Crunch into Popcorn Treats

October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month—the perfect time to cozy up with a bowl of this delicious whole-grain snack (as if we need an excuse)
Halloween Heaven

Photo: The Popcorn Board

Ah, popcorn. One of my favorite foods and the star of movie theaters even gets its own month, not just a day; October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month. That’s perfect timing to “celebrate” with popcorn snacks for game day, watching your favorite show or a movie and for upcoming Halloween get-togethers.

I’m not alone in my love of this glorious crunchy delight. Whether it’s made on the stovetop, microwave or ready-to-eat, Americans consume 15 billion quarts (that’s 47 quarts per person) of this whole grain each year, according to the Popcorn Board.

That’s right, popcorn is an unprocessed whole grain, and one serving provides about 70 percent of the recommended daily intake of whole grains. It is also gluten- and sugar-free and low in fat and calories. All U.S. popcorn is also GMO free, even if it is not labeled “non-GMO,” according to the Popcorn Board. Plus, it’s budget-friendly. A quart of popped popcorn costs as little as 15 cents. All great reasons to love popcorn—as if we need more.

In honor of the “holiday” the Popcorn Board created two new recipes to share: Toffee Almond Chocolate Popcorn, which is an easy-to-make decadent treat that’s worth the splurge; and Churro Popcorn, which they describe as curl-up comfort food with its fall-inspired cinnamon sugar coating. I also highlight a couple of their savory recipe ideas below.

As always, keep in mind that popcorn kernels expand up to 40 times their original size. So 1 ounce, which is 1/8 cup or 2 tablespoons of un-popped kernels will make 4 cups (1 quart) of popped popcorn. Consider how large of a batch you might like to make, and take it from there.

Toffee Almond Chocolate Popcorn

Photo: The Popcorn Board

Toffee Almond Chocolate Popcorn

Makes 4 Servings

With sweet toffee bits and toasted almonds, this chocolate-covered popcorn treat is definitely a crowd-pleaser.

4 cups popped popcorn
¾ cup chopped toasted almonds, divided
6 tablespoons toffee bits, divided
6 ounces milk chocolate, melted
1 ounce dark chocolate, melted

  1. In large bowl, toss together popcorn, ½ cup almonds and 4 tablespoons toffee bits. Drizzle with melted milk chocolate; toss until well coated.
  2. Transfer to parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Drizzle with dark chocolate; sprinkle with remaining almonds and toffee bits. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until set; break into clusters.

 

Churro Popcorn

Photo: The Popcorn Board

Churro Popcorn

Makes 2 to 3 Servings

Tossed with cinnamon butter and cinnamon sugar, this tasty Mexican-inspired treat is a quick and easy recipe that you’ll make again and again.

2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
6 cups popped popcorn

  1. In small bowl, mix together granulated sugar, powdered sugar and cinnamon.
  2. In small saucepan, melt butter; stir in 1 tbsp cinnamon sugar.
  3. Place popcorn in large bowl; toss with cinnamon butter until well coated. Sprinkle evenly with remaining cinnamon sugar; toss to coat well.Tips:
    • For a spicy churro popcorn variation, add 1 teaspoon spicy chipotle seasoning.
    • Serve with hot chocolate for the perfect pairing.

 

Halloween Heaven

Yield: Varies

The kitchen is calling your kids for this sweet, fun-to-make Halloween confection.

8 cups air-popped popcorn
7 ounces marshmallow cream
½ cup reduced fat peanut butter
1 cup candy corn

  1. Combine marshmallow cream and peanut butter in a large bowl; mix until smooth.
  2. Stir in popcorn and candy corn and mix until coated evenly.
  3. Drop by heaping spoonfuls on wax paper or non-stick surface and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container.

 

Looking for Something Savory?

Fall Harvest Soup Topper

Photo: The Popcorn Board

Fall Harvest Soup Topper

Makes 4 cups

This soup topper makes a great snack, too.

4 cups air-popped popcorn
Butter or original flavor cooking spray
¼ teaspoon parsley flakes
¼ teaspoon thyme
¼ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon Cajun Creole seasoning or chili powder

  1. Place popcorn in a large, clean paper bag. Spray popcorn lightly with cooking spray, about 5 quick sprays.
  2. Sprinkle parsley, thyme, basil, oregano and Cajun Creole seasoning onto popcorn. Close bag and shake to distribute seasoning.
  3. Sprinkle on chili or soup at serving time.

Rosemary Parmigiano-Reggiano Popcorn Recipe
Jazz up a healthy popcorn snack with Italian flair

 

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Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her school-age son, who used to eat beets and Indian food, will one day again think of real food as more than a means to a treat—and later share this with his younger brother.