Popcorn king Michael Franey, chef at Brooklyn theater-slash-restaurant Nitehawk Cinema, shared a few recipes for some next-level snacking in our December/January issue. Here, he offers up a bonus how-to for what just may be the best popcorn-topped creation ever: Mexican chocolate ice cream sprinkled with caramel corn. (Or, if you’re lazy and live in New York, you can order it from the menu when its added this season.) Caramel Popcorn
• 4 cups popped popcorn • 1 cup sugar • 1/4 cup light corn syrup • 1 oz. butter • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt • 1/4 tsp. baking soda In a heavy-bottomed saucepot, melt butter over medium heat. Add in sugar and corn syrup, then cook until caramelized. Remove from heat and add in salt, vanilla extract, and baking soda. Toss popcorn with caramel and lay out on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat. Bake in a 250-degree oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool completely. Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream
• 1 1/2 qts. milk • 1 1/2 qts. cream • 8 egg yolks • 1 cup sugar • 1 ea vanilla bean, split and scraped of seeds • 4 ea guajillo peppers • 4 ea whole cinnamon sticks • 1 tsp. whole cloves • 1/2 cup good-quality cocoa powder In a large heavy-bottomed pot, combine milk and cream with peppers, cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla seeds and pod, then bring to a low boil over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Turn off heat and steep spices and peppers for at least 1 hour. In a bowl, whisk together sugar and yolks until well combined, then whisk in cocoa powder. Slowly reheat milk and cream until simmering. Temper yolk mixture with some heated cream, then add to cream and cook very slowly until it coats the back of a spoon. Run through a fine mesh strainer and cool completely. Spin ice cream until soft-serve texture. Transfer to an airtight container, then freeze completely. Serve with Caramel Popcorn and whipped cream.