Dessert 22 November 2019

Pop Up Holiday Traditions New and Old

(Family Features) From decorating the tree to carving the turkey, there are many time-honored holiday traditions observed by families around the country. However, the holiday season is about more than just celebrating old traditions.

A perfect opportunity for creating new memories and, in turn, traditions, popcorn can serve as an ideal ingredient to bring family time to life. Whether wrapping the tree with garland made from the light and airy treat, filling clear ornaments with freshly popped kernels or simply popping up a bowl as a nutritious alternative to other holiday noshes, popcorn makes it easy to get hands-on while you deck the halls.

These seasonal recipes for traditional treats like peppermint bark and popcorn balls plus edible trees and a more elegant take on a simple snack highlight low-fat, non-GMO, gluten-free whole-grain popcorn as the main ingredient. Find more modern takes on traditional holiday recipes at popcorn.org.

White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn Bark

Yield: 1 pound

  • 5          cups popped popcorn
  • 12        ounces white chocolate baking chips
  • 1 cup crushed hard candy peppermints Cover baking pan with foil or wax paper; set aside.
  1. Place popcorn in large bowl; set aside.
  2. In double boiler over barely simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring until smooth.
  3. Stir in crushed peppermints.
  4. Pour chocolate mixture over popcorn and stir to coat.
  5. Spread onto prepared pan; cool completely. When chocolate is cooled and set, break into chunks.

Easy, Elegant Holiday Popcorn

Yield: 8 cups

  • 8          cups popped popcorn
  • 1/2       cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2       cup white chocolate chips
  • candy sprinkles
  1. Line baking sheet with wax paper. Spread popcorn in thin layer on prepared pan.
  2. Place chocolate chips in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium 30 seconds; stir. If necessary, microwave in additional 10-second increments, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and smooth. Drizzle over popcorn.
  3. Place white chocolate chips in separate microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium 30 seconds; stir. If necessary, microwave in additional 10-second increments, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and smooth. Drizzle over popcorn.
  4. Sprinkle desired amount of candy sprinkles over warm chocolate-coated popcorn.
  5. Allow chocolate drizzles to set until firm. Break popcorn into pieces.

Note: Chocolate chips can be replaced with cut up chocolate bars.

Cranberry Popcorn Balls

Yield: 18 balls

  • 2          cups sugar
  • 1          cup whole berry cranberry sauce, slightly mashed
  • 1          tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 1/2       cup cranberry juice
  • 1/2       cup light corn syrup
  • 1          teaspoon vinegar
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 5          quarts unsalted, popped popcorn
  • butter
  1. In heavy saucepan, combine sugar, cranberry sauce, grated orange peel, cranberry juice, corn syrup, vinegar and salt.
  2. Bring to boil; lower heat and cook until temperature reaches 250 F on candy thermometer.
  3. Slowly pour cranberry mixture onto hot popcorn; mix until well-coated.
  4. Let stand 5 minutes, or until mixture can easily be formed into balls.
  5. Butter hands and form into 3-inch balls.

Festive Popcorn Trees

Yield: 10 trees

  • 10        cups air-popped popcorn
  • 1          bag (10 ounces) miniature marshmallows
  • 2          tablespoons butter
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla extract
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • green decorating sugar
  • blue decorating sugar
  • 1          tube white frosting
  • small, colorful candies such as sprinkles and miniature silver dragees
  1. Place popcorn in large bowl.
  2. In medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stir marshmallows and butter until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in vanilla extract.
  4. Pour mixture over popcorn in bowl. Toss well to coat popcorn evenly.
  5. Line baking sheet with foil.
  6. Spray hands with nonstick cooking spray then scoop about 1 cup popcorn mixture.
  7. Shape mixture into cone, keeping base flat to form tree.
  8. Sprinkle tree with decorating sugars; place tree on baking sheet.
  9. Make nine additional trees.
  10. Using decorating tip, pipe frosting on trees to make garland then decorate with sprinkles and silver dragees, as desired.
  11. Serving suggestion: Place each tree on sugar cookie and decorate serving tray with shredded coconut to resemble snow.

Notes: For best flavor and color, start recipe with unflavored white popcorn. You can make colored sugar by adding food coloring to sugar then stirring in bowl or shaking vigorously in sealed container. Add additional food coloring for more intense tones.

Source: Popcorn Board

Videos 09 July 2019

Make Your Movie Night Pop

(Family Features) Invite your friends and neighbors over, spread out some comfy seating and dim the lights. Whether it’s a kids’ birthday party, an adult gathering or nearly anything in-between, hosting a movie night in the comfort of your own home – or on a projector in the yard – can be the perfect escape. Of course, tasty snacks only add to the fun.

Light and airy popcorn is a movie watching staple, and one you can feel good about eating. At only 30 calories per cup, whole-grain, freshly popped popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO, gluten-free, contains no artificial additives or preservatives and is sugar-free.

Enjoyed a handful at a time or as part of creative, flavorful snack recipes – like Popcorn Pepperoni Pizza Dippers, Sweet and Salty Popcorn Party Mix, Maple Bacon Popcorn Mix and Truffle Popcorn – popcorn offers plenty of versatility to fit nearly any theme.

Get more great popcorn recipes at popcorn.org

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

Sweet and Salty Popcorn Party Mix

Yield: 14 cups

  • 10        cups popped popcorn
  • 2          cups miniature pretzel twists
  • 1          cup pecans
  • 1          cup peanuts
  • 2          cups rice, wheat or corn cereal squares
  • 1/2       cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2       cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4       cup corn syrup
  • 1/2       teaspoon baking soda
  1. Heat oven to 300° F.
  2. In large bowl, combine popcorn, pretzels, pecans, peanuts and cereal squares; set aside.
  3. In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat butter, brown sugar and corn syrup. Stir mixture until it begins to boil. Boil 3 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Note: Mixture will foam.
  4. Pour syrup over popcorn mixture and stir until evenly coated. Pour mixture onto large, rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Bake 30 minutes, stirring twice during baking. Stir mixture several times as it cools. Store in airtight container.

Popcorn Pepperoni Pizza Dippers

Yield: 16 squares

  •             Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2          eggs
  • 1/2       cup tomato and basil reduced-fat cooking cream
  • 1          tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/8       teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 10        cups popped popcorn
  • 1          cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3       cup thinly sliced pepperoni, coarsely chopped
  • marinara sauce, for dipping
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Spray 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In large bowl, whisk eggs, cooking cream, parmesan cheese and black pepper. Stir in popcorn, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni.
  3. Spread mixture in prepared pan, patting down with spatula or spoon.
  4. Bake about 15 minutes until set and lightly browned. Let sit 5 minutes. Cut into 16 bars. Serve warm with marinara sauce.

Truffle Popcorn

Yield: 10 cups

  • 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
  1. In large, heavy-bottomed pot with lid, combine olive oil and 1 tablespoon truffle oil. Add about three popcorn kernels.
  2. Heat over medium-high heat until one kernel pops. Add remaining popcorn kernels; cover.
  3. Once corn begins to pop, shake pot constantly over heat.
  4. When popping slows, remove pot from heat and transfer popcorn to large serving bowl.
  5. Melt butter and mix in remaining truffle oil. Pour mixture over popcorn; toss.
  6. Sprinkle parmesan cheese, salt and pepper over popcorn; toss to distribute evenly.
  7. Serve immediately or store in airtight container.

Maple Bacon Popcorn Mix

Yield: 2 quarts

  • 6          slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1/4       cup pure maple syrup
  • 8          cups popped popcorn
  • 2/3       cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3       cup dried cranberries
  • 2          tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/4       teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/4       teaspoon maple extract
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Line jellyroll pan with foil. Place wire rack in pan. Arrange bacon in single layer on rack. Bake 15 minutes until ends of bacon start to curl.
  2. Remove and reserve 2 table­spoons bacon drippings. Brush bacon with 2 tablespoons maple syrup; bake 15 minutes until browned. Cool then coarsely chop bacon.
  3. In large bowl, combine popcorn, pecans and cranberries.
  4. Combine butter, black pepper, maple extract, remain­ing maple syrup and reserved bacon drippings. Cook over low heat until butter is melted. Drizzle over popcorn mixture and mix thoroughly.
  5. Spread popcorn mixture in jellyroll or roasting pan.
  6. Bake 5 minutes. Toss in bacon pieces. Serve warm.

Source: Popcorn Board

Snacks 27 March 2019

Summer Snacks that Pop

(Family Features) Whether you're gathering the neighborhood kids for a backyard celebration or going on a weekend hike with family, you can make fueling up for the fun easy with snacks the whole family can enjoy.

Everyone loves popcorn, and this tasty treat is easy to incorporate into a wide range of nibbles perfect for summer. Popcorn's wholesome taste makes it an excellent partner to ingredients that tease your taste buds with flavors that are sweet, salty or even zesty.

Creating a delicious trail mix to carry on an adventurous hike is a cinch when you combine fresh popcorn with your favorite sweet dried fruits and lightly salted nuts. Or, if you're staying closer to home, use popcorn treats as a more nutritious alternative to traditional party desserts.

Each of these recipes features freshly popped popcorn paired with common ingredients that appeal to both kids and adults for summery snacks that are big on both flavor and fun.

For more creative recipes that give some pop to your summer, visit www.popcorn.org.

Sweet N Salty Popcorn Pretzel Sticks

Yield: 6 sticks

  • 6 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 6 large pretzel rods
  • 3 cups popped popcorn
  • Sugar sprinkles
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
  1. Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter over each pretzel, leaving a two-inch "handle" without peanut butter.
  2. Press and roll popcorn onto peanut butter to coat. Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles.
  3. For optional chocolate drizzle, place chocolate chips in small sealable plastic bag and seal. Microwave 30 seconds or until chocolate is melted. Clip small corner from bag and squeeze to drizzle chocolate over popcorn.
  4. Sprinkle with additional sugar sprinkles. Allow chocolate to harden before serving.

Chili Lime Popcorn Snack Mix

Yield: 1 quart

  • 1 quart popped popcorn
  • 1 teaspoon brewer's yeast powder
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Spread popcorn on baking sheet. Sprinkle yeast powder, lime juice, chili powder and salt over popcorn.
  3. Heat about seven minutes and toss just before serving. Serve warm.

Blueberry & Pomegranate Power Bars

Yield: 12 bars

  • 8 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup toasted and coarsely chopped whole natural almonds
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 6 ounces melted bittersweet chocolate
  1. Line 13-by-9-inch pan with foil; spray with cooking spray.
  2. Combine popcorn, oats, blueberries, pomegranate seeds and almonds in large bowl.
  3. Combine honey, brown sugar and butter in small saucepan. Cook over low heat to boiling; boil two minutes. Pour over popcorn mixture and mix thoroughly.
  4. Using damp hands, press mixture firmly into prepared pan. Refrigerate until firm, about two hours. Cut into 12 bars.
  5. Dip bottoms of bars into melted chocolate. Place on wax paper-lined pan. Store in tight covered container in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Popcorn Trail Mix

Yield: 5 cups

  • 1 quart popped popcorn (air popped)
  • 6 ounces diced, dried fruit (apricots, apples, etc.)
  • 8 ounces raisins
  1. Place freshly popped popcorn in large bowl. Add diced fruit and raisins. Toss popcorn and fruit until combined thoroughly.

Note: Add whatever fixings your family enjoys: dried fruits, seeds, nuts, etc.

Popcorn S'mores

Yield: 20 pieces

  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10 cups freshly popped popcorn
  • 1 package (10 1/2 ounces) miniature marshmallows
  • 2 cups mini graham cookies (teddy bears)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in medium saucepan. Cook over high heat for five minutes; remove from heat and stir in baking soda.
  2. Combine popcorn and marshmallows in large bowl. Pour sugar mixture over popcorn to coat.
  3. Gently stir in graham cookies and chocolate chips.
  4. Spread mixture evenly into greased 15-by-10-inch pan. Let cool completely, then break into pieces. Store in airtight container.

Source: The Popcorn Board

Snacks 19 February 2019

Perfect Pops for Every Occasion

(Family Features) No matter what kind of events you have on your social calendar, you can pop up delicious treats that are sure to be a hit.

Whether hosting a get-together for the guys and tuning into the game or having a night in with the girls, freshly popped popcorn, which is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO and gluten free, can help you please every palate.

Sweet, spicy, salty or served in more non-traditional ways, the possibilities are endless, and perfect for everything from date night to a family movie night or even a sleepover or kids’ party. And since it’s healthy and whole grain, popcorn is a satisfying snack suitable for every occasion that you can feel good about serving.

Find more versatile, nutritious recipes for your next event at popcorn.org.

Cookies ’N Cream Popcorn

  • 12 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 package (11 ounces) white chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 15 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped
  1. Place popcorn in large bowl; set aside.
  2. In medium saucepan on low heat, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil; stir until blended.
  3. Pour melted chocolate over popcorn, stirring until well-coated. Stir in chopped Oreos.
  4. Spread mixture on baking sheet and chill until chocolate has set. Break into pieces to serve.

Serves

12 cups

Popcorn Party Pizza

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 bag (10.5 ounces) mini marshmallows
  • 2 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 tube (.68 ounces) red piping gel
  • 1 package red raspberry fruit roll-ups
  • green jelly beans
  • coconut
  • candy-coated chocolate pieces
  1. Spray 12-inch pizza pan with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In large saucepan over medium heat, heat butter.
  3. Stir in marshmallows until melted.
  4. Stir in popcorn until well coated.
  5. Spread mixture evenly onto prepared pizza pan.
  6. Drizzle red piping gel over “pizza” to make “sauce.”
  7. Cut small circles (about 1 1/4 inches in diameter) from fruit roll-up and place on pizza for “pepperoni” slices.
  8. Decorate as desired with jelly beans, coconut and candies. Allow to cool completely before cutting into wedges to serve.

Serves

8 slices

Popcorn and Peanut Truffles

  • 6 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 cup roasted and salted peanuts
  • 1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup honey
  1. In large bowl, stir popcorn and peanuts together; set aside.
  2. In microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate chips 10 seconds. Stir chips and repeat, stirring after each 10 seconds, until chips are melted. Warm honey in microwave 10 seconds and stir into chocolate until well blended.
  3. Pour chocolate mixture over popcorn mixture and stir until popcorn is evenly coated. With small ice cream scoop, push popcorn mixture into scoop and release onto wax paper to form truffles. Refrigerate until firm.

Serves

30 pieces

Notes, Tips & Suggestions

Truffles can be stored in an airtight container up to 5 days.

Toasted Coconut and Chocolate Popcorn

  • 10 cups popped popcorn
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 bag (7 ounces) shredded coconut, toasted
  1. Place popcorn in large bowl; set aside.
  2. In small saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar and coconut extract; stir until melted and combined.
  3. Pour over popcorn, coating well. Spread popcorn onto large cookie sheet.
  4. In glass measuring cup, melt chocolate chips and vegetable oil in microwave on low heat until smooth. Drizzle over popcorn. Immediately sprinkle coconut over popcorn mixture; cool.
  5. Break into pieces and serve.

Serves

10 cups

Cheesy Pepperoni Popcorn

  • 1/4 cup nonfat Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried sage
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 12 cups popped popcorn
  • 3/4 cup turkey pepperoni, cut into bite-size bits
  • olive oil cooking spray
  1. In small bowl, combine Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, oregano, marjoram, basil, sage and pepper; mix well.
  2. Place cooked popcorn and turkey pepperoni in large bowl; spray lightly with cooking spray.
  3. Sprinkle popcorn and pepperoni with cheese mixture and toss to coat evenly.

Serves

6-8 cups

Source: Popcorn Board

Holiday 04 December 2018

Twice-As-Nice Holiday Treats

(Family Features) With 334 days leading up to December, make the most of the season by enjoying the holiday’s quintessential flavors like gingerbread, peppermint and cinnamon – with double the festive treats to please every taste.

Transform one vibrant holiday flavor into two festive treats that family and friends are sure to love. Nothing signals the holiday season like the sweet and spicy snap of gingerbread. Enjoy this must-have flavor in freshly baked Gingerbread Men Cookies or a Triple Chocolate Gingerbread cake.

Peppermint offers a refreshing, sweet taste that’s perfect for gifted treats like Peppermint Crunch Popcorn and Peppermint Bars. Also, cinnamon stars twice as nice in a Peanut Butter Snickerdoodle Tart with Cinnamon Peanut Crust and decadent Cinnamon Caramel Swirl Bars.

Find more gingerbread, peppermint and cinnamon treats at McCormick.com.

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Gingerbread Men Cookies

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
Servings: 24

  • 3          cups flour
  • 2          teaspoons McCormick Ground Ginger
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Ground Cinnamon
  • 1          teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4       teaspoon McCormick Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 3/4       cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4       cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2       cup molasses
  • 1          egg
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  1. In large bowl, mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
  2.  
  3. In separate large bowl, using electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into thick, flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
  4. Heat oven to 350° F. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into gingerbread men shapes with 5-inch cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  5. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until edges of cookies are set and just begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 1-2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Decorate as desired.

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Triple Chocolate Gingerbread

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Servings: 16

  • 1          package (2-layer size) chocolate cake mix
  • 1          package (4-serving size) chocolate instant pudding mix
  • 4          eggs
  • 1          tablespoon McCormick Ground Ginger
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2       teaspoon McCormick Ground Allspice
  • 1/2       cup sour cream
  • 1/2       cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2       cup molasses
  • 1/2       cup water
  • 1          cup miniature chocolate chips
  • nonstick baking spray with flour
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. In large bowl, using electric mixer on low speed, beat cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, sour cream, vegetable oil, molasses and water until moistened, scraping sides of bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.
  2. Pour into 10-cup Bundt pan prepared with nonstick spray.
  3. Bake 50 minutes, or until cake pulls away from sides of pan and springs back when touched lightly. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Invert cake onto wire rack. Cool completely.

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Peppermint Bars

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 36

Brownies:

  • 1          family-size package fudge brownie mix

Peppermint Filling:

  • 5          cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 14        tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2          tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Pure Peppermint Extract
  • 1/8       teaspoon McCormick Food Color & Egg Dye, Red

Chocolate Glaze:

  • 12        ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2       cup (1 stick) butter
  • crushed peppermint candies (optional)
  1. To make Brownies: Heat oven to 350° F. Prepare brownie mix according to package instructions. Spread on greased, foil-lined, 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pan.
  2. Bake 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool in pan on wire rack.
  3. To make Peppermint Filling: In large bowl, using electric mixer on medium speed, beat confectioners’ sugar, melted butter, cream, peppermint extract and food coloring until well blended and smooth. Spread evenly over cooled brownies. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
  4. To make Chocolate Glaze: In large, microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate and butter on high 2 minutes, until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Spread over top of chilled brownies. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies, if desired. Cut into bars.

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Peppermint Crunch Popcorn

Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 16

  • 6          cups plain popped popcorn
  • 1          bag (12 ounces) candy-coated chocolate pieces
  • 12        ounces white baking chocolate, chopped
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Pure Peppermint Extract
  • 1 tablespoon red and green sprinkles
  1. In large bowl, mix popcorn and candy-coated pieces. Line large, shallow baking pan with wax paper. Set aside.
  2. Melt white chocolate according to package instructions. Stir in peppermint extract. Pour over popcorn mixture. Toss to coat evenly. Spread in single layer on prepared pan. Sprinkle evenly with red and green sprinkles.
  3. Let chocolate cool and harden completely. Gently break into clusters. Package in cellophane bags with ribbons for holiday gifting.

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Peanut Butter Snickerdoodle Tart with Cinnamon Peanut Crust

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 1 1/2    cups lightly salted roasted peanuts, lightly crushed
  • 3          tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 3          tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Ground Cinnamon, divided
  • 3          tablespoons chocolate milk
  • 4          ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2       cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2          tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2       cup heavy cream
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. In medium bowl, mix peanuts, sugar, butter and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Remove 1/4 cup and spread on small baking sheet. Divide remaining peanut mixture among four (4-inch) tart pans with removable bottoms. Press firmly onto bottom and sides of each pan.
  2. Bake tart crusts and peanut mixture together 8 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
  3. In medium microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate milk on high 45 seconds. Add chocolate; stir until completely melted and smooth. Set aside.
  4. In large bowl, using electric mixer on medium speed, beat peanut butter, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and remaining cinnamon until smooth. Add heavy cream; beat until soft peaks form. Spread in prepared tart crusts. Spread chocolate mixture over top.
  5. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, or until ready to serve. Cut each tart in half. Sprinkle with toasted peanut crumble.

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Cinnamon Caramel Swirl Bars

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Servings: 24

  • 1 1/2    cups flour
  • 2          teaspoons baking powder
  • 2          teaspoons McCormick Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2    cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2       cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 2          eggs
  • 1          tablespoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1          cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1          package (14 ounces) caramels, unwrapped
  • 1/4       cup milk
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  2. In large bowl, mix brown sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and pecans until well blended. Add flour mixture; mix well. Reserve 1 cup batter. Spread remaining batter into lightly greased, foil-lined, 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Bake 15 minutes, or until firm.
  3. In microwavable bowl, microwave caramels and milk on high 2-3 minutes, or until caramels are completely melted, stirring after each minute. Cool 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Pour over baked layer in pan, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edges. Drop reserved batter by spoonfuls over caramel layer. With knife, cut through batter several times for marble effect.
  4. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until center is set. Cool in pan on wire rack. Lift from pan. Cut into bars.

Source:  McCormick

Appetizers & Sides 14 September 2018

Exquisite Eating

Small plates to make for appealing dishes

(Family Features) Imagine treating yourself and your dinner guests to a delicious, restaurant-caliber meal without leaving your dining room or hiring a personal chef. Small plates, also known as tapas, are lighter, bite-sized indulgences that you can prepare and style seamlessly. By putting your own artful, unique spin on small plates, you can indulge in a meal that appeals to the senses and conveys sophistication.

It can be easy to create delicious small plates: all you need are wholesome, seasonal ingredients to pair with an artisan-crafted, quality olive oil such as Carapelli. The line, with three varieties to explore, brings a renaissance to the modern kitchen and is ideal for endeavoring chefs looking to try new flavors and experiment with tastes or recipes. It embodies a true passion for the art of creating extra-virgin olive oils and is designed to lift cooks out of the everyday cooking experience.

Keep in mind that when it comes to small plates, what’s important isn’t just the recipe, but the plate – and plating – of the cuisine itself. Foods that appeal to the eye are likely to tempt the taste buds as well. Invest in appropriate-sized dishware for small plates that allows the food to take center-stage.

For a true multi-sensory indulgence, also take time to garnish your dishes, big and small, with edible enhancements that lend a subtle complement to the main attraction. A selection of fresh greens, sprinkling of herbs and even a light drizzle of olive oil can do the trick.

Plan how you’ll adapt your favorite dishes for size – and season – with more tips and recipes at carapelliusa.com.
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Carrots and Fresh Herbs with Champagne-Dijon Vinaigrette

Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6

Champagne-Dijon Vinaigrette:

  • 2          tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1          teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1          tablespoon clover honey
  • 1/2       cup Carapelli Organic Olive Oil
  • 1/2       teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2       teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1          teaspoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1          teaspoon basil, finely chopped

 

  • 1          pound carrots, peeled and finely shredded
  • 2          tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2          tablespoons chives, thinly sliced, plus more cut into 3/4-inch  pieces, for garnish
  • 1/3       cup Champagne Vinaigrette
  • fine sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper,  to taste
  • chive sticks, for garnish
  1. In medium mixing bowl, combine champagne vinegar, Dijon and honey. Whisk constantly until well combined. While whisking, slowly drizzle in olive oil to emulsify. Add garlic, salt, pepper, parsley and basil: whisk to combine.
  2. In mixing bowl, toss carrots, parsley and chives. Add dressing. Season, to taste, with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with chive sticks.

Notes: Vinaigrette can be stored in refrigerator up to five days. For zestier salad, add additional 2 tablespoons vinaigrette to carrots; serve with crusty bread.
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Whipped Ricotta and Goat Cheese Beet Skewers

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 3 hours, plus cooling time
Servings: 42 skewers

Beets:

  • 2          beets (about 1 pound), 3 inches in diameter, peeled and sliced into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1          tablespoon Carapelli Oro Verde Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2       teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1          teaspoon sea salt
  • arugula, for garnish
  • flaked sea salt, for garnish

Whipped Ricotta and Goat Cheese:

  • 4          ounces goat cheese
  • 1/4       cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1          tablespoon Carapelli Oro Verde Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4       teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/8       teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat sous vide water bath to 185° F.
  2. In mixing bowl, combine beets, olive oil, thyme and salt; toss to coat. Remove beets from liquid and divide, placing them in single layer into two quart-sized vacuum-seal bags, leaving any excess liquid behind.
  3. Use vacuum sealer to remove air and double-seal bag. To use zip-top bags instead, slowly dip slightly open bags into large container filled with water, allowing water to displace air. Seal bags when air is removed.
  4. Place vacuum-sealed bag into prepared water bath, placing heavy, heat-resistant bowl on top of beets to keep them submerged, if necessary. Cook 3 hours.
  5. If you do not have a sous vide machine, bring large stock pot filled with water to rolling boil. Place vacuum-sealed bags in water. Reduce to gentle simmer, cover and cook 1 hour.
  6. Carefully remove beets from water bath and cool in sealed bag until they reach room temperature, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes more before serving.
  7. In mini food processor, cream goat cheese, ricotta and olive oil until smooth. Add zest, salt and pepper: stir to combine.
  8. Transfer cheese mixture to piping bag fitted with star tip and refrigerate until ready to use.
  9. To serve, remove beets from bag and arrange on serving platter. Pipe dollop of Whipped Ricotta and Goat Cheese onto each beet. Drizzle with olive oil.
  10. Garnish with arugula and pinch of flaked sea salt; place skewer through each beet to serve.

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Olive Oil Drizzled Pecorino Popcorn

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1/2       cup grated pecorino, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for garnish
  • 3          tablespoons Carapelli Unfiltered Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 1/3       cup yellow popcorn kernels
  1. In bowl, combine pecorino and pepper; mix until well combined and there are no cheese clumps.
  2. In small saucepan over low flame, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil; keep warm.
  3. Add remaining olive oil and popcorn to large Dutch oven. Stir until all popcorn kernels are coated in oil.
  4. Cover Dutch oven with lid and cook over medium-high heat, shaking pot periodically. Once popcorn begins to pop, lower heat to medium and continue to shake pot approximately every 15 seconds. When popping slows considerably, remove Dutch oven from heat and allow to rest until popping ceases, about 30 seconds.
  5. Remove lid and transfer popcorn to large mixing bowl. Drizzle warm olive oil over popcorn; toss to coat. Sprinkle cheese mixture over popcorn; toss to coat.
  6. Divide popcorn into bowls. Sprinkle some freshly grated pecorino and dash of freshly ground black pepper over top; serve.

Source:  Carapelli Olive Oil

Dessert 12 July 2018

Pop Up Sweet Treats

(Family Features) When the weather is warm and it’s time for a sweet treat, look for seasonal goodies that complement summertime fun. For example, reach for an option like whole-grain, fluffy and crisp popcorn which can be an easy, DIY snack.

Combine sweet and salty flavors to create something delicious to devour like Coconut Popcorn Crunch Pie or delightful Down Home Apple Pie Popcorn.

To better serve a crowd, try these Perfect Picnic Popcorn Squares, Popcorn S’mores or Key Lime Popcorn Clusters at your next family pool party or summertime barbecue with friends.

For more creative, DIY popcorn recipe ideas, visit popcorn.org.
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Down Home Apple Pie Popcorn

Yield: 10 cups

  • 3          tablespoons melted butter
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2          tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1          teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8       teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8       teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 8          cups popped popcorn
  • 1          cup dried apple chips, broken into large pieces
  • 1/4       cup toffee bits
  1.  Heat oven to 300° F. Whisk melted butter with vanilla. Toss brown sugar with cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.
  2. Toss popcorn with butter mixture. Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar mixture. Stir. Transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Sprinkle apple chips and toffee bits over top. Bake 15 minutes, or until toffee bits start to melt. Cool before serving.

Tip: Add chopped pecans for extra crunch.

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Key Lime Popcorn Clusters

Yield: about 32 clusters

  • 8          cups popped popcorn
  • 4          whole graham crackers, finely chopped, divided
  • 1          jar (7 1/2 ounces) marshmallow creme
  • 1/4       cup butter or margarine
  • 2          tablespoons grated lime peel
  • 1          tablespoon key lime juice
  1. Line 9-inch square pan with foil.
  2. In large bowl, combine popcorn and all but 2 tablespoons graham cracker pieces.
  3. In large glass bowl, microwave marshmallow creme and butter on high 1 minute. Stir until butter is melted. Stir in lime peel and lime juice.
  4. Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn, mixing thoroughly.
  5. Using damp hand, firmly press mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle with reserved graham cracker pieces. Refrigerate 2 hours until firm.
  6. Lift foil from pan. Break popcorn mixture into clusters.

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Coconut-Popcorn Crunch Pie

Yield: 12 servings

  • 2          quarts popped popcorn, unsalted
  • 1          can (4 ounces) flaked coconut, toasted
  • 1          cup sugar
  • 1          cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2       cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4       cup water
  • 2          teaspoons salt
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla
  • 1          quart vanilla, spumoni or butter pecan ice cream
  • fresh fruit, for topping (optional)
  • chocolate sauce, for topping (optional)
  1. In large, buttered bowl, mix popcorn and coconut. In saucepan, combine sugar, syrup, butter, water and salt. Bring to boil over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Continue cooking until syrup reaches hard crack stage (290-295 F).
  2. Stir in vanilla. Pour syrup in fine stream over popcorn mixture; stir until particles are evenly coated with syrup.
  3. On buttered, 12-inch pizza pan, spread half of popcorn mixture in thin layer, covering bottom of pan. Mark off into wedge-shaped servings; set aside. Repeat using remaining popcorn mixture; cool.
  4. Cover one layer with ice cream; top with second popcorn layer. Store in freezer. To serve, cut in wedges. Serve with fruit or chocolate sauce, if desired.

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Perfect Picnic Popcorn Squares

Yield: 12 squares

  • 1          cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2       cup sugar
  • 1/2       cup brown sugar
  • 1          cup reduced-fat peanut butter
  • 3/4       cup raisins
  • 8          cups air-popped popcorn
  • nonstick cooking spray
  1. In large saucepan, combine corn syrup, sugar, brown sugar and peanut butter.
  2. Bring to boil over low heat, stirring constantly; boil 2-3 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat.
  3. In large bowl, combine raisins and popcorn; pour hot mixture over popcorn and toss carefully with wooden spoons until well-coated.
  4. Spray 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray; press popcorn mixture into pan and cool completely.
  5. Cut into squares and serve.

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Popcorn S’mores

Yield: 20 pieces

  • 1          cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2       cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
  • 1/2       cup corn syrup
  • 1/2       teaspoon baking soda
  • 10        cups freshly popped popcorn
  • 1          package (10 1/2 ounces) miniature marshmallows
  • 2          cups mini graham cookies
  • 1          cup chocolate chips
  1. In medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup.
  2. Cook over high heat 5 minutes; remove from heat and stir in baking soda.
  3. In large bowl, combine popcorn and marshmallows.
  4. Pour sugar mixture over popcorn to coat.
  5. Gently stir in graham cookies and chocolate chips.
  6. Spread mixture evenly into greased 15-by-10-inch pan.
  7. Let cool completely. Break into pieces.

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Ballpark Popcorn Crunch (VIDEO)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 quarts unsalted popped popcorn
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Cream together butter and brown sugar till light and fluffy.
  2. In a separate bowl, toss popcorn and walnuts.
  3. Add creamed mixture to popcorn and nuts. Combine until coated.
  4. Spread on a large baking sheet in a single layer.
  5. Bake at 350-degree oven for 10 minutes or until crisp.

Source: Popcorn Board

Dessert 15 November 2017

Popping Up a Winter Wonderland

Edible, handmade holiday decor perfect for gifting

(Family Features) ’Tis the season to pop up some holiday fun by creating a scenic winter wonderland that tastes as great as it looks.

Gather the kids and make a hands-on family holiday tradition out of crafting festive, edible decorations. Popcorn is the perfect choice to pop up and eat while trimming your popcorn tree and decking out your creations. At 30 calories a cup, whole-grain, freshly popped popcorn offers a nutritious alternative to traditional holiday party nibbles. Popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO, gluten-free, has no artificial additives or preservatives and is sugar-free.

These clever recipes can help you make edible decor or gifts to give to friends, family and co-workers. Find more creative holiday recipes at popcorn.org.

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Festive Popcorn Trees

Yield: 10 trees

  • 10        cups air-popped popcorn
  • 1          bag (10 ounces) miniature marshmallows
  • 2          tablespoons butter
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla extract
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • green decorating sugar
  • blue decorating sugar
  • 1          tube white frosting with decorating tip
  • small, colorful candies (such as sprinkles and miniature silver dragees)
  1. Place popcorn in large bowl.
  2. Place marshmallows and butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in vanilla extract.
  4. Pour mixture over popcorn in bowl. Toss well to coat popcorn evenly.
  5. Line baking sheet with foil.
  6. Spray hands with nonstick cooking spray then scoop up about 1 cup popcorn mixture.
  7. Shape mixture into cone, keeping base flat to form tree.
  8. Sprinkle tree with decorating sugars; place tree on baking sheet.
  9. Make nine additional trees.
  10. Pipe frosting on trees to make garland then decorate with sprinkles and silver dragees, as desired.

Serving suggestion: Place each tree on sugar cookie and decorate serving tray with shredded coconut to resemble snow.

Notes: For best flavor and color, start recipe with unflavored white popcorn. You can make your own colored sugar by adding food coloring to sugar then stirring in bowl or shaking vigorously in sealed container. Add additional food coloring for more intense tones.

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Holiday Popcorn Snowman

Yield: 5 snowmen

  • 1          package (1 pound) large marshmallows
  • 1/4       cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, plus additional
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla
  • 10        cups popped popcorn
  • sprinkles (optional)
  • licorice (optional)
  • gum drops (optional)
  • cinnamon candies (optional)
  1. In large saucepan, melt marshmallows and 1/4 cup butter.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  3. Let stand 5 minutes.
  4. Pour over popcorn and stir mixture.
  5. Butter hands well and form into balls.
  6. Decorate with sprinkles, licorice, gum drops and cinnamon candies, as desired.

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Holiday Wreath Popcorn Treats

Yield: 8 wreaths

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3          quarts popped popcorn
  • 4          tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
  • 3          cups miniature marshmallows
  • 3          tablespoons lime gelatin dessert mix
  • small red candies
  • jellybeans
  • red fruit leather
  1. Lightly spray large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray and place popcorn inside.
  2. In medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Stir in marshmallows and gelatin dessert mix until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth. Pour over popcorn and mix until coated.
  3. Spray hands with cooking spray and press firmly to form into 9-inch logs then bend to form wreaths.
  4. Place wreaths on wax paper. Press candies and jellybeans into wreaths as decorations; cut fruit leather to make ribbon and add.
  5. Serve immediately or wrap individually in plastic wrap for storage. Add ribbon tie to plastic wrap as decorative closure.

Tip: Soak saucepan before cleaning.

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Chocolate Popcorn Reindeer

Yield: 8 reindeer

  • 8          cups unsalted, unbuttered popped popcorn
  • 2 1/2    cups mini marshmallows
  • 1/2       cup chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips
  • 2          tablespoons butter or light olive oil
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 16        pretzel sticks
  • 16        eyeball candies
  • 8          red candy-coated chocolate candies
  1. Place popcorn in large mixing bowl.
  2. In saucepan set over medium heat, heat marshmallows, chocolate, butter and salt, stirring often until smooth. Toss marshmallow mixture with popcorn until well combined.
  3. Scoop 3/4 cup popcorn mixture into ball. Repeat with remaining mixture to make eight balls total. Place each ball in paper muffin cup liner.
  4. Insert pretzel stick on each side of ball to resemble antlers, attach two eyeball candies for eyes and red candy for nose. Let cool completely.

Tip: Eyeball candies can typically be found in baking aisles of supermarkets or bulk food stores.

Snacks 19 June 2017

Pop-ular Summer Snacks

(Family Features) From casual gatherings with friends to outdoor athletic activities and leisurely time at home, all of the best summer pastimes have one thing in common: tasty snacks make them more enjoyable.

Light, airy and fresh popcorn is a perfect summer snack. It’s naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO and gluten free – all the makings of an ideal guilt-free treat. Whether you enjoy it one delicious handful at a time, sprinkled with seasonings or as an ingredient in fun summertime recipes, popcorn offers plenty of versatility for every occasion.

You can kick up the heat with a zesty popcorn mix or take a sweeter route with a blend of toasted coconut and bananas. No summer sporting event is complete without some good old toffee-style popcorn and nuts, and even a favorite like ice cream sandwiches can only get better with the addition of sweet, crunchy popcorn and candy.

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Spice Up Summer Snacks
Freshly popped popcorn is a light snack perfect for summer, and you can add just about any flavor to satisfy whatever you may be craving. Start by sampling these topping favorites then taste your way to other creative combinations.

  • Garlic salt
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Dry taco seasoning mix
  • Dry ranch-style seasoning mix
  • Lemon pepper
  • Italian herbs: oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme and crushed rosemary
  • French herbs: marjoram, thyme, summer savory, basil, rosemary, sage and fennel
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown sugar
  • Nutmeg

Find more popcorn recipes perfect for summer at popcorn.org.

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Coconut Monkey Mix

Yield: 7 cups

  • 1 cup flaked coconut (unsweetened or sweetened)
  • 6 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1 cup dried banana chips
  1. Heat oven to 325° F.
  2. Spread coconut in 13-by-9-inch baking pan, breaking up any clumps as needed. Bake 10 minutes, or until edges of coconut begin to brown.
  3. Spread popcorn over coconut and sprinkle with butter; toss. Sprinkle popcorn mixture with sugar, salt and nutmeg; toss.
  4. Bake 5 minutes longer, remove from heat and toss with banana chips. Serve immediately or cool and store in airtight container.

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Popcorn Chipwiches

Yield: 12

  • 2 1/2 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package (6 ounces) chocolate pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 pints brick-style vanilla ice cream
  1. Keep popcorn warm.
  2. In 3-quart saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, vinegar and salt. Cook and stir until sugar dissolves. Continue to cook until hard ball stage (250 F on candy thermometer).
  3. Pour syrup over popcorn; stir to coat. Add chocolate pieces and nuts; stir just until mixed.
  4. Pour into two 13-by-9-by-2-inch pans, spreading and packing firmly. Cool.
  5. In each pan, cut 12 rectangles. Cut each pint of ice cream into six slices. Sandwich each ice cream slice between two popcorn rectangles.

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Ballpark Popcorn Crunch

Yield: 3 quarts

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 quarts unsalted popped popcorn
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. In separate bowl, toss popcorn and walnuts. Add creamed mixture to popcorn and nuts. Combine until coated.
  4. Spread on large baking sheet in single layer.
  5. Bake 10 minutes, or until crisp.

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Beach Party Popcorn

Yield: 2 1/2 quarts

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1-2 drops hot pepper sauce
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 2 quarts popped popcorn
  • 2 cups assorted seasoned snacks (crackers, pretzels, etc.)
  • 1/2 package (0.56 ounces) bacon-onion dip mix
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Add soy sauce and hot pepper sauce to melted butter.
  3. Put popcorn and seasoned snacks in large bowl. Pour butter mixture over popcorn and snacks; toss. Sprinkle with bacon-onion dip mix; toss again.
  4. Spread mixture in 15 1/2-by-10 1/2-by-1-inch jelly roll pan and bake 8-10 minutes, stirring once.

Source: The Popcorn Board

Snacks 30 January 2017

Plan an Award-Worthy Watch Party

(Family Features) Whether you’re gearing up for awards season or spending an evening catching up on your favorite TV drama, there are plenty of small screen events that provide the perfect backdrop for a watch party. Gather your friends and family and get ready to tune in to a fun-filled evening with these helpful tips.

Use themed decor to set the stage. If you’re watching an awards show, go big on blingy accents and metallic tones that mimic the glimmering trophies. Golden-hued serving bowls and plastic cutlery help carry the theme into your kitchen. For an extra special touch to help capture memories of the celebration, create a red-carpet photo booth and snap photos of your VIP guests as they arrive.

Provide ample comfy seating. You don’t have to have an elaborate theater-style media room to create a comfortable viewing experience. Just be sure you have a spot for everyone, even if you rely on pillows on the floor.

Plan a menu that reflects the occasion. Since no party is complete without a delicious food spread, create finger foods that fit the theme of your viewing party. An iconic option like microwave popcorn is sure to be a crowd-pleaser because of its delicious flavor and versatility. Whether you create an enticing popcorn station with fun mix-ins or prepare mouthwatering snacks like festive Mini Popcorn Balls with Chocolate Fondue, microwave popcorn is always a party pleaser. Use a high-quality gourmet popcorn, such as Orville Redenbacher’s, which is the only leading brand that uses real butter. From buttery to sweet and savory, all varieties feature non-GMO, 100 percent whole-grain kernels that pop up lighter and fluffier than ordinary popcorn.

Pop onto orville.com to find more recipes for your watch party, or look for Orville Redenbacher’s on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Mini Popcorn Balls with Chocolate ‘Fondue’


Prep time: 25 minutes
Servings: 12

  • 1 bag Orville Redenbacher's Smart Pop! 94 Percent Fat-Free Butter Microwave Popcorn
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup stick butter or margarine (1/4 cup = 1/2 stick)
  • 1 package (10 ounces) marshmallows
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups light chocolate syrup
  • colored candy sprinkles (optional)
  1. Prepare popcorn according to package directions. Remove all un-popped kernels. Spray large bowl with nonstick spray; add popped corn.
  2. In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add marshmallows and vanilla. Heat 5 minutes, or until marshmallows melt, stirring frequently. Pour over popcorn; mix well with spoon sprayed with cooking spray. Moisten hands with water before shaping popcorn mixture into 24 small balls, about 1/3-cup popcorn mixture each.
  3. In small saucepan, heat chocolate syrup over medium heat 5 minutes, or until warm, stirring occasionally. Transfer to small, fondue-style pot.
  4. Use wooden skewers or fondue forks to pick up popcorn balls and dip into chocolate and sprinkles, if desired.

Source: Orville Redenbacher's

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