These recipes can make your winter snacks pop

Furikake popcorn
(The Popcorn Board)

Looking for a tasty treat with a broad variety of flavors? Popcorn is a versatile pantry staple that can be served plain or as a better-for-you addition to your winter snacks.

With no artificial additives or preservatives, light and airy popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories, is non-GMO and gluten-free, making it a sensible option to satisfy cravings for something savory, sweet and just about every flavor in between. Plus, whole-grain popcorn has energy-producing carbohydrates and fiber, which can help keep you satisfied longer.

National Popcorn Day on Wednesday, Jan. 19, honors one of America’s oldest and most beloved snack foods, so this week is a perfect opportunity to pop up a bowl to share with others or create whole-grain culinary masterpieces such as Jamaican jerk popcorn, which features hot pepper, spices and jerk butter, and furikake popcorn, a lighter recipe exploding with the flavors of sesame, nori and a Japanese spice blend.

You also can combine some favorite flavors for movie night with cheesy pepperoni popcorn or rocky road popcorn clusters, featuring chocolate, marshmallows and nuts.

Furikake popcorn

(Makes 2-3 servings)

• 6 cups popped popcorn

• 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Furikake seasoning:

• 1 nori sheet, broken into pieces

• 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, divided

• ½ teaspoon salt

• ½ teaspoon granulated sugar

To make furikake seasoning: In a spice grinder or using a mortar and pestle, grind nori with ½ tablespoon of sesame seeds until finely ground. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in remaining sesame seeds, salt and sugar.

In a large bowl, toss popcorn with butter and furikake seasoning until evenly coated.

Tips: Use store-bought furikake seasoning and season to taste.

To toast sesame seeds: In a small, dry skillet over medium heat, cook sesame seeds two to three minutes, or until lightly golden and fragrant. Let cool completely before using.

Jamaican jerk popcorn

(Makes 4-6 servings)

Jamaican jerk popcorn
(The Popcorn Board)

• ¼ cup butter

• 1 tablespoon minced, seeded scotch bonnet chili pepper

• 1 teaspoon grated lime zest

• ½ teaspoon chili powder

• ½ teaspoon dried thyme

• ½ teaspoon ground allspice

• ½ teaspoon pepper

• ¼ teaspoon ground ginger

• 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

• 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

• 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

• 1/8 teaspoon onion powder

• ¼ teaspoon salt

• 8 cups popped popcorn

In a small saucepan, combine butter, chili pepper, lime zest, chili powder, thyme, allspice, pepper, ginger, garlic powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, onion powder and salt. Cook over low heat three to five minutes, or until the butter melts and the mixture is fragrant.

In a large bowl, toss popcorn with the spice mixture until evenly coated.

Tip: If preferred, omit scotch bonnet pepper and substitute ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper.

Cheesy pepperoni popcorn

(Makes 6-8 servings of 1 cup each)

Cheesy pepperoni popcorn
(The Popcorn Board)

• ¼ cup nonfat Parmesan cheese

• 2 teaspoons garlic powder

• ¼ teaspoon dried oregano

• ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram leaves

• ¼ teaspoon dried basil leaves

• 1/8 teaspoon dried sage

• Black pepper, to taste

• 12 cups air-popped popcorn

• ¾ cup turkey pepperoni, cut into bite-size bits

• Olive oil cooking spray

In a small bowl, combine Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, oregano, marjoram, basil, sage and pepper and mix well.

In a large bowl, combine popcorn and turkey pepperoni and spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray.

Sprinkle popcorn and pepperoni with cheese mixture and toss to coat evenly.

Rocky road popcorn clusters

(Makes 3 dozen)

Rocky road popcorn clusters
(The Popcorn Board)

• 1 bag (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips

• 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

• 4 cups popped popcorn

• 1½ cups miniature marshmallows

• ¾ cup chopped walnuts

In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate chips on high for one minute, until melted. Stir in vegetable oil.

In a large bowl, add popcorn, marshmallows and walnuts. Pour melted chocolate over the mixture, tossing to coat.

Drop the mixture by the tablespoonful onto a wax paper-lined jelly roll pan.

Refrigerate about two hours until firm, or overnight.

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