While we were photographing for our ‘Ingredients for a Family Movie Night‘ post, I happened to post on my Instagram Stories that I was making Crunchy Butterscotch Popcorn. I immediately and repeatedly got asked for the recipe – so here it is.
We happen to have our own home-grown popcorn expert. Years ago, a very young Boy was fascinated by microwave popcorn – it was a rare treat, but watching it expand and pop in the microwave filled him with wonder.
We wouldn’t buy it except on rare occasions, suggesting he figure out how to make it the old-fashioned (and healthy) way.
So he did.
This post contains affiliate links – you don’t pay any more, but I may earn a teensy smidge of commission (which frankly just helps my coffee habit). But I never recommend something to you I wouldn’t recommend to my sister. And yes, I do love my sister.
He started with dragging our old air popper from the back of the cupboard – but the results were too cardboardy. Next he tried various home made microwave options – but they either scorched and melted the containers (yes, really), didn’t pop properly or the flavour was horrible. Strike Two.
So he did what all Gen Z’s do. He turned to YouTube – and began trying every method he could find until he perfected it.
He’s still a popcorn freak. He loves nothing better than a gift of gourmet popcorn kernels (yes, they are a thing, and yes he really does get them every birthday and Christmas)
Last Christmas we bought him a whirley-popper pan, which was apparently the top of the game. But until then he made popcorn to die for, any time anyone asked, inside 3 minutes.
And this is his extensively researched, tried-and-tested foolproof method of popping.
He personally loves a buttery salt flavour, and uses Flavacol as flavouring – it’s diacetyl free, don’t worry, but if you have a sensitivity then opt for the ones without the yellow colourings.
But for us? We love to share a bowl of the crisp super-sweet Crunchy Butterscotch Popcorn. It’s like Butterkist – only better. Made fresh, it’s not soft and a bit stale. Oh my, this stuff is SO good.
This recipe makes a family portion; enough to fill a large mixing bowl – way too much for just two; if it’s just the two of us, we halve it – or four dessert bowls if you’re sharing!
Also excellent for when your kid beings his mates home and you suddenly acquire a house of teens looking for snacks. We always have a batch on the go on New Year’s Eve. Everyone loves a bowl of popcorn to pick at!
Crunchy Butterscotch Popcorn Recipe
(makes a BIG mixing bowl full!)
- ½ cup kernels (if you halve the butterscotch, then 40g of kernels is about right)
- 3tbs oil (peanut is best, standard rapeseed veg oil is fine; HIGH burn point and flavourless. No olive oil here!)
- warm the oil and three kernels in a large heavy-bottomed pan with the lid on
- when you hear the third kernel pop, the oil is hot enough
- add all your kernels, and replace the lid.
- holding the lid firmly on, start shaking the pan vigorously – keep those kernels moving as they pop.
- when the popping stops, immediately remove from heat and tip into a large bowl
- 120g sugar (caster is best, but granulated works fine if it’s all you have)
- 120g butter
- 2tbs (be generous) golden syrup
Pre-heat oven to 150ºC / 300ºF / Gas Mark 2
Butterscotch Popcorn Method
- Gently melt all ingredients on a low heat.
- Let the mixture bubble for a minute
- Pour the hot butterscotch sauce onto the popcorn in the bowl – you need to work fast here as it thickens quickly as it cools. Toss the corn around with two forks until the whole bowl is glazed.
- Lay the sticky pale popcorn in a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet (or be sure to use greaseproof paper/non-stick tray liners) – you may need to do this in two halves if you don’t have a couple of baking trays.
- Place in the oven and cook for ten minutes until golden brown
- Remove from the oven – and resist eating it. It’ll be scorchio hot, and soft and sticky. Patience will pay off.
- It’ll cool quickly – break up the clusters with a fork, and tip it into serving bowl (bowls if you’re sharing)
(when it’s hot, Butterscotch Popcorn is super-very-really sticky. You DO need a good non-stick pan – this is the Tesco GoCook Oven Tray, and it’s faultless. NOT part of our work with Tesco, this is my own pan which I bought a few months back. It’s a total steal at £8, far better than trays I’ve bought for three times the price.)
Crunchy Butterscotch Popcorn Alternatives:
Butter Almond Popcorn – add a teaspoon of almond extract to the melting pot. Add 120g flaked almonds, crushed, to the corn before coating it.
Chocolate Crunch Popcorn – add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a tablespoon of cocoa powder to the melting pot.
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