December 13, 2014

Chicago-style Popcorn

On the Menu Today~
Chicago-style Popcorn

Chicago-style popcorn is absolutely delicious!
If you have never tried Chicago-style popcorn,
you have got to try it, asap
You will be so glad you did!

What is Chicago-style Popcorn?
Chicago-style popcorn is known to locals as caramel corn and
cheddar cheese flavored popcorn mixed together.
That's it!
This mixture is an addictive, cheesy, sweet and salty snack combination.
Chicago-style Popcorn is delicious and
everyone loves it the minute they try it.
It's best made homemade and served warm but
it's absolutely delicious anytime.
Once you start snacking on Chicago-style popcorn,
it's hard to stop.
I have eaten bags, big bags, of this popcorn....
and I'm not even a huge popcorn fan....
but the combination of caramel corn and cheese popcorn is wonderful.

History of Chicago-style Popcorn~
Garrett Popcorn Shop of Chicago was founded in 1949 by Claude and Gladys Garrett.
The Garrett's are most well known for this style of popcorn.
Their loyal customers would stand in lines around the shop to buy the caramel crisp and
cheese popcorn bags, each sold separately.
The customers would then mix the two bags together.
Noticing this trend,
Garrett began mixing the popcorn together for them,
thus the start of Chicago-style popcorn.

Popcorn History~
Most of the worlds popcorn is grown in the Midwest, principally in Nebraska, Iowa and Indiana. Although popcorn has been with us since the pioneer days,
It wasn't until 1890 that popcorn became important enough to raise as a crop for market.
Up until this time, individual families would raise their own popcorn.
Since the 1890's, popcorn has brought enough income to be called "prairie gold" by it's growers.

Popcorn really began to become popular in the 1890's.
The first popcorn machine was invented by Charles Cretors of Chicago Illinois in 1885.
The popcorn machines back then had a gasoline burner or a steam burner, to pop popcorn.
The cumbersome popcorn machines would be pushed around town or
could be seen at state fairs, carnivals and outdoor festivals.

In 1914, Cloid H. Smith founded the American Popcorn Company in Sioux City, Iowa and
Founded Americas first brand name popcorn called "Jolly Time"
With movie theaters opening, popcorn became the "must have" snack at the movies.
During the Depression, popcorn was one of the few luxuries families could still afford,
making popcorn businesses, the only businesses to thrive.

During World War II, sugar was sent overseas for American troops.
This meant there was less candy being made and
Americans ate three times more popcorn during this time.
When television became popular in the 1950's, popcorn sales again made a huge rise.
As families started buying televisions, they stayed home more and
were eating popcorn as they watched their favorite TV shows.
Even today, un-popped popcorn is still one of the most economical snacks you can buy.
Even popped popcorn sold in those huge bags, is still a snack everyone can afford.
I bought 2- 8 oz packets of home-grown popcorn kernels from Nicolet Farms for .50¢ a piece.
Can't beat that~

Caramel Corn

  • 20 to 25 cups popped popcorn (2 large batches)
  • 2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cooking Directions
  1. *Popcorn can be air popped to reduce fat or popped in oil, your choice.
  2. *Popping the popcorn in oil will help the caramel corn to separate easily.
  3. *Remember to remove any un-popped popcorn kernels.
  4. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Lightly spray a large roasting pan with a non-stick cooking spray. Place popped popcorn in prepared pan.
  5. Prepare caramel sauce:
  6. In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup and butter, stir until smooth and melted. Increase heat to medium, stirring constantly until the caramel sauce comes to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes only, stirring constantly (let boil for 5 minutes only or until temperature reaches 235 degrees on your candy thermometer) Immediately remove from heat. Carefully stir in the vanilla extract, baking soda and salt (mixture will begin to boil violently) Using a long-handled wooden spoon, stir down the mixture until rolling boiling subsides. Pour the hot caramel syrup over popcorn stirring evenly to coat; place the roasting pan in the oven.
  7. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and carefully pour popcorn onto a large sheet of tin foil (mix caramel popcorn with the cheese popcorn). Let cool completely Once cool, break apart any large clumps with your hands. Store in airtight containers or in ziplock baggies

The secret to good cheese popcorn is to use processed powdered cheese.
Yes, you heard me right....processed cheese powder!
You can find cheese powder in grocery stores usually by the bags of un-popped popcorn kernels.
You can also order cheese powder online.
Here are a few to check out: Cabot CheeseOh Nuts The Spice House,
Jim's Cheese, and Hoosier Hill Farm.
In a pinch, you can use cheese packets found in boxes of Macaroni and Cheese.

Cheddar Cheese Popcorn

  • 24 cups popped popcorn (2 large batches)
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese powder
  • 2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder, optional
  • 1 cup butter
Cooking Directions
  1. *Remember to remove any up-popped popcorn kernels.
  2. *Popcorn can be air-popped to reduce fat or popped in oil, (your choice)
  3. *If popped in oil, place the popped popcorn in a paper bag to help drain excess oil.
  4. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  5. Place popped popcorn in a large roasting pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  6. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, cheddar cheese powder, mustard powder, and chili powder. Set aside.
  7. In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat until melted or in a microwave safe glass bowl, microwave butter on low until melted. Pour the melted butter over the popcorn in roasting pan.
  8. Shake or stir to coat evenly. Immediately pour the cheese mixture over the buttered popcorn. Shake or stir to coat evenly. Place roasting pan in pre-heated oven. Bake 20 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from oven, mix together with caramel corn for Chicago-style popcorn.

Store in airtight containers or ziplock storage bags.

PopcornSnacks, Appetizer Snack Mix
Cheese popcorn recipe and information adapted from: What's Cooking America
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