Take a look behind the scenes…
Ingredients are brought into the Popcorn Asylum kitchen raw and unbroken. Popcorn is produced either in an air popper or an oil popper, depending on the destination. Sugars, butter, beer, vanilla, cocoa, seasoning and nuts are combined with heat, time and friction to create the unique candies. The candy is poured over the air popped popcorn, nuts or both and hardened with yet more heat, time and friction. Whole fruit, dressed with honey and lemon, is dried and shredded to offer a tart, fresh bite to the richer candies. Whole chili peppers, treated with lime, are dried and pulverized to add spice and flavor to the oil popped cheese popcorn. Challah begins the morning as eggs, yeast, sugar, oil and flour and ends as a six strand braid, dressed with egg wash and poppy seeds.
The kitchen of Popcorn Asylum has more in common with a laboratory than an assembly line. All of the candy, popcorn and nut recipes came from inside the kitchen and the minds of its creators. (The bread came courtesy of Irene Zion, who is still far better than her sons at making it.) Recipes are developed when the Zion brothers, Justin and their friends spitball ideas, and then test them. Generally this comes in the form of a heretofore unused ingredient. (“What the hell is birch syrup? I wonder if that would make good popcorn…”) If it works to any degree, they tweak and perfect and prepare the product for general consumption. If it fails they enter a dark mood for about half an hour, while they clean the ill fated product off their equipment. Cleaning always seems to take longer when the recipe fails. Suggestions are always welcome. You may be surprised how many good ideas you have.