When I was tidying my spice cabinet, I came across 3 Mars Bar chocolate bars. Apparently I had done an excellent job hiding them from myself. Many chocolate cravings have been had since those bars were stashed back there, had I remembered them, this chocolate caramel popcorn would have never been born.
I'm not sure what inspired this creation, or why it even occurred to me to melt the chocolate bars and pour them over popcorn. I've made Mars Bar Squares several times in the past, but not once had I thought to replace the rice krispies with popcorn. My bad.
I basically followed the recipe for the Mars Bar Squares, but since I only had three, (the recipe calls for four) I cut the butter back by 2 Tablespoons and held back some of the microwave popcorn. I think four would be perfect to use an entire bag of popcorn and so I've written the recipe accordingly.
For some reason, I decided to bake the popcorn after coating it with the chocolate, even though I really liked the chewiness of the unbaked popcorn. So you can go either way... if you like your caramel corn chewy, skip the baking step. However, if you prefer a little bit of crispiness along with the chew, then proceed to bake it for NO MORE than 5 minutes. The unbaked version is the perfect consistency for forming popcorn balls - should you be so inclined.
Needless to say, this was deliciously decadent. Sweet, with a hint of salt from the the popcorn. Between me and my kids, it didn't stand a chance.
Chewy Chocolate Caramel Popcorn
4 Mars bars (regular sized), chopped
1/2 cup butter
1 bag of microwave popcorn (I used light)
Pop one bag of microwave pop corn and pour into a large mixing bowl. Make sure to remove any unpopped kernels. Melt the butter with the Mars bars over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture comes together. (It will appear to separate at one point, keep stirring). Pour over the popcorn and mix until thoroughly coated. At this point, you can eat it, if you like your popcorn chewy. If you want it partly crispy, spread over a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F. for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool, break into pieces and enjoy.