Spicy Caramel Popcorn Recipe (Yield: 4 quarts)

December 3rd, 2013 by Nina Macdonald

This recipe was covered in the Edible Gifts Class

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 2 cups salted nuts (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2- 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt or flaky sea salt
  1. Lightly coat two large, heatproof rubber spatulas and a large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Have two large baking sheets ready.
  2. In a large saucepan or pot with a lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the popcorn kernels, cover and keep the saucepan moving until all of the kernels have popped, about 5 minutes. You can also use an air popper.
  3. Transfer to the prepared bowl, removing any unpopped kernels. Toss with salted nuts.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the baking soda and cayenne pepper.
  5. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, salt and 1/2 cup water.
  6. Cook over high heat, without stirring, until the mixture becomes a light golden-yellow caramel, 10 to 14 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the baking-soda mixture (the mixture will bubble up).
  7. Immediately pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn. Work quickly and be careful not to get any caramel on your skin.
  8. Use the sprayed spatulas to toss the caramel and popcorn together until the popcorn is well coated.
  9. Spread the popcorn onto the baking sheets and quickly separate them into small pieces while still warm. Cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.

Once cool, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

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