We love Halloween in my house—the sweet part of it, right? The little trick-or-treaters in their costumes, the homemade goodies for family and friends at harvest gatherings, the seasonal displays of pumpkins and gourds, squeals and laughter. But we don’t mind getting a little salty either, especially when it comes to snacking: just the right combination of salt and sugar is the magic incantation for those treats so good you just can’t stop eating.
But they should be at least a little healthy right? I mean, if you are going to eat a lot of a snack, it should have nutritional benefit, don’t you think? Okay, before you think I’ve taken all the fun out of Halloween, consider my newest creation: Sweet and Salty Roasted Chickpeas. A little bit corn nut, a little bit Payday candy bar in a protein-packed snack. TaDa!
And just in case you are not in the cooking mood–for an on-the-spot super delicious snack right out of the bag, I’m featuring Popcorn Indiana’s Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn and its classic Movie Theatre Butter variety straight from the New Hope Network Blogger Box. Really, we like to mix it all up, some chickpeas and some popcorn–remember Cracker Jack? Win, win!
Now, I have several recipes for roasted chickpeas, some from famous chefs, who season them with salt and cumin and hot pepper, etc. and then use them to top Italian salads and fill out antipasto trays or spark up Middle Eastern dishes. But a Delicious Living Magazine recipe from a few years back has always intrigued me because it isn’t really savory like all the rest; it’s sweet—Maple Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas. So I got to thinking how we all love the mix of salt and sugar in our snacks. What if I could combine these two versions somehow to come up with the perfect balance of salt and sweet? TaDa! TaDa!
In the end, inspired by about five different versions of roasted chickpeas, I came up with mine. Easy to make—yes, it is!—and so yummy. Give it a try and toss some in your little goblin’s pumpkin. Then read on for the review of Popcorn Indiana—a perfect addition to the party table—even if the party is just you and the TV.
- Two cups dry chickpeas, soaked overnight
- Cold filtered water to cover them by about an inch
- Olive oil
- Coarse sea salt
- Brown sugar
- You will need to prep your chickpeas ahead of actually roasting them. So think about your schedule and when you want to have them ready to serve. So to begin, cook the soaked chickpeas in the filtered water until tender (no salt in the water). Bring them to a boil first; then, turn down the heat to low and halfway cover with a lid. Let them cook low and slow for about 45 minutes to one hour. You want them fully tender but not mushy.
- Drain the chickpeas, divide in half and place them on two rimmed baking sheets that have been lined with clean dish towels and non-bleached paper towels for about three to four hours at room temperature. Your goal is to get the chickpeas to dry out as completely as possible, so don’t rush this step. Be sure they feel totally dry to the touch before you proceed.
- Once the chickpeas have dried out, carefully lift the towels with the chickpeas off the baking sheets and onto your counter so that you can proceed to line the rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and transfer the chickpeas (without the towels) back onto the now-parchment paper-lined baking sheets. You want them uncrowded with space between them so they roast and not steam.
- Place the chickpea filled baking sheets in a cold oven and set the temperature to 400 degrees. This little trick helps them dry out even further—thank you Delicious Living Magazine for this wise method. Let the temperature reach 400 degrees and then roast the chickpeas for about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, get all the other ingredients ready—the olive oil, salt, honey, brown sugar. There is no precise measurement for these; I just drizzled the oil and honey and sprinkled the salt and sugar. But be a bit on the generous side, since these flavors seemed to really mellow out, in my opinion.
- At 15 minutes, remove the two sheets of chickpeas from the oven but maintain the oven temperature. For one tray, drizzle olive oil over the chickpeas and toss them with a rubber spatula to make sure they are coated. Generously sprinkle with coarse sea salt. For the other tray, drizzle the chickpeas with a little bit of olive oil and more generously with honey. Again, toss to completely coat. Sprinkle with with brown sugar, to taste depending on your sweet tooth.
- Place the coated chickpeas back in the 400-degree oven for a final 15-minute bake.
- At the end of 15 minutes, turn the oven off, crack the door and allow the chickpeas to cool down in the oven, just as you would a cheesecake. This is their final chance to dry—again, thanks to DLM for this super handy tip.
Prep time here refers to cooking the chickpeas initially and then drying them out. The cook time refers to roasting and final drying time. Store the chickpeas in a container with a seal. I used a glass jar. But really, they didn’t last very long.
Snuggling Up with PBS and a Bag of Popcorn Indiana
Spring and Summer are outdoor times for us. We watch almost no TV, and going to the movies is a rarity. We usually attend free movies in the park during summer months and bring a picnic. But once the weather gets cold and damp and sunset happens about 5:30 p.m., Don and I spend the evenings snuggled on our futon upstairs with our cats. We love PBS, and have been members ever since our daughter was a baby. Young as we were back then, we realized how beneficial public television would be to our family. We’ve never had cable, there are only dishes in my kitchen and dining room, and, other than the occasionally main-stream movie, we exclusively watch PBS at home.
Masterpiece Theatre, American Masters, The New Hour, Frontline, NOVA, Nature and, of course, all those cooking shows—that’s what we are watching. Watching and…sometimes…nibbling, too. The cooking shows, in particular, make us hungry. Enter Popcorn Indiana—just rip open that bag and we are all set. Even the cats have batted around a stray piece or two that has fallen on the floor.
The samples of Popcorn Indiana Movie Theatre Butter flavor and their Kettle Corn have to be Don’s all-time favorite Blogger Box find so far. In fact, I don’t have a photo of the Kettle Corn because it disappeared, almost immediately. We’ve since replenished.
You probably know by now that I don’t purchase lots of pre-made food. But I really have faith in Popcorn Indiana—a short and simple list of ingredients—nonGMO selections and nothing that looks like it came from a chem lab. What they use is basically what I would use to make popcorn. So no worries and LOTS of amazing flavor. Strikingly absent from these two luscious varieties are what you typically find in processed foods: GMO soy and corn oil, high fructose corn syrup and tons of cheap sugar and salt. Nope, none of it. So when I told Don he could buy more at the grocery store, he almost couldn’t believe it. But he did run right out and buy a couple bags. After all, there is a chill in the air, the sun sets at 6 and we are ready to cuddle up with PBS…and some roasted chickpeas and Popcorn Indiana!
What are you snacking on this Fall? We’re listening….