Earlier this fall, I visited a shop that specialized in unique popcorn flavors. I wanted to come home with armfuls of "baked potato popcorn" and "chocolate kettle corn" but every bag carried a "may contain" warning. If you don't have food allergies or intolerances you might not notice the small "may contain tree nuts" or "may contain wheat" disclaimers on foods that don't list an allergen as an ingredient but may contain an allergen thanks to cross-contact that occurs during manufacturing.
While the popcorn that enticed me didn't technically contain any of my allergens, it was off-limits thanks to the "may contain" warning*.
I left the shop empty-handed but with a serious urge for some popcorn. Enter Chocolate Chipotle Bacon Popcorn. Made with allergen-free dark chocolate, this popcorn hits all of my favorite snack buttons: it's salty, chocolatey, and spicy.
The first few batches I made without bacon. I only added the bacon after I'd perfected the spice level of the popcorn. To be honest, I added the bacon almost as a joke—everything's better with bacon, right?
Well...this popcorn was better with bacon. The salty/earthy, almost mineral notes of the bacon paired well with the chipotle and, surprisingly, the chocolate. (If chocolate and bacon isn't your thing, feel free to omit the bacon. The popcorn works just as well without it.)
*I realize not everyone with food allergies avoids foods that carry "may contain" warnings; however, I do.
About the author: Elizabeth Barbone of GlutenFreeBaking.com joins us every Tuesday with a new gluten-free recipe. Elizabeth is an alumna of the Culinary Institute of America and Mount Mary College. She is the author of Easy Gluten-Free Baking. and the forthcoming How to Cook Gluten-Free.
- 8 ounces dark chocolate, melted*
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle spice (add more if you like a really spicy kick)
- 10 cups popcorn, air or oil popped
- Kosher salt
- 2 to 4 strips bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and crumbled, optional
- *Melt chocolate in the microwave. Heat for 30 seconds on HIGH. Remove chocolate, stir, repeat until chocolate melts. Or place chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Heat water over medium-high heat, stir until chocolate melts.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside. In small bowl, stir together melted chocolate and spices. Pour chocolate over popcorn. Using a wooden spoon, toss to combine.
Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle popcorn lightly with kosher salt. And, if using, sprinkle crumbled bacon over the top of the popcorn. Allow chocolate to set. Break popcorn into pieces, and serve. (To speed up the setting time, place the pan in the refrigerator for twenty