Chai-Coconut Popcorn Treats Recipe
Active time: 50 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle popcorn kernels evenly over bottom of pot and cover. Once kernels begin to pop continuously, shake pot once using potholders. Return pot to heat until the popping slows to 2 or 3 pops every few seconds, about 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat and immediately transfer popcorn to a very large bowl (you'll have about 16 cups popcorn) and set aside. Wipe any residue from pot.
Place coconut flakes on a baking sheet and bake for about 6 minutes, until light golden. Add to popcorn bowl and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a small pot, boil 1 cup water over high heat. Remove from heat, add chai tea bags and steep for 8 minutes. Discard tea bags after squeezing out remaining water (you'll have ⅔ cup tea).
In reserved large pot, combine chai tea with sugar, honey, coconut milk, vanilla, ginger, cloves, salt and ground black pepper and stir until just combined. Bring to a simmer and carefully watch mixture until it reaches 260° on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
Working in batches, add popcorn mixture to pot, gently tossing to evenly coat. Set aside 10 minutes, or until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, line countertop with a piece of parchment or wax paper the size of a large baking sheet.
With wet hands, shape popcorn mixture into 2" balls and place on paper to cool. Store wrapped in parchment or wax paper in an airtight container and eat within 1 to 2 days.
Give It a Spin
To wrap popcorn treats for gift-giving, set three balls on a sheet of parchment paper about 12" long, then roll the paper around the balls in the form of a long tube. Next, gather each end and give them a careful twist. Secure with cheery ribbon and attach a gift tag to one end.