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Making Gourmet Popcorn

Updated on September 18, 2014

You Can Make Your Own Gourmet Popcorn At Home

Popcorn is a special type of dried corn that, when cooked, explodes into fluffy puffs many times its original size. The popcorn kernel has a flinty starch exterior with a little soft starch near the center. When heated, the moisture inside the kernel becomes steam. The "pop" is many tiny explosions as each starch grain expands and bursts its armor of hard starch.

To store popcorn, keep the kernels in a tightly covered container once the package has been opened, or refrigerate. This helps retain the bit of moisture in the kernels that it needs to be able to pop.Traditionally, popcorn, the favorite movie theater snack, is tossed with melted butter and salt.

Other popular concoctions are the caramelized sugar popcorn mixtures for caramel corn and popcorn balls.But if you use just a little imagination, you can easily make those expensive and delicious popcorn flavors at home. Or simply invent your very own specialty flavor of popcorn.

Popcorn Tip:

If the popcorn kernels have dried out in storage, place a damp cloth or paper towel in the container. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Just before popping, remove the cloth. Stir through the kernels and then pop as usual.

chocolate popcorn
chocolate popcorn

Chocolate Popcorn

Ingredients:

12 cups popcorn

1 cup unsalted peanuts

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup corn syrup

2 tablespoons butter

6 ounces semisweet chocolate

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spray a large, shallow roasting pan with vegetablespray. Mix popcorn and peanuts in roasting pan. In a heavy 2 quart saucepan,cook corn syrup, sugar and margarine over medium heat, until the mixture boils,stirring constantly.

Stir in chocolate and continue to cook for 5 minutes or untilthe chocolate is completely melted and the mixture has thickened. Remove fromheat and stir in vanilla. Pour over popcorn and peanuts; stir to coat well.

Bake for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Pour onto foil and let cool. Store in tightly covered containers.

caramel popcorn
caramel popcorn

Caramel Popcorn Balls

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 15-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

5 quarts popped corn

In a saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, and corn syrup. Stir well and bring to boiling over medium heat.

Stir in condensed milk; simmer, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a soft ball stage.Stir in the vanilla and pour over the popped corn and stir to coat.

Butter your hands lightly and shape the popcorn into balls about 3 1/2 inches in diameter.

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