Let me tell you about a love of mine. A love that has stayed with me through thick and thin. A love which nourishes and inspires me. A love that I always return to…Popcorn!
I have waxed lyric to you guys before about the popcorn affair but I felt like you needed a little more. To truly understand my love of popcorn we have to dig a little deeper. When I was young and going to the movies, the highlight was always the popcorn, rubbish movie? Who cares! There is a giant cardboard bucket of popcorn in my lap.
As our love grew and changed, we adapted together. My tastes grew a little more sophisticated and the popcorn never failed to keep up. My enduring passion is popcorn smothered with melted butter and fine English Maldon sea salt. The popcorn, in my eyes, should be heavy with butter and not light on the salt either (cue my impending heart attack/cholesterol increase). A couple of years ago, me and ole’ popcorn were getting a bit bored and disenchanted and decided it was time for a new phase in our relationship. Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to, the one, the only, the great, the mighty; salted caramel and peanut popcorn!
I found this recipe on one of my favourite blogs a couple of years ago (Orangette) and have used it multiple times since. My Ozzy bestie and I used to run a confectionery company together and this was a firm favourite. The bestie still talks about it and I finally got round to giving her the recipe the other day and thought it was about time I shared it with the world.
This recipe is not difficult but it requires patience, as you have to watch it cook for an hour after you’ve prepared it and the hard part is trying not to eat it. Trust me, it’s hard and I never succeed. But, I did wait long enough to take some photo’s and even put some in a tupperware container in a bid to lock it away from my roaming hands. See, I told you we were in love!
This is the kind of food that makes the day just a little bit brighter, the kind of popcorn that you want to tell your friends about but you don’t want to share it because it’s too damn good. There is a really mean, non food sharing part of my soul that is considering running home immediately and hiding the popcorn from my hungry housemate. But as with all great love, it is important to share.. So, here I am sharing it with you. Enjoy!
Caramel Corn with Salted Peanuts
Adapted from DamGoodSweet, by David Guas and Raquel Pelzel and Orangette blog
A few notes to help you along:
– Be sure to have a whisk and a rubber spatula close at hand. You’ll need them both on short notice.
– Before you begin cooking the caramel, measure out the baking soda and the vanilla, and chop the peanuts. You won’t have time to do it later.
– Do not try to make this recipe without a candy thermometer.
– If you plan to give this popcorn as a gift, know that it looks very handsome, and keeps nicely, in a jar.
10 cups fresh popcorn popped by any method, lightly salted
1 cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup light corn (glucose) syrup
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup lightly salted peanuts, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
If using microwave popcorn, pop the popcorn according to the package instructions. Coat a large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray, and dump the popcorn into the bowl, taking care to pick out and discard any unpopped kernels.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt, and 2 tablespoons of water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Continue to simmer, whisking often, until the mixture reads 250°F on a candy thermometer, about 3 to 4 minutes. Immediately remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in the baking soda and vanilla. Quickly pour the hot caramel over the popcorn. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the caramel into the popcorn, taking care to distribute it as evenly as you can. Stir in the peanuts, and transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, stirring and turning the popcorn with a spatula every 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, and place on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Gently break up the popcorn, and serve.
Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days (or thereabouts).