Everything in moderation: A healthy popcorn recipe, and one that’s not so much

by Camille on January 29, 2011

J'aime pas les salés

Remember my recent popcorn post? Well, several people wrote to ask for my sister’s caramel corn recipe. It’s so delicious that I can’t not share it–but so I don’t completely neglect the “svelte” part of this site, I’m also going to post a recipe for the low-cal ranch popcorn that I’ve been munching on lately. Try it and tell me you don’t love it.

Note: both of these recipes, which make enough popcorn to serve a couple people, call for air-popped popcorn. If you don’t have an air popper, I highly recommend investing in one (I love popcorn so much that I’ve burned through two already–no joke!).

Caramel popcorn
3/4 cups of popcorn kernels
1/2 cup of Brown Sugar (dark or light)
1/2 stick of butter (1/4 cup)
1/8 cup of light corn syrup
1/2 tsp baking soda

*Pop the popcorn and divide it in two large bowls
*Melt brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup together until they start to boil
*Mix the baking soda into the brown sugar mixture
*Pour the mixture over the popcorn and stir like crazy. Voila! Carmel corn

Ranch popcorn
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/2 a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix (love this–half a packet only adds 20 calories total!)
Cooking spray - I use Spectrum organic canola spray oil

Pop the popcorn. Spray with cooking spray, then sprinkle ranch seasoning over it. Toss and repeat.



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Jael January 30, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Oh, this is fabulous. There are certainly occasions for one where the other just won’t do! Thanks for sharing both.

Camille January 31, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Jael, I couldn’t agree more. Guess which one I had last night? Hint: it contains butter. :)

Lauren Slayton February 1, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Ooh love the ranch recipe. I have to say I love popping popcorn in a little oil in a pot. I also heard good things about the Whirly Pop, hmn.

Lauren February 2, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I like to eat popcorn as a snack to avoid eating something too sugary or unhealthy. I actually make homemade microwave popcorn by putting popcorn kernels with a drizzle of olive oil into a brown lunch bag, folding it over twice, and microwaving until there are 2 seconds between pops. And I too spray cooking spray over my popcorn to get salt and seasonings to stick to it. That ranch idea sounds really good too–as a ranch dressing-loving Texan, I feel I should’ve already thought of that! I also like sprinkling it with grated parmesan.

Sue February 3, 2011 at 8:35 pm

You can actually buy a popcorn popper that’s microwave safe that pops the kernels without oil like an air popper (and without the nasty bad-for-lungs chemicals of microwave popcorn packages/stuff for landfills), too. Mine was less than $10. It’s basically a heavy duty bowl with cover made of a special material.

Camille February 3, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Great ideas, Lauren and Lauren! And Sue: I’ve never heard of a popper like that–very cool!

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