Sweet and Spicy Popcorn

No one can resist this popcorn!

I’ve always enjoyed gourmet popcorn.  The ones that come in the big tins, divided, in various flavors.  As a kid, I’d grab tiny fistfuls and delight in their cheddary/chocolaty/toffee-crunchy goodness.  As I became a teenager, I realized that all that stuff on the usually diet-friendly popcorn was anything but, and stayed away from it.  Now I know that the real danger in those tinned temptations is all the preservatives, additives, coloring, and processed sugar and fats…it’s junk popcorn!  But not to fear, you can still enjoy gourmet popcorn, by using quality, natural ingredients like the ones below.  This recipe is sweet with a (medium) spicy kick from chili powder.  If you really crave heat, you’ll want to increase the chili ratio to suit your tastes, but if you’re serving this at a party or giving it as a gift, it’s at a pleasing spice level.

Sweet & Spicy Popcorn

Popped popcorn from basic popcorn recipe (½ cup kernels), omit salt
½ cup Grade B maple syrup
½ cup brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Combine all ingredients, except popcorn, in a pot over medium heat (can use the one you popped your popcorn in, less dishes!).  Swirl the pot around intermittently until the syrup bubbles and begins to reduce–about 5 minutes.  Remove the pot from the heat and add the popcorn–gradually for better results–and gently stir until properly coated.   The popcorn is really sticky at this point.  Delicious, but sticky.  So to dry it out, prepare two baking sheets covered in aluminum foil (I strongly recommend the heavy-duty type, unless you like to pick bits of foil off your popcorn) or if you can find it, baking parchment paper, and spread the popcorn out in a single layer.  Bake at 300°F for 5-7 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to fully cool.

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