You’d think that popcorn is an invention of modern technology, but fossils depicting popcorn have been found by archeologists in Peru from thousands of years ago. Popcorn is made when high heat is applied to a corn kernel, causing it to puff up. Originally, they were made on the stovetop. But in the 1890s, Charles Cretors invented the popcorn machine and deployed popcorn makers to streets everywhere. We all know that popcorn is an extremely delicious and addictive snack, but popcorn is also 100 percent whole grain and contains antioxidants and fiber. It’s also allergen free and easy to take along and share with friends. Yum!
Popcorn is extremely high in an antioxidant called polyphenols, which have been linked to improved blood circulation, better digestive health, and even protection against prostate and breast cancer.
Part of a Complete Breakfast
In the 1800s, popcorn was considered a cereal and was consumed with milk and sugar.
Something in the Air
Popcorn has extremely powerful aromatic compounds that make it attractive and tantalizing to the senses. In fact, this compound is synthesized artificially and used to sell other products.
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1. Peanut Butter-Toffee Popcorn
This is a really fun way to dress up popcorn and a great activity for Motzaei Shabbos.
- 2–3 Tbsp oil
- 1 cup popcorn kernels
- ½ Tbsp salt (or less, if you don’t like the sweet-and-salty combo)
- ¼ cup margarine
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 1 10-oz (280-g) bag good quality chocolate chips
- nut crunch, optional
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the popcorn kernels, lower the heat to low, and cover the pot. Allow the kernels to pop.
While the popcorn is popping, prepare the topping. Place margarine, brown sugar, and peanut butter in a small pot, and bring it to a simmer on low heat. Cook for about 3 minutes.
When the popcorn is done, spread it out on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet, and toss with salt.
Pour the topping over the popcorn, and toss to coat.
Heat the chocolate chips (while still in the bag) in the microwave in 30-second intervals. (It took me 3 intervals to melt.) Snip a corner of the bag with scissors, and drizzle it over the popcorn. Sprinkle with nut crunch if desired. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for about 15–20 minutes or until set, if you can wait that long!
2. Caramel Popcorn Crunch Ice Cream
Absolutely out-of-this-world scrumptious! Serve with either nondairy caramel or chocolate syrup — or both!
- 1 56-oz (1.65-liter) container nondairy vanilla-caramel ice cream, or 1 equivalent-sized recipe homemade nondairy vanilla ice cream
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- 5 oz (140 g) caramel popcorn
- 5 oz (140 g) peanut brittle
- ¼ cup chocolate chips
Remove the ice cream from the freezer and allow it to thaw until slightly melted. Scoop ½ cup ice cream from the container into a small bowl and mix it with the peanut butter until well combined.
Process the popcorn, brittle, and chocolate chips in a food processor until the pieces are chopped fine.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stirring until well incorporated. Refreeze and enjoy!
3. Popcorn Cake
Popcorn and candy come together in this delectable family favorite. Easy enough for the kids to throw together (and sample it too!), this one is a true winner.
- 9 cups popped popcorn
- ¾ cup mini fruit slices, cut in halves
- ⅓–½ cup mini colorful candy-coated chocolate chips
- 2 cups miniature marshmallows
- ½ cup margarine
Grease a 10-inch (25-cm) tube or Bundt pan.
Toss the popcorn with the chocolate chips and fruit slices.
Melt the marshmallows with the margarine. Pour it over the popcorn mixture and mix well.
Grease your hands, then press the mixture into the prepared pan. Chill and remove from pan.
(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 869)
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