Step away from the microwave popcorn! Its time to make popcorn worth eating- both in the nutrition and taste departments.
Popcorn is a sneaky way to get a dose of fibre and whole grain goodness in to the season of parties and endless snacking. On its own, it is low calorie, low fat and high fibre. It also makes a nostalgic, very quick and easy party appetizer that everyone will love.
For home snacking, take it easy on the butter, margarine, oil, or cheese to keep calories down. For a party appetizer you’ll want to keep it reasonable, but not be too stingy as the fat will carry a lot of flavour.
Sweet: Easy Salted Caramel Corn
Don’t be afraid of the caramel sauce- this is one of those things that gets to be dead easy if you try it a few times. A little sweet, a little salty- this combination appeals to all ages! Try it at a grown up party or serve it to little ones at a sleepover.
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp corn syrup
¼ cup water
¼- ½ tsp salt
Start by popping your popcorn in an air popper or if you don’t have an air popper see this link below for how to do it in the microwave with a brown paper bag or on the stove with a bit of oil. http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Popcorn
Heat a heavy bottomed pan on the stove over medium heat. Add your sugar, corn syrup and water. Give the mixture a quick stir and then leave it alone. I like to swirl my pan now and again so it heats evenly and the crystals dissolve. Don’t try to mix with a spatula or you may get a gritty sauce.
The sauce will be done when it’s a medium caramel colour- take it off immediately when it reaches this point as it burns very quickly! The whole process will take about 2-8 minutes depending on how hot and how big your pan was.
In a very big heatproof bowl or a roasting pan pour the caramel sauce over the popcorn and mix quickly. Sprinkle the salt and give it another quick mix. The caramel will harden quickly- before you serve break up any big clumps by giving it another stir with a spatula.
Transfer to your serving bowl and watch it disappear! Makes about 8-10 cups.
Savoury: Parmesan Chive Popcorn
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
½ tbsp olive oil
½ tbsp melted butter or margarine
2 tbsp grated parmesan
2 tbsp roughly chopped chives (find them with the other fresh herbs in your grocery store, or substitute scallions/green onions if needed)
Prepare popcorn as above.
Add all of the remaining ingredients and give it a good mix. Sprinkle a few chives on the top to make it pretty and serve. Makes about 8-10 cups.
For a stickier, less crunchy caramel corn remove the caramel from the heat and add a 1/2 cup of milk. Whisk quickly until its well incorporated.
You can substitute any strong cheese for the Parmesan such as an aged Cheddar or a Pecorino.