Monday, 26 July 2010

Caramel Honeycomb Popcorn


If you asked me why I decided to make caramel popcorn this week I'd give you my honest answer - I have no idea!  I don't know what on earth possessed me to make this sticky sweet snack, but it was a nice change instead of the cakes and cookies I usually make.  I think the idea may have stemmed from a recent trip to the movies (aka the cinema here in the UK) where I indulged in a bit of popcorn, BUT the popcorn they serve in the UK is not like the popcorn the serve in North American movie theatres.  Why you ask?  Well, for starters they don't have buttery popcorn here!  The first time I went to a movie theatre and ordered popcorn the girl behind the counter asked me what flavour I'd like.  "Just buttery please", I said.  Then came the strange look and her reply - "Huh? We don't have buttery popcorn. You must be American."  It turns out that here in the UK they sell 2 kinds of popcorn - sweet or salty.  The salty popcorn has a fine mist of salt on it, and I guess the closet thing that would come close to the sweet popcorn is American kettle corn.  As time's gone by I've learned to enjoy both flavors, but my favorite way to eat popcorn at movies here is to mix both the sweet and salty together.  It's really quite nice!  The other major difference about popcorn here in the UK is that generally popcorn isn't eaten at home as much as it is in North America.  One of the first things that was added to our UK wedding registry was a hot air popcorn maker - not the most common appliance in a UK kitchen.  Back home in Canada I was quite the popcorn connoisseur, and was always in charge of whipping up a batch when a group of friends got together to watch a movie. Making good buttery popcorn was one of the few kitchen skills I learned from my father.  My mom the Home-Ec teacher gets credit for the rest.  Over the years I've tried quite a few flavor combinations, but I've never made my own caramel popcorn - until now.  Caramel popcorn is just one of those things that's nice to snack on every once in a while, plus it's great to share with friends at get togethers like summer BBQ's.  And, I have to admit - it looks quite impressive if you package it up in a cellophane bag with a bow and give it away as a gift at Christmas time. At the last minute, I decided to add a little something extra to my caramel popcorn and threw in some Crunchy Bar pieces.  You know, just cuz. 


To make your own caramel popcorn you'll need some of that dreaded, yet infamous American ingredient - Corn Syrup.  Since moving to the UK I've come across countless recipes that I'd love to try, but they all called for corn syrup - something that is very hard to find in the UK.  Luckily about a year ago I discovered that clear corn syrup was available at the Kensington location of Whole Foods in London, so now I've always got a bottle at home in my cupboard.  UK'ers - if your looking for corn syrup give some of these places a try.  You could also try using Lyles Golden Syrup, but I can't guarantee that it would turn out, or if the flavor would be the same.



Caramel Honeycomb Popcorn

1/4 cup (60g) butter
1 cups (200g) brown (muscovado) sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 cups (75g) popped popcorn
2 Crunchy Bars chopped

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (95 degrees C). Place the popped popcorn in a very large bowl.
2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.
3. Place popcorn in a pre-greased large shallow baking pan (such as a turkey roaster) and bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour.
4. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle the Crunchy bar pieces over the warm popcorn so that the chocolate melts and sticks to the popcorn.  Cool completely before breaking into pieces and serving.

4 comments:

Chas said...

That looks amazing!

http://fromdenimtodessert.blogspot.com/

Moogie said...

I just happened upon your blog. I'm a new follower because I absolutely love your great recipes and photos.

Tracy said...

Great looking recipe. I'm just curious as to what the North American equivalent to a "Crunchie" bar would be - Butterfinger?

kissthecook said...

The Crunchie bar is made by Cadbury and the "crunchy" part of it is actually "sponge toffee". The stuff inside a Butterfinger bar, although crunchy', is definitely not the same. Sponge toffee (aka Yellowman, honeycomb toffee and cinder toffee, among others. There are several recipes on the web for it and I am currently getting ready to pick one and then adapt it so that I can coat popcorn with it. (Apparently, when prepared correctly, the hot mixture is quite thick, so pouring it directly onto the popcorn probably won't work very well. If anyone has any ideas I would love to hear them!)

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