The first time we ever made caramelised popcorn was in London. Teena is the planner in our partnership, so this left me throwing popping corn into liquid caramel. Let’s just say Teena was not too happy when corn and caramel splattered all over our studio apartment while we shielded ourselves behind the duvet. Luckily, by the time we took up our new jobs in New York, we’d had enough time to sleep on it and remedy our technical blunder.
Makes About 8 cups
The popcorn will keep in an airtight container for 2–3 weeks.
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Put the sugar and 100 ml (31⁄2 fl oz) of water in a deep heavy-based saucepan — a low, wide saucepan is better than one that is narrow and high. Bring to the boil and cook to 121oC (250oF) on a sugar thermometer.
Using a 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cup) jug, measure out exactly 8 cups of popcorn, adding it to the pan. Stir until the popcorn is coated and the sugar crystallises on the outside of the corn. Keep mixing it over the heat so the popcorn slowly begins to caramelise into an even golden colour; this will probably take about 10–15 minutes. You need to keep the popcorn moving at this stage as it can catch on the bottom of the pan and burn easily.
Remove from the heat and add the butter. Turn out onto greased trays and allow to cool.
Popping with flavour
We like to work in little flavour additions, normally after we’ve poured the popcorn onto the tray or bench to cool. (If you add the additions straight away, they will stick to the still-moist caramel.)
Try roasted nuts, peanut butter, chocolate chunks...