For a last minute gift, something to bring to a party or to have around during the holidays for your guests is Popcorn. The popcorn kernels are very inexpensive and many of the ingredients I had on hand.
Chocolate Popcorn with Nuts
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 1/2 cups nuts (last year I used just peanuts this year I added mixed nuts to it)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoons coarse salt
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Take a rimmed large cookie sheet (or jelly roll pan or 2 smaller rimmed cookie sheets) and line it with tinfoil. Spray it with cooking spray. Pop the popcorn and place in a large bowl. Add the peanuts and set aside. Put sugar, corn syrup, butter, cocoa, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until mixture comes to a gentle simmer, about 5 minutes.
Pour sugar mixture over popcorn and nuts; toss to coat. Keeping tossing even if it doesn't look like it is coating well. And even if you are having trouble getting it to coat "well" - it doesn't need to have chocolate on every bit of popcorn. It will be good no matter how the chocolate mixture coated the popcorn. Transfer to baking sheet. Bake until dry. Stirring every 20 minutes and cooking about 1 hour. Cool on sheet on wire racks. And then break apart into pieces. Store in airtight containers or ziplocks.
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/3 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups pretzels - optional
1 cup nuts - optional
Pop the popcorn. Place in a large bowl with pretzels and nuts if you are adding those (or 2 bowls if you don't have anything large enough to to place all the popcorn).
Combine butter, paprika, chili powder, salt, garlic and onion powder - stirring well. Pour over popped corn; stir to coat popcorn as evenly as possible. Turn mixture onto baking sheet. Sprinkle half the cheese on the popcorn. Bake at 250 degrees F for 20 minutes or until crispy; stirring once. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and toss to coat evenly. Let stand on baking sheet, stirring once or twice as mixture cools.
When thoroughly cool, store in airtight ziplock bags or container.
* I used butter but I am sure margarine would work also.
* My second batch of this I used Penzey's BBQ 3000 in place of the paprika and chili powder and it was even better. The first batch, as the recipe is above, was really good but the BBQ 3000 just gave it a little something extra.
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups peanuts (optional)
Heat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large cookie sheet (or 2) with tinfoil. Spray with cooking spray.
Pop the popcorn. Put nuts and popcorn in a very large bowl.
Bring brown sugar, corn syrup and butter to boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butterscotch chips, vanilla extract, baking soda and salt until blended and smooth. It will foam up when you put in the baking soda - that is normal.
Working quickly and using two spoons, pour syrup over popcorn and nuts, stirring to coat thoroughly.
Pour mixture into pan; bake 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
Remove from oven, cool mixture in pan about 15 minutes. Turn mixture out of pan onto foil to cool completely.
Break popcorn into smaller pieces; store in airtight containers in cool dry place up to 2 weeks.