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Originally published Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 5:30 AM

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Recipe: Stovetop Popcorn Many Ways

Popcorn is perfect for an Oscar party. But will your guests go for the sweet stuff? What about some barbecue spices? Dress up your party snack this year.

Topping ideas

Dry popcorn toppings

• Truffle salt

• 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

• Barbecue rub

• Maple sugar and crispy bits of smoked bacon

• Mini marshmallows, chocolate chips and chopped salted peanuts

• Mini M&M’s, chopped roasted almonds and dried coconut

• Ragin’ Cajun Spice mixture

• Lemon-pepper salt

• Italian spice blend and finely grated Parmesan cheese

Wet popcorn toppings

Be certain to spread the popcorn flat on a baking sheet before adding wet toppings, then let it set before serving.

• Melted chocolate

• Melted chocolate and peanut butter

• Melted caramels and a pinch of salt

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Servings: ½ cup corn kernels will produce about 12 cups popcorn

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil (depending on the size of the pot)

1/3 to ½ cup popcorn kernels (depending on the size of the pot)

Fine-grain sea salt or other seasoned toppings

1. Heat an empty cast-iron Dutch oven over low heat for 2 minutes.

2. Add enough olive oil to the pot to thinly coat the entire bottom. Add a single layer of popcorn kernels. You want them to be touching but not more than one layer thick. Increase the heat to medium and place the lid on the pot. Wait until popping begins, then turn the heat down slightly.

3. Shake the pot every 30 seconds or so. Start shaking a bit more when the popping starts to subside. When the kernels stop popping in unison and you only hear one pop every couple of seconds, it is done.

4. Pour the popcorn into a large bowl. Season generously with the suggested toppings, or another one of your favorites. Toss the popcorn in the bowl and sprinkle with additional seasoning several times to make sure you have an even coating. Serve immediately or let cool.

Elizabeth Karmel,

The Associated Press

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