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Sweet, savory and spicy popcorn snacks to feed a crowd

Patricia Conte has a background in marketing communications and works as an independent writer. In 2010, she was given the opportunity to combine her love of writing and food when she started as a contributing writer for the Food channel...

Friends Stopping By? Get popping!

You love your friends, but this is the time of year when people can drop in on you unannounced. Don't panic -- get popping!
Chocolate peppermint popcorn

When you have guests popping in on you, it can make for a frantic attempt to pull together snacks to nibble on while you visit. Never fear. These easy popcorn snacks are just what you need to spend more time visiting and less time running around the kitchen looking (and preparing) something to munch on. You can even make some of these ahead of time and store them in airtight containers. It's easy to take popcorn from an ordinary snack to something spectacular this season!

Chocolate peppermint popcorn recipe

'Tis the season, after all! This type of sweet treat is what you think of when the holidays roll around. It's like a dessert and snack all in one.

Serves 2 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white melting chocolate (or white chocolate chips)
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 cups popped plain popcorn

Directions:

  1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave (check and stir it in 10-second increments). Once melted, add in the peppermint. Drizzle the mixture over the popcorn.
  2. Let it cool and serve.

Sweet chili popcorn recipe

A bit of spice and savory seasonings give this popcorn treat a bit of a kick! Perfect for pairing with beer or seltzer water when guests stop by.

Serves 4 people

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups popped, unseasoned popcorn
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sweet chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions:

  1. Place the popcorn, turmeric, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder and butter into a large bowl and toss well until thoroughly combined. Serve immediately.

Cinnamon apple popcorn recipe

This provides a little more crunch and a few surprises than just plain popcorn. From CDKitchen.com, this popcorn recipe combines apples, nuts and warming seasonings perfect at this time of year.

Serves 12-14 people

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped dried apples
  • 10 cups popped popcorn
  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Place the apples in a large shallow baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
  2. Remove the pan from oven and stir in the popcorn and nuts.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Drizzle butter mixture over popcorn mixture, stirring well.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Pour onto waxed paper to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Cheesy gourmet popcorn recipe

Cheesy popcorn is easy with this recipe from Good Morning America. This popcorn recipe is super simple and super tasty to munch on. Your guests will really enjoy this and you won't be put out by making it!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (freshly grated)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Melt the butter with the lemon juice in a small skillet over medium heat. Keep warm.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the popcorn, cover and reduce the heat slightly. Shake the pan constantly until the popping subsides.
  3. Pour into a large bowl and drizzle on the lemon butter. Toss well and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Turn out into a large baking pan and bake until crispy and hot, about 12 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle on the cheese and toss.

Holiday snacks and treats don't have to be hard to prepare or time consuming to put together. Make it easy on yourself! Prepare these popcorn snacks ahead of time and keep them on hand, or pop them up when your friends drop by. Either way, you'll spend more time visiting and less time prepping!

Holiday treats to try

New ideas for Christmas appetizers
Low-fat spiced eggnog
Stained glass cookies for the holidays

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