Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cinnamon Popcorn

Ah, isn't marriage a beautiful thing? When two join together to become one and create something new that's bigger (and tastier) than they could ever hope to be separately. I am speaking, of course, about the long awaited union between popcorn and cinnamon! Maybe you haven't been awaiting it, but I've been dreaming about this day for quite some time.

Of course I'm what you'd call a popcorn enthusiast (which I'm sure has become glaringly apparent since I've posted three recipes in two months). I only hope there are more of you out there who share my fascination and appreciation for the best snack food in the world. Yes it is (I don't want to hear from you crazy pretzel fanatics). Potato chippers, you have a valid argument.

Yield: 6 quarts

3/4 cup popcorn kernels
3 tablespoons coconut oil or canola oil (needed only if popping corn in a pot)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups brown rice syrup (can substitute light corn syrup)
1 cup maple crystals (can substitute light brown sugar)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaping tablespoon cinnamon

1.      Preheat oven to 250˚ F.  Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
2.      Pop the popcorn in a hot air popper.  Alternately, heat popcorn and oil in a covered heavy large pot over medium-high heat until kernels begin to pop. Shake pot until popping stops.
3.      Put the popped corn in a gigantic bowl (the biggest one you’ve got).
4.      Combine butter, brown rice syrup, maple sugar and salt in a medium* saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to blend.  Boil for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally (or until candy thermometer reaches 250˚ F.).  *Do not use a small saucepan (the mixture will bubble up when you add the baking soda in step 5).
5.      Remove from heat; stir in baking soda, vanilla extract and cinnamon.  Immediately pour the cinnamon syrup over the popcorn and stir to coat (don't worry if the popcorn isn’t 100% coated). 
6.      Spread the coated popcorn onto the prepared baking sheets.  Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
7.      Place a large piece of parchment paper or waxed paper on the counter.  Spread the warm popcorn out on the paper and separate the clumps into smaller pieces.  Allow to cool completely; store in airtight containers or ziploc bags.

Copyright © by Susan Cleland.  All rights reserved.

caramel syrup approaching 250º F.
cinnamon syrup poured over popcorn...hurry, stir it!
in the oven
I make popcorn lots of ways (hot air popper, Whirly-Pop, pot on stove), but I think my favorite is the Stir Crazy. It uses very little oil and there are hardly any unpopped kernels.
Plus it's fun to watch the corn popping!


Anonymous said...

I live with one of those crazy pretzel fanatics and I must say I just don't get it. Luckily, he can be easily seduced by anything salty and snacky.

This looks fantastic. Unfortunately, we're snowed in right now and I don't have all the ingredients in the house. I think I'm becoming inspired to create a non-caramelized version of cinnamon popcorn to satisfy the craving I now have.

Mollie B. said...

Yum! This looks amazing. By the way, your pictures are fantastic!

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