Popcorn and Hard Cider II

For this edition of Popcorn and Hard Cider, I took the Zippy Pop pan out of the cupboard and went about crafting a new sweet recipe and a new savory recipe. Of course, I pair them with hard ciders for your next episode of movie or show binge watching. I am still a huge fan of my relatively new Zippy Pop pan. I’ve made at least 10 batches in the couple months that I’ve had it. It heats great, cleans up easily (I use the dishwasher), and it make adding flavors and adjuncts simple. If you don’t have one, you can still use a high walled pan, like a chicken fryer, to make your popcorn. It’s just best to have a handle and you need a lid.

Zippy Pop Popcorn Pan
Zippy Pop Popcorn Pan

For the sweet recipe, I made Nutty Caramel, which brings some heat with the sweet. It’s a peanut butter, star anise caramel flavored popcorn that has whole almonds and peanuts. I paired this masterpiece with my new Flamin’ Hops hard cider as it has both heat and astringency that works well with the heat, sweet, and nutty flavors of the popcorn. For my savory popcorn, I went with my new favorite flavor and made Truffle Pop, which paired perfectly with my newest traditional hard cider, Heirloom. The truffle oil adds a wonderful earthy note to the popcorn that is just awesome. Here is a sneak peak at what to expect.

Nutty Caramel

Servings: 8-10 Cups

Nutty Caramel Popcorn
Nutty Caramel Popcorn

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup organic popcorn (normal ratio is about 1:30 of unpopped to popped)
  • 3 tablespoons organic olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon organic pepper oil (I make my own by heating fresh sliced jalapeños in olive oil or you can heat dried pepper as well)
  • 1/4 cup organic sugar
  • 1/3 cup organic peanuts
  • 1/3 cup organic almonds

Peanut Butter Anise Caramel Coating:

  • 1/2 cup organic honey
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup organic peanut butter (substitution: Nutella)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon star anise extract (substitution: vanilla)

Popcorn Steps:

  1. Place oil in stovetop popcorn maker or high-walled pan with handle and lid with 10 cups of volume.
  2. Add 3 popcorn kernels to pan and place on medium-high heat with lid attached.
  3. Once all three kernels pop, add all the popcorn to the pan and cover again.
  4. This is where a pan with a handle is key or the Zippy Pop. You want to keep agitating or stir the pan while the corn pops. You also may need to watch the lid. Your lid might be lifted up if your pan volume is too small.
  5. Once the popcorn starts popping, add the sugar. You will notice the popping slow until the oil heats back up. Keep agitating or stirring.
  6. After the popcorn start popping again and the pan is about 1/2 full, add the peanuts and almonds. You may need to wait until the end if you don’t have a port in your lid, like the Zippy pop.
  7. Once popcorn stops popping, remove from heat and add the hot peanut butter caramel (see steps below) through the port on the lid and continue to stir until well mixed. Spread this on a foil lined baking sheet to cool. If you are using a conventional pan, mix the popcorn, nuts, and warm caramel sauce in a large mixing bowl before spreading it out on a foil line baking pan to cool.

Peanut Butter Caramel Steps:

  1. Heat and stir the honey and brown sugar at medium-low heat until the they combine and the edges start to bubble.
  2. Add the peanut butter and stir to combine. At this point I usually turn down the heat to the lowest and start my popcorn.
  3. Add the salt and extract flavor and stir together right before combining with the popcorn.

Flamin’ Hops Cider

This sweet popcorn carries an underlying heat from the pepper oil. To further enhance that, plus we really like heat, I paired that with my Flamin’ Hops cider. This is a creation using Carolina Reaper and Chipotle peppers along with Mosaic and Nugget hops. The popcorn brings the sweet and heat, this matches the heat and brings the bitters and acids to balance everything.

Flamin’ Hops Cider: Bottle and glass.
Flamin’ Hops Cider: Bottle and glass.

Truffle Pop

Servings: 8-10 Cups

Truffle Pop: White Truffle Oil Popcorn
Truffle Pop: White Truffle Oil Popcorn

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup organic popcorn (normal ratio is about 1:30 of unpopped to popped)
  • 5 tablespoons organic ghee
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic white truffle oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Steps:

  1. Place ghee in stovetop popcorn maker or high-walled pan with handle and lid with 10 cups of volume.
  2. Add 3 popcorn kernels to pan and place on medium-high heat with lid attached.
  3. Agitate pan to melt and heat the ghee and coat the kernels.
  4. Once all three kernels pop, add all the popcorn to the pan and cover again.
  5. This is where a pan with a handle is key or the Zippy Pop. You want to keep agitating or stir the pan while the corn pops. You also may need to watch the lid. Your lid might be lifted up if your pan volume is too small.
  6. Once popcorn stops popping, remove from heat and mix in truffle oil and salt. You don’t want to cook with the truffle oil or you will burn off all the truffle flavor. Serve in bowls.

Heirloom Cider

I was able to harvest a number of heirloom varieties this year with the main contributor being Roxbury Russet but it also included small amounts of Pumpkin Sweet, Northern Spy, American Foxwhelp, Smokehouse, and Winter Banana. I used White Labs English Cider Yeast (WLP775) along with some peels from the Winter Banana. It’s a very nice dry and fruity cider with good tannins and balanced acids. Any farmhouse or traditional English cider would be a good pairing with this popcorn.

Heirloom Cider: 6 American Heirloom Apples including Roxbury Russet, Pumpkin, Sweet, Smokehouse, and Northern Spy.
Heirloom Cider: 6 American Heirloom Apples including Roxbury Russet, Pumpkin, Sweet, Smokehouse, and Northern Spy.

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