Gather ‘round, people – I’m about to take you back to childhood. Remember Spicy Cheddar Cheese Popcorn of back in the day? I have a homemade version! Made with powdered cheddar, spices, sriracha, and jalapeño powder! Trust when I say, this batch won’t last!
Spicy Cheddar Cheese Popcorn
Song giving me life: Earth Wind & Fire – Boogie Wonderland
One of my favorite parts of spring is witnessing trees magically transform their bare branches into lush green. Now, I live in a neighborhood that was used to be a drug infested red zone with many vacant lots. Over a decade ago my borough underwent a revitalization of sorts and built three family houses, allowing folks who met a certain income threshold the chance to purchase a three family home. I am the owner of one of these homes and have been for about 14 years. Trees were planted right around the time these homes completed and as such, we have watched our homes grow and change alongside these trees. The trees have grown tall, and verdant; every spring is a pleasure to see how far their branches extend. One branch extended as far as the inside of a neighbor’s living room window and that was kinda cool.
Then one day a group of gentlemen drove to our street and butchered a vast majority of branches from these trees and changed all that. I understand the reasoning behind it: In the event of powerful winds or a massive storm, these branches can take down a power line. Why couldn’t they just trim these branches? Why cut practically every branch except the very top ones? The most beautiful tree, the one directly in front of our house received what looked like a damn crew cut. My daughter cried this morning on her way to school and demanded I research if butchering branches actually harm these trees.
‘Will the branches grow back, mama?’
I didn’t have the heart to tell her the branches will never grow back, because preserving nature is so important to her.
I’m not sure where I’m going with this story. Perhaps it’s the sense of loss we felt this morning as the tree branches littered our street. Or maybe it’s the sense of loss in knowing this tree may not grow new branches and that beautiful greenery is lost to us forever.
Could be a metaphor, a vivid imagery of the state the world.
Let’s talk about this Spicy Cheddar Cheese Popcorn now.
Flow with me, y’all.
As a kid, I used to L.O.V.E. Wise Hot Cheese Popcorn. Was it the faux cheese flavor? Was it the mild spice? Perhaps it was how my fingertips would turn red/orange and I’d spend a good two minutes licking off the cheesy powder?
All I know is I would scoff at plain old potato chips and grab at that red bag of spicy popcorn every chance I got, which wasn’t very often.
I don’t indulge in chips much anymore because… You know, thick jiggly thighs and whatnot. Sometimes I crave that specific popcorn. I decided to make my own.
How to make Spicy Cheddar Cheese Popcorn
I bought some cheddar cheese powder from Amazon. I wanted to make sure my cheese powder did not use Yellow #53 or whatever. This brand is pretty good and the orange hue comes from annatto, instead of Red #40. I added paprika for earthiness and color, and kicked it up with some onion and garlic powder.
For spice, I used a combination of jalapeño powder and this bomb ass sriracha powder I found in the Spice House. You can add more jalapeño powder if it’s all you have on hand. It’s super simple to make. Pop, mix and eat.
The result is cheesy and mildly spicy. It’s as close to the commercial brand as it gets, plus there’s the satisfaction of making something yourself.
Now, go pop a batch. Grab a chair, head to your nearest park.
Enjoy the leaves.
They are truly somethin’ his year.
Check out these popcorn recipes!
Spicy Cheddar Cheese Popcorn
- 1 cup Unpopped corn kernels
- 3 tablespoons Coconut oil
- Sprinkle of salt
- 4 tablespoons Unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled
- ½ cup Cheddar cheese powder
- 2 teaspoons Paprika
- 1 tablespoon Dried onion powder
- 2 teaspoons Dried garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoons Jalapeño powder
- ½ teaspoon Sriracha chili powder
Pop your kernels, old school style:
- Set the heat to medium-high. Add coconut oil to a large pot with a lid and sprinkle lightly with salt. Add the kernels and cover the pot. When you hear the first sound of kernels popping, reduce heat to medium-low and allow the kernels to pop completely.
- Every minute or so, give the pot a shake to ensure all your kernels have been hit with a heat situation (this will make them all pop).
- Remove from heat, transfer to a very large bowl and set aside.
- OR!! If you own a popcorn maker (I own a Whirley Pop, which I LOVE) pop your popcorn according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Make the spiced cheese mixture:
- In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, cheese powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, jalapeño powder, and sriracha powder. Mix to combine until it makes a paste. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. I would prefer a spicier popcorn; however, I live with two wusses who can’t handle spice.
- Pour the seasoned cheese paste over the popcorn and with clean hands mix to distribute. Some kernels will have large amounts of the cheese mixture and that is a good thing. Enjoy immediately.
- Popcorn will keep in an airtight, sealed bag for about a week. It won’t last that long, though. We barely make it one day.