(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.
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
- 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
- Brown sugar
Find more popcorn recipes perfect for summer at popcorn.org.
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
- Heat oven to 325° F.
- 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.
- Spread popcorn over coconut and sprinkle with butter; toss. Sprinkle popcorn mixture with sugar, salt and nutmeg; toss.
- Bake 5 minutes longer, remove from heat and toss with banana chips. Serve immediately or cool and store in airtight container.
- 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
- Keep popcorn warm.
- 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).
- Pour syrup over popcorn; stir to coat. Add chocolate pieces and nuts; stir just until mixed.
- Pour into two 13-by-9-by-2-inch pans, spreading and packing firmly. Cool.
- In each pan, cut 12 rectangles. Cut each pint of ice cream into six slices. Sandwich each ice cream slice between two popcorn rectangles.
Ballpark Popcorn Crunch
Yield: 3 quarts
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 quarts unsalted popped popcorn
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
- In separate bowl, toss popcorn and walnuts. Add creamed mixture to popcorn and nuts. Combine until coated.
- Spread on large baking sheet in single layer.
- Bake 10 minutes, or until crisp.
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
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Add soy sauce and hot pepper sauce to melted butter.
- Put popcorn and seasoned snacks in large bowl. Pour butter mixture over popcorn and snacks; toss. Sprinkle with bacon-onion dip mix; toss again.
- 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