Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Spicy Popcorn Crisps #Breadbakers

Ground popcorn, hot sauce and just a touch of flour make for crispy, cracker like snacks.

Spicy Popcorn Crisps

I grew up in the heyday of Kernels, where you couldn't get two steps into a mall entrance without smelling the aroma of (fake, but yummy) buttery popcorn mixed with an inexplicable sweetness. Popcorn buckets were a huge thing at birthday parties, especially school ones where popcorn became a "failsafe" option for those with nut allergies. People fought over the "good" kind, depending on their flavour preference, and you knew your friend had your back when she brought out the flavour shakers just for he two of you.

But you want to know a secret?
.
.
.
.
.
.
I hate pre-made popcorn.

Now, this is not to say I hate popcorn entirely, or even that I'm a popcorn snob. I will eat air-, stove-, campfire- and even microwave-popped popcorn without issue (well, unless there's coconut oil involved)... anything, as long as it gets to me hot. Cold popcorn is listless and chewy, definitely not what I want in a supposedly crunchy snack. It's fine for Christmas tree garlands and making crafts, I just can't be bothered eating the stuff.

However, my abhorrence for pre-fab popcorn was outweighed by my cheapness frugality recently, where a party favour containing baggies of cheese-dusted popcorn came home with me. I wasn't about to eat it, certainly, and it didn't look like anyone else in the house was going to either - we had all gone to the same party and thus had multiple portions of the stuff. I knew there had to be some flavour, and most importantly texture benefits left in the popcorn, so I started scouting around. I didn't find any savoury recipes specifically using popcorn, but I did find cornmeal-based cracker recipes and thought "well, they're both corn, and I can grind the popcorn to a meal, so why not?". I had the ingredients anyways, and the result was likely to be edible at the very least because crackers are meant to be dry!

The first round was not as much of a success as I hoped - there was too much milk and not enough flour in the dough, and the best consistency I got was a very loose batter which was nowhere near stiff enough to roll. It made a sort of crisp flatbread in the oven, spread on a baking sheet - come to think of it, I could have made a pretty good pizza on it. While it was crisp on the outside, the inside was moist and chewy - not cracker-like. So with the remaining popcorn (which I had ground in the food processor to bits) I tried again, reducing the milk and adding flour by the tablespoon, finally documenting the amount needed to create a shape-able, if moist, dough. I was able to spread the mixture on the pan with a palette knife and flatten it with a rolling pin over parchment to keep it from sticking, but cutting it right away would have been disaster. Instead I gave it the biscotti treatment - pre-baking it to firmness, slicing it, then baking again until crunchy.

This time, it worked - and how! I love spice in almost everything, and Louisiana style hot sauce is my jam, so of course it went in (and the half teaspoon in the recipe is conservative - I used more). These were the perfect snack to munch on their own, but I hear tell they make a fine base for guacamole too.

This month the #BreadBakers are making crackers, and these now fit the bill! Looking at the array going on this time around, I'd say I'd best get into the kitchen soon and give a few of these a try!

Enjoy the diversity of cracker recipes this month!


BreadBakers

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.


Spicy Popcorn Crisps
Makes ~16 pieces
½ cup milk
3 tbsp vegetable oil
½ tsp hot pepper sauce
2 cups ground popcorn (about 3 ½ cups whole), preferably butter or cheese flavoured
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt (more if your popcorn is unsalted)
¼ tsp baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the milk, vegetable oil, Worcestershire sauce and hot pepper sauce.
  3. Add the popcorn, flour, salt and baking soda to make a sticky batter (about chocolate chip cookie dough consistency)
  4. Spread evenly on the parchment.
  5. Bake 15 minutes, or until firm.
  6. Use a pizza cutter or knife to cut into pieces.
  7. Bake a further 10 minutes.
  8. Cool on the baking sheets
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 66.7
Total Fat: 3.5 g
Cholesterol: 0.6 mg
Sodium: 24.9 mg
Total Carbs: 7.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.4 g
Protein: 1.3 g