NZ Forest Native Birds

Caramel Popcorn

The popcorn on sale in cinemas is not only expensive; it’s horrible. Perhaps they put so much salt in it to make the cinema patrons thirsty, thus forcing them to buy soft drinks that are also overpriced. When I was a kid popcorn was always covered in caramel, and I still prefer it this way. It costs only a few cents to make and it’s much nicer than the bought stuff. I adapted the following recipe from an Australian one that used brown sugar and no treacle. Brown sugar is more expensive than granulated white, and I figured replacing some of the golden syrup with treacle would make up for the loss of its caramel-type flavour.

8-9 cups of popped corn
    (½ cup of popping corn should give this amount)
½ cup sugar
3 TB golden syrup
    (I think the nearest US equivalent is corn syrup)
1 TB treacle
1 tsp vinegar
30 g (about 2 oz) butter

If you don’t have a corn popper you can pop the corn in your microwave. I use a large oval glass casserole and put the lid on slightly crooked to allow steam to escape. Consult your microwave’s user manual for instructions on how to pop corn in your own microwave.)

Place the popped corn in a very large bowl. In a 2-litre ovenproof glass jug, microwave sugar, treacle, syrup and vinegar 5 minutes on high*. Add butter, stir until melted and cook another 2 minutes or until a thread of syrup dropped into cold water snaps. Pour the mixture over the popped corn and stir in quickly and thoroughly with a long-handled metal spoon (so you don’t burn yourself on the hot caramel). At first it will seem that there’s not enough caramel, but most of it has found its way to the bottom of the bowl and just needs to be dug out. Once the corn is as evenly covered as possible, spread it onto a buttered tray. When cold, break into pieces. Store in an airtight container—that is, if your family doesn’t eat it all in one sitting!

*Times are for a 650-watt microwave.

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