New Orleans was the first far from home place we took our then 10 year old nephew and 8 year old niece. From the steamboat ride to the Audubon Zoo and trolley ride back to our hotel to walking into almost every bead shop on Royal and Bourbon Streets in the French Quarter to seeing their sweet little faces and exhausted bodies literally fall asleep in their plates remain vivid memories. It never fails. Each year as Mardi Gras approaches, I take a short trip down memory lane. Back then there weren't any smart phones with cameras and I didn't own a digital camera. Forget about being able to edit a photo as film had to be dropped off to be processed. It took days before your photos would be ready. Somewhere in my house and in theirs is a 'memory' book filled with captions containing some of the photos capturing our weekend adventures. And more than likely they each have their bags of beads somewhere in their drawers or closets. But for me, being able to see their young eyes take in the sights and sounds of New Orleans will remain the best, most treasured souvenir.
King Cakes, jambalaya, étouffée, po' boys, gumbo, muffulettas, or red beans and rice might be the more classic, traditional Mardi Gras foods, but one always needs something a little sweet to go with all of that savory. Like this White Chocolate Popcorn with M&Ms and Honey Roasted Peanuts. And it's easier and quicker to make than pralines!
Mardi Gras is just one of the reasons to make this White Chocolate Popcorn. Actually, you don't even need a reason. Sweet, salty snacks don't ever need an occasion to be made.
Many recipes for White Chocolate (coated) popcorn call for the use of Almond Bark. This one uses white chocolate melting wafers. Some call for the use of unbuttered popcorn. This one uses 'lightly buttered' microwave popcorn. Honestly, I don't think I would make this popcorn any other way.
At first I wasn't certain if 10 ounces of melted white chocolate would be enough to adequate coat two (3 ounce) bags of microwave popcorn. But surprisingly it was.
Before drizzling the melted chocolate over the popcorn, remove any of the unpopped kernals.
Two cups of M&Ms and a generous one and a half cups of honey roasted peanuts seemed to be the right popcorn to candy/nut ratio. But feel free to increase or decrease to your preference.
After the popcorn was coated with the melted white chocolate, I mixed in the M&Ms and peanuts, thinking they might stick to some of the popped kernels. Some did, some didn't. Maybe the chocolate dried too quickly. Or maybe increasing the melted chocolate to 11 ounces and working a little faster would make a difference. Or maybe it wouldn't.
I must give you a warning about this White Chocolate Popcorn. It's a little addictive. So when you make you it, make sure you have friends and family over to share it with. If you are looking for a fun snack to serve at a party, while watching sports, or an informal gathering, this easy snack would definitely fall into the 'most memorable' category.
White Chocolate Popcorn
2 bags (3 ounce size) Light Butter Microwave Popcorn
2 cups M&Ms in your favorite colors
A generous 1 1/2 cups honey roasted peanuts
10-11 ounces white chocolate, melted
1. Make popcorn according to package directions. Spread popcorn out on a large baking sheet or pour into a large bowl. Remove any unpopped kernels.
2. Drizzle melted chocolate over popcorn. Stir popcorn until it is lightly coated.
3. Pour in M&Ms and honey roasted peanuts. Mix together.
4. Spread chocolate coated popcorn out on a large sheet of parchment paper to allow chocolate to set.
5. Serve immediately or wrap in cellophane bags to keep fresh.
Notes: (1) I used Pop Secret Light Butter Microwave popcorn. (2) Ten ounces of melted white chocolate (I used Ghiradelli White Chocolate Melting Wafers) will give the popcorn a very light, not overly sweet, coat of chocolate.
Food trucks on the North Shore on Oahu.