After recently attempting Laura Amos’ Salted Caramel and Chocolate Tart from her Dessert Deli, and giving the caramel at least three goes, I was more confident to try this on my own. So when we decided on a relaxed ‘cinema afternoon’, with the big cushions pulled off the sofa onto the floor, the shutters closed and the Lego Movie on the box, it seemed the perfect opportunity to try out a quick caramel to top our popcorn.
I’d highly recommend buying the corn kernels to pop yourself. They’re so cheap and easy…and fun, especially if you have a glass lidded pan so you can see them popping. Take care to put less than you think in – a layer over the bottom of the pan will be fine - turn the heat up and keep shaking so they don’t burn on the bottom. As soon as they begin to burst, turn the pan lower and keep shaking that pan til popping slows.
As for the caramel. you could make a simple sugar syrup…stop after the sugar has melted, or continue to make a richer caramel sauce. Pour a layer of caster sugar over the bottom of a saucepan and keep the heat on medium. Try not to stir the sugar, simply wait for it to melt and turn a golden orangey colour. If you end up with a lump of unmelted sugar, gently swirl the pan. Once all the sugar has dissolved, take the pan off the heat and quickly stir in a lump of salted butter – this will cause the mixture to bubble, but don’t worry and keep stirring. You can also stop at this stage or add a splash or two of cream. Again, keep stirring. If you get a few lumps, return to a low heat and stir, stir, stir. The more cream you add, the runnier the finished caramel. Once finished, add the popcorn into the pan and coat each piece thoroughly using a spoon.
Don’t forget to have some wipes handy for those sticky fingers afterwards!