How to Make Gourmet Popcorn at Home

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One you've learned the basic techniques for making gourmet popcorn, you'll find yourself experimenting with new flavors every time you make a new batch. It doesn't matter how you pop it -- use the microwave, an air popper or even a heavy saucepan on the stove.

Tip

  • Start with plain, unbuttered popcorn. This gives you control over the flavor and salt in the final dish.

Savory Gourmet Popcorn

The classic popcorn flavorings of butter and salt are solidly savory. Start with that basis, then add your own creative touch.

Technique

Melt butter over low heat. Stir in garlic (optional) and let it infuse while you pop the popcorn. Drizzle the melted butter over the popcorn, then sprinkle dried herbs and seasonings over the dish. Toss to combine.

Flavor Combinations

Keep it simple and traditional while giving your popcorn a gourmet flair by drizzling it with garlic-infused butter and sprinkling a pinch of sea salt over the top or try one of these suggestions:

  • Infuse melted butter with smashed garlic, and then drizzle it over the popcorn. Toss with herbs de Provence and a generous helping of celery salt.
  • Toss hot popcorn with sesame oil and shichimi togarashi, a Japanese spice blend that typically includes peppers, dried citrus peel, various seeds, ginger, garlic, and nori.
  • Spicy paprika and almonds give popcorn a flavorful kick. Toss popcorn and roasted almonds with melted butter mixed with salt and hot Hungarian paprika. Add extra salt and paprika to taste.

Sweet Gourmet Popcorn

Popcorn is equally at home with chocolate and caramel as it is with salt and spice. Sweet recipes center on either caramel or melted chocolate that sticks to the kernels. As if that weren't enough, many include mix-ins such as nuts, dried fruit or chocolate chips. Try these homemade versions of classic gourmet popcorn treats.

Technique

Melt chocolate in a double-boiler or the microwave or make a soft caramel. then toss with popped popcorn. Spread out on a parchment-covered baking sheet and let sit at room temperature until the chocolate or caramel has hardened. Break up large clumps and mix in any additions, such as chocolate chips.

Flavor Combinations

Chocolate- or caramel-covered popcorn is a treat by itself, but there's always room to go over the top:

  • Dark chocolate and fleur de sel: After spreading chocolate-coated popcorn on a baking sheet, sprinkle it with a pinch of fleur de sel or another gourmet sea salt. When the chocolate is dry, break apart the clumps and toss with miniature chocolate chips.
  • Make a maple-infused caramel syrup to drizzle over popcorn and toasted pecans. 
  • Trail mix popcorn includes dried cranberries and walnuts covered in a sticky caramel syrup.

Tip

  • Use your favorite candy bar or decadent dessert as inspiration for creating your own sweet gourmet popcorn recipes.

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