My friend Megan recently posted a photo on Instagram of gourmet popcorn bags that she got from the grocery store. I immediately asked where she found them and went in hunt of some popcorn of my own. Megan is in a different part of the state and I was devastated to find out that my city grocery store does not carry the popcorn.
So what does a girl do when she can’t find gourmet popcorn in the grocery store and is now seriously craving it? She makes her own!
God bless Steve. He seriously is down for all things blog related, it may also have to do with the fact that he is my guinea pig and gets to eat everything I make, regardless he is amazing. 😉 We jumped in the car and went to buy a popcorn popper and the 3 ingredients that I needed for THREE DIFFERENT batches of popcorn that wasn’t already in my pantry. I picked out three different flavors to experiment with and was really excited when I realized I had almost everything in my house already!
I initially wanted to buy bags of plain popcorn, pop them in the microwave and then douse in the yummy flavors, but after a trip to the store we realized plain jane popcorn doesn’t come in bags! Everything is lightly buttered, or lightly salted, or kettlecorn. So for $7 I bought a popcorn popper and a jar of kernels. Seriously worth the investment!
This is what 3 tablespoons of kernels looks like once its popped!
The first batch was Italian Herbs & Cheese. I’m not going to lie, this one made me a little nervous but I wanted to do something out of my comfort zone. I didn’t have the pre-packaged italian seasoning so I made my own with a little bit of Thyme, Basil, Oregano, and Rosemary.
I melted 2 tablespoons of butter, added the Italian Seasoning, 1 tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese and 1/2 tsp of garlic powder. Stirring well I drizzled it over the popcorn and then tossed to coat completely. The roommates gave this a big thumbs up. In fact, it was Carissa’s favorite!
The second popcorn I made was Steve’s choice- Peanut Butter with M&M’s. As someone with a very serious sweet tooth, I was excited for this one as well! Again, made 3 tablespoons of popcorn (equals about 3 servings of popcorn) added 1 cup of M&M’s and set it aside. I sprayed a medium sized sauce pan with PAM and put it on the stove set to medium heat. Next I added 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, 1/4 cup of honey and 1/4 cup of light corn syrup (I used Karo syrup) to the pan. I waited until they were at a rolling boil and stirred the mixture slowly with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes. I would SERIOUSLY recommend using only a wooden spoon and be prepared for a tough clean up scenario. After the 2 minutes were up I added 1/2 cup of peanut butter and 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract and stirred until the peanut butter melted. I removed the pan from the heat and poured the mixture over the popcorn and candy. I tossed the mixture with two wooden spoons and then spread it out on a cookie sheet to harden. Once hard I broke apart smaller and easy to eat pieces. This was my second favorite and maybe Steve’s favorite. However- it was a nightmare to clean up so be ready if you decide to make this!
While the bacon for batch #4 was frying on the stove I whipped up a quick and easy Cinnamon & Sugar batch. I melted 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzled it over another bowl of popcorn (3 tablespoons). After doing so I sprinkled a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, that I put together 5 minutes prior, alllll over the popcorn and shook to coat evenly. I am a sucker for ANYTHING covered in Cinnamon Sugar and this was my new favorite until I tried batch #4….
The winner out of the 4 batches of popcorn in my opinion was the Maple Bacon! I did not think I was going to enjoy it as much as I did! Yum! Preheat the oven to 350 degrees first. We fried thick cut bacon on the stove (about 6 slices) then chopped it up into fine pieces. I laid out the popcorn onto a baking sheet and then sprinkled the bacon pieces on top. Make sure you lay down a piece of parchment paper on the baking sheet (THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT- do not substitute aluminum foil for parchment paper!). Also- save the bacon drippings. Combine 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings with 3/4 cup of maple syrup, 1 teaspoon of pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Drizzle that over the popcorn and then toss to coat evenly and bake for 10 minutes! This is where the parchment paper comes into play. I didn’t have any and used aluminum foil in place of the parchment paper and then had to scrape and peel and pick the popcorn and bacon mixture off of the sheet to put it in a bowl. It was worth it- SOO GOOD.