From Dreena: The sweet ’n’ salty favorite made at home, without oil or margarine!
Makes about 10 cups, serves 4 as a snack
3 tablespoons unrefined sugar (see note)
2 tablespoons softened coconut butter
1 tablespoon refrigerated canned coconut cream (see note)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3–1/2 cup organic popcorn kernels (see note)
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small ovenproof bowl, combine the sugar, coconut butter, coconut cream, and salt. Put the bowl in the oven for 5 minutes or so to soften (alternatively, you can place the bowl in a hot water bath). You want it warm enough that you can easily stir the ingredients together.
Pour the mixture into a very large bowl (one that you will use to collect the popcorn) and smooth the mixture around the bottom and sides of the bowl. Pop the popcorn (see note), collecting it in that large bowl if using an air popper. As the popcorn begins to fill the bowl, use your hands or a spatula to move it around and gently coat it with the mixture. Try not to break up the popcorn too much, just gently move it around so the heat of the popcorn will help melt and distribute the coating.
Transfer the coated popcorn to the prepared baking sheet. Spread it fairly evenly over the pan, and if there is any coating left in your mixing bowl, use a spatula to scrape it out and work it among the popcorn. Bake for 8–9 minutes, then immediately turn off the oven and let the popcorn sit in the warm oven for another 7–8 minutes. Taste and add a touch more salt if desired. Let cool further on the countertop, then enjoy!
Sugar Note: Coconut or date sugar can be substituted. They will result in a darker color.
Coconut Cream Note: Use regular coconut milk (rather than light) in this recipe. Before using, refrigerate the can overnight or for a few days. The thick cream will rise to the top and be easy to scoop and measure. Use only the thick cream (reserve the thin coconut milk for another use).
Popcorn Note: An air popper works best for popping corn without any oil or butter. If you think you’ll like more coating on the popcorn (as I do!), use closer to 1/3 cup of kernels. For greater yield, and less coating, use the full 1/2 cup of kernels. If you don’t have an air popper, you can still pop the corn on the stovetop, but the kernels won’t pop as fully. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the kernels to the pot and put on the lid. As the pot heats, begin shaking it at frequent intervals. Within the first minute, the popcorn should begin to pop. Continue shaking the pot often until the popping slows down, then remove the pot from the heat and release the lid just slightly to let some steam escape. Once the popping has fully stopped, remove the lid and transfer the popcorn to the bowl with the sugar mixture and proceed with the recipe.