Here's an article I originally submitted for my column in Kalamazoo Parent magazine; this spotlights a Guetschow family chocolate classic: Chocolate-Covered Popcorn. Trust me: you need this in your life.
We hope you like camp and had a good night your first day there. We think of you each day and will say a prayer for you at suppertime. I’m writing this on Saturday, so not much has happened that you don’t already know about…
Thus began a letter my mom sent to me when I was away at camp one summer during my elementary-school years. Actually, she sent it before I had even left home in order to ensure I would get mail early in the week. My mom was, clearly, a dedicated correspondent, and her missives about the weather and my family’s activities (particularly those of my sister, Missy, and my brother, Paul) at home in my absence helped assuage my slight homesickness.
We really had a good rain last night and this morning—everything is turning green again. I’m making pickles, and we might go over to Grandpa’s for lunch today. Daddy had two ballgames last night, and Paul went with him, but Missy and I stayed home and played “beauty shop.” Missy says “hello” and Paul says to tell you he’s “still here.”
My mom favored letters over care-packages. Our family budget was tight, and letters were far less expensive to mail. Also, I was only gone a week at a time and could easily survive that long on camp food. But if she had sent me a care package, my mom might well have enclosed a batch of Chocolate-Covered Popcorn. This gooey treat is a legendary family classic that travels well, is relatively inexpensive to mail, and keeps for days. This is not, mind you, mere plain popcorn drizzled perfunctorily with melted chocolate. Nor is it caramel corn similarly treated. This is popcorn fully encased in a chewy chocolate coating, almost like chocolate caramel. Stir up a batch and send it to your away-from-home child. I promise: you’ll have one happy camper, indeed.
14-16 cups plain popped popcorn (I use an air-popper and make 1 ½ batches)
½ cup sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup butter (no substitutions), cut into chunks
2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla
Nonstick cooking spray