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This weekend was filled with get togethers with friends to watch the hockey games (Go Canucks go!). And with game day festivities, comes gluttonous and sinful snacking. On Friday, I made a spinach dip but unfortunately we ate it before I could take a decent picture. (Sorry! I promise to post a recipe for that soon.) So last night, I made a popcorn trio that I thought I would share.

As a child, my experiences of popcorn were limited to microwaveable popcorn and movie theatre too-much-butter-that-it’s-soggy popcorn. But just recently, J. and I bought real popcorn that you make on your stove top. I realize this is not a new concept to many of you, but it was to me. So now I’m hooked!

#1 Savoury Popcorn
Adapted from allrecipes

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup popcorn kernels
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil or melted butter
1/2 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
Salt and pepper

  1. Heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat in a saucepan or a soup pot that’s deep. Make sure the oil is spread over the entire surface of the pan.
  2. Put three kernels in as the ‘tester’. When all three kernels pop, that’s when you know the oil is hot enough.
  3. Pour in all the kernels. Shake to coat all the kernels in the oil.
  4. Once it starts to pop, I recommend the 3-second rule. Leave the pan on the burner for 3 seconds, then shake the pot off the burner for 3 seconds, and repeat until the popping stops.
  5. Pour popcorn into a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil or melted butter and toss to coat.
  6. Sprinkle chili powder and cumin. Toss to coat. Then add salt and pepper to taste.

I highly recommend giving olive oil a try in lieu of butter. It seriously tastes pretty good, even though I know it’s not the classic flavour. I also recommend trying other flavours, such as garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, curry powder, or even some freshly grated parmesan cheese.

#2 Salted Caramel Popcorn
Adapted from Coconut Raita

1.5 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 cup (heaping) popcorn kernels
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. salt + 1 tsp. course salt for sprinkling

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.
  3. Make the popcorn, using the directions above. Then pour popcorn into a large bowl with the pecans and toss until everything is evenly distributed.
  4. Heat sugar, corn syrup, butter, water, and 1/2 tsp. salt over medium heat. Once melted, keep stirring for 3-4 minutes. It’s okay if it boils, just keep stirring to ensure that nothing burns on the bottom.
  5. Drizzle over popcorn and pecans. Toss with a spatula till everything is coated.
  6. Pour the popcorn mixture onto the sheet pan and spread out.
  7. Sprinkle 1 tsp. of course salt (large grains of sea salt might be a bit large, but that’s up to you) over the popcorn.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes. Stir every 15 minutes.
  9. When finished, let it cool before serving. The mixture will harden as it cools. Make sure to give it a stir every so often while it’s cooling, otherwise you’ll end up with really large chunks (unless that’s what you want).

I used golden corn syrup but the original recipe calls for light. I thought it tasted fine, so I recommend you use whatever you have on hand or whatever is on sale. Also, feel free to use any other nuts you like. I think pecans and caramel is a classic pairing but it would also taste good with walnuts or peanuts.

#3 Classic Kettle Corn
Adapted from allrecipes

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup popcorn kernels
2 tbsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

  1. Heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat in a deep saucepan or soup pot. Do the three kernel testing method.
  2. Once the oil is hot enough, add the popcorn kernels and the white sugar. Give it a good toss to ensure the kernels are fully coated in the oil and the sugar.
  3. Do the 3-second method of shaking the pan, leaving it on the burner, shaking the pan, etc. until the popping stops.
  4. Pour the popcorn into a large bowl. It’ll start to stick together so give it a good toss with a wooden spoon until it starts to separate a bit. Then, sprinkle salt and toss to coat.

Alternatively, you can try using brown sugar which will apparently give you a caramel-like flavour. I haven’t done this so I can’t tell you whether or not that’s true. As well, olive oil or butter isn’t necessary here because the salt will stick to the popcorn because of the sugary coating. Also, I’ve made this with only 1 tbsp. of sugar before, which had a much milder sweetness so feel free to make adjustments to the sugar depending on personal preference.