Category Archives: popcorn

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

I’ve been holding out on you.

This recipe? These pictures? They’re from last summer! I did a bunch of work ahead so I could spend time with my family in New Mexico, which was a good idea, in theory. The trouble is, I forgot to write down the finished recipe, so I had to wait until I had a spare moment to re-test it…and that didn’t happen until about two weeks ago.

What can I say? I’m busy.

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

Please believe me when I tell you this one was worth the wait though. I mean, it’s Peanut Butter Caramel Corn. How could it possibly be anything but wonderful?!

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

Oh yes, all the crispy, crunchy, sweet and glossy deliciousness you love about traditional caramel corn is here, but with a big punch of peanut butter. Roasted peanuts optional, but recommended.

If you’re intimidated by the idea of making your own caramel corn, fear not! The caramel coating is made with my go-to no-stir method—just toss all the ingredients together and let them do their thing. Trust me!

When it’s ready, toss the peanut butter caramel with a whole bunch of plain popcorn (and peanuts!) and bake it low and slow until it’s super glossy and your kitchen smells amazing.

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

This recipe for Peanut Butter Caramel Corn makes a huge batch and keeps for two weeks, which is a good thing because you’re going to want to bring it everywhere. It’s a positively dreamy addition to just about any occasion. Family vacations, movie nights, picnics, beach days, cookouts, sitting around in your pajama—whatever you’ve got going on, this is *the* thing to bring. Just promise me you won’t wait a year to make it.

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn
Peanut Butter Caramel Corn
makes about 12 cups

1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil
3/4 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
1 1/2 cups peanuts (optional)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, sliced into 8 pieces
3 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup creamy-style peanut butter (not natural-style)

Pour oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add 4-5 popcorn kernels. Heat over medium heat until kernels begin to pop. Add remaining kernels and cover with lid, leaving it a little bit ajar. Jostle constantly while popcorn pops, until pops are 2-3 seconds apart. Do not burn.

Remove pot from heat and pour popcorn into a bowl. Measure popcorn to ensure there are 12 cups. Set aside excess or pop more, as needed to meet the 12-cup requirement for this recipe. Add roasted peanuts, if using.

Preheat oven to 250F. Heavily grease two rimmed sheet pans, your largest mixing bowl, and 2 silicone spatulas with oil or non-stick spray. Put popped popcorn in the bowl. Set aside.

Without stirring or jostling, combine sugar, light corn syrup, honey, salt, butter and water in a 4-quart pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Let boil 5 minutes. Do not stir. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and baking soda; be careful, mixture will bubble up violently. Whisk in peanut butter.

Pour peanut butter caramel over popcorn and use greased spatulas to toss together. Do not touch any coated pieces that fly out of the bowl—the molten sugar will burn you. Wait til they cool a bit before picking them up.

Divide coated popcorn among sheet pans. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

Line a sheet pan or a surface with parchment. Pour baked popcorn on top. Let cool to room temperature. Serve.

Leftover Peanut Butter Caramel Corn will keep in a ziptop bag for up to 2 weeks. It may soften slightly on humid days.

Friday Favorites: Game Day II

Friday Favorites: Game DayI have made it clear over the years that I am a baseball and Olympics person, and very definitely not a football fan. Oh, I’ve tried. I grew up in Texas and was the co-captain of my high school dance team, so I attended 40+ games from the sidelines, and I never missed a Super Bowl for the first 22 years of my life. I can say with confidence that football is not for me.

That said, I most certainly like football food. In fact, today’s list of Super Bowl Sunday recipes is the second Game Day round-up I’ve compiled in the last five years. There are some of the usual meaty, cheesy, gooey suspects, and a couple of non-traditional options. You know, for keeping things interesting between commercial breaks.

I sincerely hope none of you are gathering for Super Bowl parties next weekend—I would like to be able to see my family sometime this year, okay?—but for all the things that will be different/less good about the big game, let’s not let the food be one of them.Friday Favorites: Game DayPuff Pastry Pigs in Blankets

Pigs in blankets are a classic football food. Here they’re wrapped in puff pastry (rough puff or frozen/thawed puff) and baked until super flaky and golden. Yum.Friday Favorites: Game DayPimento Cheese Tarte Soleil

You could just make Pimento Cheese for game day, but why pass up the chance to stack it with flaky pastry, twist it to sunny perfection and bake until bubbly?Friday Favorites: Game DayCreamy Avocado Salsa

Is it even game day if chips and salsa aren’t on the table? This Creamy Avocado Salsa has all the flavors of classic guacamole, but with a smooth and dreamy texture. Serve it by its lonesome or… Friday Favorites: Game DaySpicy Turkey Tacos

…drizzle it onto these Spicy Turkey Tacos! This thirty minute main is one of my go-to weeknight recipes. It’s easy, saucy and has a good kick to it from a DIY taco seasoning. If heat isn’t your thing, don’t fret; I’ve included a way to make these milder without sacrificing any flavor.Friday Favorites: Game DaySlow-Roasted Pulled Pork

Say goodbye to your favorite slow cooker pulled pork because once you try this, you’ll never want to go back. My Slow-Roasted Pulled Pork does require a little forethought, but it’s actually very simple to make. It’s dry brined ahead of time and then roasted low and slow until super tender. Pile it high on soft rolls with whatever sauce and crunchy vegetables you like, or use it as filling for enchiladas!

Oh, and did I mention there are crispy cracklings strewn throughout? Because there are crispy cracklings strewn throughout. So good, y’all.Friday Favorites: Game DayButternut Squash Chili {Vegan}

If meat’s not your thing, this vegan Butternut Squash Chili is a perfect option for you! It’s hearty and comforting and basically everything wonderful about game day food, just without the animal products.Friday Favorites: Game DaySuper Sprinkle Popcorn

I find that dessert is frequently overlooked on Super Bowl Sunday, and to that I say “not in my house!” Super Sprinkle Popcorn would also be a perfect way to end the big game. Coated in white chocolate and loaded with rainbow sprinkles and homemade Funfetti crumbs, this stuff is cute and delicious as all get out!Friday Favorites: Game DayMonster Carmelitas

I think this goes without saying, but no matter how much heavy food I’ve eaten during the game, I will always—always—have room for a gooey, peanut buttery Monster Carmelita.

Have you made any of these or any of my other game day favorites? What’s your favorite thing to serve on Super Bowl Sunday? Let me know in the comments or on social media!Friday Favorites: Game Day

Super Sprinkle Popcorn

Super Sprinkle PopcornIn trying to work with the baking supplies I’ve already got during this pandemic, I’ve uncovered a hoard of rainbow sprinkles that I bought at Sahadi’s in January. I don’t know what I was doomsday prepping for back then, but it involved four containers each of jimmies and nonpareils. Good thing they don’t go bad, and that they go in (or on) pretty much everything. I’ve put them in cookies, truffles, blondies, doughnuts, layer cake, and crumb cake, just to name a few. Today, they’re being scattered alllll over some popcorn!Super Sprinkle PopcornYes, this Super Sprinkle Popcorn is loaded with rainbow sprinkles—absolute heaven for a sprinkle enthusiast like myself. The popcorn is popped in oil (you can also use the plain microwave stuff), then tossed with melted white chocolate, sprinkles, and Funfetti crumbs.Super Sprinkle PopcornYeah, Funfetti crumbs. Like crispy, crunchy pieces of Funfetti cookie that are the size and texture of what you’d find on top of a crumb cake, which is exactly what these are. I’ve simply taken the crumb topping from my Double Funfetti Crumb Cake and baked it on a sheet pan, let it cool, and crumbled it into a big bowl of popcorn.

Lest you think I am more creative than I actually am, these crumbs are a riff on Christina Tosi’s confetti crumbs. Mine have fewer ingredients and require melted butter instead of softened, but still bake up perfectly and are hard to stop eating once you start!Super Sprinkle PopcornSuper Sprinkle PopcornAll that said, if you don’t have the ingredients for the crumbs, this popcorn can be made without them and still be sweet, sprinkly and colorful. You can also toss in a couple of cups of broken Oreos (regular, Golden or Birthday Cake!), vanilla wafers, graham crackers, or any other crispy addition you can think up.Super Sprinkle PopcornSuper Sprinkle PopcornThis popcorn is so delicious! If you are a texture person, you’re in for a treat. Light, airy popcorn, crispy crumbs, creamy white chocolate coating and crunchy sprinkles make for texture heaven! No two bites are the same; you might get equal parts popcorn and crumb, big crumbs, little crumbs, or a big cluster of sprinkles. It’s all part of the fun!Super Sprinkle PopcornSuper Sprinkle Popcorn is the perfect treat to have for a movie or game night, for spending some time outside, or as an alternative to a traditional celebration cake. Or, you know, just another thing to spend time making and sharing during this quarantine weekend.Super Sprinkle Popcorn

Super Sprinkle Popcorn
makes about 8 cups

To clarify, jimmies are the long, cylindrical sprinkles. Nonpareils are the tiny ball-shaped sprinkles. For more information, click here.

For the Funfetti Crumbs:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles (jimmies, not nonpareils)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Popcorn:
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or canola oil)
1/4 cup popcorn kernels

Coating:
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon coconut oil (or canola oil)

For finishing:
3/4 cup Funfetti Crumbs
2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles (jimmies and/or nonpareils)

Preheat oven to 300F.

Make the crumb topping. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in rainbow sprinkles. Add vanilla and melted butter and stir until dry ingredients are saturated and clumps form. Scatter mixture over a dry rimmed baking sheet and bake 20 minutes. It will be puffy and clumpy and soft, but will crisp as it cools. Once cool, crumble into pieces. Reserve 3/4 cup of the crumbs for finishing, and set the rest aside.

Make the popcorn. Put oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add 4-5 popcorn kernels. Heat over medium heat until kernels begin to pop. Add remaining kernels and cover with lid, leaving it a little bit ajar. Jostle constantly while popcorn pops, until pops are 2-3 seconds apart. Do not burn.

Remove pot from heat and pour popcorn into a bowl. Measure popcorn to ensure there are about 6 cups. Discard unpopped kernels. Place popcorn in a medium-large mixing bowl.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

Make the coating. Fill a small pot with 1-2 inches of water. Set a heatproof bowl over the top, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove bowl and bring water to a simmer.

Place white chocolate chips and oil in the bowl. Turn simmering water to low. Place the filled bowl over the water. Use a dry whisk or fork to stir constantly until the mixture is melted and smooth. Remove from heat.

Pour coating over popcorn and toss with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Add Funfetti crumbs (not the reserved ones) and toss. Spoon/pour/spread mixture on parchment-lined baking sheet. Scatter with reserved Funfetti crumbs and rainbow sprinkles.

To expedite hardening the coating, put the pan in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Break popcorn into pieces and serve.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.
Super Sprinkle PopcornSuper Sprinkle PopcornSuper Sprinkle Popcorn

Easy Popcorn Balls

Easy Popcorn BallsIf you’ve been around here a while, you know I loathe Halloween. Biggest Halloween Scrooge there is, right here.

That said, I might do an about-face soon because I finally tried a popcorn ball at the ripe old age of 34 and I loved it. Loved. It. Sweet, airy and studded with candy, it may well make a Halloween-lover out of me! Who knows? It could change the course of my life!

(Feeling dramatic today. Sorry, not sorry.)Easy Popcorn BallsBut seriously, I have no idea why I had never had a popcorn ball before a few weeks ago. Maybe it’s a northern thing? Do Texans just not make popcorn balls? Do I secretly love Halloween? Is my entire life a lie???Easy Popcorn Balls…whatever it is, I am now firmly in support of all things Halloween as they relate specifically to spherical sticky-sweet popcorn. And also candy corn. But nothing else, okay? Okay.Easy Popcorn BallsLots of popcorn ball recipes are molten sugar or caramel-based and require a candy thermometer, but I went in a different, easier direction, using Rice Krispies Treats as a guide. Butter and marshmallows are melted together and flavored with a little salt before 10 cups of plain popcorn are folded in. I like to add mix-ins for flavor/textural diversity, but feel free to leave ‘em out if they’re not your thing. I love (!) the sweet/salty candy corn and pretzel combo I used in this batch, but if those flavors aren’t your bag, don’t fret! I’ve written a list of alternatives in the recipe. You can use pretty much whatever you want, except for un-coated chocolate (it’ll melt).Easy Popcorn BallsEasy Popcorn BallsEasy Popcorn BallsOnce the mixture is to your liking, let it cool for about 5 minutes, just until you can handle it. Then butter your hands and press heaping 1/2 cups of sticky popcorn into balls and set them on a piece of parchment. After that’s done…well, you’re done. Except for the part where you watch the World Series and eat crunchy, just barely gooey, candy corn & pretzel-studded popcorn balls and call it Halloween. Or maybe that’s just me.Easy Popcorn Balls

Easy Popcorn Balls
makes about 14 balls

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 10-ounce bag mini marshmallows (about 6 cups)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
10 cups plain popped popcorn (from about 1/2 cup kernels)
1 cup candy corn
1 cup broken pretzel pieces

Alternative mix-in ideas (use 2 cups total):
M&Ms
Reese’s Pieces
salted peanuts
chopped Twizzlers
broken Oreos
sweet cereal of choice

Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment. Set aside.

Melt butter a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add marshmallows and all and stir until smooth. Carefully fold in popcorn. Remove from heat. Fold in candy corn and pretzels, or other desired mix-ins. Let mixture cool 5 minutes, or until just cool enough to handle but still pliable.

Grease your hands and a 1/2 cup measuring cup. Use the measuring cup to scoop heaping 1/2 cups of the popcorn mixture. Coax it out of the cup by inverting/using your fingers and then use your hands to firmly press the popcorn mixture into a ball. Place the popcorn ball on the prepared pan. Continue, working quickly, until all popcorn mixture is used. Let popcorn balls cool until set.

Popcorn balls are best the day they are made, but may be kept covered at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you are concerned about them sticking together, you can wrap each in plastic wrap.Easy Popcorn BallsEasy Popcorn Balls

Sriracha Cracker Jack

Sriracha Cracker JackI frequently joke that the Texas Rangers baseball team is partially responsible for my birth. It’s funny because it’s true.Sriracha Cracker JackYou see, my parents’ first date was to a Texas Rangers baseball game in May of 1981. When they entered the ballpark, my mom told my dad that she needed a program. He bought her one, assuming that she wanted a souvenir, but he realized he was wrong when she pulled out a pencil and began properly scoring the game on the grid in the middle. My dad had never met a woman who knew how to do that. Now, three daughters later, he knows four.Sriracha Cracker JackMy parents were married just under two years after that first game and have had season tickets for the Texas Rangers ever since. It will come as no surprise that they raised children who love baseball, too. All of us cheer for the Rangers with great enthusiasm, even when they are terrible, which has been a lot. Sriracha Cracker JackBut. But! Tomorrow is Opening Day at Globe Life Park—the last at that ballpark—so we all have hope that the next 162 games will take our team somewhere great. The stats are not exactly in our favor, but it’s hard *not* to have hope on the day before the season starts. I will likely be singing a different tune when the playoffs begin at the end of September, but until then, I’m going to root-root-root for my home team. If they don’t win, it’s a shame 🎶 Sriracha Cracker Jack I won’t ask you to buy me peanuts and Cracker Jack though, because Cracker Jack already has peanuts in it—why would I want more?—and because I’ve started making this Sriracha Cracker Jack, which is the perfect accompaniment for watching Texas Rangers games from the comfort of my Brooklyn bedroom.Sriracha Cracker JackThis stuff is so good, y’all. It’s the classic Cracker Jack combination of crispy popcorn and crunchy peanuts, but with a good dose of sriracha added to the traditional molasses caramel coating!Sriracha Cracker JackSriracha Cracker JackSriracha Cracker JackSriracha Cracker JackI used my Salty Maple Caramel Corn recipe as a jumping-off point for this recipe, swapping the maple for honey and a touch of molasses, reducing the sweetener overall, and adding 1/4 cup of salty, spicy, garlicky sriracha to the mix. Yesssss.Sriracha Cracker JackSriracha Cracker JackSriracha Cracker JackSriracha Cracker JackThe caramel comes together in five minutes before being tossed with freshly-popped popcorn and salted peanuts and baked at a low temperature for an hour. Once the Sriracha Cracker Jack has cooled, the coating will be glossy and glass-like—this makes for super satisfying munching.Sriracha Cracker JackSriracha Cracker Jack is crispy, crunchy, sweet, spicy, and a little savory—the best of all snack food worlds. It’s perfect for watching baseball, of course, but I think it’d be a great snack for parties and road trips, too.Sriracha Cracker JackReally, anytime you choose to whip up a batch, it’s guaranteed to be a home run ⚾️ Sriracha Cracker Jack

Sriracha Cracker Jack
makes 12 cups

1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil
3/4 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
1 1/2 cups roasted salted peanuts
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup mild honey
1 tablespoon molasses (not blackstrap)
3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, sliced into 8 pieces
3 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sriracha hot chili sauce

Pour oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add 4-5 popcorn kernels. Heat over medium heat until kernels begin to pop. Add remaining kernels and cover with lid, leaving it a little bit ajar. Jostle constantly while popcorn pops, until pops are 2-3 seconds apart. Do not burn.

Remove pot from heat and pour popcorn into a bowl. Measure popcorn to ensure there are 12 cups. Set aside excess or pop more, as needed to meet the 12-cup requirement for this recipe. Add peanuts to popcorn.

Preheat oven to 250F. Heavily grease two rimmed sheet pans, your largest mixing bowl, and 2 silicone spatulas with oil or non-stick spray. Put popped popcorn in the bowl. Set aside.

Without stirring or jostling, combine sugar, honey, molasses, salt, butter and water in a 4-quart pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Let boil 5 minutes. Do not stir. Remove from heat. Stir in baking soda; mixture will bubble up. Stir in sriracha.

Pour sriracha caramel over popcorn and use greased spatulas to toss together. Do not touch any coated pieces that fly out of the bowl—the molten sugar will burn you. Wait til they cool a bit before picking them up.

Divide coated popcorn/peanuts among sheet pans. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Line a sheet pan or a surface with parchment. Pour baked Cracker Jack on top. Let cool to room temperature. Break up clumps. Serve.

Leftover Sriracha Cracker Jack will keep in a ziptop bag for a couple of weeks.Sriracha Cracker JackSriracha Cracker Jack