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Archive for October 4, 2015

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: CrunchDaddy Popcorn

Back in 2012, we reviewed a startup company with 10 flavors of savory or caramel corn: CrunchDaddy Popcorn.

You know it’s not just good: In the ubiquitous world of popcorn, their business just keeps growing. The company has expanded distribution, evolved their product flavors and traded most of the original brown kraft paper bags for lustrous poly bags in burgundy and forest green. They recently sent us new samples, and they were dee-licious.

The new number one seller is Bourbon & Bacon Crunch, made with a brown sugar and Kentucky bourbon caramel with bits of smoked bacon. It outsells the other flavors by three to one. The alcohol evaporates completely during the cooking process, so it’s kid- and pregnancy-friendly.

The second best seller is Salted Caramel Crunch, with a butterscotch caramel made with sea salt, Myers’s Dark Rum and honey.

Sure we liked the top two; we like everything from CrunchDaddy. But our personal favorites among the four caramel corns sampled are:

   

Bacon Bourbon Caramel Popcorn

The best seller: caramel corn with bacon and bourbon. Woo hoo! Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

  • Butter Rum & Cranberry Crunch. What was once a holiday special is now available year-round. When we bite into the antioxidant-rich cranberries and the fiber-laden popcorn, we think we’re eating guilt free. Oh, except for the sugar. We’ll be ordering lots of these as holiday gifts.
  • Caramel & Peanut Crunch. If only CrunchDaddy would leave the peanuts whole instead of chopped, it would be the Platonic ideal of Cracker Jacks.
  • But if none of these rings your bell, here’s the full menu:

     
    Sweet Flavors

  • Bourbon & Bacon Crunch
  • Butter Rum & Cranberry Crunch
  • Caramel & Peanut Crunch
  • Chesapeake Peanut Crunch
  • Honey & Cinnamon Crunch
  • Salted Caramel Crunch
  •  
    Savory Flavors

  • Bombay Market Crunch
  • Maryland Crab Feast Crunch
  • Movie Night Popcorn (butter and salt)
  • Smokey Cheddar Crunch
  • White Cheddar & Horseradish Crunch
  •  

    Bacon Bourbon Caramel Popcorn

    Great for gifting! Photo courtesy Crunch Daddy

     

    Whether for Halloween gifts, Thanksgiving party favors, stocking stuffers or 1-gallon tubs for family gifting, options include:

  • 1 quart poly bag (lustrous red or green), $7.69 (we finished ours in two days)
  • 1/2 gallon tub, $13.75
  • 1 gallon plastic tub, $29.05
  •  
    Not all flavors are available in all sizes; and bag colors vary.

    ITS THE CRUNCHIEST!

    The name does not mislead: This is the crunchiest popcorn we’ve had. Caramel corn can get soggy from the moisture in the caramel. We were so impressed: How do they keep those big, fluffy kernels so crunchy and crisp?

    All of the popcorn is popped in canola oil. Get yours at CrunchDaddy.com.

    And crunch happily through the season.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Beer Cocktails (Beertails)

    Pumpkin beer cocktails have sprouted at watering holes all over town. We’ve got two great recipes that use pumpkin beer or ale, plus tips on how to dress up a regular brew in seasonal flavors.

    Even people who aren’t beer lovers can enjoy a beertail. As long as you like pumpkin pie, you’ll like these.

    First up is a beertail from OhSweetJoy.com.

    RECIPE: PUMPKIN BEERTAIL (BEER COCKTAIL)

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 3 parts pumpkin beer or ale
  • 2 parts sparkling apple cider
  • 1 part hard apple cider
  • Garnish: cinnamon stick or pumpkin spice rim (recipe below)
     
    Preparation

    1. RIM the glass, if using the pumpkin spice rim (instructions below).

    2. ADD the ingredients to the glass, giving the beertail one gentle stir so as not to break the bubbles.

    3. GARNISH with a cinnamon stick (if not using the spice rim).

  •    

    pumpkin_beer_cocktail-ohsweetjoy-ps-230r

    Turn a bottle of pumpkin beer or ale into a fall “beertail.” Photo courtesy OhSweetJoy.com.

     
    RECIPE: PUMPKIN PUNCH

    This second recipe, from Herradura Tequila, combines vodka with pumpkin ale, canned pumpkin and orange juice. If you don’t like vodka, you can substitute apple brandy, spiced rum, even a split between plain rum and hazelnut liqueur, like Frangelico.

    This is a sweet cocktail, so test the recipe first. You can omit the agave if it’s too sweet for you.

    Why is this recipe called “punch?”

    Punch is a general term for a broad assortment of mixed drinks, made with or without alcohol. While punch generally contains fruit or fruit juice, fruit isn’t essential. Nor is an elegant punch bowl required. A pitcher is fine, and in many cases, it’s more practical.

    Punch was discovered in India by the British sailors of the East India Company. The concept was brought to England in the early 17th century, some 150 years before sparkling beverages were available to replace the water. From there punch spread to other countries.

    Carbonated water wasn’t available commercially until 1783. Then, J.J. Schweppe developed a process to manufacture carbonated mineral water, based on the the process discovered by Joseph Priestley in 1767.

    The word “punch” derives from the Hindi word, “panch.” In India, panch was made from five different ingredients: sugar, lemon, water, tea or spices and an alcoholic spirit. The word for “five” in Sanskrit is panchan; hence the name.

     

    pumpkin-punch-beer-vodka-herradura-230

    Can’t live without vodka? This recipe combines it with pumpkin beer. Photo courtesy Herradura Tequila.

     

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 ounces Herradura Reposado or substitute*
  • 2 ounces pumpkin ale
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 1 ounce canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 ounce agave
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters (or other bitters)
  • Ice
  • Optional garnish: star anise pod, orange peel or wheel
  •  
    Preparation

    1. FILL a cocktail shaker with ice cubes and all ingredients except the garnish. Shake and strain into a glass filled with ice cubes.

    2. GARNISH and serve.

    NOTE: We made multiple portions in a pitcher with pre-chilled ingredients. Instead of shaking, we whisked the ingredients in the pitcher. We then dropped an ice “hockey puck,” frozen in an empty soup can, into the pitcher. The larger the piece of ice, the slower it melts.

     

    TURN A REGULAR BEER INTO “PUMPKIN BEER” WITH A PUMPKIN SPICE RIM

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the sugar and spices in a saucer or low bowl. Moisten the rim of the glass with water.

    2. DIP the moistened rim into the spice mix and twist to coat.
     
    OTHER WAYS TO DRESS UP A PUMPKIN COCKTAIL

  • Top with a dash of pumpkin pie spice.
  • Garnish with an apple or pear slice.
  • Spice up with a cinnamon stick or star anise.
  • Skewer candy corn onto a cocktail pick.
  •  
    *Reposado tequila, aged up to a year, takes on a light yellow and more complex flavors than blanco, or silver, tequila. Given the number of flavorful ingredients in this drink, you can substitute blanco if that’s what you have on hand.

      

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