Sweet and Spicy Caramel Corn

, from Issue #54. September, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Sweet and Spicy Caramel Corn

It’s hard to stop eating this addictive popcorn – sweet, salty and spicy it cries out for a nice cold beer.


½ cup popping corn
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼–½ teaspoon cayenne pepper or ground chilli
½ teaspoon each ground cinnamon and ginger
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
150 grams butter
¾ cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons golden syrup


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the corn and put the lid on.

Cook until the corn stops popping, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent it catching on the base. Tip into a large bowl, discarding any unpopped corn. Wipe out the saucepan.

Combine the cayenne or chilli, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.

Put the butter, sugar and golden syrup in the saucepan over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar is melted. Cook over a low heat for 3–5 minutes, stirring constantly until it turns a couple of shades darker to a golden caramel.

Remove from the heat and stir in the spice mixture. It will bubble up a little.

Tip in the popcorn and use a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula to stir until it’s all well coated in the caramel. Tip onto a large baking tray lined with baking paper and spread out to cool.

Break into pieces and store in an airtight container. Makes about 10 cups