Today is National Pop Corn Day! I’ll bet you didn’t know that, and neither did I until I looked it up on a calendar I have of special events days. When I saw what today was, I thought that would be a great day to talk about popcorn!
Popcorn comes from real corn – just a different variety from the corn-on-the-cob we boil or grill or the frozen corn we buy at the grocery store. It’s also a different variety than the pretty multi-colored decorative corn we see around Thanksgiving.
Popcorn has a higher percentage of moisture in it so when heat – or microwave energy – is applied, the heat (or energy) causes the moisture to expand, explode and POP! Very simple! And we get that wonderful white, fluffy popcorn we all love.
Pour melted butter over it for a great snack; pour caramel over it and make popcorn balls, go a little more crazy and make Cinnabon™ popcorn! It’s not hard and would be fun on one of these chilly Sunday afternoons. The older kids will want to help, provided they get to eat some and why not? They are really yummy!
- 12 c popped pop corn (about 1/2 cup raw kernels to around 2 bags of commercial microwave popcorn)
- 1 c pecan halves, roughly chopped
- 1 c brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 c light corn syrup or honey
- 1/4 lb. (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 4 oz. almond bark
You can use either air popped or unbuttered microwave popcorn. Place popcorn and chopped pecans in a very large bowl and set aside.
Preheat oven to 250.
Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a 2 liter capacity microwave safe bowl & mix well. Chop butter into chunks and place on top of sugar mixture. Pour corn syrup over the top of everything. Microwave on high for 25 – 30 seconds, then stir to combine. Return to microwave and heat another 2 minutes. Remove and stir again. Microwave another
1-1/2 minutes and remove. (If you go too long, your popcorn will get very hard. My microwave is 1200 watts so I only do it twice on 90%).
Remove from microwave and add vanilla and baking soda. Stir to combine. Mixture will foam and rise. Pour this caramel mixture over the popcorn and pecans and stir for several minutes. (It takes longer than you think to get everything coated well.)
Spread popcorn mixture onto a foil-lined and sprayed jelly roll pan. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and spread out on a large piece of parchment, waxed paper or foil.
Melt almond bark according to package directions; drizzle over popcorn mixture. When chocolate is hardened and popcorn is cool, break into chunks and enjoy.
This is a great snack – and a wonderful hostess gift in a pretty glass jar or cookie tin!
Easy Air Popcorn
- 1 brown paper lunch bag
- 3 Tbsp. uncooked (raw) popcorn
Place raw popcorn into empty lunch bag. Fold top of lunch bag over about 1/2″ and run fingers along the fold; fold over an additional 1/2″ and run fingers along the fold again to secure the bag.
Lay the bag on the side, fold side down, on the microwave plate (or a microwave safe plate if yours doesn’t have a turntable). Set time for 1-1/2 minutes (for a 1000 watt oven). Adjust time accordingly depending on your oven’s wattage. Don’ let the popcorn or bag burn. When popping stops (even if there is time left), remove the bag carefully (it will be HOT), turn the oven off, and open the bag away from you.
Pour into a bowl, add butter and/or salt and enjoy.