Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Coconut Caramel Popcorn
First, you have to make the perfect plain popcorn. It's not difficult, but it does take some practice to make stovetop popcorn just right. We have included instructions for the best popcorn.
We made this caramel out of what we had on hand, a huge tub of coconut oil and a huge bag of coconut sugar. Coconut oil is an easy call because it is the butteriest of all vegan fats and adds a delicious coconut flavor. If coconut's flavor is not your thing, you can buy refined coconut oil, which has been filtered and processed so it has no coconut flavor, but still has the texture and health benefits of coconut oil. Coconut sugar is made from the sweet sap of the coconut palm tree. It has been used as a sweetener in tropical Asia for centuries, often called palm sugar. It has a rich flavor with hints of molasses and it almost looks like a drier and more crumbly brown sugar. It is not as sweet as cane sugar and that makes this caramel unique because it is not cloying.
Compared to traditional caramel sauces with butter, sugar and corn syrup, this sauce has more flavor and many more health benefits. Of course, this sauce recipe isn't only for popcorn. You can use the caramel sauce over ice cream or cake or whatever else you want too!
Coconut Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup, agave nectar or other liquid sweetener
1/3 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons arrowroot, cornstarch or other starch
2 tablespoons water or vegan milk of your choice
1 teaspoon sea salt
In small saucepan, add coconut sugar and liquid sweetener. Set the flame as low as it goes and slowly melt coconut sugar, whisking constantly to keep mixed. Once it begins to bubble and there are no more grains of sugar, add in coconut oil. Whisk well until melted. The oil may remain separate from the sugar, but don't worry. Allow the caramel to bubble gently while you mix the starch and water or milk. Slowly whick the starch mixture into caramel and keep whisking until thick and glossy and the oil is no longer visible, about 3 minutes. Add salt to finish. Salted caramel is everyone's favorite. Add more if you like it saltier!
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup high-heat oil, like safflower
Using a very large pot with a lid, add oil and one kernel of popcorn. Heat oil on high heat until that one kernel pops. You want it to be very hot but not smoking. Once the kernel has popped, add the rest of the popcorn and put the lid back on. Turn off the flame for thirty seconds. You are allowing the popcorn kernels to heat up to the temperature of the oil and not burn before the inside temperature is hot enough to explode (pop!). After thrirty seconds, turn heat back on high. You can swirl the pan around or even shake it with the lid firmly held (use potholders) to keep it from burning. It should start vigorously popping within one minute. Once the pops are more than three seconds apart, turn off flame. You can shake it up a acouple more times to see if any extra kernels pop. Once it seems done, pour caramel sauce over popcorn and shake to coat. Immediately pour into a serving bowl so it doesn't burn from the very hot pot. DEVOUR!