When I get popcorn at the Farmer’s market, I always have trouble deciding between the kettle corn and the caramel corn. This Popcorn Caramel candy marries both of those flavors with a sweet caramel base and a crunchy and salty popcorn topping. A lot of good notes are hit with this recipe – crunchy, chewy, smooth, sweet and salty.
Since I’m the only one in the house who likes popcorn or caramel (no sharing!), I made half batch of my favorite basic caramel. Since I’ve been wanting to try making cold-steeped flavored cream, I also soaked popcorn in the cream used in this recipe. To do this, I chopped up about a cup of popcorn and poured the cream from the recipe plus a little extra over the top. I let this sit at room temperature for 4 hours before my patience ran out. I’m not sure how much flavor it really imparts to the caramel, but the drained cream smelled and tasted like popcorn!
After pouring the cooked caramel mixture into the prepared pan, I sprinkled more popcorn on top and pressed it very gently (and carefully so as not to burn myself) into the surface of the caramel and then sprinkled the whole thing with a pinch of kosher salt.
The finished Popcorn Caramel is pretty addictive, so it is a good thing I made a small batch. I suspect that the popcorn might loose some of it’s crunch after a few days, but I don’t think it will last that long!
- 1¼ cup (295.5 ml) heavy cream (plus extra as needed)
- 2¼ cup (30g) freshly popped salted popcorn or kettle corn, divided
- 1 cup granulated sugar (198g)
- ½ cup corn syrup (156g)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter (56.5g
- ¾ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- kosher salt for sprinkling
- Chop 1 cup of the popcorn and place it in a small bowl. Pour the cream over the popcorn and cover the bowl. Let soak for 4 hours.
- Lightly oil a 9"x5" loaf pan and line with parchment or foil. Lightly oil the parchment. Set the pan aside.
- Drain the popcorn from the cream and measure out 1 cup of the flavored cream into a 2 qt. saucepan. If you have less than 1 cup, add some additional plain cream. Add the sugar, corn syrup and butter to the cream.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly. Continue stirring while cooking the mixture until it starts to turn a light yellow color. Attach a candy thermometer and continue cooking the mixture, stirring constantly, until it reaches 248F/120C. This will take about 10 minutes, depending on your stove and the temperature of your ingredients.
- Immediately remove the pan from the heat, stir in the salt and vanilla, and pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Tap the pan gently to level the caramel and pop any bubbles.
- Quickly sprinkle the top of the caramel with the remaining popcorn. Press the popcorn down very gently to stick to the top of the caramel, being very careful not to touch the hot caramel with your hands. Sprinkle the top of popcorn-coated caramel with a pinch of kosher salt.
- Let sit at room temperature until the caramel is completely cool and solid. This will probably take 4-8 hours. Cut into small squares.
- The candy is best served within 24 hours of making it as the popcorn will lose some crunch over time. Store at room temperature, preferably individually wrapped in wax paper and stored in an air-tight container.