Cayenne Pepper Will Take This Classic Movie Snack To A New Level

Cayenne spiced popcorn in bowl
Cayenne spiced popcorn in bowl - Ezume Images/Shutterstock

Popcorn has a neutral flavor that works well with various seasonings -- cheesy, salty, sweet, and even spicy tastes great. And with a simple dusting of cayenne pepper, you can transform your favorite movie snack. Spice is one of the many ways to make popcorn more interesting. Since both oil and butter help to soften the spicy factor, you can achieve a perfect balance of rich, buttery goodness and fiery heat from the cayenne on popcorn.

When adding cayenne pepper to your popcorn, spice levels can be adjusted according to preference. About a teaspoon of powdered cayenne for every half a cup of unpopped kernels is a good starting point, and you can kick it up a notch from there. This addition also works with a sweeter flavor profile, like kettle corn, as "swicy" foods are naturally craveable thanks to the complexity of those two sensations combined. Try it out by giving classic caramel corn a cayenne kick.

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A Closer Look At Cayenne

Cayenne pepper spilling from jar
Cayenne pepper spilling from jar - New Africa/Shutterstock

Cayenne pepper is a member of the nightshade family, and a relative of the bell pepper, jalapeño, serrano, and habanero. While its name comes from the region of French Guiana known as Cayenne, it has uses in many global cuisines, including Creole and Cajun, as well as Indian and Mexican foods. It's known for its pungent and subtly smoky flavor, powerful heat (clocking in around 30,000 - 50,000 Scoville units), and bright, burnt orange-red color.

The spice form is made from dried and ground fresh cayenne peppers, and can sometimes be confused with chili powder. The main differences between cayenne and chili powder include the fact that the former is pure, while the latter is often a blend of peppers and spices. When it comes to seasoning your popcorn, it helps to know the difference in case you want to further customize with complementary flavors.

More Ways To Customize Your Cayenne Popcorn

Spicy pepper-seasoned popcorn
Spicy pepper-seasoned popcorn - Sunvic/Shutterstock

Cayenne pairs well with many other spices including cinnamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, and paprika, and you can even come up with your own popcorn seasoning blend by combining your favorites. Add thyme, ground sage, or rosemary for herbaceousness, or even some citrus zest for brightness.

To sweeten things up, make your popcorn with honey or maple syrup, which balances out the pepper's heat. Cayenne pairs well with coffee and chocolate for creations like espresso or cocoa popcorn. And while butter is common for the classic movie theater preparation, other fats like coconut oil play well with cayenne, as well as olive, avocado, or a nut-based oil like pistachio.

A sprinkle of parmesan, or nutritional yeast, combined with your cayenne can make for a more savory snack. And while you're branching out, take opportunities to serve your popcorn beyond just on movie night. Spicy popcorn is perfect during an aperitivo hour paired with a cocktail like a complementary bitter Negroni.

Read the original article on Daily Meal