We eat a lot of popcorn at our house. It’s our go-to snack. We pop it nearly every Sunday when we get home from church. We pop it on rainy afternoons to munch on while we watch “Ratatouille” for the 762 time. We pop it when I’ve forgotten to buy crackers, or I’m out of bread, or I just feel like popping popcorn. Cheap, easy, tasty. What’s not to love? Oh, and let’s not forget the most important part: it can be dressed up in so many fancy ways. Popcorn is like fluffy little clouds waiting for you to paint them with your own version of heaven. Right? Or am I taking it a little too far? Probably. And “fancy” might be a bit of a stretch as well. Hmmmm. In any case, popcorn is a great snack food. My boys think so, too. Squish works himself into a tizzy, pointing at the pot, signing “popcorn,” saying, “Pop! Pop! Pop!” if we even casually mention it. There are worse things in the world, I’m pretty sure, than a toddler who goes crazy over popcorn.

But it’s a good thing it’s so versatile, because as new and as exciting as it can be when you are 20 months old, it can lose its luster a bit when you’re 20+ years old. Unless it’s covered in chocolate, of course. And then it’s something even a 27-year-old mother of two can get excited about.

Chocolately Popcorn Snack Mix

I just used what I had around the kitchen. Please, do the same. Add whatever dried fruit, nuts, pretzels, whatever you have. I’m sure it’ll be tasty. It’s covered in chocolate, for heaven’s sake.

3 T. olive oil

1/2 cup unpopped popcorn

1/3 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup peanuts

1/2 cup dried cranberries

salt

Heat the oil in a 4 quart pot (with a lid) over medium/medium low heat. Add a couple of kernels of popcorn to the pot and cover. When the kernels have popped, add the rest of the popcorn, cover, and shake gently (away from the heat) for about 30 seconds. Return the pot to the heat and let the popcorn pop. Turn off the heat and uncover when the pops are a few seconds apart. Pour the popcorn into a large bowl.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler until smooth. Set aside. Toss the peanuts and cranberries into the bowl with the popcorn. Drizzle the chocolate over the popcorn, peanuts, and cranberries. Toss together until the mixture is fairly evenly coated. Salt lightly if you are into that sort of thing. Let the chocolate cool for a few minutes. Or don’t. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for a day or two.

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