While I love an afternoon snack of popcorn with just some butter and salt (and maybe a little Parmesan if I'm feeling frisky), this recipe is a completely different beast all together. This popcorn has big, crunchy clusters of dark chocolate, dried fruit, and pistachios. It will power you through an afternoon study session — and it works equally well as a party snack! Stick a bowl of this mix out on the table and watch it magically disappear.
Popcorn is having a lovely resurgence right now. Gone are the days of relying on the microwavable packages or movie theaters snack counters for our popcorn fix. Today you can pick up high quality popcorn kernels for almost nothing and pop them at home in an air popper or even in the microwave. It took me about three minutes to pop this big bowl of fluffy popcorn using a cheap air popper — this popper is quickly becoming my favorite single-use kitchen tool.
To be honest, almost any nut or dried fruit would go just fine in this snack mix so feel free to use up any odds and ends you have in your pantry. I think pistachios, dried apricots, and dried pineapple all pair really nicely with dark chocolate in this mix, so that's what I've been making.
Once your popcorn is popped, spread it out on baking sheets with the fruits and nuts, then drizzle over the melted chocolate. This helps makes sure that all the ingredients are evenly distributed and the chocolate isn't clump together.
Whatever you do, don't forget the coarse sea salt. It sticks to the chocolate and makes all the flavors pop.
Chocolate & Pistachio Popcorn Trail Mix
Serves 8 to 10
7 to 8 cups air-popped popcorn (about 1/3 cup un-popped kernels)
1 cup shelled pistachios, roasted and salted
3/4 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
3/4 cup dried pineapple, roughly chopped
6 ounces dark chocolate
Coarse sea salt
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and divide popcorn between the sheets. Toast the pistachios in a dry skillet over low heat until they are fragrant. Sprinkle the pistachios and dried fruit over the popcorn.
Melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler, or in 15 second bursts in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave, until it's smooth and pourable. Drizzle it over the popcorn mixture and immediately sprinkle it with coarse sea salt.
Let the chocolate harden in the freezer or fridge for a few minutes and then break the snack mix into clusters and store it in a large plastic bag. (Makes about 10 cups total snack mix.)
(Image credits: Nick Evans)