Caramel popcorn and spicy peanuts

5 Feb

Caramel popcorn and spicy peanutsI experienced my first Superbowl on Sunday just passed – San Fran vs Baltimore. We have been watching the HBO series The Wire, so I felt an affinity with the Baltimore team, and our buddies who came over were barracking for San Fran, which added to the excitement. Does something go a bit astray every year though? This year’s blackout seems to have had more attention than the game itself.

Anyway, it was a good excuse to cook some “Superbowl food” and have a couple of Sunday arvo drinks with friends. I took my opportunity to embrace some American style snacks so we had smoky yam fries and smashed potatoes with sour cream and sweet chilli; guacamole, chipotle salsa and corn chips and caramel popcorn with spicy peanuts.

I have to tell you – the caramel popcorn and spicy peanuts is worth the time and calories. In fact it nearly didn’t get to the game with all the testing (snacking) I did during the cooking of said snack. I even had to cover the bowl before our friends arrived because it is so more-ish that I couldn’t stop munching on it unless it was out of sight. Yikes!

It’s salty, it’s sweet, it’s spicy, it’s crunchy and it’s got some give. It’s addictive. I have no experience with cooking anything like this before, so I halved the recipe but otherwise pretty much kept to the directions and was happy with the results. Excellently, it can be prepared well in advance, if you can resist the temptation of it sitting on your bench. Here is it …


For the spicy peanuts:

1/8 cup light corn syrup

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

½ tsp salt

½ tsp chilli powder

½ tsp cayenne powder

1 ¼ cups roasted, unsalted peanuts

For the caramel corn:

1 tbsp oil

1/3 cup popcorn kernels

1 tbsp butter

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup light corn syrup

¼ tsp salt

1/8 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp vanilla extract


For the peanuts:

Preheat the oven to 180*C.

Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Combine corn syrup, sugar, salt, chilli powder and cayenne in a bowl.

Add the peanuts and toss to coat.

Spread peanut mixture evenly on tray and bake for 15 mins, stirring at 5 and 10 mins.

Remove from the oven and allow them to cool on the tray. Break into pieces and set aside.

For the caramel corn:

While the nuts are cooking, place 1 tablespoon oil in a medium sized heavy base saucepan and heat on medium. Add popcorn kernels and cover, occasionally and carefully releasing steam and shaking saucepan until rate of popping slows right down.

Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Separate popped kernels and discard any that did not pop.

This will yield about 6 cups of popcorn.

Once the peanuts are finished turn the oven back to 100*C

Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Combine peanuts and popcorn in a large bowl.

In a medium saucepan, combine butter, sugar, corn syrup and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 5 mins, stirring occasionally (the recipe actually says to heat to 238*F on a candy thermometer but I don’t have one. Simmering for 5 mins worked fine, but is probably not as accurate for creating a perfect caramel).

Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla until combined.

Pour hot caramel over popcorn and peanut mixture, stirring the peanut/popcorn mix as you go.

Toss until the caramel is evenly distributed.

Spread popcorn and peanuts evenly on baking tray and bake for 40 mins, stirring at 20 mins.

Remove from oven and allow to cool, then break into bite sized chunks.

Adapted from Serious Eats


2 Responses to “Caramel popcorn and spicy peanuts”

  1. Deb May 1, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

    Fantastic! We bought a popcorn maker recently and I’ve been trying so many different popcorn flavours but could never get the syrup and popcorn to mix without making it soggy. I’m going to try out this recipe on the weekend. Will let you know how I get on!

    • marcieblogs May 2, 2013 at 3:49 am #

      Awesome!! Yes let me know! But you may have to get Jules to hide it once it’s made because it is sooo addictive.

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