Popcorn is a snack that's been around for centuries. Incredibly versatile, popcorn can be made with as little or as much flavor as you want. If you prefer classic buttery popcorn, this tried-and-true version is always delicious. However, if you want to go with flavors that are a little more interesting, the options are endless. It's all about how you infuse those flavors.
While some people toss their popcorn in a dry seasoning mix after it has been popped, for the best flavor, you should use spice-infused oil. The most effective way to do this is to pop the kernels directly in the infused oil, giving them a huge boost in flavor. The recipe is up to you -- whether you like spicy, umami, garlicky, or herby-flavored popcorn. But no matter what you choose, it's important to know exactly how much oil to use, as you want to keep that light, airy crunch.
How To Make Oil-Infused Popcorn
Trust us when we say there is a big flavor difference between adding dried seasonings to popcorn and popping it in spiced oil. To make your spice-infused oil, you can either heat ground or whole spices in a combination of oil and butter -- this releases the flavors. Choosing to use whole spices and then removing them makes for a more subtlety-infused oil while using ground spices will offer stronger flavors for your popcorn. Either way, you want to use about 1 tablespoon of oil with a high smoke point (peanut, avocado, or canola will do) along with 1 ½ tablespoons of butter for every ¼ cup of uncooked kernels to make the popcorn.
Infusing the oil and butter mixture with the spices and flavors of your choice only takes about a minute on medium-low heat. You'll be able to smell when it's working. This is a stove-top method for making popcorn, so once the oil is infused, you simply jack up the heat to medium, throw in the kernels, and shake them around until they are covered in the infused oil. Then, put the lid on and you'll soon hear them start to pop. Keep shaking every few minutes. Be careful not to burn the kernels, though; if more than three seconds pass between kernels popping, turn off the heat.
Spice Blend Combinations For The Best Popcorn
Since your popcorn is getting flavored from the infused oil, don't be afraid to go pretty heavy on the spices. Just make sure the blend you create works nicely. For wintry, cozy popcorn, something like allspice and nutmeg will make for a comforting and warming spice combination. You can also go for a summery lemon-herb flavor with a blend of freshly ground dill and parsley combined with lemon zest and cracked black pepper. While freshly ground herbs are optimal, dried varieties will also work.
Add a kick to the oil with a hot and spicy seasoning blend made from chili powder, paprika, sea salt, and onion powder. Or, you could do a classic herb and garlic. Whichever way you infuse your oil, it's best to eat the popcorn right away, as both the oil and butter could make it soggy if it sits out for too long.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.