Vanilla and Cardamom-Scented Peanut Butter Popcorn

If popcorn could take part in high school popularity contests, this recipe would win the titles Most Likely to Succeed, Best All-Around, Most Popular, and Tastiest.  Ok, that last one isn’t a real category (or at least I hope it isn’t!) but truly, this is the ultimate crowd-pleaser.  I got my inspiration from The Kitchn, and tweaked the recipe by eliminating the processed sugar, switching out vegetable oil for the superior coconut oil, and adding my fave spice, cardamom.  After tasting the finished result, I knew I had hit the jackpot, but I wanted some second opinions.  So at work, I enlisted a group of taste-testers, which wasn’t hard, to see if this recipe was as good as I thought.  Their reactions sealed the deal:

“Oh. My. God.  This is delicious!”

“What is this?  This is A-MAZING!”

“I can’t stop eating it!”

“Can I have more?  Please?!!”

Even the chefs were impressed.  And they aren’t easily impressed.  But don’t just take my word for it, or the word of many still-salivating fans.  Try it out for yourself.  I predict you’ll become a hungry-for-more fan too.

Recipe for Peanut Butter Popcorn

Yields approximately 16 cups

Popped popcorn from basic recipe (using ½ cup kernels)
½ cup honey – I usually recommend raw honey, but in this case use liquid honey, an unfiltered one if you can find it (more nutrients!).
¹⁄3 cup brown rice syrup
½ cup organic peanut butter – Either smooth or crunchy works.  Make sure the only ingredient listed in your PB is peanuts!
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
sea salt to taste

Directions

  • Double and triple check your popcorn for any unpopped kernels.  Breaking a tooth on a kernel that’s covered in identically colored sweetness is not so sweet.
  • Mix honey and syrup in a medium-size saucepan and heat over medium to medium-high heat.
  • Once it begins to boil, remove from heat and add peanut butter, stirring until melted.  Add vanilla, cardamom, and a pinch or two salt and stir.
  • Divide popcorn into two large bowls for better coating.  Drizzle PB mixture over popcorn and gently mix.  I suggest doing this gradually so you can control the amount of coating.
  • Sprinkle with more sea salt to taste.  I highly recommend using the coarse kind here, it imparts pleasant bursts of salt that cut through the sweetness.
  • To dry out the mixture, spread popcorn in single-ish layer on baking sheets.  Bake at 300°F for 5-7 minutes.  If you like a chewier treat, bake for 5 minutes.  If you’d rather have a crunchier, drier version, bake for 7-10 minutes until popcorn’s beige color turns light brown.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before using a spatula to transfer popcorn to bowl or container.  Don’t wait too long though, the popcorn will weld itself to the baking sheet!

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