Friday, March 6, 2015

Salted Caramel Popcorn


I've never been much of a caramel corn fan although I will admit it reminds me of happy days spent at the circus as a child as does cotton candy. That said, I love salted caramel anything and the flavors really work beautifully with popcorn, one of my all-time favorite snacks. There's never a day when we don't have a jar of popcorn in this house and I prefer to make it the old fashioned way, on the stove top… Microwave popcorn just doesn't appeal and I don't like microwaves, so I don't even own one. 

This recipe is pretty simple to make and you can keep it in a sealed container for about a week to nosh on while watching TV or pack as a special treat in the kids' lunches. I love this as a party food, but it's also a great snack to pack into cute little treat bags for party favors. However you decide to serve it, this salted caramel popcorn is delicious. Enjoy!


Ingredients
3 tablespoons of sunflower oil
100g popcorn kernels 
200g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter
2 teaspoons sea salt flakes plus more for sprinkling
100ml water

Method
1. In a large stock pop with a lid, heat the oil on high and add the popcorn kernels. Pop the lid on immediately, just in case.

2. When the popcorn starts to pop, shake the pan to keep it from burning until it's all popped.

3. Take off the heat and pour into 1 or 2 large bowls to cool. Try to sift out any unpopped kernels and discard.

4. While the popcorn cools, start making the caramel by heating the sugar and water on medium-high heat in a regular sized saucepan. Let the sugar dissolve and boil until it's a light caramel color (be patient - this may take 10 minutes or so). DO NOT stir this at all, however if you feel like you need to, you can lightly swirl the pan. Stirring may cause the sugar to crystalize. 

5. While the caramel is boiling down, transfer the popcorn back to the large pan you cooked it in which should be cooled by this point. Set aside.

6. When the sugar & water combine completely and turn a light caramel color, stir in the butter and the 2 teaspoons of sea salt flakes being careful not to burn the mixture. If it starts to look like it's separating or burning, continue stirring vigorously and moving off the heat - return to the heat as needed. Keep stirring until it starts to look like a thick & creamy caramel sauce. 

7. Pour the caramel over the popcorn and stir very quickly with a wooden spoon to coat as much of the popcorn as possible and turn out immediately in a thin layer onto a baking sheet to cool and set. Sprinkle immediately with a bit of sea salt to taste.

8. When the popcorn has set and is ready to serve, you may need to break it up a bit before serving. Gently crumble it into a bowl and enjoy!

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