Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Bear Popcorn

Oh, chocolate covered cinnamon bears. You polarizing creature of the confectionary world. Loved or loathed, you never fail to start a conversation. Some people who hate you have never actually tried you. Some people who have tried you can’t stop eating you. 

I was one of those people who was grossed out by the idea of them. Then my sister Annie got me hooked on chocolate covered gummy bears, which turned out to be gateway bears. Suddenly I was skulking around department store candy counters and, ultimately, my university bookstore. I still can’t go back to campus without picking up a bag of the good stuff.

But alas, I can hardly even find regular cinnamon bears in Louisiana, let alone the chocolate-covered variety. So in the spirit of Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Bears, today we’re making Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Bear Popcorn. It is perfect for packing into a cellophane bag and tying with a festive ribbon for friend/teacher/neighbor gifts, or, if you want to up the ante, pile it into an adorable mug (Target has a whole bunch of super cute seasonal mugs like this one for under $5 right now), wrap it in cellophane wrap, and tie it with a bow.

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You’re going to need 16-20 cups of popcorn (that’s about 2 bags of microwave popcorn), 2 cups of Red Hots candy, 1/3 cup Karo syrup, and a cup of butter.

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I also highly recommend adding some cinnamon oil. Without it, the popcorn is tasty, but not even a little hot. While I don’t want to burn my mouth, when consuming chocolate covered cinnamon bears, I definitely want a little heat. So. If you want a pleasant cinnamon candy heat, I recommend adding about 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon oil (like this):

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Place the popcorn in a very large, heat-safe bowl and set aside. 

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil and grease or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine butter, Karo syrup, and Red Hots.

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Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring very frequently, and then reduce heat to medium-low and boil for 5 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon oil and then pour over the popcorn,

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stirring with wooden spoons to evenly coat the popcorn in the candy mixture.
Divide the popcorn evenly between the two baking sheets and spread in a single layer over each baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

In a microwave-safe jar or measuring cup, add 1 cup chocolate chips (I like milk chocolate, in the true spirit of the chocolate covered cinnamon bear) and some shortening.

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Heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time, until the chocolate is smooth and liquidy. Using a fork, drizzle the chocolate over the popcorn and allow to harden.

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Break into pieces

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and serve or divide into bags to deliver as gifts.

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Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Bear Popcorn


Ingredients

  • 16 cups popped popcorn (about 2 bags microwave popcorn)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup Karo syrup
  • 2 cups Red Hot candies
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon oil (more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon shortening

Instructions

  1. Place the popcorn in a very large, heat-safe bowl and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil and grease or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine butter, Karo syrup, and Red Hots. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring very frequently, and then reduce heat to medium-low and boil for 5 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon oil and then pour over the popcorn, stirring with wooden spoons to evenly coat the popcorn in the candy mixture.
  4. Divide the popcorn evenly between the two baking sheets and spread in a single layer over each baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  5. In a microwave-safe jar or measuring cup, add the chocolate chips and the shortening. Heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time, until the chocolate is smooth and liquidy. Using a fork, drizzle the chocolate over the popcorn and allow to harden. Break into pieces and serve or divide into bags to deliver as gifts.

Notes

  • This popcorn will be tasty, but it won’t have much of a bite without the additional cinnamon oil. 1/2 teaspoon adds a nice heat without being overwhelming (much like chocolate covered cinnamon bears), but if you’re very brave, try adding a whole teaspoon.

25 comments

  1. What is the consistency of the red sugary stuff after it has cooled? Is it soft/gummy at all? I don’t think I would make it if it were really crunchy. I don’t want to break my teeth or others’. I’m thinking it’s like tacky caramel corn (as opposed to the crunchy variety), but wanted to make sure before I make it.

    1. It’s gummy, soft like caramel corn, before you bake it, and it’s crispy (but never full-blown crunchy) after you bake it. If you prefer the soft consistency, feel free to skip the baking step! 🙂

  2. Sounds delish. I just made your peppermint bark popcorn for the first time and I figured out a good trick for getting the unpopped kernels out. Put the popcorn in a big bowl and put a cooling rack over the top of it, then invert and give it a little shake. The unpopped kernels fall right out. Way easier (and more sanitary!) than trying to pick through the bowl looking for the old maids.

  3. My local grocery store here in Minnesota JUST started carrying chocolate covered cinnamon bears. I almost cried from happiness. This popcorn looks amazing!

  4. We too can never visit BYU without getting bag of cinnamon bear, chocolate covered or otherwise. I love the popcorn in a mug though. I have 16 red mugs that I don’t want so I thought about giving them away for Christmas. Now I know what to put in them!!

  5. How I love chocolate covered cinnamon bears! We were in Utah over thanksgiving and bought a large bag from the bulk section and pigged out! I can buy them here but they are expensive and in small packages. Have you ever tried cinnamon bears dipped in chocolate fondue? Yum!

  6. Cinnamon Bears are literally one of my favorite things in the entire world. They are so chewy!!! I need to try this popcorn. Forget gifting it — it’s all mine!!

  7. I miss chocolate covered gummy bears the most… I never got into the cinnamon bears… But that candy counter at the WILK and the bulk bin of candy that used to exist in Helaman Halls… We were BFFs!

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