Black and Gold Chocolate Caramel Popcorn

I've made mention of the fact once or twice that this blog is not only a tribute to our beloved Steelers, but it also serves as a way for me to track the development of my culinary skills and create fun, from-scratch recipes whenever possible. We've tried homemade hot dog buns, ice cream, doughnutshand-cut french fries and a whole lot of Black and Gold baked goods. 

Believe it or not, there was a long period of time when I wasn't even allowed in the kitchen. I was dangerously bad at cooking - so dangerous that I couldn't even be trusted with a microwave. I may or may not have once made the mistake of putting a spoon in my family's microwave as a kid. It sparked and was a little scary, but I managed to shut it off before anything too terrible happened - that is, until the next time that I microwaved a bag of popcorn. A minute or so after starting it up, I realized FLAMES were falling from the ceiling of the microwave and my bag of popcorn was completely torched! Scary stuff. 

My parents put the popcorn fire out, they soon replaced the microwave with a new one and I didn't attempt to heat or cook ANYTHING for a very long time. 

Eventually (say, 15 years, give or take), I overcame my fear of cooking and realized how rewarding it can be to put together a home-cooked meal - though I still avoid microwaves, for the most part. 

In the spirit of facing your fears - and in the spirit of Halloween treats - here is a recipe for some sweet homemade Black & Gold "candied" corn! 

Black and Gold Chocolate Caramel Popcorn
Recipe adapted from Diethood

2 bags microwave popcorn (light butter)
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
3 tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Microwave the popcorn, then spread it out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. 

Melt butter in saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, then stir in baking soda and vanilla. Drizzle over popcorn. Melt chocolate chips (in microwave or on stovetop), then drizzle over popcorn. Drop butterscotch chips  over top of popcorn on baking sheet. 

Bake for 30 minutes. Store covered in refrigerator for up to one week.   

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