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Caramel-Masala Popcorn and Pistachios from 'Salty Snacks'

Caramel-Masala Popcorn and Pistachios [Photograph: Jennifer Martiné]

Salted caramel corn is one of those magical snacks that manages to taste better and better the more bites you take. (That is, until you've eaten a huge bowl and suddenly realize you've got yourself a major stomach ache.) It's got salt and sweetness, it's got bitter notes from the caramel, and it's got crunchy-airy corn kernels to anchor all that goodness. In Salty Snacks, Cynthia Nims takes this seemingly perfect treat to the next level with warming garam masala and rich pistachios. And her recipe couldn't be much easier—melt sugar, add spices and butter, pour over popped corn and nuts, and pop it all in the oven to commingle for an hour or so. The oven step continues to cook the caramel while also giving it a chance to coat every morsel of popcorn.

Why I picked this recipe: Honestly, I have a slight addiction to popcorn. Any new recipes are welcome in my kitchen.

What worked: Bittersweet, salty, and redolent of warm spices, this popcorn is a covetable treat.

What didn't: I would have liked visual cues for cooking the caramel. Nims's cooking times worked fine for me, but I always feel more comfortable cooking sugar when I have a little more information.

Suggested tweaks: You could certainly change up the spice blend (or hey, make your own) as well as the nuts. I'd stick to the same ratios of sugars and butter, though, as they make for a crisp caramel coating.

Reprinted with permission from Salty Snacks by Cynthia Nims. Copyright 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.

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