Warm Spiced Popcorn12/14/2012
The weather outside is frightful, well, it is here anyway, but there's no fire that's delightful. Just a lot of ice an...
The weather outside is frightful, well, it is here anyway, but there's no fire that's delightful. Just a lot of ice and thick jumpers! The past four days have seen us scraping a thick hard frost off our windscreens and being wrapped up in multiple layers. Scarfs so thick they look like neck braces and shoes so packed with socks you look like you have gout. It's blissful, there is something serene about waking up to a world sheeted with white.
It's also my main point: It's Freezing. Time for major food warmth. Soups, casseroles and roasts are on the menu, and for dessert, hot fruit and cups of tea. 'Tis the season to be cosy after all.
One thing I really super love about Christmas is all the films. All the classic's and new and old alike. I can probably get through multiple film days, and in fact I am! I have one tonight (Elf & Cake night round a friends), one on Saturday night, a special with my my bestie on Sunday, a few in the week as well that should be lots of fun. I'll enjoy each and every single one of them too, I'm proper excited. Though I'm just excited in general at the moment.
So what snack should go with these magically movie days?
Which brings me back to my main point. It should be warming. This popcorn is crunchy, and sweet but spiced with a warm flavoursome mix of spices that leaves you feeling all nice and cosy.
Serves 3-4 people, depending on how much popcorn they love!
You will need
70g Popcorn kernels (readily available from supermarkets & health food shops)
70g golden syrup (corn Syrup)
35g runny honey
40g golden caster sugar
teaspoon vanilla extract
70g salted butter
1 tablespoon mixed spice
Pinch of nutmeg
FIRST OF ALL:
You will need to pop your kernels! Ooh, I love this part. Everyone thinks it's difficult but I promise that it's not. All you will need is a big saucepan with a lid. Everyone has their own way of popping, mine does not use oil. It's the way I've done it for years and it's never harmed the quality of the popcorn.
LOTS OF CORN FOR POPPIN':
Heat the saucepan on a high heat for 5-10 minutes. Then pop (ahaha) your kernels in. Holding the lid (so it doesn't fall off) gently start moving the kernels around inside. If they stay in one place, they will burn and the whole batch will be ruined. Make sure you stay on the heat though as you move the pan around. Eventually, you'll hear a teeny little pop, prepare yourself. Soon after there will be a firework display of popping. Take it off the heat as soon as the pops are 1-2 seconds apart. Otherwise once again, the stuff will burn. As you will tell fairly soon, you might run out of space. I use a massive saucepan that I can cook chickens in and it still pushes against the top. You might find that you need to pop your kernels in 2-3 batches.
SAUCY PREP TIME:
As soon as it's done, pour the popcorn into a bowl. Resist sampling, it'll be a bit plain at the moment. At this point, you'll need to Preheat your oven to gas mark 6/400°F/200°C. Take a saucepan (save on washing up and use the one you popped your kernels in, as long as it's clean!) and place the Syrup, Honey, Caster sugar, water and butter in it. It'll look a mess, don't worry. Now place it on a high heat. Using a wooden spoon, give it a good mix until things start combining.
GIVE IT SOME FLAVOUR:
As soon as everything is combined, add in the mixed spice and nutmeg and give it a good stir. Now bring the mixture to the boil, (it will start bubbling rapidly and maybe even start rising slightly,) you will need to keep a close eye on it. Reduce the heat to a medium temperature and leave to bubble without stirring for a few minutes (NO MORE, or it will burn.. again), then get on it and continue to stir. Those well equipped with sugar thermometers should note that this gorgeous mixture should get to hard ball stage (250-260°F) and those without should do the water test.
THE WATER TEST:
Drop some of the cooking mixture into a cold glass of water. If it holds is shape, pick it up out of the glass. Now press it- if it holds its ball shape, but remains sticky then you've got a winner. If it simply dissolves into the water, you're no where near done! See, very annoying, go and buy a thermometer, I promise they are worth it!
MIXING IT UP:
Pour your syrup mixture onto the popcorn and give it a good mix. Make sure it covers most of the surface area. Yum, bet it smells pretty good right now...
BAKING THE LAW:
Right, now you'll need two things. A large baking sheet covered with baking parchment and that preheated oven we talked about earlier. Got all those things? Fantastic. Carefully place the popcorn onto the sheet, it'll be sticky, but try to get it so that there aren't big piles of popcorn but more a flat area of popcorn not all grouped together. Pop (ahhh puns galore) the sheet in the oven for 15-30 minutes, (keep an eye on them to make sure there is no burning going on, this is a very easy recipe to burn,) once done, bring out the sheet and carefully (it will be hot, use a big spoon and some oven gloves) break it into a bowl before it completely cools. You might need to do the popcorn in batches again, depending on how big your baking sheet is!
AT YOUR SERVICE:
Serve whilst still warm, but not burning hot, you just avoiding three stages of burning the recipe, don't ruin it by burning you and your guests mouths instead!
Right, I'm off! Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend. Whether it's festive filled or not.