Gingerbread Popcorn

Did you know that you can make microwave popcorn using your own popping corn and brown paper bags?  It’s a lot healthier (and affordable) to have popcorn as a snack when you do it this way.  I discovered this trick a few years ago and have been making popcorn this way ever since.  So now that you have plain popcorn, what else can you do with it?  A recipe I tried recently and love is Gingerbread Popcorn.  I found this on one of my favorite blogs, Culinary in the Desert, and modified it for a smaller serving since I’m the only popcorn eater in the house.  I warn you – it’s addictive!

Microwave Popcorn

1/4 cup unpopped popcorn
1/2 tsp canola oil (optional)
1/4 tsp salt (optional)

In a small cup, mix together the popcorn, oil and salt.  Pour into a brown paper bag and fold the top down a few times.  If your microwave has a popcorn setting, use that.  Otherwise, try cooking it on high for about 3 minutes.  If your microwave is extremely powerful, you may need to reduce the high setting a bit through trial and error.  Cook the popcorn until the popping slows down significantly, about 2 seconds between pops.  Do not wander away while cooking!  Your cooking time may be slightly more or less depending on your microwave.  Open the bag carefully to avoid the steam.  Pour into a bowl and enjoy!  Note: Not all of the kernels will pop and that’s o.k.  If you cook it longer, the popped corn may burn.

Gingerbread Popcorn

8 cups popped, unsalted popcorn (more if you can’t resist snacking while cooking)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cups packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. molasses
2 Tbsp. corn syrup or brown rice syrup
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 250°F.

Line a large baking sheet (I use my jellyroll pan) with foil and coat with cooking spray.  Pour the popped popcorn into the prepared pan.  Try (probably unsuccessfully) not to steal bites of popcorn while you’re continuing with the recipe.

Combine the butter, brown sugar, molasses, corn syrup, ginger, cinnamon, and salt in a large, heavy bottom saucepan. Heat over medium heat until mixture boils. Boil for 5 minutes; stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add baking soda.  Quickly pour the mixture over the popcorn; tossing to coat.  It is helpful if you have two buttered or oiled spatulas on hand for this step.  The mixture cools and sets very quickly, so be sure to have everything prepped and ready to go.

Bake at 250°F for one hour, carefully stirring the mixture every 15 minutes. Cool completely before eating.  The popcorn will keep for several days at room temperature in a sealed container (I assume it will probably keep up to a week.  Actual tests have not been able to be completed because it’s dangerous stuff to have around the house).

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