It’s always fun to recreate favorite restaurant meals. I love the challenge and I love sharing the stories here. I keep a running list in my phone of recipes to try at home and when we have something we like, we add it to the list and when I need some inspiration, I scroll through it and see what I see.
But it’s downright comical sometimes when Paul and I are enjoying a meal, how we dissect it to try and figure out the exact ingredients and how to recreate it at home. And don’t think it is just me doing this…he is right there, encouraging me, helping me figure it out, just like he did with the jalapeno popper cups.
Sometimes, when he’s not with me, he’ll send a quick message like: “you should make brown butter croutons…yum!!!” Yeah, he uses that many exclamation points, too.
And then there are the recipes that don’t even make it to the list because the second I get home, I’m jotting down recipe notes. And that’s exactly where this Maple-Rosemary Popcorn comes into play. You know, the stars were just aligned for this recipe. We hadn’t yet been to CORK since moving and it’s been at the top of my list of places to try. It was a gorgeous night, we had an amazing meal and conversation that kept going on so we decided to stick around for a while and order dessert – which is somewhat unusual for us. And you know me, I don’t turn down popcorn, and popcorn with rosemary? You better believe I was interested.
So we quickly devoured the bowl, all the while trying to figure out how to make it at home because it was – in every sense of the word – amazing. I was a tiny bit skeptical of the maple but one bite assured me that this flavor combo is spot-on. Perfectly salty-and-sweet and I walked out of the restaurant with the ingredient list and method swirling in my head.
Yield: 4 cups
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 45 min
Total Time: 1 hour
My take on a local restaurant's signature popcorn - sweet, savory, salty and crunchy all in one bite!
1 Tbs. grapeseed oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter
1/2 cup real maple syrup
2 Tbs. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp. flaky sea salt
Heat one tablespoon of grapeseed oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. (I use grapeseed, you can use canola, peanut, vegetable, etc. just not olive oil, it will be likely to burn)
Add a few popcorn kernels to the pan, cover and let it heat up. When one kernel pops, add 1/2 cup of uncooked popcorn kernels and cover the pan. Shake the pan a little to spread the kernels in an even layer. Let the kernels pop for several minutes until the pan is full and the popping slows down. Remove from heat and transfer popcorn to a large bowl.
Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Spray a 10x15 baking sheet with non-stick spray (I use my Misto sprayer.)
Heat the butter and maple syrup in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat until melted, whisking often until combined. Remove from heat. (Or, in a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter, stir in the maple syrup and heat for 10-15 seconds until heated through. Whisk to combine.)
Stir in the rosemary and half of the salt. Add the popped popcorn to the butter/maple/rosemary mixture and stir well to coat the popcorn. Spread the mixture out onto the prepared baking sheet and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining sea salt on top.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the maple/rosemary mixture is set, checking every 15 minutes to ensure it doesn't burn. If necessary, gently stir the popcorn. Allow the popcorn to mostly cool before breaking up large chunks.
I tested this recipe twice - once with stove-top popped popcorn and once with lightly store-bought popcorn. Both were good, but the freshly popped popcorn held up to the maple/butter sauce than the store-bought popcorn did and I'd recommend going that route. But, in a pinch, use store bought, just use about 6 cups of popcorn to make sure it's not too soggy.
Other popcorn recipes you might like:
Truffle Bacon Popcorn by Foodiecrush
Browned Butter Rosemary Popcorn by GoodLife Eats
Roasted Garlic Oil and Black Pepper Popcorn by Simply Scratch
Sriracha Sesame Ginger Popcorn