It has been many a year since I stayed up all night to watch the Oscars, firstly because I still miss Barry Norman’s commentary and secondly because I don’t receive any television broadcast signal on my TV. My TV is for Xbox use and DVD watching only, unfortunately this doesn’t make a blind bit of difference to the TV License man but that is a rant for another day.
Happily this year I was invited to a party for the 2014 Academy Awards, thank you Bren and Charlene! There was the drinking of blueberry cocktails, the critiquing of gowns and betting on results. All in all, great craic.
Not wanting to turn up empty handed and also knowing I would need something gluten free to nibble on I made a large bowl of Peanut Caramel Corn.
The best nibbles are always a mix of savory and sweet, I am a girl who loves to combine the saltiness of crisps with a bit of chocolate. This caramel corn, sweet but with the salty crunch of peanuts can lead to compulsive eating so it is best to make it when you know you have a crowd to share it with.
You will need a very large pot for the popcorn, 1/2 cup of kernels makes more popcorn than you might think, and a very large bowl for mixing in the caramel.
- 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil + extra for the trays (you don’t want to use a strong flavored olive oil for this)
- 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels
- 2 cups of salted peanuts
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
- 3 cups of sugar
- 1/2 cup of water
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- Coat a large bowl or roasting dish and two baking sheets with a thin coating of oil
- In a large saucepan heat the oil over a medium high heat and add the kernels. Cover the saucepan with a lid and move it about over the heat as the pop corn pops. Keep the pan moving so the pop corn doesn’t burn. Keep the lid on until the popping slows down. This should take five or six minutes.
- Put the pop corn in to the prepped very large bowl or roasting tin and stir in the 2 cups of peanuts.
- Put the 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder in to a small dish, this will make it easier to tip in to the carmel later.
- In a medium saucepan with a heavy add the sugar, butter, salt and 1/2 cup of water.
- Cook over a high heat without stirring, you will be tempted but do not stir.
- Cook until the mixture turns a light golden caramel color, this should take between 10 and fifteen minutes.
- Remove from the heat and with exaggerated care add the baking soda, the mixture will fizz and bubble up.
- Whisk in the soda and immediately pour the caramel over the popcorn and peanuts and stir to combine. Try very hard to not spill the carmel on your fingers and don’t be tempted to taste, I managed to get a drop of caramel on the tip of my finger and was left with a lovely big blister a few minutes later. Caramel is extremely hot and will burn so be careful and take it slow.
- Once the carmel, nuts and popcorn are combined divide the mixture between the two baking sheets and spread it out as best you can.
- Leave to cool and then break in to bite size pieces, you can use your hands for this or some gentle tapping with a rolling pin also works.
- Eat immediately or store in an airtight container for up to a week.