Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Super fast Christmas ideas - 2

Calling this cooking is silly. In fact, these little treats have more to do with assembling than cooking, but provided you have jars available and can go to a supermarket, they will provide the best stocking fillers ever with the minimum of effort.

2 - Popcorn

Popcorn is fun and can be personalised in so many more ways than the classic sweet-or-salty dichotomy. Plus, it’s easy and fun to make so you can get your kids involved (or your inner kid).
Pop about 2 cups of popping corn in a pan to fill about 8 jars, then let it cool. 

You can top it with a wide variety of sweet and savoury combinations, these are some of my favourites:

Chocolate mint popcorn
5 tablespoons oil (if you are planning on eating it straght away, use 4 tablespoons of melted butter instead)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup (golden syrup is fine)
1 teaspoon strong peppermint extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips
you can add green food colouring if you like

Melt the sugar with the oil and the syrup and let it bubble for 5 minutes in the largest saucepan you have, until it becomes a thick caramel. Add the peppermint, take away from the hob and wait for a couple of minutes. Then add the popcorn and stir it all in. Wait until it’s completely cool stirring every now and again, then add the chips (if you don’t wait they’ll melt and the effect will be ruined).

Christmas popcorn
Same ingredients for the syrup.
For the dressing
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon ginger or ground chilli

Make syrup like in the previous recipe, then add all the spices and stir the popcorn in. This is gorgeous because of the deep red colour given by the paprika, which makes it very festive.

Lemon popcorn
Same syrup
1 and ½ cup of lemon juice
½ cup shop bought caramelised lemon skin

Make the caramel like in the two previous recipes, then add the lemon juice and let it boil for one extra minute. Add the peopcorn and, when it has cooled down a little, the lemon skins.
This is delicious and a staple from my childhood: my cousins and I used to make it at sleepovers at my auntie’s house, which always happened around Christmas. The smell of buttery and lemony popcorn and pine is one of the most festive memories I have.

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