Peanut Butter Popcorn: A Holiday Tradition

Good morning! I'm over at Housewife Eclectic today sharing about my holiday traditions, so here today I'm going to share a recipe for one of them: peanut butter popcorn. (I originally shared this recipe last year as part of Holiday Treat Week with Tricia over at Leafy Treetop Spot.)

Me and 6 of my 7 older siblings, plus my dad and his new car
I'm the cute chubby one in pink :)

While not inherently holiday-ish, this delicious treat is all about family and isn't that what the holidays are really all about?

Let me introduce you to Peanut Butter Popcorn:

It might not look like much, but it's delicious, sinfully sweet, and cheap!

I grew up the youngest in a family of 8 children (as you can see from the picture above). Cheap is important. Cheap and makes enough for everyone is the difference between living in harmony and... not-so-harmonious living. A harmonious day is a holy day and therefore a holiday, right? :)

So, at our weekly family-together nights and any other family gathering, my mom would make Peanut Butter Popcorn. It's perfect for making with a large brood because there's a job for everyone. It's actually more difficult to make by yourself than with a helper, so grab a helper or two (or six) and let's get started:

You'll need
  • Popcorn -- 2-3 servings, kernels with an air-popper are best, but the microwave bags are fine
  • A big metal bowl
  • Your oven
  • Another big bowl, in any material
  • A saucepan
  • 1 cup peanut butter -- chunky or smooth, doesn't matter
  • 1 cup granulated (white) sugar
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat your oven to 275*F  or so. Place the big metal bowl in the oven and turn the oven off. (You want the bowl and the popped corn to stay warm because that makes it SO much easier to evenly distribute the topping.)

2. Start one helper popping popcorn into the non-metal big bowl.

3. After the first batch of popcorn is finished, have another helper shake the bowl so that the biggest, fluffiest kernels come to the top and the yucky unpopped "old maid" kernels fall the bottom.

Yup, my family togetherness memories are based on an elitist popcorn hierarchy. :)

4. Carefully remove the *hot* metal bowl from the still-warm oven. This is a good job for a parent or an older helper.

5. Enlist a helper (or two) to scoop the fluffy kernels off the top of the bowl, using their hands, and place the the fluffy, high-class popcorn in the metal bowl, being careful not to touch the bowl since it is still *hot*.

6. Dump all the old maids and the smaller lower-class kernels that are left in the bottom of the bowl. Return the metal bowl to the still-warm oven to keep the bowl and popcorn warm.

7. Employ your helper(s) in popping another 1-2 additional batches of popcorn and give those the same elitist treatment, returning the high-class kernels in the metal bowl to the oven after each batch.

8. When you've sorted the final batch of popcorn and your metal bowl is about 2/3 full (probably about 8-10-ish cups of popcorn), combine the vanilla, sugar, and corn syrup in the saucepan. (Another job for a parent or older helper.)

9. Heat the sugary goodness until it boils and the sugar is completely dissolved.

10. Remove the boiling sugary goodness from the heat and quickly add the peanut butter, stirring until it's all melted into the sugary mixture.

11. Carefully remove the hot (possibly warm by now) metal bowl from the oven and quickly pour the *very hot* peanut butter sauce over the top.

12. Stir...

13. Stir... this is a good time to have helpers. :)

14. Stir some more. Make sure that the peanut butter sauce is evenly distributed and covering every fluffy kernel.

15. Now you make a choice: keep stirring until the sauce is completely cooled OR spread the cooling popcorn onto waxed paper.

You could also form the popcorn into balls, but leaving the still-warm popcorn in the bowl sends most of the still-warm peanut butter sauce to the bottom of the bowl, making it hard to get OUT of the bowl, both to eat and to clean. :)

16. Enjoy! Share with family, friends, the UPS man (for bringing all those fantastic holiday packages), or whoever.You could even add it on your Christmas Cheer Garland. :)

The Christmas Cheer Garland {Haul Out the Holly}

Haul Out the Holly,Gwenny Penny,Christmas tutorialsToday I am thrilled to be sharing with you as part of Haul Out the Holly, a Christmas crafting extravaganza hosted by my awesome friend, Gwen, of Gwenny Penny. She's lined up 3 weeks of fantastic and talented guests (and then there's me...) to share fun holiday craft ideas with you, so be sure to pop over and check out the amazingness there.

And so, I present, The Christmas Cheer Garland

This garland is as inexpensive and easy as you want it to be, and it's sure to bring a smile to everyone who graces your front door this holiday season. Why? Because, as much as I hate to disagree with Buddy the Elf, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is NOT by singing loud for all to hear (especially if you sing like I do), but by spreading treats far and near...

I learned this truth (along with many others) from fantastic friends of ours. Every year at Christmastime, they bake up a huge batch of sugar cookies, decorate them, and then hang them on their Christmas tree. Every guest who comes to the house then gets to take home a cookie from the tree.

I loved this family tradition of theirs and decided this year to start it with my own family. There were only two problems:
  1. Our (fake) tree is only 3 feet tall.
  2. My husband hates (most) sugar cookies.
So, with a little improvising, we ended up with the Christmas Cheer Garland: individually wrapped treats strung up on the garland by our front door so that each visitor can take a little bit of Christmas cheer (and holiday calories) home.

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