Super Bowl Disclaimer: When it comes to sports, Serious Eats is a non-partisan site but we can't stop our contributors from getting a little rah-rah for their favorite football teams this time of year.
What is the perfect snack for Super Bowl Sunday? Something salty? (Check.) Spicy? (Yes.) Sweet? (Uh, sure.) Something served in a bowl that must be eaten by the handful? Absolutely!
Since I am rooting for the Saints—two years in New Orleans did a number on me—I have created recipe that will definitely please you and your Saints fans. Colts supporters: you can take a few handfuls too.
This is super easy to make especially if you use microwave popcorn, and it's truly addicting. But don't be fooled—the caramel corn may not seem too spicy at first, but it will certainly sneak up on you. Just like the Saints will in the fourth quarter.
About the author: Jenny McCoy is the pastry chef at A Voce in New York City. When she's not covered in flour or frying bomboloni, you can find her strolling the streets of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, with her little dog Olive.
- For the Old-School Popped Corn:
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Or substitute with 1 bag plain microwave popcorn
- For the Cajun Caramel Topping:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Before you begin the popcorn, preheat oven to 350°F.
Over high heat, warm the oil and one kernel of corn. As soon as the kernel pops, add the remaining kernels and cover.
Reduce heat to medium and listen. Once you can count to "1-2-3 Louisiana" without hearing a pop, remove the pot from the heat and pour popcorn into a large bowl.
Once cool, toss popcorn so any unpopped kernels fall to the bottom of the bowl. Transfer the nice popped corn into another bowl and discard unpopped kernels.
In a small pot, over medium heat, cook the butter, brown sugar, cayenne, sea salt and corn syrup until it just begins to bubble on the sides.
Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the baking soda. Slowly pour the warm caramel over the popcorn while stirring gently. Continue to stir the popcorn until well-coated.
Spread the caramel corn onto a large baking sheet. Bake for approximately 8 to 12 minutes or until the caramel just begins to darken. Be sure to stir around the caramel corn once, after the first six minutes or so of baking.
Let cool to just about room temperature. Break up any clusters and enjoy!