Four Ways to Make Microwave Popcorn Gourmet

Are you spending your days Netflixing by yourself/with family? Have you easily consumed all your snacks and all the best TV shows in the past few months because of this whole pandemic? I can safely say I have, and I was feeling determined to upgrade my snacks to a whole new level, and came up with these four ways to make microwave popcorn gourmet. It feels fresh and exciting, with the caramelized popcorns reminiscent of carnivals, festivals, and even shopping malls. I miss it all.

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I was inspired by one of my favourite popcorn stores in Toronto, called the Toronto Popcorn Company located in Kensington Market. I only have great memories associated with that place — on a date with my now-fiancé, then new boyfriend. Eating chocolate caramel popcorn in the cold,  while watching the tree-lighting festival at Nathan Phillips Square, and treating myself to two bags of popcorn after an awkward job interview on a beautiful sunny day. The list goes on.  So why not try to recreate this delicious snack from my own home?

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These popcorn flavours were a hit with my family and I am so glad I decided to make these. Feel free to check out the video tutorial at the bottom of this blog post for more detail. Hope you make the decision to upgrade your microwave popcorn into these tasty treats — you won’t regret it.

Caramel Popcorn

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

113g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
200g (1 cup) brown sugar
60g (3 tbsp) corn syrup
4g (1 tsp) vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

1g (1/2 tsp) baking soda

1 93g package of microwave popcorn, about 10 cups popped popcorn.

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 225F/107C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt together the butter, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla, stirring until nicely combined and the butter is completely melted. Take off heat.
  3. Pop your popcorn in a microwave according to package instructions, and dump into a large heatproof mixing bowl with a spatula ready.
  4. Put the butter mixture back on medium high heat and bringing it to a boil for 3-4 min or until it smells like a deep caramel. Be sure not to burn your caramel. Do not stir or you may crystallize the caramel.
  5. Take off heat, add in the baking soda, and whisk together, until the baking soda is fully combined. Pour over the popcorn, and stir constantly until there is no excess caramel at the bottom of the bowl, and the popcorn is evenly coated.
  6. Place onto the baking tray and place into the oven for 1 hour, taking out to break up and toss every 15 min.
  7. Let it cool, and place into airtight containers or enjoy!

Chocolate Caramel Popcorn

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

113g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
200g (1 cup) brown sugar
60g (3 tbsp) corn syrup
63g (2.2 oz) chopped 65% dark chocolate (I used a bar of vanilla salt dark chocolate, which perfectly adds to the flavour)

1g (1/2 tsp) baking soda

1 93g package of microwave popcorn, about 10 cups popped popcorn.

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 225F/107C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt together the butter, sugar, corn syrup, and chocolate, stirring until nicely combined and the butter is completely melted. Take off heat.
  3. Pop your popcorn in a microwave according to package instructions, and dump into a large heatproof mixing bowl with a spatula ready.
  4. Put the butter mixture back on medium high heat and bringing it to a boil for 3-4 min. Be sure not to burn your caramel. Do not stir or you may crystallize the caramel.
  5. Take off heat, add in the baking soda, and whisk together, until the baking soda is fully combined. Pour over the popcorn, and stir constantly until there is no excess caramel at the bottom of the bowl, and the popcorn is evenly coated.
  6. Place onto the baking tray and place into the oven for 1 hour, taking out to break up and toss every 15 min.
  7. Let it cool, and place into airtight containers or enjoy!

Taco Spiced Popcorn

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

60g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp salt (optional, replace with lime salt)
1/4 tsp black pepper

1 93g package of microwave popcorn, about 10 cups popped popcorn.

NOTE: the spices can be replaced with a premixed taco seasoning packet

Method

  1. Pop your popcorn in the microwave according to package instructions.
  2. Place into a large bowl, and drizzle the butter over the popcorn.
  3. If making the spice mix, whisk and combine in a separate small bowl first before sprinkling over the popcorn. Make sure to sprinkle, toss, sprinkle more, toss, and continue, for an even distribution.
  4. Store in an airtight container or enjoy right away!

Cajun Spiced Popcorn

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

60g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1 93g package of microwave popcorn, about 10 cups popped popcorn.

NOTE: the spices can be replaced with a premixed cajun seasoning packet

Method

  1. Pop your popcorn in the microwave according to package instructions.
  2. Place into a large bowl, and drizzle the butter over the popcorn.
  3. If making the spice mix, whisk and combine in a separate small bowl first before sprinkling over the popcorn. Make sure to sprinkle, toss, sprinkle more, toss, and continue, for an even distribution.
  4. Store in an airtight container or enjoy right away!

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