Popcorn Bar- Great Party Idea

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This week my little sister Melanie is moving to Texas. She is going to study in Austin and earn a Doctorate in Music with an emphasis on Organ Performance.

We wanted to have a going away open house for her friends and family. My official title in the Randall Clan is “Chairman of Food and Fun” for all parties and gatherings. We wanted something light and fun, not a full meal and something easy. During the week I had a great idea to do a popcorn bar since my family has a thing for popcorn (they buy the kernels in 50 pound buckets, for heaven’s sake,)  for her going away party. As I was mulling over the idea, Melanie sent me a text that said, “What about doing a popcorn bar?” Great minds must think alike! (Does that mean my mind is worthy of a doctorate in music?)

So this was a perfect idea! A light snack, easy on the budget and fun.

So here was the setup. Caramel, buttered and cinnamon popcorn. with plain popcorn that you could use to create your own flavor.

Popcorn Bar

Popcorn Bar

Why yes, this bowl IS Texas sized!

Popcorn Bar

Popcorn Bar 2 Popcorn Bar 4

Popcorn Bar 5

How was all of this accomplished you ask?

Well, I’d just love to tell you!

The easiest way would have been to buy a real popcorn machine. But that would have wrecked the “easy on the budget” portion of the great idea. So instead, I used this device.

It’s called a Whirlypop. And let me tell you, it is a lot of fun! You put the kernels in the bottom with oil (preferably coconut oil) and stir over the stove top. It has a paddle on the bottom that stirs the popcorn and keeps it from scorching. When  popcorn starts to pop it  is a very gratifying experience for all the senses!

And this little device is only $19.99, which is a steal in my opinion!

The next secret to success was flavorings. Sure, I could have made true and actual caramel corn, but I needed to make this in bulk. And that would have used about 18 pounds of butter and it would have taken forever! Introduce Gold Medal Popcorn Products.

Gold Medal products are what all true carnival professional use. These are powders that you pour right into the Whirypop and as the popcorn pops, it coats the popcorn. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

The first flavor we did was buttered. To get popcorn that tastes like honest-to-goodness movie theater popcorn, you need Flavacol. (I have no idea why they named it that. It sounds like a supplement made in the 1970’s. Maybe that’s when it was invented.)  Popping your popcorn in coconut oil (aren’t you glad that coconut oil doesn’t have the same bad rap that it did when you were in high school and your health teacher told you that eating coconut oil would kill you and cause all sorts of other problems?) and using a little Flavacol will give you that mouthwatering salty, buttery taste.

Next, I used Gold Medal Glaze Pop in caramel and cinnamon flavors. Again, just add to the Whirlypop following the instructions and voila! Caramel and Cinnamon popcorn. Gold Medal has a bunch of other Glaze Pop  flavors as well, like grape, chocolate. and blue raspberry.

Each box of this will make a lot of popcorn. I used about 1/2 of each of the Glaze Pop cartons and 1/4 of the Flavacol and made about 10 batches of each flavor.

You can buy this stuff on Amazon of course, but if you live in the Salt Lake City area, you can get it at my most favorite store of all time, Gygi.  

For the  “Flavor Your Own Popcorn” we just air popped a bunch of popcorn. The instructions were to scoop the popcorn into a smaller bowl, spritz with sprayable I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and then sprinkle with a variety of popcorn spice mixes.  I got these at Gygi as well, but you can find this type of things at a lot of stores including Target and Wal-Mart. The flavors we had were Dill Pickle, Chile Lime, Sea Salt and Vinegar and Cheddar Cheese. The Chile Lime and Sea Salt and Vinegar were my favorites. It is essential that you use something to help the powder to adhere to the popcorn, otherwise it just falls off and you have really bland popcorn and a pile of powder at the bottom of the bag.

I used this Popcorn Bar  printable to make labels for the popcorn. You can get as fancy as you want, but I just taped the labels to a kabob skewer and stood it up in the popcorn. Then I taped little labels to the “spritz” and “sprinkles.”

Finish it off with some cute popcorn bags, bowls or buckets, and scoops and you are set for a fun popcorn bar.

Now honestly, you can get a lot more creative with the presentation. But that is not my forte. I would love to see what all you Pinterest-lovers are able to create!

Good luck Mel!

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  1. jane randall says

    Here’s another Great Big THANKS again to you, Anita, and to Kaylyn and to our dear and generous neighbor Lea who shared her backyard, and to everyone who came to this poppin’ fun farewell party!

  2. Melanie Randall says

    It was delicious! Great minds do think alike. Your mind is definitely worthy of a doctorate… in Physical Therapy :)

  3. Carolyn says

    Way way back we used to sprinkle pudding or gelatin packs on ours for fun flavors….can’t wait to try yours

    • AnitaAnita says

      I’ve never heard of sprinkling pudding on popcorn. That sounds fun. We do Jello popcorn sometimes. Thanks for reading!

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