It’s the last week of the regular season! This means that my gameday snacks series has officially been a success – big, HUGE thanks to all of you for coming back every Sunday to read what I’ve written. I’ve published (including this post) 16 delicious recipes for you and your friends to enjoy on NFL Sunday (/Monday/Thursday), and have hopefully encouraged you to explore your own creativity in the kitchen. Your top 3 favorite recipes this season were:
And last but not least (and the only top recipe from the 2nd half of the season!)…
So now for this week’s special treat: cheddar popcorn. This is a copycat recipe, and my attempt at bringing my favorite Chicago treat, Garrett Popcorn, into my own kitchen. If you’ve never been to Chicago, just imagine the best cheddar popcorn you’ve ever tasted, and that’s Garrett’s cheddar popcorn. You can order a tin online if you want a firsthand experience without the Chicago trip. The Chicago mix is their staple and is half cheddar popcorn and half caramel corn… I’m not huge on the latter, so I chose to recreate the cheddar half only.
All things considered, this recipe was actually incredibly easy. I found a foolproof stovetop popcorn method over at Simply Recipes, which left me with just one un-popped kernel in the entire batch. You’ll need to cook your popcorn in 2 batches, otherwise your pan will overflow – a potentially dangerous situation considering the ingredients are hot oil and a food that explodes during the cooking process.
I packaged my leftover popcorn up in a tin and brought it to a friend’s house for a holiday treat. They were shocked that I was able to create such a classic taste, and even more surprised when I told them how easy it was. The only tricky part of this recipe is the procurement of the cheddar powder. Most specialty spice shops should carry it – if there is not one near you, you should be able to order some online. Keep an eye out for other cheeses, too! I’ve seen powdered Asiago, American, Cheddar, and Parmesan. If you’re not into cheddar, pick the cheese you like best and try using it instead.
- 2/3 C popcorn kernels, divided
- 6 TBSP vegetable oil, divided
- 6 TBSP unsalted butter
- 2/3 C cheddar cheese powder
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- Mise en place, and read this recipe all the way through.
- Stir together the cheddar powder, dry mustard, and cayenne pepper (if using). Set aside.
- Heat half the oil + a few corn kernels in a 3 quart covered saucepan.
- When the kernels pop, remove the pan from the heat and add half of the kernels (1/3 C). Cover, and wait 30 seconds before placing back on heat.
- Put the pan back on the heat and let it pop. Shake the pan a gently once the popping starts - be sure to use a kitchen towel or oven mitts to keep the lid from flying off.
- When the popping slows, carefully remove the lid (away from your face, please) and dump the popcorn in a large bowl.
- Repeat the cooking process with the remaining 3 TBSP oil and 1/3 C corn kernels.
- Once all popcorn has been cooked, melt the butter in the saucepan. If the residual heat doesn't melt it, just turn the stove on for a few seconds.
- Drizzle the butter over the popcorn, tossing after half has been added.
- Add the cheese mixture and toss until distributed. Some of the popcorn may have a more generous coating than the rest depending on how evenly the butter was distributed. Don't stress, it will be plenty cheesy.
- Serve immediately or store up to 3 days in an airtight container.
Stove top popcorn method from Simply Recipes