Popcorn is a Healthy Snack for the Holidays
If you don't want to go the cookie route this year when making snacks for friends or family, be creative with popcorn instead. Having fiber and more nutritious value than most holiday recipes, popcorn makes an inexpensive and simple alternative. From just a kettle of popped corn sprinkled with salt, to popcorn balls, popcorn is a comfort food of sorts to most people. How many of us go into theaters and can't begin to sit down without buying a bag of it at the concession stand? In itself, popcorn isn't high in calories, but what you add to it can be, so be mindful of what you add to your recipes if you are cutting calories or fat. Using an air popper instead of popping your corn in oil is a good way to lighten the fat content a little. Whatever way you like it, here are a few tried and true suggestions.
10 cups popped popcorn
1/3 cup salted butter, melted
½ cup light corn syrup
1 1/8 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon butter or rum extract
After melting the butter in large kettle or pot, add corn syrup, sugar and extract, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and stir until it reaches the temperature of 260 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat and with wooden spoon, add popcorn. Put onto large piece of waxed paper on counter, let rest a minute or two then form into popcorn balls, with greased hands. Place on waxed paper to set up.
If you want to make fancy caramel corn, use the same recipe but add a cup of pecans or peanuts, another great addition is crushed Heath Bars (English Toffee). For chocolate lovers, try adding mini dark chocolate chips, but when doing this, wait until the mixture cools (but is still able to be shaped) and don't stir too much. If you over-stir them when they are still hot, the chocolate will melt and color the rest of the balls with its darkness. Put on waxed paper then when they are completely cooled, store them in plastic, sealed containers.
Growing up in the Midwest, popcorn balls were very popular snacks for us, since local farms grew popcorn. We'd buy the little cobs of corn, then remove the kernels and pop them. It was heaven, and so fresh. There are many great popcorn brands available in stores today, so choose your favorite to pop with. My favorite commercial popcorn brand is Orville Reddenbacher's Popping Corn. Whatever type you use, experiment with adding other ingredients to your popcorn. If you prefer less sweet varieties then try sprinkling freshly popped corn with Parmesan and powdered Cheddar cheese. An excellent brand of already popped corn from my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio is Jenny's Popcorn, http://www.jennyspopcorn.com . If you don't have time to prepare corn and want it done for you, they ship within the United States. The flavor of their corn is to die for.
Tags: Popcorn , Recipe , Cooking , Food
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