards it got me thinking- what could I do to popcorn to make it something special to add to gifts? Since I had just been making Nanaimo bars, that was where I started. I experimented until I got a fun and easy new recipe- “Vancouver Island Popcorn” (I go further afield than Nanaimo). Make a bag and pair it up with a paperback and you have a perfect last minute gift.
– 8 cups of popped corn.
– 3/4 cup icing sugar
– 2 tablespoons butter or vegan spread
– 1 tablespoon custard powder
– 1/8 cup coconut
– 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
– 1/8 cup crushed walnuts
– 1/2 to 3/4 cup chocolate chips or pieces
– 1 teaspoon canola oil
– 1 teaspoon salt
– Divide the popcorn into two bowls (4 cups/bowl).
– Blend the icing sugar, custard powder, and butter or spread, and mix until smooth and creamy. Blend this custard cream into one popcorn bowl, mixing to coat all popcorn. Spread the coated corn out onto a baking tray or parchment paper to dry.
– Mix the coconut, graham cracker crumbs, and crushed walnuts and set aside.
– Spread the remaining bowl of popcorn out in a single layer on a baking sheet.
– Melt the chocolate and mix with the oil.
– Drizzle the chocolate mixture over the unflavoured popcorn and then sprinkle with the dry coconut/crumb/nut mixture. Stir until popcorn is evenly coated and most of the dry mixture is clinging to the chocolate. Spread the coated popcorn out to dry.
– When both flavours are dry, stir them together in a large bowl.
– Add the salt and stir again. For some reason (anyone know the science of this?) the salt wakes the Nanaimo bar flavour up in your mouth and finishes the taste.
– For an extra sweet and pretty treat, you can also stir in chopped up Nanaimo bar pieces.