Krisp Kringle is a crunchy cinnamon-coated popcorn and a red-hot spicy change from peppermint during the holidays. It is a favorite among my family members and is easier to make than traditional popcorn balls. One pot, a large bowl, your microwave and an air popper are all you need to whip up three gallons of tasty, buttery, cinnamon goodness. The crispness comes from a short bout in the oven. I like mine plain, but my husband prefers his drizzled with melted white chocolate, which reduces the spiciness.
Popcorn is a whole grain and a healthy ingredient in this holiday treat; sadly, the sugar and butter content probably neutralize the health benefits, but the resulting treat may be well worth the extra time on the treadmill. You can alter the popcorn ratio and have less microwave popcorn, but you need some to give it an intense salty, buttery flavor. Krisp Kringle can be renamed and served as a Fourth of July treat as well.
16 cups popped buttery microwave popcorn (2-3 large bags)
16 cups air popped popcorn
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
8-9 ounce bag of cinnamon red hot candies
11 ounces white chocolate chips (optional)
Heat oven to 250 degrees. Lightly butter the inside of the large bowl and set aside, using the remaining butter in the syrup. Prepare both types of popcorn according to package directions. Using your fingers like a rake, remove the popped kernels and place them in the large bowl, discard the unpopped kernels.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the remaining butter. When melted, add the sugar, corn syrup, salt and cinnamon candies. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cinnamon candies are melted. Pour over the popcorn and stir to evenly coat the kernels. Place in the oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Allow to cool.
Melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave following the instructions on the package, being careful not to overcook. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cooled popcorn and toss to coat. Allow to cool thoroughly, break apart and store in airtight containers.
Part of the fun of giving homemade treats is coming up with creative, original packaging worthy of your time and effort. Here are a few ideas for dressing up your Krisp Kringle.
Fill a quart- or gallon-size zip seal bag with cooled Krisp Kringle. Cut out a simple paper collar to fold over and attach with double-stick tape or adhesive dots to hide the bag zipper. Cut out 2 mittens and attach them to the front of the bag. A piece of black ribbon makes a belt — the buckle could say "Santa's favorite popcorn."
Individual servings can be created with cellophane gift bags and pressed paper berry baskets, which are sold in a multipack at craft stores. Place a cellophane bag in a basket, fill with popcorn and tie with baker's twine. Add a sprig of greens and berries and a tag.
Fill ceramic or paper popcorn serving bowls with Krisp Kringle. Wrap a DVD in a cellophane bag and set it atop the popcorn. Place the bowl on a large piece of cellophane, gather and tie with a ribbon.
Keep this Krisp Kringle recipe; you may wish to use it for snacking during the fireworks next summer.