It’s summertime at Downton, which means it must be time for some sort of sporting event/fair/celebration that’s terribly important, despite the fact we’ve never heard anything about it prior to now. This year, it’s the annual bazaar, which has fallen into Cora’s lap while her husband’s away keeping her brother’s ass out of a witness box. Everyone else at Downton is dealing with serious issues, like sudden engagements, unplanned pregnancies, and rape fallout, but Cora, as always, remains blissfully unaware as she spends her time rearranging lollipops and making sure the lemonade is mixed just so. Life must be so nice if you’re Cora.
Anyway, it seems that fairground food would be somewhat appropriate this week, and since deep frying is a hassle, let’s simplify things by making a good viewing snack: popcorn. But not just any popcorn; we want something posh, right? This is Downton Abbey, after all, and you wouldn’t see Lady Mary digging into just any old popcorn. Bring on the couture corn!
Sweet and Salty Kettle Corn
From Two Peas and their Pod
¼ c coconut oil
½ c unpopped popcorn kernels
¼ c granulated sugar
Salt to taste
In a fairly large pot with a lid, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the popcorn kernels and, when the oil sizzles, sprinkle the sugar over. Cover and stir or shake the pan as the popcorn pops. Once the popping slows down, remove from the heat. Sprinkle with salt and serve.
Nigella’s Party Popcorn
From Once Upon a Chef
3 T vegetable oil
3/4 cup popcorn kernels
3 T unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsps paprika
1 1/2 tsps ground cumin
3 tsps sugar
3/4 tsp salt
Pour the vegetable oil into a very large pan over medium-high heat. Add the popcorn, then set the lid on top.
Wait for the popcorn to start popping, then shake the pan gently now and then to keep the kernels moving. When the popping slows to 2-3 second apart, remove the pan from the heat.
In a small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Stir in the cinnamon, paprika, cumin, sugar and salt. Use a spoon to drizzle the mixture over the popcorn, stirring as you go so that it coats the popcorn evenly. Pour into bowls or popcorn bags and serve.
Dark Chocolate Popcorn
What Edith and Ivy might much to ease their troubled hearts
Recipe adapted from The Kitchn
1 tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
4 ounces good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
In a medium pot, heat the oil and 3 kernels of popcorn, covered, over medium heat until all 3 kernels pop. Pour in the remaining kernels, cover pot again and shake to distribute. As the popcorn pops, shake pan occasionally and immediately remove from heat once the popping slows to 2-3 seconds between pops. Pour popcorn into a large bowl, removing any unpopped or partially popped kernels you see.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place the chocolate salt in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl. Heat in the microwave in 30-second increments until chocolate is very soft and becomes completely liquid when stirred gently (you can also melt the chocolate in a double boiler or bowl set over simmering water). Immediately pour over the popcorn and stir to coat as thoroughly as possible. Spread evenly onto the baking sheet. Let sit at room temperature until chocolate has hardened, about 1 hour.
Special addition: ½-1 tsp cinnamon. Mix with the melted chocolate for an extra kick. If you really want to go nuts, throw in ¼ – ½ tsp chili powder and make Mexican chocolate popcorn!