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Under the Big Pop

Recipes, Dessert

A resident of the Marion County village of Caledonia, Carol Ault has been a regular participant in the annual cooking contest at the Marion Popcorn Festival for years. Her 2016 entry, dubbed Under the Big Pop, took third place in the contest. “I collect popcorn recipes throughout the year,” says Ault. “I love looking at old cookbooks to get ideas.” Through trial and error, Ault combined different snack recipes and mixed popcorn with various ingredients until she came up with a perfectly salty and sweet combination. “They asked me what the secret was. I just used real popcorn,” Ault says, adding that microwave popcorn just doesn’t deliver the same flavor.  

Under the Big Pop | Makes about 10 cups

Cooking spray 
2 cups popcorn, popped 
2 cups vanilla rice cereal 
2 cups M&M’s 
2 cups small or stick pretzels 
2 cups Cheerios 
2 cups white chocolate chips

Mix first five ingredients in a sprayed foil roaster pan. Melt white chocolate chips in double boiler. Pour over popcorn/cereal mix. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Break up and serve.