Making your popcorn pop with flavor

Published 7:23 pm Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Growing up, popcorn at my house was a staple.

Every Saturday night, my dad would add three tablespoons of butter to the bottom of a large aluminum pan with a tight fitting lid.

He would place the pan over medium-high heat and cover. When the oil would sizzle hot, he would remove the lid and add a cup of unpopped popcorn and immediately replaced the lid.

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When the kernels started popping, he would hold the lid on while firmly shaking the pan back and forth, swirling and swirling, round and round every couple of seconds.

When the popping slowed down to a pop or two every few seconds, he would remove the pan from the heat and turn the popcorn into a bowl and sprinkle lightly with fine salt.

Those little corn kernels would pop into these large air filled bundles of joy. This is where my dad would stop. Not me. I always have something else in mind.

He would always say, “Popcorn is perfect with just a little salt on it.”

At the time, I wholeheartedly agreed with him. But now as I look back, I think to myself, I am really not too sure. What about Kettle Corn, Pizza Popcorn or even Caramel Corn and, well, you get the picture.

You see, popcorn is the ultimate snack food. Portable, filling, inexpensive, tasty and – most importantly – customizable, popcorn can be eaten the way my dad prefers it or spiced up to suit your taste.

My dad still has that aluminum pan and still makes the same popcorn like he did for me as a child, except now he just makes it for himself and my mother.

I’ve always wondered where I could find one of those aluminum pans made just for popping popcorn.

Thereís not another pan out there that can make popcorn quite like my dad’s.

Muddy Buddy Popcorn

9 cups plain popped popcorn

1-cup semisweet chocolate chips

Half cup peanut butter

Quarter cup butter

1-teaspoon vanilla

1 and a half cups powdered sugar

Place nine cups of plain popped popcorn into a large bowl. Set aside.

Add 1-cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, a half-cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth) and a quarter-cup butter to a 1-quart microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for one minute.

Remove the bowl, stir, and heat again on high for 30 seconds or until the mixture is smooth when stirred.

Mix one teaspoon of pure vanilla extract into the chocolate. Pour over the popcorn and stir until evenly coated.

Sprinkle one and a half cups of powdered sugar over the popcorn and toss until evenly distributed.

Transfer to a cookie sheet and spread out evenly.

Cool until the chocolate is set up. Store in an airtight container.

Tiffany Cannon is a field editor for Taste of Home Magazine.