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Bourbon Chocolate Popcorn with Pecans is a fun, crunchy snack with a little kick and a lot of chocolate. This easy no-bake snack tastes like a bite-sized version of bourbon pecan pie!
Originally published Dec 29, 2013
Bourbon Chocolate Popcorn with Pecans
I may be a Jersey girl, but for many years I have had family living in Kentucky. I grew up knowing nothing about horse racing, yet suddenly every year we started talking about and watching the Kentucky Derby. I became obsessed with Kentucky Hot Brown sandwiches. And, after a visit one year for Thanksgiving that included a tour at a distillery, I was inspired to add a little bourbon to some recipes.
Like this chocolate-covered popcorn with a little boozy infusion, plus some pecans for another touch of the South. In order to add enough bourbon to really make the flavor stand out, it doesn’t end up being the crunchiest popcorn you’ve ever eaten. But that doesn’t matter because it is delicious! It disappears in no time in our house.
It makes a fun movie night treat for the adults, and a great gift during the holidays. But even better would be to serve art a Derby Day Party!
- Popped popcorn: Pop your own in the microwave or air popper without any oil or butter, or if you use microwave popcorn, use the plainest kind you can find, usually labeled “Natural”.
- Chopped pecans: If you like, you can lightly toast these in a skillet or in the oven.
- Chocolate: I recommend dark or semisweet melting chocolate discs or wafers or almond bark.
- Bourbon: You can use your favorite, but there is no need to use an expensive brand. I have been using Henry McKenna lately because it is a great value. It is very good for the affordable price point.
What kind of chocolate is best for making chocolate popcorn?
One thing about making chocolate-covered popcorn, especially this boozy popcorn – use melting chocolate, NOT chocolate chips. Chocolate chips are not tempered, and therefore do not melt as smooth. When you add a liquid, like the bourbon, in this case, it will cause the chocolate to seize and not coat the popcorn as evenly.
How to Make Chocolate-Covered Popcorn
- Prepare the popcorn: After popping the popcorn add it to a large bowl with the pecans
- Melt the chocolate: Combine the chocolate and bourbon, and melt slowly over a double boiler, stirring until smooth.
- Coat the popcorn and cool: Pour the melted chocolate over the popcorn and pecans and gently toss until it is evenly and thoroughly coated. Spread the popcorn onto a lined sheet pan and cool to room temperature.
Be sure to melt the chocolate with the bourbon already in the bowl. If you add it to the melted chocolate, it will cause it to seize. That is why, in this case, I do not recommend melting the chocolate in the microwave.
Storing chocolate popcorn
Make sure it is cooled completely to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container or plastic storage bag. While any leftover warmth will cause moisture to collect inside the container, making your popcorn lose its crunch factor, it is especially true in this case because you need to add enough bourbon to make the flavor shine through, so there is some extra moisture.
It will last for a few days if cooled and stored properly. It will certainly continue to taste amazing, but it won’t be as crunchy.
Things you’ll need
- Make sure you use chocolate melting wafers for the best results.
- I use these heat-proof spatulas all the time. They are great for stirring melted chocolate.
- You’ll want to spread the popcorn in a nice, even layer on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat.
Bourbon Pecan Chocolate Popcorn
- 8 cups popped popcorn (see Note)
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 12 oz. dark or semisweet melting chocolate discs or wafers or almond bark
- 1/2 cup bourbon
- Place the popcorn in a large bowl and pour the pecans over the top. Don’t mix or toss because then the pecans will just go to the bottom of the bowl.
- Add the chocolate and bourbon to a bowl or top portion of a double boiler and set over a pot of simmering water on low heat, and gently stir and melt the chocolate. I do not recommend melting the chocolate in the microwave because the liquid may make it more likely to seize and solidify.
- Pour the melted chocolate over the popcorn and pecans and gently toss until it is evenly and thoroughly coated.
- Spread the popcorn onto a silicone baking mat or wax paper lined baking sheet and allow to cool to room temperature and firm up.
- Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container.