We all love a crunchy snack in this house. Dog included. Crunchy… salty… sweet and salty… I grew up on plain potato crisps and there’s always been something soothing about the combination of crunch and salt.
Having spent many years working with occupation therapists to help Master A’s sensory issues, I now know that some of the attraction we have for crunchy things can be for the effect that this heavy jaw work has on our nervous system. Crunching can calm us. Chewing gum can have a similar effect.
So, given that the crunching can be helpful for our emotional and mental state, I wanted to find snack foods that were attractive to a sensitive palate but didn’t contain a proverbial chemical sh*!storm.
We’ve had a popcorn machine for so long I can’t work out how long. It has made countless batches of popcorn for us, friends, friends’ children and now our little man. He loves his popcorn, loves ‘good’ salt and is now convinced that Mum’s popcorn is better than anything you can get at the supermarket or cinema.
We’ve experimented with lots of combinations of butter, salt, cinnamon, nutritional yeast flakes. Coconut oil has been a winner in many other recipes but not with popcorn yet. Salty and sweet really appeals to all of us so I’ve been working on an easy method that doesn’t involve refined white sugar made into a syrup.
Maple syrup, butter, pink Himalayan salt plus cinnamon to regulate the impact of the sugars. “Your special popcorn, Mum” is how it’s known around here and is a frequent request after school. I’m more than happy to oblige.
Maple Cinnamon Popcorn
1/2 cup popping corn
1 tbspn maple syrup
1/4 to /1/2 tspn cinnamon
Himalayan or Celtic sea salt
Pop the corn using an air popper (or your usual method) and place into a very large bowl. I try to use organic corn to avoid GMOs.
While the corn is popping, place the butter and maple syrup in a small saucepan over a low-medium heat. Stir to mix and allow it to sizzle and bubble without burning.
When butter and maple syrup are well combined, add the cinnamon and stir. You may wish to start with a smaller amount of cinnamon depending on the tastebuds of those you’re feeding. Grind or sprinkle in salt to taste.
Remove saucepan from heat and drizzle the buttery, salty-sweet goodness over the popcorn. Toss to get a good coating using salad servers or a couple of spoons.
Best eaten straight away but will keep in an airtight container.
Do you have a favourite popcorn flavour? What’s your ultimate crunchy snack?