Serve this American classic at your next party. This is my favorite way to eat popcorn. They are addictive treats, so make more than you think you'll need. Feel free to substitute any nut for the cashews in this recipe. When making this candy, be careful as the sugar will reach very high temperatures that can burn badly. Use heat-proof gloves where possible!
1 cup popcorn kernels
2 oz butter
1 1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup water
1 1/8 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2.5 oz salted butter, room temperature
2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp salt
Preheat the oven to 350F. You'll need a candy thermometer for this recipe. You'll also need a 15-cup large metal bowl, small sheet pan, two large sheet pans lined with parchment paper, and 2 wooden spoons greased with canola oil.
- In a large stock pot, heat the butter on medium high heat.
- When the butter has hit 375-400F, add the popcorn kernels and cover the pot.
- Once kernels begin popping, keep watch over the kernels and shake the pot side to side every now and then to prevent burning the popcorn and kernels. 1 cup of kernels should yield approximately 10 cups of popped corn. If your yield is not sufficient, pop more kernels to make up the difference, as you'll need approximately 10 cups of popped corn in this recipe.
- Roast the cashews in the oven for approximately 15 minutes. When well roasted, keep warm in the oven. Place 8 cups of popped corn in the metal bowl. Form a well in the middle for the caramel.
- While the cashews are roasting, combine the water, sugars, corn syrup, and butter in a large saucepan. Set the baking soda and salt aside in a convenient location next to the stove (you may combine the two in one container).
- Stir constantly as the sugar mixture bubbles and reaches 300F. Once it hits 300F, remove it from the heat and stir in the baking soda and salt. Keep stirring as the mixture begins to bubble and foam profusely.
- You may need an extra hand or quickly remove the cashews from the oven and dump them into the caramel mixture. Stir and immediately pour in the well you made in the popcorn.
- Add the remaining 2 cups of popcorn on top of the caramel and work quickly with the greased wooden spoons to cover the popcorn with caramel.
- Once the popcorn have been coated, pour the hot mixture onto the large sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Lay a single layer on each pan.
- Allow the caramel popcorn to cool and harden to room temperature.
- Break up the caramel popcorn layer and serve in a bowl.