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By Brooke Sassman

Planning a viewing party for Sunday's 86th annual Academy Awards? Elaine Griffin from Better Homes and Gardens shares popping snack recipes for Hollywood's biggest night. 

Traditional popcorn
Elaine Griffin
Makes 10 servings

  • 3-4 qt. saucepan
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels

In a heavy 3 to 4 quart saucepan, combine about 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and about 1/2 cup popcorn kernels. Shake pan so all kernels are coated with oil. 

Tip: Use an oil that can withstand high temperatures without smoking or breaking down, such as canola oil, peanut oil or an oil specifically designed for popcorn popping. Do not use olive oil or butter.

Cover the pan and cook over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally and partially lifting the lid to let steam escape. When the popping slows, remove the pan from the heat and transfer the popcorn to a serving bowl. If desired, toss with 1 to 3 tablespoons melted butter and salt to taste.   

Caramel popcorn 
Elaine Griffin
Makes 18 servings

  • 14 cups popped popcorn
  • 2 cups whole almonds and/or roasted, salted cashews (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup light-colored corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Remove all un-popped kernels from popped popcorn. Put popcorn and, if desired, nuts into a 17x12x2 -inch roasting pan. Keep popcorn warm in the oven while making the caramel mixture.

Butter a large piece of foil and set aside. For caramel, in a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils. Continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, without stirring, for 5 minutes more.

Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in baking soda and vanilla. Pour caramel over popcorn. Stir gently to coat. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir mixture and bake for 5 minutes more. Spread caramel corn on prepared foil and cool. Place caramel corn in gift container. Cover with plastic wrap.

Sweet and spicy popcorn 
Elaine Griffin
Makes 6 servings

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 6 cups popped popcorn (using no oil)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp water
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger 

Spray a cold 13x9x2 -inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place popcorn in the baking pan. 

In a small mixing bowl stir together sugar, water, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Add spice mixture to popcorn in baking pan. Toss popcorn until coated. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Transfer popcorn from baking pan to a large piece of foil. Cool popcorn completely. If desired, store in a tightly covered container up to 3 days. 

Americano hustle

  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Cinzano Rosso Vermouth
  • Club soda

Pour the Campari and vermouth into a rocks or highball glass filled with ice. Add a splash of club soda and garnish with an orange twist.

Star-struck sparkler

  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 750 ml bottle of sparkling wine 
  • Lemon

Set a fine-mesh sieve over a small bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan, boil ginger, sugar and 1/4 cup water until it becomes a syrup, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour through sieve and into a bowl, discarding solids.

Pour about a tablespoon of syrup into each champagne glass. Add a squeeze of lemon wedge, top with sparkling wine and stir.