Sunday, March 13, 2016

Welcome to Our Guest Kristi Abbott! & #Giveaway!!

I have been cooking with booze for a long time. I learned it at my mother’s knee. There was a time when her special dish was something called Bourbon Beef, which she served with Whiskey Rice. Even her brisket recipe calls for quite a bit of red wine. When I was in college she would send me care packages. She would make brownies, cut them up, put them in a coffee can, douse them with bourbon (she’s a good Kentucky girl), and ship them off. She said it was to keep the brownies moist in the mail. All I knew was eating the brownies at the bottom of the can was like doing a shot. Plus they were delicious.

When I started developing recipes for Kernel of Truth, it seemed natural to me to add alcohol. After reading a lot of popcorn ball recipes, I realized that it would be pretty easy to substitute the vanilla for something more interesting. I experimented with different liqueurs, finally settling on Kahlua. It just goes so well with chocolate and I think it’s enhanced by the salty bite of the popcorn.

The chocolate glaze is also my mother’s. My dad’s favorite cake was her yellow Bundt cake with the chocolate glaze. We would mock argue over who got to eat the chocolate that pooled in the center of the cake.

Here are the ingredients you need to assemble.


To make the popcorn balls, you’ve got to start with popcorn. Here’s my tried and true method.


Pour 1/4 cup oil into your pot. I personally like my Dutch oven. It’s got a nice thick bottom so it can take some heat and the lid fits well. You can experiment with the oil, too. If I’m just snacking on the popcorn, I like the flavor olive oil gives to the popcorn. For something like this, I often use coconut oil because it seems a little more neutral. Put in two or three popcorn kernels. Cover the pot and turn the heat on high.


When those kernels pop, you know your oil is hot enough. Put in 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels and throw in some salt. I use Kosher salt, but I think sea salt works well, too.

Once the corn is popped, turn it out into a bowl and set aside. This makes approximately 8 cups of popcorn. Now it’s time to soften the marshmallow crème. I put it in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for thirty seconds or so on 50% power. Be careful. Use a bigger bowl than you think you’ll need. That stuff puffs up like crazy! Once it’s pourable, stir in the Kahlua then pour over the popcorn. Mix thoroughly, then grease up your hands and form the popcorn into balls. I don’t have any pictures of this part because my hands were greasy and covered with marshmallow goo! Sorry! But here’s what the balls look like. I like to make little bite-sized ones rather than huge ones. It’s daintier and Lord knows we want to be dainty when we’re eating our booze-filled snack food!






Now it’s time to make the chocolate glaze. Combine the cocoa, butter, and powdered sugar in a pot over a medium heat. Stir the milk in slowly. Word of warning here. This glaze is particularly sensitive to all kinds of things and I’ve found it needs different amounts of milk on different days. Humiidity seems to be a big factor. You want it to be thin enough to pour, but thick enough to really coat a spoon. It’s delicious even if it’s drippy, but if you want it to harden into a nice glaze, you have to watch the milk.


All that’s left is to dip the popcorn balls into the glaze and then set them aside to harden.



Chocolate Kahlua Popcorn Balls

3.5 ounces of marshmallow crème
Kahlua (or vanilla if you prefer or really any kind of liquer)
4 c. popcorn

Heat the marshmallow crème in the microwave. I recommend using 50% power for 30 seconds. Keep going with 30 second increments until it’s easy to stir. Stir in the Kahlua. Fold in popcorn. Grease your hands and form into balls. Allow the balls to sit on wax or parchment paper while you make the chocolate glaze.

Chocolate glaze:

3 T. cocoa
2 T. butter
1 c. powdered sugar
3 T. milk

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Whisk together over a low heat until combined. Don’t let this glaze sit. It hardens relatively quickly. You can reconstitute it by adding a little milk and heating again, but it won’t be quite the same.

Dip the popcorn balls in the glaze. Let sit until the glaze hardens. 


Opening a gourmet popcorn shop was never on Rebecca Anderson’s bucket list. But after a failed marriage to a celebrity chef, she’s ready for her life to open up and expand. She has returned to her hometown of Grand Lake, Ohio, with her popcorn-loving poodle Sprocket to start a new business—naturally called POPS. As a delicious bonus, Cordelia “Coco” Bittles, a close family friend who has always been like a grandmother to Rebecca, owns the chocolate shop next door, and the two are thinking of combining their businesses.

But when Coco’s niece, Alice, discovers her on the floor of her chocolate shop, those dreams go up in smoke. The local sheriff thinks Coco was the victim of a robbery gone wrong, but Rebecca isn’t so sure. As suspects start popping up all over, Rebecca is determined to turn up the heat and bring the killer to justice in a jiffy!

Kernel of Truth is Kristi's first book with Berkley Prime Crime. She has been obsessed with popcorn since first tasting the caramel cashew popcorn at Garrett's in Chicago. If you've never had it, you might want to hop on a plane and go now. Seriously, it's that good.


Giveaway!

Kristi is giving away a copy of A Kernel of Truth to one lucky person who leaves a comment!


Bio:
Kristi lives in northern California, although she was born in Ohio like the heroine of Kernel of Truth. She loves snack food, crocheting, her kids, and her man, not necessarily in that order.

Kristi also writes as both Eileen Rendahl and Eileen Carr.

82 comments:

  1. I am so excited....a new mystery series! And it features popcorn! My parents used a big Revereware skillet to pop popcorn. Looking forward to reading Kernel of Truth and trying the popcorn ball recipe. You can't go wrong with a combation of popcorn, Kahula and chocolate! dbahn@iw.net

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    1. I'm so glad you think it sounds good (both the book and the popcorn balls!).

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  2. Thanks for joining us today, Kristi! I think the best popcorn I ever had was the time my daughter's then boyfriend made it. He actually brought corn cobs with the corn still on it! He shucked the corn into a pot with some olive oil to cook and it was the most tender popcorn I've ever eaten! LOVE popcorn in all its glory!

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  3. We love popcorn and this looks sooo good. Thanks for the recipe and thanks for the chance to get this book. A new series is always so exciting Della at deepotter@peoplepc.com

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  4. You had me at Kahlua! When I was a child, my family always made popcorn balls on Sunday night, but this is a wonderful new twist! rebarger@bellsouth.net

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  5. I've never had popcorn balls but they sound good.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

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  6. Yay, a tasty new mystery series to try! The recipe sounds delicious - too bad I'm not supposed to eat corn, *sigh*. Thanks for the giveaway, too! book__wyrm at sbcglobal dot net. 😀

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  7. I love eating popcorn but never thought of combining it with alcohol and chocolate! Thanks for the recipe, and learning about this new tasty mystery. grace dot koshida at gmail dot com

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  8. We eat popcorn all the time. Thanks for the popcorn ball recipe!!! Next movie night!!! Looking forward to the new series!
    Dspinlexo@aol.com

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  9. I love popcorn! My favorite treat were popcorn balls made by my next door neighbor. I tried to make them once adding lots of goodies...almonds and chocolate chips. But, I was too young to try a liqueur...now, so many possible choices.
    kat8762@aol.com

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    1. Looking back on it as a mom who now sends care packages, I do have to wonder what she was thinking! Still, they were yummy.

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  10. Oh my,I really have to try these popcorn balls!!!

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  11. Popcorn has been my go-to snack for years and years. I love it almost as much as I love a new mystery series!!! Can't wait to start the series and try the popcorn balls.
    sharonquiltsatyahoodotcom

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  12. I would never think of a popcorn store lol sounds like a fun read. Can't wait to read this one. Thanks for a chance to win.
    rags6152@gmail.com

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  13. I love popcorn balls--and kahlua---so I must try that recipe!! Thanks for the contest. I'm thinking of trying that brownies soaked in bourbon, too. YUM!
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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  14. Popcorn of any kind is one of my favorite things. We use to pop it on the stove with a big pan dump it in a brown paper grocery sack shake salt on and head to the drive in movies when I was a kid. Good memories.
    lhxp73@yahoo.com

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  15. Popcorn of any kind is one of my favorite things. We use to pop it on the stove with a big pan dump it in a brown paper grocery sack shake salt on and head to the drive in movies when I was a kid. Good memories.
    lhxp73@yahoo.com

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  16. My dad loves Kahlua so I might have to make the popcorn balls for him. Thanks so much for the chance to win a copy of the book; it sounds super and I can't wait to read it.

    lauraalbert@hotmail.com

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  17. This sounds like fun. suefoster109@netzero.net

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  18. This new series would be wonderful as is the popcorn. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  19. The mystery and popcorn balls are a great combination which I would enjoy. Thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  20. Oh goodness saw the bottle sitting there and you had me . So good too bad I can't have any due to meds that i take for a nerve disease but would love that and creme a few nights a month so good. Plus with popcorn sounds wonderful. Also thank you for offering a book with a wonderful recipe would love to win so that i could review on 2 sites. Thanks ptclayton2@aol.com

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  21. Great combination popcorn & a terrific mystery, love the recipe, I'll have to try it. Thanks for this awesome giveaway. Linda May lindamay4852@yahoo.com

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  22. Oh, wow!!! I will have to try these popcorn balls very soon!
    harbingerdc(at)gmail(dot)com

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  23. I loved that your Mom sent you brownies packed with bourbon! I look forward to reading your book ~

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  24. This would be a great book to add to my cozy challenge list. Thanks for a chance to win a copy. The recipe sounds great. I love Kahlua. elainehroberson@gmail.com