Popcorn appears to be having a moment. First there was sweet ‘n’ salty, now the supermarkets seem to be stocking all kinds of weird and wonderful flavours. If you’re not wholly convinced that popcorn is the perfect snack, allow me to sell it to you. First of all it is SUPER easy to make. You’ll realise that the recipes below are slightly vague, but that’s because you can’t really go far wrong; the toppings you create can be tailored to your taste. Secondly it is FUN to make. If you don’t get a bit of a thrill from watching and listening to the kernels bounce around in the pan, you need to ask yourself some serious questions about the state of your soul. Finally, popcorn is relatively healthy. Obviously this depends on your topping, but since it can be a savoury or a sweet snack, it can replace both crisps and chocolate and will be healthier than both.
Below are my three favourite recipes for making your own popcorn toppings. To make the basic popcorn, heat up a thin layer of oil on a medium heat, add as many kernels as you want, put the lid on the pan and wait for the pure magic to begin.
Garlic and Parmesan
A large knob (straight faces everyone) of butter
1 Clove of garlic
Dried mixed herbs
This topping might feel a bit ‘out-there’ for the popcorn novice, but trust me, to get the most out of this snack you have to start seeing the corn as a blank canvas. Simply melt the butter in a pan, crush the garlic and add to the butter, stirring constantly, then add a shake or two of the mixed herbs. Once you’ve created the buttery sauce, take off the heat and pour it over your popcorn. Try to get an even covering by mixing around the corn, then grate the parmesan cheese over the top. This flavour of popcorn is super nice warmed up too.
Sweet and Salty
A large knob of butter
2 tbsp sugar
Table salt to taste
Until you try this combination, you will undoubtedly dismiss it as sick and wrong. I can pretty much guarantee you though, that after your very first mouthful, you will be well and truly converted. Somehow it just works. There is plenty of this stuff in the shops, but it couldn’t be easier to make your own. Just melt the butter in a pan and add the sugar, stirring until it has mostly combined. Pour the sauce over the popcorn, mixing thoroughly to ensure an even coverage, then sprinkle over the salt. Taste to adjust the ratio; you want even saltiness and sugary-ness to get the full effect of it’s addictive nature.
A large knob of butter
50g milk chocolate
A handful of glace cherries cut into smaller pieces
A handful of mini marshmallows
This one might not tick the healthy box, but it sure ticks every other one. Melt the butter and the chocolate together on a low heat, stirring constantly. Once combined, take off the heat and add the marshmallows and cherries. Mix the sauce into the popcorn and leave in the fridge to set.