Get poppin’ with the popcorn boom
Popcorn is the fastest and trendiest snack this year. Not only is it a healthy alternative to snacking, it’s also simple to make and customizable to every taste bud and occasion. Ideal for everyday snacking or gifting at the next baby shower or birthday party, the possibilities of homemade popcorn are endless. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get popping!
Angie Quaale, food expert and owner of Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store, shares some of her favourite popcorn recipes and the three most important rules of thumb when it comes to making homemade popcorn.
1. Pop it old-school
Air poppers make popping corn super easy, but you don't need any special equipment to make good popcorn at home—you can do it on the stove in a pot. Just be sure to use a heavy-bottomed pot deep enough to accommodate the popped corn so it doesn’t blow off the lid.
2. Fat matters
The fat you use to pop your corn is key. Butter and extra virgin olive oil will burn at the high temperature it takes to pop the corn so avoid those. However, experiment with other types of fat that tolerate the high heat like: bacon fat, duck fat, grapeseed oil or peanut oil. Even clarified butter will work since it is the milk solids that burn at high heat. Experiment and have some fun!
3. Toppings and seasoning varieties are endless
Popcorn is a perfect vessel for flavour. The key to seasoning is to do it while it is still warm and to add your seasoning as you're melting the butter so it will distribute evenly among the kernels. Don’t hesitate to add a mix in or two—chocolate peanuts, pretzels, almonds, toasted coconut—this turns regular old popcorn into dinner.
Here are six tasty ways to spice up your popcorn...
1. Rosemary Parmesan Popcorn
Well SeasonedWhile sweet popcorn is delicious, savory varieties are always appreciated. There is nothing more savory than this Rosemary Parmesan Popcorn. The cheese and fresh herbs are the perfect balance when you crave a salty snack. Once you start, it’s nearly impossible to stop. It's just that good.
- 3/4 cup unpopped popcorn = about 8 to 10 cups of air-popped popcorn
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp finely chopped rosemary
- 1 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Zest of one lemon
- Sea salt
- In a small pot on the stovetop, heat the oil and add all of the other ingredients except the cheese.
- Turn the heat off and allow the oil to infuse with the lemon and rosemary for 10 minutes.
- Pour the oil over hot popped popcorn and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- Season with salt.
2. Maple Pepper Popcorn Recipe
Well SeasonedSavoury Favourites Maple Pepper spice blends are a delicious way to add a twist to tried-and-true recipes. The collection is gluten-free and made right here in Canada. I mean maple... you can't get much more Canadian than that. With four varieties: original, curry, chipotle and garlic, there is a little something for every popcorn lover’s taste bud!
- Popped popcorn
- Butter or coconut oil
- Savoury Favourites Maple Pepper
- Pop desired amount of popcorn and transfer to a large bowl.
- Melt butter or coconut oil and drizzle over popcorn.
- Generously shake Maple Pepper Original spice blend over the popcorn.
- Shake or stir the popcorn until the butter and seasoning are evenly distributed.
3. Bacon Caramel Corn with Pecans
Well SeasonedBacon, eh? This is another gourmet popcorn recipe that shouts Canada! Make a batch of this salty, sweet and incredibly indulgent gourmet popcorn that’s great for celebrating Canada’s 150th year.
- 8 slices Johnston’s double-smoked, thick-cut bacon, cut into ¼” pieces
- ¾ cup unpopped popcorn = about 8 cups of air popped popcorn
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup pecan pieces, toasted
- Preheat the oven to 250ºF.
- In a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon pieces to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and reserve the bacon drippings.
- While your bacon cooks, air pop the popcorn into a large bowl and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add 2 tbsp. reserved bacon drippings.
- Stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Then, without stirring, allow the mixture to boil, undisturbed, for 4 minutes.
- Remove the caramel from the heat and carefully stir in the baking soda and vanilla extract. The caramel will bubble vigorously once you add the vanilla.
- Immediately pour the caramel evenly over the popcorn, stirring to coat it.
- Add the bacon and pecans. Stir to combine.
- Transfer the coated popcorn onto two, parchment lined sheet pans. Bake the caramel corn for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Remove the caramel corn from the oven allow it to cool completely before breaking it into pieces and serving.
4. Chili Lime Popcorn
Well SeasonedThis gourmet popcorn is zesty and delicious. Best of all, it’s incredibly simple to make and even more tasty when served alongside a glass of wine.
- 1½ cups unpopped popcorn = about 16 cups of air popped popcorn
- 6 tbsp unsalted melted butter
- ¼ cup Sriracha
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1½ teaspoons lime zest
- Whisk melted butter with Sriracha, lime zest and lime juice.
- Drizzle over hot-popped popcorn and toss.
- Season with salt.
5. Duck Fat Popcorn
Well SeasonedThree ingredients. Yes, that’s it. Only three ingredients to create some of the most decadent popcorn you will ever taste. The duck fat lends such delicious flavour that there's no need for butter, and we promise you will never hear us say that again. Well Seasoned stocks duck fat in our freezer for your convenience since most don't typically have duck fat in the kitchen. And if you do, we're coming over for dinner!
- 1½ cups unpopped popcorn (about 16 cups of air popped popcorn)
- 6 tbsp duck fat (available at Well Seasoned)
- Sea salt
- Heat duck fat in a heavy-bottom pot.
- Add in the kernels, put a lid on it (with a little room for steam to escape) and gently shake every few seconds until the popping stops.
- Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.
6. Lemon Brown Butter Popcorn
Well Seasoned Don’t be deceived! Lemon and buttery popcorn are the perfect combination. Salty, sweet and tangy—this popcorn is full of flavour and is incredibly simple to make.
- 5 cups unpopped popcorn = about 16 cups of air popped popcorn
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter
- Zest of 1 large lemon, about 1.5 teaspoons
- Grate lemon zest and set aside.
- Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Continue cooking until golden brown, about 7 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in 1½ teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest.
- Drizzle butter mixture over popped popcorn. Season with salt and enjoy!