I have two group of friends who are divided into savory popcorn group and sweet popcorn group. The savory popcorn lovers are more sophisticated bunch. The bookies and the nerdies, who enjoys salted and peppery corn, or cheese corns or even corns with salted nuts. The sweet popcorn lovers are young spirited and more fun. I am neither young spirited nor fun, but I am a firm believer that popcorn should be richly coated with burnt sugar. The last fact is due to my amateurish attempt of over-cooking my caramel by a couple of minutes, every time.
I popped some corn, roasted some nuts, and coated everything with caramel. It is good. I tried to be generous with sprinkles of salt, but the caramel takes over everything. I am not complaining.
Ingredients are popcorns, almonds, cashews and sesame seeds.
Ingredients for caramel are butter, water and sugar.
Toast nuts in a preheated oven at 175 degree celsius, about 8-10 minutes, stirring twice throughout the toasting period. Turn off the oven the nuts are toasted. Put sesame seeds into still warm oven for 5 minutes and they will be perfectly done. I always, always burnt my sesame seeds as well, but since I do this trick with the off oven, they turn out nice every time.
Coarsely chopped the nuts.
Brush moulds with some oil before starting with the corns.
Cover bottom of heavy pan with cooking oil. Add corn and swirl the corn around to get them evenly coated with oil. Turn on the heat to a medium and cover the pan. The popcorn started popping after 3 minutes. Shaking the pan continuously and remove from heat when the popping happening between longer interval of time. Keep the lid on the pan and set aside.
In another heavy pan, combine all ingredients for caramel, sugar, water and butter.
Turn on heat to a medium high and start cooking the mixture, bring it to a boil. Stirring continuously.
When the sugar starts to turn slightly brown, turn off the heat. The whole thing should take about 3 minutes. I took it a bit further, up to six minutes because I had to take pictures between cooking stages that I lost track of time.
Toss in popped corns.
Start stirring, get the caramel to evenly coat all the corns and nuts. Sprinkle some salt on the whole thing.
Quickly spoon the caramel corn into the mould and try to press as hard as you can. I want it to be a solid cone shaped treats, I don’t mind the broken corns. Slip butter knife along the edges and flip the corn out on a plate. Serve with other goodies.
Caramel Popcorn and Mixed Nuts
45 g vegetable oil
100 g popcorn
10 g butter
45 g water
180 g sugar
50 g cashews, toasted and coarsely chopped
50 g almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
5 g sesame seeds, toasted
1 tsp salt
Cover bottom of heavy pot with oil. Add corn. Cook over medium high heat for 6 minutes, shaking frequently to get evenly popped kernels. Cook until all kernels have popped and turn off heat. Keep lid on and set aside.
Combine butter, water and sugar in another pot and bring to a boil. Stir continuously to avoid burning. Cook the mixture for 4 minutes, till it starts caramelizing.
Turn off heat. Add popcorns and nuts. Stir quickly to get them evenly coated with caramel.
Sprinkle with salt.
Spoon into greased moulds immediately, if using. Serve warm.