Steve and I have fallen in love with the award winning sea salted caramel chocolates by Paul A Young. They are expensive but incredible to taste being both sweet and salty at the same time. Fortunately for me Paul's shop in the Royal Exchange is around the corner from my office and so I make regular lunch time trips to buy supplies for my afternoon chocolate break. The shop wouldn't be out of place in one of the Harry Potter books; it is tiny and is crammed with unusual truffles with a soup kettle of dark, smooth hot chocolate bubbling in the corner.
We can never decide between sweet or salty popcorn and so Paul's sea salted caramels inspired me to make salted caramel popcorn. I have yet to come across someone that hasn't come back for more once they have tasted them.
Serves 4 -6 (or 2 greedy ones)
- 1 tablespoon light tasting vegetable oil
- 120 grams unpopped popcorn maize
- 75 grams uncooked nuts (I use peanuts and cashews but I'm sure pecan nuts would be great too)
- 60 grams light brown muscovado sugar
- 60 grams light corn syrup
- 35 grams butter
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 130 degrees centigrade.
- Place the oil in a large pan and heat on a medium heat.
- When hot add the popcorn maize and place a lid on the pan.
- Shake the pan vigorously (with the lid still on) every few minutes to prevent the kernels from burning. after a few minutes you should hear the kernels popping.
- When the popping subsides, switch off the heat and wait a minute or two.
- Empty the popcorn into a large mixing bowl discarding any unpopped kernels.
- Add the nuts to the popcorn.
- Heat the sugar, corn syrup, butter, water and salt in a small pan on a medium heat. Stir well.
- Once melted, keep heating and stirring for another 3 to 4 minutes.
- Immediately pour the hot caramel over the popcorn and nuts.
- Use a spatula to gently fold the caramel into the popcorn and nuts as evenly as possible.
- Line a rimmed baking tray with parchment paper.
- Pour the popcorn and nuts onto the lined baking tray and spread them out.
- Place the tray in the oven and bake for 40 minutes stirring the popcorn after 20 minutes to stop them sticking together.
- After 40 minutes, remove from the oven. You can either serve the popcorn immediately or cool and then store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.