I love popcorn. I love it as a random snack. I love it at a movie. I love sharing it during family time. I love throwing Peanut M & M's into a bowl of freshly buttered popcorn and searching for the candy coated crunchiness as I'm enjoying them. But most of all, I love making popcorn. Either by myself or with one of my kids. It's the simplicity and nostalgia of it. I know few people who don't love the comfort of popcorn while watching Bilbo Baggins walk through the Misty Mountains.
For years I've been using a Whirley Pop that I purchased at a Home Sense many years ago. It was precious to me. But, like everything else, time and use has caught up to this simple cooking device. And now that we've moved to a smaller home, kitchen equipment has to be reduced. And with a colon and a front parenthesis I had to let go of my Whirley Pop and move on.
But one day, my wife and I visited a friend for dinner and a drink. And out comes a large Le Creuset cast iron pot and some corn kernels. She makes her popcorn by adding a spoonful of oil and adds the kernels, covers it and shakes it on top of her stove top. So simple. So easy. And while it doesn't work quite as well as the Whirley Pop design, it certainly does the trick.
And as everyone knows, popcorn is inexpensive and fun and very adaptable. And so instead of just melting butter and tossing it with some salt, why not try something else....
Oh, and by the way, microwavable popcorn is truly terrible. I have purchased it of course but I never will ever again. It has way too many ingredients that I can't pronounce (a bad sign) and it has a terrible texture and an awful flavour. I'm dead against anything that isn't butter but tries it's best to be butter. It just doesn't work.
Time now for a quiz about Popcorn. We shall call it a Pop Quiz.
Q: What did Mama Corn say when she got angry at her kid kernels?
A: Wait 'til your Pop Corn gets home.
Q: When does popcorn get lost?
A: When it's in the maize.
Q: What do you call the one kernel never seems to pop at the end?
Simple Caramel Corn
1 Cup of Popcorn Kernels
Drizzle of Peanut Oil
50 ml Maple Syrup
1 Cup Brown Sugar
Splash of Vanilla Extract
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
In a large skillet, heat oil on medium high heat. Add popcorn and shake for 3 - 5 minutes or until popcorn has completed popping. If you use other methods of making popcorn (not microwaving obviously) use the method most comfortable for you. Put popcorn in a large bowl and set aside.
In a sauce pan, melt butter. Add brown sugar, vanilla extract and maple syrup and bring to boil stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add baking soda immediately. Slow pour over popcorn while tossing to evenly coat. Continue to toss until caramel has been absorbed. Lay out on a baking sheet and allow to cool.
Place back into a bowl and serve.
A Humble Chef's tip: have a friend help when pouring the caramel sauce. This is a great recipe to do with kids also.
A Second Humble Chef's Tip: I've also been told to keep popcorn in the freezer. It keeps the kernels fresher. I was skeptical at first but I find it is fluffier and pops in the "butterfly" variety versus the "mushroom" variety. Besides, the side of the packaging usually recommends it. Colon and back bracket.