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Grandma Sharon's Special Popcorn

I remember my Grandma Sharon Schwengel's vanilla popcorn from the little May Day baskets she would leave at our front door step. She'd have freshly popped popcorn lightly sweetened with vanilla (and sometimes cinnamon!). It wasn't an overpowering flavor, but a subtle and delicious pop of flavor that made the popcorn so special. Grandma Sharon is seriously the best. You guys all need a grandma Sharon.

I love making this recipe - especially when we use our popcorn popper and make it as a family on movie night. I purchased some popcorn kernels from Curtis Apple Orchard and Pumpkin Patch this past weekend that made for delicious popcorn! One of my other favorite local popcorn comes from Brian Severson Farms. I used to buy their popcorn when they were vendors at Urbana's Market at the Square. I've also seen them when I visited Green City Market in Chicago. I also recently learned that my mom's favorite brand of popcorn, Black Jewell, is locally grown in Southern Illinois. I knew Illinois was poppin' (sorry...I had to!).

I've put an * by the items I can purchase at my Illinois farmers market.


  • 4 quarts popped corn*

  • 1/3 cup butter, melted

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • For cinnamon popcorn add 1 teaspoon cinnamon OR for vanilla popcorn add 1 teaspoon white vanilla


  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

  • Melt the butter.

  • To the melted butter add the sugar and salt. Then add the cinnamon if your making cinnamon popcorn. Or, if you're making vanilla popcorn, add the vanilla.

  • Pour over the popped corn and stir until well combined.

  • Bake for 10 minutes, stirring at the 5 minute mark.

  • Pour onto a cookie sheet until cooled.

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