Southwest: Mix together 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar.
Cheesy Garlic (from Everyday Food): Mix 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon each of coarse salt, dried thyme and garlic powder.
Savory Rosemary: Mix 1 tablespoon melted butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons finely crushed fresh or dried rosemary. Place 4 quarts popcorn in a large bowl and pour butter over. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and 1 teaspoon garlic salt or sea salt. Toss again.
WHITE-CHOCOLATE CARAMEL CORN WITH CASHEWS
Makes: 12 cups
Preparation time: 25 minutes / Total time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
12 cups popped popcorn (from 1/2 cup kernels)
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped cashews
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
5 ounces white chocolate, chopped
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place popcorn and nuts in a large bowl. Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir in corn syrup, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook until sugar dissolves, stirring once or twice. Raise heat to high, and bring to a boil (do not stir).
Boil, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 248 degrees, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in baking soda.
Pour caramel over popcorn mixture, stirring to coat thoroughly. Transfer to 2 rimmed baking sheets, spreading in a single layer. Bake 45 minutes, stirring twice. Test doneness by removing a few pieces of popcorn from oven; if they crisp within 1 minute, popcorn is ready.
Remove from oven, and immediately sprinkle with remaining salt.
Let cool completely.
Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until melted and completely smooth. Fill a small resealable plastic bag with chocolate, and snip a tiny hole in 1 corner. Drizzle chocolate over caramel corn. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, about 10 minutes, before breaking up.
Store caramel corn in an airtight container up to 1 week.
From Martha Stewart Living, October 2012 issue. Tested by Susan M. Selasky.