August 14, 2013

For lover of Maine popcorn, it's crunch time

Fueled by an addiction to Little Lad's herbal popcorn, a home cook experiments in the kitchen to create his own version of the snack.

By JOE YONAN The Washington Post

(Continued from page 2)

POPCORN
click image to enlarge

Herbed popcorn

The Washington Post photo by Deb Lindsey

POPCORN
click image to enlarge

For the popcorn-addicted, garlic ghee and dark chocolate-drizzled versions.

The Washington Post photo by Deb Lindsey

Note: To re-crisp this popcorn, spread it on a baking sheet in a single layer and place in the oven. Preheat to 350 degrees; once the temperature is reached, turn off the oven. Let the popcorn remain in the oven for 5 to 8 minutes (but no longer), depending on the desired level of crispness.

 

DARK CHOCOLATE DRIZZLED POPCORN

Makes: About 12 cups (6 servings)

Mushroom popcorn kernels are recommended for this recipe because they pop up pretty and fluffy, yet are sturdy enough not to collapse under the heat of a warm chocolate drizzle. Ask your favorite gourmet retailer, or buy the mushroom kernels online.

Kristina Kern of Stella's PopKern also likes to use virgin coconut oil here, because it is flavorless and tolerates fairly high heat.

If desired, add crushed peppermint candy, orange zest, crystallized ginger or crushed vanilla snaps to the just-drizzled popcorn (before the chocolate has set).

Make ahead: The popcorn can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days. It's best not to re-crisp this kind in the oven.

From Kristina Kern, of Stella's PopKern (www.stellaspopkern.com) in Washington.

1/2 cup good-quality chopped dark chocolate (about 2 ounces)

3 tablespoons plus 11/2 teaspoons virgin coconut oil

1/2 cup mushroom popcorn kernels

Fine sea salt, for sprinkling

Fill a small saucepan with a few inches of water; bring to just below a boil over medium heat.

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, then place the bowl over the saucepan. Once the chocolate has melted and you've stirred it smooth, remove the pan from the heat.

Line one or two baking sheets with waxed paper.

Heat the oil in your popcorn popper or in a deep pot placed over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the popcorn kernels; begin stirring or shaking the pot right away to make sure each kernel is coated. Cover the pot and cook until the popping sounds slow down, with long pauses in between.

Transfer the melted chocolate to a zip-top bag, squeezing the chocolate down to one of the bottom corners.

Immediately transfer the popcorn to the baking sheet(s), spreading it in an even layer. Turn the short end of the baking sheet(s) to face you. Use scissors to snip off a small bit of the bottom corner so you can drizzle the chocolate over the popcorn; hold the bag at a slight angle and start drizzling from the side closest to you up to the top, trying to hit about 75 percent of the popcorn.

Sprinkle lightly with salt. Let the chocolate set before serving or storing.

 

CHEESY POPCORN BREAD

Makes: One 8-inch square pan

(9 pieces)

Besides boosting the whole-grain power of this versatile side dish, the ground popcorn used here adds texture and interest and helps to create a light and airy corn bread.

Make ahead: The bread can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Adapted from a recipe at www.popcorn.org.

4 cups popped corn

1 cup coarsely ground whole-grain cornmeal

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 large egg

1 cup low-fat milk

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or pepper Jack cheese

4 ounces canned mild diced green chilies, drained (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking oil spray.

Process the popcorn in a blender or food processor until finely ground; this could take as long as 5 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt, whisking until well blended.

Whisk together the egg, milk and oil in a liquid measuring cup, then add to the mixing bowl, stirring to form a light batter. Scatter the cheese and chilies, if using, over the surface and stir just until evenly distributed.

Pour the batter into the baking dish and spread it evenly into the corners; bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned at the edges and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cut into squares to serve.

 

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