I know the combination of blueberry muffins and Dad don’t exactly seem to be related at first glance, but in my world the two go together like “rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong” from the movie Grease. That’s the way it should be. Wah-oooh, YEAH!
All singing aside, they really do go together and I’ll explain why.
My Dad has such a good heart. I mean that both figuratively and literally, but I’m speaking more on the figurative side today. When he cares about you, he will show you in a thousand ways. He’s the kind of guy who makes sure your car is warmed up and scraped free of ice and snow in the winter, shovels ice chips into your tired face as you enter the 18th hour of labor, and brings you diapers for your baby at midnight so you don’t have to go out in the winter weather.
He also made blueberry muffins, every Sunday of my childhood, circa 1986. And when I say every Sunday, that’s no exaggeration.
He got on this blueberry muffin “kick”. They were the boxed version with the can of wild blueberries included, and he loved them. At first I was all about them, happily consuming one or two with a glass of juice to wash it down. But then we entered week 20 or so of the “Muffin Sundays” and I was over it. Really over it. In fact, I voiced my complaint to my Grandmother (his mother, Mary) and she thought it was a hoot! When she would call after that, she’d gleefully ask if Dad had made muffins that week. Since the answer was usually yes, she’d let out a huge belly laugh and vow to ask me again next week. For about 12 years she never forgot to ask, and she’d still recount that story until Alzheimer’s robbed her of her razor sharp memory.
Of course, like any “kick” it didn’t last forever and Dad’s blueberry muffin making waned into a more sedate once every month or two occurrence. I began to like blueberry muffins again, and even looked forward to seeing them cooling on the stovetop on Sunday mornings. Because so much time has passed, I smile nostalgically at the blueberry muffin phase of 1986 every time I eat or even see one, and I’m glad I have those memories.
I thought I’d try to take that muffin and somehow roll it into a popcorn recipe for Popcorn Thursday, and that (along with my Dad) is what I’m sharing with you this week. I smiled the entire time I was creating this recipe, and when I took the first bite? Well, it tasted like Dad, Grandma Wesson, and 1986 all rolled into one.
9 cups of popped Popcorn, picked through for unpopped kernels and lightly salted
2 Tablespoons Butter, melted
1 cup Buttercrunch (recipe follows)
1/2 cup dried Blueberries
1/2 cup White Chocolate Chips, melted
1 cup buttery Crackers (Such as Ritz or Pepperidge Farm), broken into nickel-sized pieces
1/4 cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons Milk Powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
3 Tablespoons Butter, melted
Heat over to 275 degrees. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine crackers, sugar, milk powder and salt in a medium bowl. Pour melted butter over the top and stir well to combine.
To assemble the popcorn, toss with melted butter, then spread the popped corn onto a large parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle over the cooled buttercrunch, breaking into smaller pieces with your hands as you go. Add about half the dried blueberries and drizzle with the melted white chocolate. Sprinkle the remaining dried blueberries over top and let the chocolate set before eating, about 10-15 minutes.
Love you, Dad. Thanks for all the muffins! 🙂
*Buttercrunch adapted from the Ritz Crunch recipe in the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook.