I made this caramel popcorn as a treat to bring into work. I couldn't believe how easy it was to make and how absolutely delicious it turned out. Seriously give this a go if you like salty sweet things. Seems like a lot of work and will definitely impress people.
The recipe below might look like it has a lot of steps. It really is not complicated but you need to read the recipe BEFORE trying to make it. It is easy to do but you need to be quick about it so read first then make.
Vegan Sea Salt & Caramel Popcorn
6 - 8 cups of freshly popped popcorn (1/2 cup un-popped kernels)
1 1/4 cup sugar (I used organic)
3 Tbsp Earth Balance (or other margarine)
1 tsp sea salt
Firstly pop your popcorn. Personally I make my popcorn on the stove in a Whirly Pop (This contraption makes sure your popcorn doesn't burn) But it is super easy to do in a large soup pot. Once you make it on the stove you won't go back to microwave popcorn. It honestly takes the same amount of time and is so much tastier.
Once your popcorn is ready put it into a very large bowl and set aside. At the same time put a sheet pan out and cover with parchment paper.
Now it is time to make the caramel. I don't have a candy thermometer (I know a Whirly Pop but no candy thermometer!) so I put a glass of ice water and spoon beside the stove so I can test the caramel and make sure it gets to hard candy stage.
In a small pot put the sugar and margarine in. Place on medium low heat and eventually the margarine will melt and mix with the sugar. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon.
Whatever you do - DO NOT LEAVE THE STOVE. You need to stand there and watch the caramel very carefully so don't answer the phone or put a few dishes away or anything. Just stand there and stir frequently.
After about 5 - 7 minutes the sugar will be getting a deep rich brown colour. Now take your little spoon and grab a little caramel and dunk it into the ice water for 15 - 20 seconds. If the caramel has reached hard candy stage it will completely harden on the spoon. This is what you are looking for. If the caramel is still soft in the ice water keep cooking it and test it again in a few minutes.
DO NOT TOUCH THE CARAMEL - It will seem very tempting and look delicious and you will want to stick your finger in the pot or grab the spoon and put some in your mouth but trust me the caramel is about 5 million degrees and will then stick to your hand or mouth while burning you intensely. Just be patient.
Add the sea salt to the caramel and stir. It will fizz and crackle so be careful. Now quickly pour the caramel over the popcorn and stir the popcorn so the caramel coats it. You will need to move quickly as the caramel will harden fast.
Now pour the popcorn onto the sheet pan and spread out. You may want to break up some of the larger pieces. Let the popcorn cool on the sheet pan and then store in an airtight container for up to a week.