Recipes: Snacks

Perfect Popcorn

Every year we gather for a movie night based on a book we’ve read. This year we are watching the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock film, Rebecca, adapted from the book of the same name by Daphne du Maurier. So what’s the perfect snack for movie night? Popcorn, of course! Our member Lisa creates the best popcorn. She even teaches students how to make it—which I guess makes her the professor of popcorn!

Yields 9 - 12 cups, 1 serving of popcorn is 3 cups

½ cup popcorn kernels
½ teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

Add the popcorn, salt, and oil to a 4 quart or larger pan. Cover with a not-too-tight lid so steam can escape.

Place the pan over a medium heat. When the corn begins to pop, move the pan back and forth. You can hold the pot with both hands using a pot holder. Continue shaking the pan until the popcorn almost stops popping. 

Turn off the heat and carefully stir in any salt that has accumulated on the side.

Eat as is or top with one of these favorite toppings.

Bombay Bhel Popcorn

9 - 12 cups popped popcorn
3 Tablespoons butter
1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
2 pinches cayenne pepper
½ teaspoons onion powder
¼ cup minced cilantro
Juice of ½ a lime or lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
Zest of half a lemon or lime

Place popcorn in a large bowl. Melt butter in a saucepan over a low flame. Drizzle over warm popcorn. Sprinkle remaining ingredients over popcorn; toss to mix.

Cajun Popcorn

9 - 12 cups popped popcorn
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 t lemon zest

Place popcorn in a large bowl. Melt butter in the microwave on low for 20 seconds or in a saucepan over a low flame. Drizzle over warm popcorn. Combine remaining seasonings and sprinkle over popcorn; toss to mix.

Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn

9 - 12 cups popped popcorn
¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Toss mixture of sugar and cinnamon into popcorn.

Chocolate Sandwiches

Mmm, a sandwich that melts in our mouth; not in your hands. Jen, our official book club chocolate connoisseur, shares this recipe so we can enjoy it at home too.

Country French bread or baguette

Olive Oil

Sea salt

Nestle chocolate chunks


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut a loaf of good Country French bread or a French baguette into thin slices. Place slices of bread on baking pan covered with parchment.
  3. Brush a thin layer of olive oil on one side of each piece bread. Using a good sea salt, lightly salt each oiled side of bread.
  4. Divide slices in to two even groups: 1/2 of slices placed olive oil side down; 1/2 of slices place olive oil side up.
  5. Cover top of olive oil side down bread with Nestle chocolate chunks.
  6. Place all bread pieces in oven for 2-3 minutes until chocolate is melted. Place each piece of bread with "just oil" on top of the chocolate covered bread.
  7. Let cool slightly and enjoy.

Can also be made with chocolate layered on top of thin layer of Brie cheese.

Pairing Suggestion:

Book club members battle over who gets the last slice of Chocolate Sandwiches while discussing spirited slices of life in The Emperors of Chocolate by Joel Glenn Brenner, Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik, and Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen.

Caramel Chex Mix

An easy and delicious snack that Julie likes to bring to the Spa Retreats to munch on during the relaxing evening of gossip and games. So addictive, that Amy is still working on the 12-step program to rid her caramel obsession.

2 1/3 cups Rice Chex cereal
2 1/3 cups Wheat Chex cereal
2 1/3 cups Corn Chex cereal
1 cup pecans (optional; for my nut-allergic children, I replace with pretzels)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter

Dump all the cereal and nuts in a large roasting pan.

Melt butter in brown sugar in a saucepan. Boil for about two minutes.

Pour the syrup over the cereal and bake at 350° for about 10 minutes; stirring every two minutes to evenly coat the caramel.

To ease in clean up, remove from the pan when still warm. Spread on top of wax paper until it cools completely; then store in an airtight container...maybe even with a lock and key if you are saving it for a party.

Servings: never enough; I usually double the recipe when I'm bringing it for a retreat.


Pairings Suggestions:

Addictive, unassuming, and a crowd pleaser make this crunchy snack a great addition to a lighthearted discussion with A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff, Roommates Wanted by Lisa Jewell, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert