Popcorn’s relationship with the sweet buttery goodness goes back 150 years. The combination came during a period in the US when adding sweet treats to corn was the new cool and so, it quickly travelled from vendors on busy street corners to stores before taking over the snack counters at carnivals and fairs.
To celebrate Caramel Popcorn Day, we put sweet flavoured popcorn to the ultimate taste test.
Salted Caramel Popcorn
‘Salted caramel flavour popcorn hand drizzled with smooth milk chocolate.’
Fergal: ‘Actual chocolate covered corn - what a treat! Very sweet and very moreish.’
Steven: ‘This was very tasty, and I love the chocolate and sticky caramel combo, but you wouldn’t take a bag of this stuff to the cinema, it’s quite sickening.’
Charlie: ‘This was delicious, and I loved the addition of the ‘’hand-drizzled chocolate’’. Very tasty, very moreish and would definitely stock up on a couple of bags of these for movie nights.’
‘Hand-popped butterfly corn, sprinkled with a rich blend of Fairtrade cocoa and Demerara sugar.’
Fergal: ‘I love mixing a packet of Maltesers or Minstrels into my popcorn, so I had high expectations for this, but it was such a disappointment. It didn’t taste like chocolate and the texture was not nice, it was very powdery.’
Steven: ‘Like Fergal, I’m a chocolate-and-popcorn kind of guy but this was the worst thing I’ve ever eaten. The look, texture, taste – everything was just awful.’
Charlie: ‘This was absolutely disgusting! Terrible texture and taste combo.’
Honey & Salt Popcorn
‘Hand popped corn drizzled with a trickle of honey and sprinkled with crunchy Atlantic sea salt.’
Fergal: ‘Despite its name, there wasn’t a strong honey taste, but it was still delish. Sweet and salty with a lovely crunch, I couldn’t get enough of this one. I’ll definitely be munching away on a bag of these on my next movie night.’
Steven: ‘This wasn’t a bad flavour but it’s way too salty for me.’
Charlie: ‘This was a nice snack, it had a nice balance of the sweet and salty, but I wouldn’t rush to buy it. I think there are nicer flavours out there.’
‘American-style air popped popcorn smothered in rich buttery golden toffee.’
Fergal: ‘Golden, sugary goodness, I loved this. This is how good toffee popcorn is done.’
Steven: ‘A classic! This is the perfect toffee popcorn for me.’
Charlie: ‘An old favourite. A lovely crunchy golden popcorn but too sweet for me.’
1st place = Toffee popcorn 25/30
2nd place = Salted caramel popcorn 24/30
3rd place = Honey & Salt 22/30
4th place = Chocolate 7/30
If you’d like to try making sweet popcorn yourself this Caramel Popcorn Day, check out this easy recipe:
Toffee Popcorn Recipe
For the corn
100g popping corn
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 pinch sea salt
For the toffee coating
40g soft brown sugar
4 tablespoons golden syrup
30g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon water
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the butter and melt, swirling into the oil with a wooden spoon. Pour in the corn and add a pinch of salt. Put the lid on the pan. The corn will start popping after about 1 minute and carry on for another 2 -3 minutes. When the popping sounds slow down to more than 4 or 5 seconds between pops, remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly in the pan.
Next, add the butter, syrup, sugar and water to a saucepan over a medium-high heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the butter has melted and sugar dissolved. Bring to the boil and let it bubble rapidly for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring throughout, until the mixture is a dark, toffee colour.
Pour the toffee sauce over the popcorn and stir to coat all the kernels. Leave to cool slightly and let the toffee sauce harden for around 5 minutes before serving.