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Food find: Popcorn

All you need to make homemade kettle corn is sugar, oil, popcorn kernels and a large pot with a lid.1 / 4
There are a variety of uses for popcorn, from desserts to savory snacks.2 / 4
Melted sugar makes typical popcorn into sweet, salty kettle corn.3 / 4
Stir kettle corn as it cools to make sure it does not clump.4 / 4

Many people usually enjoy popcorn in a tub and smothered in butter during a movie, but those kernels can be used for so much more in the kitchen.

From savory snacks to sweet desserts, recipes abound for different uses of popcorn. The ingredient is relatively healthy, easy to make and inexpensive and can add a fun twist to traditional recipes.

It also is easy to create some of your favorite popcorn treats at home. For example, all you need is vegetable oil, popcorn kernels and white sugar to make sweet, salty kettle corn in your own kitchen.

Simply heat a quarter-cup of oil in a large pot over medium heat and stir in a half-cup of popcorn kernels and a quarter-cup of white sugar after it gets hot. Cover and shake the pot constantly to keep the sugar from burning. After popping slows, remove the pot from the heat and keep shaking until the kernels are done popping. Pour into a large bowl and let it cool off, stirring occasionally to break up any clumps. Then enjoy your homemade kettle corn.

If you want to stretch your popcorn a little further, it can be mixed into power bars, dressed up with flavored oils and salts or even used for marshmallow treats.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with curling up with a good batch of buttered hand-popped popcorn and your favorite movie either.

Here are just a few ways to get more out of your popcorn kernels.

Truffle Popcorn

The Popcorn Board


1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons white truffle oil, divided

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

1 tablespoon butter

3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Place olive oil and 1 tablespoon truffle oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a lid. Heat on medium-high. Add kernels and cover, shaking pot constantly over heat once the kernels begin to pop. When popcorn is done, pour into large serving bowl.

Melt butter and mix in the 2 teaspoons of remaining truffle oil. Pour mixture over popcorn and toss.

Sprinkle cheese, salt and pepper over popcorn and toss.

Spicy Nutted Popcorn

Real Simple


8 cups popped popcorn

2 cups pecan halves

1 cup whole almonds

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 250. Combine popcorn, pecans, pumpkin seeds, almonds, chili powder and cinnamon on baking sheets and place in the oven. Meanwhile, combine sugar, corn syrup and butter in a medium saucepan and heat to boiling. Without stirring, heat over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. Stir in vanilla.

Remove baking sheets from oven and pour the syrup mixture over the popcorn. Toss quickly with a spoon, cool and break into pieces.

Popcorn Power Bars

The Popcorn Board


8 cups popped popcorn

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup dried blueberries

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

1/2 cup whole natural almonds, coarsely chopped

2/3 cup honey

2/3 cup light brown sugar

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Combine popcorn, oats, blueberries, pomegranate seeds and almonds in a large bowl.

Combine honey, brown sugar and butter in small saucepan and boil over low heat for about two minutes. Pour over popcorn mixture and mix thoroughly.

Using damp hands, press mixture firmly into prepared pan. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. Cut into 12 bars.

Dip bottoms of bars into melted chocolate. Place on wax paper and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Caramel Popcorn


1/2 gallon prepared popcorn

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup butter

1/2 cup corn syrup or maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup peanuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Prepare popcorn and set aside. In a saucepan bring sugar, butter and syrup to a boil and cook at slow boil for five minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and add baking soda, salt, vanilla and peanuts. Pour over popcorn and toss. Lay on greased cookie sheets and bake for one hour, stirring every 20 minutes.

Marshmallow Popcorn Bars

Real Simple Magazine


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

1 10-ounce bag of marshmallows

Grease a 9-by-13-inch dish. Pop popcorn. Melt the butter and marshmallows in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to keep smooth, for about 5 to 7 minutes.

Fold in the popcorn until coated. Press into the baking pan and let sit for about 10 minutes.

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

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