Ready in under 30 minutes, this peanut butter popcorn with peanut butter cups is the perfect sweet snack for movie night. It also makes a thoughtful gift when packaged into treat bags.
This Peanut Butter Cup Popcorn is in dedication to my friend Joan of Chocolate, Chocolate and More who passed away suddenly from a heart attack a few weeks ago. It still doesn’t feel real. One day she’s online chatting with people. The next day, she’s gone. I remember sitting on the couch, getting ready to watch another episode of Orange Is The New Black when I checked my phone and saw Joan’s cousin posted about Joan’s passing (the one time Facebook’s stalker newsfeed comes in handy). No way, I thought. That can’t be true?! I asked if it was a joke then called Joan’s cell. I don’t know what I was expecting, to be honest. I guess I was hoping Joan would pick up and explain that it was some mean troll’s idea of a sick joke. And if the news was true, I guess I was hoping one of her family members would pick up and tell me first-hand what happened. Instead, all I got was her voicemail. Finally, it was confirmed – Joan had indeed passed away in her sleep.
I chose Peanut Butter Cup Popcorn to honor Joan because she loved chocolate and peanut butter together and because the recipe is easy to throw together, which is what Joan was all about. She was also about sharing, which is exactly what you can do with this popcorn for the holidays. Scoop it into little holiday gift bags and voila – you’re everyone’s new best friend. I started out by popping my own popcorn kernels. This allowed me to control the flavor as most microwave popcorns come pre-flavored. Then I made a simple peanut butter coating mixture on the stovetop (no candy thermometer needed) then poured it over the popcorn and peanut butter cups. Let sit for 15 minutes and now you’re ready for snack time.
I never physically met Joan in person, but she’s one of the reasons I quit my job and started blogging and freelancing full time. When I was telling her how I felt, she immediately set a time for us to chat on the phone about a game plan. Joan was all about sharing and helping others without asking for anything in return. She shared her secrets with me on how she grew her blog three times its size in a few short months. She believed I could make it full time before I believed it myself.
Now here I am, styling peanut butter cup popcorn into little makeshift waxed paper cones with a $1 cabinet door as a background. I bet Joan is smiling down right now, asking me to pass her a bowl (er glass). I’m going to miss her. Please know the signs of a heart attack. Joan went to bed with a stomach ache and never woke up. Women’s symptoms are different than men’s as they aren’t always the obvious chest pain. The American Heart Association says sometimes the symptoms may feel like the flu.
- 3 1/2 cups unsalted air-popped popcorn
- 1 cup chopped peanut butter cups, divided
- 2 tablespoons clover honey
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- In a large bowl, add the popcorn and 3/4 cup peanut butter cups.
- In a small saucepan, whisk together the honey and sugar then bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 2 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and whisk in the salt, vanilla, and peanut butter until smooth.
- Immediately pour the peanut butter mixture over the popcorn mixture and stir until the popcorn is completely coated. Top with remaining 1/4 cup peanut butter chips. Let set for 10-15 minutes before serving. Popcorn is best eaten the same day but can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
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