Spicy Caramel Coconut Popcorn

The Super Bowl is coming up soon right?  Next week is it?  Oh, not next week, so sorry I missed it….Oh!  It’s today!  That’s interesting.

I only realized the Super Bowl was this weekend yesterday.  My mom had thought it was last weekend.  Yeah, you guessed it, I’m not a big football fan, nor am I a big sports fan in general. My male family members are another story.  They watch all sports, from basketball to football to baseball…For the life of me I cannot understand the fixation with something I find so remarkably dull.  The only reason I remotely enjoy Super Bowl Sunday is for the half time show and the commercials, and those aren’t even that great.

Oh, and because it gives me some sort of reason for making this caramel corn.  It’s quite good, though I’m now feeling a bit sick from all the sugary food this week.  Toby’s cake lasted quite awhile, then we went out to dinner last night for my birthday and had creme brûlée.

Of course, not only did we have creme brûlée, we had some divine food.  I had the spinach linguine with scallops, rutabaga, savoy cabbage, cider vinegar cream sauce, and bacon.  Yeah, it was splendid.  As was the tuna confit and the dukkah with naan.  But now I’m feeling a little like a beached whale…

Either way, enjoy your Superbowl Sunday, for whatever reason!

Spicy Caramel (and maybe coconut) Popcorn
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen who adapted it from The Craft of Baking

3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4-3/4 teaspoon cayenne (I found that I couldn’t even taste 1/2 teaspoon, but Smitten Kitchen said 3/4 teaspoon was too hot).
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons, or more salt (I found 2 teaspoons to not be quite enough, one version of the recipe called for 1 1/2 Tablespoons, but was decreed to be too much)
3 Tablespoons butter

1 cup toasted sweetened coconut
2 Tablespoons coconut rum (or more, mine didn’t have a very pronounced flavor with this amount)

*I added these in halved amounts to a half batch of the recipe and found it quite good, you might even want to add more rum.

Grease a large bowl, two baking sheets, and two rubber spatulas with vegetable oil.

Heat three tablespoons oil over medium-high heat in a covered pan with a popcorn kernel.  Once the kernel has popped, add the rest of the kernels and cover.  Shake the pan as the kernels pop to prevent burning.  You may want to let some of the kernels pop then remove the pan from the heat, let it sit for a moment to make sure no kernels pop out, then empty some into the bowl.  Continue until all kernels are popped.  Add coconut to popcorn if using at this point.

Whisk together baking soda and cayenne pepper.

Combine sugar, butter, 1/2 cup water, salt, and coconut rum (optional), in a medium saucepan.  Note:  I added the rum at the end of cooking, but I think it would be less dangerous to add it with everything else.  I don’t think it would change the flavor. Cook over high heat until the caramel turns a golden-brown color, (not too dark though), never stirring, then whisk in baking soda/cayenne pepper mixture.  In terms of cooking times, it said 10-14 minutes, but I think mine may have cooked a little longer.  Pour mixture over popcorn and toss together with spatulas.  Quickly turn mixture onto greased pans and separate the individual pieces.  Let cool for 15 minutes.  Store in an airtight container for as many as 4 days.



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About Madeleine C.

Hi I'm Madeleine and I am an avid cook and baker! Between school, homework swimming, and everything else in my life, I really enjoy cooking! I am 15 (now 16) years old, and have two brothers, both of whom have celiac disease along with my father. For this reason, I often make gluten-free things that will satisfy them as well as those who can readily consume gluten. I enjoy making the complex and the simple, and enjoy a challenge while cooking. That's just about it!