Popcorn magic at the Night Circus


The night circus has a brain and heart… almost human. How eerie!

Last week I raved about a novel by Erin Morgenstern, called The Night Circus. This story asks us to consider the untold power life holds!

One way the author looks at the nature of life is by imagining the opposite.

Morgenstern  thinks of death not as an end, but a change. If you break a bottle of ink in the ocean, the ink disperses because it has lost its container. The ink is still there… just diluted, its parts no longer connected.

When one of the wizards mysteriously vanishes in The Night Circus, his daughter tells everyone he’s died. But in fact he is in this state of dilution… not exactly dead, he’s just not here in one piece.

While you’re reading The Night Circus, I propose a tasty bowlful of black-and-white popcorn to help you hold yourself together. Popcorn can be a healthy snack. It satisfies so well because it feeds all your senses:

  • taste, with its salty sweetness
  • smell, heated and familiar, reminds us of theatre
  • the rich sight of  chocolate darkness beckons against the white of popped kernels
  • the sticky feel is finger-licking good
  • the popping sound of kernels cooking in the bag creates anticipation of good things to come.


Chocolate circus popcorn, air-popped in the microwave
Makes 10 cups

  • 1/3 cup dried corn kernels (I used white corn)
  • 1 brown-paper sandwich bag
  • 1 microwave oven
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (optional)
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
  1. Put corn in the bag.
  2. Fold top closed twice. Secure the fold by cutting into the folded edge about a half inch twice, an inch apart. Fold the paper between the two cuts down tightly. Don’t use tape or staples, as they will burn.
  3. Put the sealed bag in the micro on maximum power for 3 minutes. Watch while the corn heats. Listen as it starts to pop.
  4. When the popping stops or you see smoke, turn the oven off. My corn stopped popping at 2 minutes 20 seconds.
  5. Pour the popped corn into a large bowl.
  6. Heat the chocolate chips with the oil in a stainless-steel pot over gently boiling water for a few minutes. Stir as the chocolate melts.
  7. Remove from heat while there are still a few lumps and stir until the chocolate is smooth.
  8. Drizzle the chocolate over the kernels and toss occasionally. Sprinkle a little sea salt and toss again. Enjoy!

The black-and-white chocolate chips on the side look like circus tents.

How does popcorn stack up as a snack?

Pretty good, I’d say. One cup serves up 110 Calories with only 5 grams of sugar, well within a safe level. You get 2 grams fiber as well, 20% of your daily needs. That leaves 5 grams of stable starch to make up the total carb count of 13 grams.

In addition you get 2 grams protein and 6 grams fat, which help balance the sugar and control its release into the blood stream.

My recipe has 120 mg sodium, all of which I added… about 10% of what you’re allowed in a day.

If you’re worried about sodium or calories, reduce the amount of salt and oil added. If you leave them out entirely,  sodium is reduced to zero and fat is halved. Calories drop to 85 for 1 cup.

Tame your hunger with a home-made air-popped snack. Bonus: no weird-sounding and harmful chemicals in your bowl, like you find when you eat prepackaged microwave popcorn. Best of all, the corn costs pennies, compared with the prepackaged kinds.

Make popcorn from scratch in minutes, and perform your own feats of magic in the kitchen!

Seal your popcorn bag by cutting into your fold and folding down tightly.

Seal your bag by cutting into your fold and folding down tightly.




 Bertie Bott pops some corn – Dress up your home-made air-popped corn in lots of yummy ways! Try some taste experiments and make the healthiest, most frugal snack going.

Black-and-white torte with raspberries at centre ring “The Night Circus” satisfies with a lovely slab of black-and-white striped cake starring raspberries at centre ring and just the right amount of magic realism on the side.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. quirkywritingcorner
    Jun 27, 2014 @ 00:51:46

    Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
    I was glad to find a recipe for making popcorn in the microwave without having to use the ready-made kind.


  2. hellotofit
    May 01, 2014 @ 07:39:46

    I loved reading The Night Circus — too bad I didn’t have a bowl of this delicious popcorn to go with it! Thanks for the post.


  3. Helen
    Apr 30, 2014 @ 06:28:19

    I love popcorn for a filling snack, I’m going to try doing it this way instead of popping it in a pan – thanks! Now to dig out my copy of Night Circus – an amazing book!


  4. Tony
    Apr 29, 2014 @ 18:25:20

    Sounds like tasty fun.


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