If you live in this country and you have never been to a Harry and David’s store, you’re missing out.  (and you must be living under a rock….ha, sorry). They sell gourmet gift baskets full of things like fresh fruits, fancy chocolates and gourmet nuts.  The best part of visiting any Harry and David’s store is the free samples.  There are always lots of samples.

One of my favorite treats is the Moose Munch.

Per Harry and David themselves……

Moose Munch® Premium Popcorn is not your average caramel popcorn. Every detail of the recipe went through intense scrutiny, from the type of corn we use to how the caramel coats each popped kernel. It took over 160 attempts to get the original recipe absolutely perfect, and that dedication and effort can be tasted in each sweet and crunchy bite of our gourmet popcorn. Delight in several delicious flavors, including classic caramel, s’mores, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate.

What a great description, is your mouth watering yet?

Sometimes it’s nice to think about giving homemade gifts at Christmas.  Instead of knitting a dish cloth or pouring a coffee cup candle, I prefer to make culinary gifts from the heart.  (although I personally would love to receive a hand knitted dish cloth or a homemade candle)  And Moose Munch seemed like a great idea this year, easier and more unique than homemade macarons or Christmas cookies.

A few years ago, my husband bought me a miniature movie theatre popcorn maker.  We used it all time, it made the best popcorn.  I grew quite a reputation for my outstanding popcorn making skills.  A few weeks ago, the popcorn maker quit popping.  My very smart friend told me that I didn’t need a fancy machine to make homemade popcorn and promptly taught me how to make it on the stove.   It’s simple and believe me when I say anyone can do it.

How to make popcorn on the stove:  Using a large, heavy bottom saucepan or pot, toss in a couple of popcorn kernels and about 2 Tablespoons of oil.  (I used canola oil.). Cover the pan with a lid.  Heat on medium heat until you hear those few kernels pop.  Then, add 1/2 cup of kernels and return the lid to the pot.  Shake the pan continuously as the popcorn pops, and remove from heat once the popping subsides.  This will yield about 16 cups of popped popcorn, a little bit more than needed for the moose munch.


Homemade Moose Munch

Ingredients.
  • 12 cups popped popcorn
  • 1.5 cups nuts of choice (I used cashews and chopped pecans)
  • 1  1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1  1/4 cups butter
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
Instructions.
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Spread popped popcorn and nuts into a baking dish, or better yet, divide between two pans or dishes.
  3. In a heavy bottom saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes, or until mixture comes to a boil.  Continue boiling for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove pan from heat and stir in baking soda.
  5. Pour warm mixture over popcorn and nuts and stir well so that the popcorn is coated.
  6. Bake for 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and transfer popcorn to wax paper lined sheet pans, don’t break into chunks.    (Two quarter sheet pans are perfect.). Allow to cool completely.
  8. Once cooled, melt chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals on 50% power, stirring after each interval. You can also melt chocolate in a double boiler.
  9. Using a fork or spoon, generously drizzle chocolate over the popcorn.  Put your sheet pans into the refrigerator for an hour or until completely cool and chocolate is set. Break into pieces.

The most difficult part of making moose munch is allowing enough time for everything to cool between steps.  Be sure to budget your time wisely.

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  
Recipe found and adapted from www.browniebites.net.

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