The recipe for this popcorn comes from the Smitten Kitchen Blog and oh boy is it tasty. A little salty, a little sweet and very addicting. I made this popcorn with roasted peanuts (which I toasted in the popping corn pan just to bring out the oils and flavor), but I imagine macadamia nuts or cashews would be equally good. A pinch of cayenne pepper or herbs (perhaps rosemary) can be mixed with the baking soda for something different. The caramel for this popcorn is pretty much fullproof and easy to make, as long as everything is well greased with oil and ready to go once the caramel is made.
Makes approximately 2 quarts
1 1/2 tablespoons canola vegetable oil, plus more for coating
heavy 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
1 cup roasted salted nuts (peanuts, macadamia nuts, cashews)
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon baking soda
Generously grease a large mixing bowl, two heat proof spatulas and a large baking sheet with canola or vegetable oil. Set aside.
In a medium/large pot with a lid heat the 2 tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil over medium/high heat. Add the popcorn kernels, cover and using hot pad holders keep the saucepan moving and the lid on the pot until all of the popcorn has popped, about 5 minutes. Transfer the popcorn to the prepared bowl and toss together with the nuts.
To make the caramel sauce, combine the water, sugar, butter and salt in a medium heavy-bottom saucepan over low heat, without stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil without a lid. Do not stir the caramel. The sauce should continue to boil until it turns light golden brown; then turn off the heat. Careful the caramel will go from golden to burnt in a matter of seconds. Carefully whisk in the baking soda. Immediately pour the caramel over the popcorn. Working quickly, use the spatulas to toss the popcorn and the caramel together.
Spread the popcorn onto the baking sheet and quickly separate the popcorn pieces while it is still warm. Cool to room temperature. Store the popcorn in a glass jar or metal tin for up to two weeks.