It turns out I go a bit crazy in the kitchen when I’m anxious. In the last 2 weeks I’ve made cupcakes, apple cake, mont blanc, 3 batches of cookies and 2 batches of caramel popcorn. I guess cooking is a nice way to relax and it’s something you have control over when life sometimes feel a bit out of your control. The cause of my anxiety has undoubtedly been the move, but also the boys started at their new school today…always a bit nerve wracking.
It went well (sigh of relief). So to celebrate and torment you, I shall share my wisdom on caramel popcorn. I don’t even know why I had to make it, but I just did. I have looked around recipes and I have made some mistakes. Here’s what I’ve learnt.
– mixing the sugar types (crystals and in syrup form) prevents crystalisation
– I’ve heard not stirring the caramel also guards against this
– to make the popcorn crunchy and NOT chewy, you bake it for a little while
– it’s really hard to get a good coating, so I’ll give you ratios for greedy guts’ like me who like a well coated kernel.
– I’m not too sure what makes it stay glossy….I’ll have to let you know when I figure that one out.
Salted Caramel Popcorn Recipe
About 3 cups of popped corn (air or oil popped, but unsalted)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 tbs golden syrup (or maple syrup or corn syrup)
55-60g butter (half a stick)
1/2 tsp salt (but you can put as much or little as you like)
heaped 1/4 tsp bi-carb soda
Oven at 160C
Have the pop corn spread out, in one layer in a baking tray.
In a medium sized pot, melt all the ingredients together except the bi-carb soda. Ok to stir at first, but once it’s combined, stop stirring.
Bring to a boil and bubble on a medium-low heat for about 4 minutes. Swirl the pot to keep it mixing.
Take off heat and stir in the bi-carb soda. Stir until it goes creamy looking, about a 30 seconds.
Pour the caramel over the popcorn and mix it all around to coat it as well as possible.
This bit’s tricky, it all goes flying, so do your best. Use a couple of wooden spoons at first, because it’s a bit hot. The caramel cools quickly though, so you have to work fast and eventually you can use your hands to mix even more.
Pop it in the oven for a few minutes at a time. Stir and pop back in. I wouldn’t give it any more than about ten minutes in the oven, or it will go too crunchy and might dry it out too much.
This recipe is pretty easy unfortunately, so if you don’t get it the way you like it the first time you know the saying, ‘If at first you don’t succeed try and try again.‘
(Do I need to point out that nuts would go really nicely with this?)