Movie Night: Popcorn Recipes That’ll Bowl Your Kids Over

10/03/2013 at 03:11 PM ET

Puppy Chow Popcorn
Courtesy Carol Beckerman

As the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler, long nights in the backyard turn to cozy living room movie marathons. Popcorn’s an easy, healthy movie-watching snack—but you can only serve it plain for so long before your kids will get B-O-R-E-D.

Luckily, there are more ways than you ever dreamed to dress up popcorn—at least 100, in fact. Carol Beckerman, who penned the cookbook Popcorn: 100 Sweet and Savory Recipes, suggests kicking up kernels with everything from peanut butter to bacon.

The bacon might be a better fit for grown-up palates, but Beckerman happily shared three of her most kid-friendly ideas with PEOPLE.

Made with ingredients you probably already have in the pantry, each of these recipes is so easy, you’ll be done while they’re still exploring the DVD’s bonus features. Just pop the question: coconut, peanut butter or puppy chow popcorn? We’re pretty sure all will get two thumbs up.

Puppy Chow Popcorn (pictured)

Makes about 15 cups

14 cups popped popcorn

9 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

¾ cup creamy peanut butter

⅓ cup (⅔ stick) unsalted butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1. Pour the popcorn into a large bowl.

2. In a large heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate chips, peanut butter and unsalted butter. Place the bowl in a larger pot of barely simmering water to melt. Stir until smooth. Add the vanilla and stir to combine.

3. Pour the chocolate mixture over the popcorn and stir gently until the popcorn is evenly coated. Sift the confectioners’ sugar over the chocolate-covered popcorn, and stir until each piece is evenly coated with sugar.

4. Spread out the mixture on a large baking sheet and set aside for about 20 minutes, or until the chocolate is set. Break up the popcorn into manageable pieces and serve immediately, or store for up to 3 days.

Peanut Butter Cup Popcorn

Makes about 17 cups

15 cups popped popcorn

½ tsp. fine sea salt

1 cup honey

⅔ cup sugar

1 cup peanut butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup milk chocolate chips

3 cups mini peanut butter cups (or chopped full-size peanut butter cups)

1. Line a large baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, stir the popcorn and salt together.

3. In a medium-sized pan, gently heat the honey and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Simmer for three minutes. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the peanut butter until combined.

4. Stir in the vanilla. Immediately pour the honey and peanut butter mixture over the popcorn, and stir gently with a wooden spoon until the popcorn is evenly coated.

5. Transfer the popcorn to the lined baking sheet and leave to cool. Stir in the peanut butter cups. Store in an airtight container.

Coconut Popcorn

Makes about 15 cups

12 cups popped popcorn

2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

2 cups sugar

⅔ cups full-fat milk

2 tbsp. light corn syrup

1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup nibbed or sliced and blanched almonds

1. Line 2 large baking sheets with waxed paper.

2. Pour the popcorn into a large bowl. Add the coconut and stir gently to combine. In a large pot, stir the sugar, milk, corn syrup, and salt together over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium-high, bringing mixture to a boil. Boil until the temperature on a candy thermometer registers 230 degrees.

3. Remove from the heat. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Pour mixture over the popcorn and coconut. Stir gently with a wooden spoon until the popcorn is evenly coated.

4. Add the almonds and stir until combined. Transfer to the lined baking sheets and leave to cool. Store in an airtight container for up to four days.

—Amy Jamieson

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Lesley on

The Peanut Butter Cup recipe doesn’t say when to add the chocolate chips ….

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