Who likes popcorn? I’m talking about the gourmet popcorn of the likes of Garrett’s (all you Chicago natives, you hear me?). Cheesy, cracker-jack popcorn with nuts, or drizzled with something sweet – do any of these strike your fancy? I’ve optimized THE BEST recipe you need to make perfect homemade popcorn – sweet & salty, & with a gourmet touch – every time, complete with the 2 extremely useful kitchen tools you must have in your kitchen.
American loves popcorn. From the cracker jack & baseball tradition, to kicking back and enjoying it with others over a feature film, popcorn has a sure place amongst favorite snacks for kids and adults alike. Stores like Trader Joe’s, for instance, has flavors like Chicago style, herbs and spices, caramel ginger, pumpkin spice, baconesque, pickle, and classics like hollywood movie style and kettle corn. But, sometimes you may just want to dress up your popcorn just the way you like it.
Here’s something you probably don’t know – some people are allergic to packaged popcorn. It probably isn’t the popcorn itself, but an additive or preservative that keeps those popped kernels fresh. This happens to affect me, as I used to get such an itchy throat after enjoying those tasty treats. Personally, I would just ignore the sick feeling because I liked popcorn! I didn’t know how to make popcorn at home and didn’t know how 1) easy it is 2) healthier it can be compared to store-bought popcorn (depending on how you dress them). Win, win!
Local New England maple syrup company, Runamok Maple from Vermont approached me recently and offered to send me three samples of their unique infused maple syrups to try. Cinnamon Vanilla Infused, Pecan Wood Smoked, and Bourbon Barrel Aged. This recipe features Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup with a great sweetness and unique caramelized flavor.
On a trip to Montréal, I stopped by the maple syrup café and museum – Délices Érables et Cie – for a maple latte and learned about the surprising benefits of maple. They had samples, treats, and a free museum to explore. Maple is a sap tapped from trees, and all the minerals make this sweetener extra appreciated. Since I am a big fan of maple syrup, I couldn’t wait to see what kind of recipes I could come up with to use these guys.
Maple Syrup has: calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and B6
Instead of reaching for a processed food snack after a long day at work, I’ve been *making an effort* to try to eat satiating snacks not rich in fats, preservatives, and salt, and popcorn is actually a fibrous, filling food which plainly fits the bill. I like my food HOT generally, so after trying multiple times (and failing) to make the perfect bowl of popcorn, I set out to make the Perfect Bowl of Popcorn at home, just the way I like it.
The Perfect Bowl of Popcorn is
…maximally popped (few half popped kernels – ouch!)
I like love sweet mixed with savory in food. After failing in my attempt to use sugar and salt in my recipe, and ending up with a big mess, it clicked – using an infused maple syrup would simultaneously add unique flavor and would hold up well to coat the kernels as a liquid.
I made it my mission to figure out the most cost effective way to enjoy this favorite snack, at home, with ingredients and tools that I would have anyway and use frequently for cooking and preparing other meals. Generally, I’m all about convenience and utility, and I do NOT like purchasing one-purpose items (no popcorn popper for me).
You need a 2.5 quart/10 inch diameter glass bowl (or, with lid for food storage) // I’ve tried all shapes of Pyrex and this curved shape with a minimal flat surface is the best. The short story: they don’t work well – kernels get stuck in corners, and don’t pop. Pyrex is heat safe (use a mitt to handle once hot, please!), dishwasher, freezer, microwave safe, and thus easy to use and clean.
You need this silicone microwave cover // Unlike the traditional microwave covers that go over bowls, these are BPA free and BPS free – this translates to none of those toxins leaching into your food from being heated. The problem with other microwave covers is that (from experience) they do not seal with the bowl and as a result, popcorn goes everywhere as it pops. They are not too expensive, and seal against a variety of bowl sizes. I picked this because it fit on my pyrex, and also because most bowls I would microwave for other food preparation/leftovers are smaller in diameter.
The lids come in a variety of colors/styles from the original lilypad design, to a grapefruit, or wood-grain inspired one and can add a bit of whimsy and fun to cooking. My kitchen is red themed so I selected the red poppy. Whatever sizes you select, make sure that the lid is big enough to cover the pyrex glass bowl.
Directions to make The Perfect Homemade Popcorn:
1// Add 1 tablespoon of salted butter (or equivalent choice of oil) to 1/4 cup kernels to glass pyrex bowl
2// Drizzle 1 teaspoon of Runamok Maple Bourbon Barrel Aged Syrup over the kernels + butter
3// Sprinkle 1/8 tsp of salt on top
4// Cover the bowl with the Charles Viancin lid Set on the bowl and gently push down and pull up to secure the suction seal. Heat on high in the microwave for 3-4 minutes – monitor the popping and make sure to stop the microwave when popping slows to a pop every few seconds. Note: Every microwave heats differently. My microwave works best with 4 minutes. You may decide to try lowering the heat setting to 70% of max high heat if you get burnt kernels, allowing maximal kernels to pop in even, constant heat.
5// Remove from the microwave – use caution when handling the hot bowl (use an oven mitt) and while removing the lid due to steam. Transfer to a potholder or trivet to cool the bowl down (no sudden temperature changes for glass – same as if you used it in the oven). Using a wooden spoon or a spatula, gently toss the popped kernels.
6// Enjoy with a cup of tea…or a glass of your favorite beverage…and with a friend 🙂
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