We used to have a store in our mall called "The Popcorn Store." I would take my youngest son mall walking with me, and while I pushed him in the stroller he snacked on some of their rainbow popcorn. It was sweet, salty, colorful, and came in in tons of flavors. It had the texture of cracker jacks.
When they closed I started looking for recipes to mirror theirs. While my version tastes great, it still doesn't have the look and texture of theirs. But in the end, I can't help but think, who cares how it looks if it taste bad?
This recipe has been a work in progress for about 2 years, and this is where it stands right now. Say what you want about how it looks, but it tastes amazing.
To make it you will need:
3 bags of popped popcorn ( I used smaller bags and had to add a 4th later in the process)
2 cups sugar
1 box Jell-O (for this I used Grape flavored)
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Step 1: Pop the Corn
Pop your bags of pop corn. Normally I use 3 bags. This time the popcorn I had in my pantry was the Boy Scout fundraising popcorn. I have had the suspicion that the bags were smaller, but I've never had 2 kinds together to compare. After I started, I popped another bag to make sure their was enough. You need at least 10 cups of popped corn.
My popcorn was extra buttery, which was yellow. Of course you mix buttery yellow with grape purple, and you get kind of ... brown. When you don't use the buttery kind, the color of the jello stays truer, but my goodness I LOVE butter.
Let the popcorn cool for a minute and separate out the kernels. The best way I've found is to put it into a big bowl and shake it a little. The kernels go to the bottom. Then I use a measuring cup to scoop the popped corn from the top and put it into a different bowl.
Step 2: Make Your Candy Coating
While you are making the candy coating you can be preheating the oven. It's 250 degrees, Fahrenheit of course.
In a pot mix together the jello, water, sugar, and butter. When it starts to boil it is going to bubble up, so make sure the pot is going to hold it. It doesn't quite double, but close. After it starts boiling start the timer for 4 minutes, stirring it occasionally to keep it from sticking to the pan.
While it is cooking, line or grease a pan big enough to hold your popcorn. After it's done boiling, take it off the eye and put in the vanilla. It kind of fizzies up.
Step 3: Pour Some Sugar on Me
I divided the popcorn into two bowls so there would be room to toss and stir the popcorn.
Pour half of the coating on each bowls. Toss it in the mixture. When it's warm it melts the popcorn a bit, but if you wait too long for it to cool, it doesn't stick as well. Stirring the popcorn mixes it easier, but it can break the pieces apart, so if you stir, be easy.
Step 4: Bake
Spread the popcorn out in the pan and POP it in the oven. It stays in the oven for an hour. I took it out to stir about every 20 minutes. This is when I realized it needed more popcorn, so I stirred it in.
Let it cool stirring occasionally. It also cools faster if you spread it out on wax paper (so it doesn't stick).
Step 5: Enjoy
Store in an air tight container. IRL it looks less brown and more on the purple side.