Spicy Caramel Popcorn with Peanuts
A touch of spice makes this crunchy popcorn recipe extra nice; try making a big batch and packaging for friends.
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3/4 cup salted peanuts
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line two baking sheets with nonstick baking mats. Set aside.
Heat oil with 3 popcorn kernels in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. When kernels pop, add remaining 1/2 cup kernels. Cook, covered, shaking pan occasionally, until popping stops, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove pan from heat; let stand, covered, 1 minute.
Divide popcorn evenly between prepared baking sheets; set aside. In a medium saucepan heat sugar, butter, and corn syrup over medium heat until butter is melted, sugar is dissolved, and mixture is golden brown. Stir in salt and cayenne pepper; add peanuts and stir to coat. Pour mixture over popcorn. Spray a spatula with nonstick cooking spray and toss to combine.
Transfer baking sheets to oven and bake, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.