Time for my Moroccan Twist Salted Caramel Popcorn Recipe!
As you may remember from a few days ago, I finally got around to "replicating" a couple of funky spiced caramel popcorns that we bought in early 2018, from stale old bags of expired popcorn. Glad I did finally get around to it, though, as both recipes turned out fantastically! I posted the Sweet Heat Salted Caramel Popcorn already, and now it's time for the "Moroccan Twist" flavour.
A while back, I posted a big, detailed account of how I can replicate recipes two ways - straight from taste, and from reverse engineering. In the case of my Honey Garlic Sauce, it was pretty much straight up "reverse engineering" - Going on the presented ingredients and nutritional information to ballpark a pretty accurate base, then customize it for home use by swapping some commercial ingredients out for more readily available items that would do the same things. Finally, I tweak it for taste.
In some cases, replication takes a more multi pronged approach - some info from the label, some food memory, and some just straight from taste. The three information sources come together really well, usually. When the source material is something you've only had once, AND it's 2 years old - expired by over a year - it gets a bit more problematic. You have to rely on information to fill in the bits that are missing from corrupted taste/smell/memory.
... It's always fun when manufacturers list "Spices" as an ingredient... especially alongside other spices. You have like 90% of the information you need RIGHT there, then have to figure out the last 10%. You know, lots of fun when the smell and taste are ... not there. Anyway, where "spices" is listed - in relation to other ingredients - can sometimes be a clue. If it comes after an ingredient, it has less of it than that ingredient. If before, more. How many spices are involved in "spices", though? What proportion? Combined, the spices have to be less than the ingredient before, and more than the ingredient that comes after. Problem solving! I love it.
In this case, things were a bit weird - either it was labelled incorrectly (likely), or age does some weird things to the potency of ingredients (usually the more likely case, but not this time). You see, fennel was the dominant smell and taste, but was not a listed ingredient - it would have been under "spices", and in a smaller amount than some other ingredients.
Long story short(er), I had to go off label and wing it to produce something similar to what I was smelling, tasting, and remembering, even though all 3 were corrupted bits of information. The result was fantastic, though I have no idea how accurate it is, at this point.
My Moroccan Twist Salted Caramel Popcorn is sweet, savoury, and a little spicy. The seasonings - including garlic, cardamom, and fennel! - may seem a bit weird for a caramel corn, but it WORKS.
More “Sounds Weird, but it WORKS!” Recipes
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Sweet Corn Ice Cream
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Moroccan Twist Salted Caramel Popcorn
- 16 Cups Popped Popcorn (⅔-3/4 Cup unpopped kernels)
- 2 tsp Cardamom
- 1 tsp Fennel Seeds
- ½ tsp Allspice
- ½ tsp Cinnamon
- ½ tsp Garlic Powder
- ½-3/4 tsp Crushed Chilies
- ¼ tsp Ground Pepper
- ½ tsp Baking Soda
- 2 cups Granulated Sugar
- 6 Tbsp Sunflower or Olive Oil
- ¼ cup Brown Sugar Packed
- ½ cup Corn Syrup
- 2 tsp Salt
- Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place the popped popcorn in a large stockpot. Set aside.
- Mix together the spices and baking soda, set aside.
- In a large saucepan, combine sugars, oil, corn syrup, and salt, whisking until well combined. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Once boiling, allow to boil for 5 minutes - stirring frequently - and then remove from heat.
- Add baking soda, stir well to combine - You don’t want clumps of spices! – caramel will foam up a little.
- Pour caramel over popcorn mixture, CAREFULLY stir to coat evenly – Hot sugar is nasty to get burned with!
- Divide the caramel corn between the two cookie sheets, spreading it evenly
- Break up large chunks of popcorn, and allow to cool fully.
- Serve immediately, or transfer to airtight containers for storage.
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