They say that rules are made to be broken. But in the case of perfect popcorn, we have to politely disagree. Simply follow our five Golden Rules and you’ll be making marvellously more-ish popcorn in no time.
There’s nothing worse than soggy popcorn. Unfortunately, most food contains water. Even butter is about 20% water. If you fancy flavouring your popcorn with an ingredient that contains water, you’ll need to either evaporate the water from the topping before you add it or bake your topped popcorn in the oven at 100°C or above. That way, you’ll always end up with popcorn that’s deliciously crunchy and crisp!
Popcorn flavours are normally added to oil first to help ensure that they coat the popcorn more evenly. However, sugar and salt are not soluble in fat, so you’ll need to have some water present for them to dissolve. Melted butter can be perfect for this as it’s about 20% water – just make sure to follow the advice in Rule 1 to avoid the dreaded soggy popcorn!
If you’ve made a topping for a large batch of popcorn, it can be tricky to get an even coat. Never fear though – simply split your popcorn into a couple of bowls before adding your topping.
If you’re heating sugar for your popcorn topping, it will start to caramelise once the temperature exceeds 100°C. Obviously, caramelised sugar is absolutely delicious but it can also be rather hard once it’s cooled. To avoid a teeth-breaking topping, simply add other ingredients like honey, glucose syrup or milk. They’ll help to reduce the caramelisation process, while keeping that wonderfully smooth, sweet caramel taste.
Are you a non-taster, a supertaster or something in between? People’s taste sensitivies vary massively. Some of us can eat raw chillies by the handful while others balk at the thought of even being in the same room as a jalapeno.
Members of the former group are called non-tasters, have a low sensitivity to taste compounds and probably think they’re rather impressive. The latter group are neither birds nor planes, but supertasters with extremely sensitive palates. These two groups each make up about 25%. The rest of us, well, we’re simply tasters, with moderate palates.
It’s definitely worth baring this in mind when making popcorn toppings. While we’ve given guideline concentrations for salt, sugar and chilli throughout our recipes – you may well need to tweak the amounts of these ingredients in order to suit your particular palate.
Now that you know the rules, it’s time to have some fun! Get your popcorn maker and head over to our recipe section to learn how to make our delicious, gourmet popcorn toppings.