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Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Recipe: How to Make Sweet and Salty Popcorn

photo from art.com

I have waited until now to post about my Sweet and Salty Popcorn adventures.  Because until now it was not what I considered perfect.

I have long adored Sweet & Salty Popcorn, a product only available in Coles.  It sells for $3.26/80g pack and I don't live near a Coles supermarket, so it's a bit of a drama to get my hands on some.  And then it costs a LOT more than the dollar or so for a whole pack of unpopped corn.  Then I had a light bulb moment, whilst watching the Nigella Express Christmas/Celebration episode.  In that episode, Nigella makes a spiced popcorn mix....with sugar and salt as two of the ingredients.  Surely, I thought to myself, I could create my own Sweet and Salty popcorn.  It'll be just what she does minus the other spices.  Well that wasn't quite the case and this led to quite some experimenting.  One was too salty, then I had a few different goes at dissolving the sugar, because despite popular opinion, you cannot dissolve sugar in butter.  It doesn't work.  But I have figured all of that out now.  And, I have measured.  Yes, a proper recipe.  And it's CHEAP.  And it's gluten free.  And...well, it's not toooo healthy, but it's not toooo bad for you either.  So here's the recipe :)

Sweet and Salty Popcorn

1/3 cup popping corn kernels
about 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoon sugar
1 soup spoon water
30g butter
salt to taste

  1. Pop your corn as you usually would.  You don't need too much oil ~ just enough to nearly cover the bottom of the pan.  You will need a big pot for this.  Make sure it is about a 4-6 litre pot, with a lid.
  2. While the corn is popping, in a small saucepan dissolve the sugar in the water over low-medium heat.  
  3. When the sugar is nearly dissolved, add the butter and stir constantly while it melts.
  4. Whilst working on step 2 and 3, make sure you're listening to the popcorn.  When it has slowed to nearly no pops, turn off the heat and keep the lid on.
  5. When the sugar and butter is ready, remove the lid from the popcorn and pour the butter mixture as evenly as possible over the popcorn.
  6. Turn the heat on to very low and toss the popcorn in the butter mixture for a couple of minutes.  It should not be cooking, just drying the butter mixture a little bit.
  7. Salt the popcorn, tasting to ensure the right balance.  You'll not need much, just a few grinds.
  8. Store in an airtight container.
I use regular salted butter, so I've found that the balance requires less salt than sugar.  It might be different if you use unsalted butter.  I would still salt the popcorn after I've done everything else to ensure it's not too salty.

There you have it.  A cheap and easy snack that is really tasty.  If you have a go, I'd love to know how you went, so come back and post a comment!

47 comments:

Rel said...

Woo hoo! I've tried various recipes without much success, Trac. I'm going to give this a red hot go!

Thanks :)

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Sounds delish! I bet my boys would love it.

xofrances

debbie bailey said...

I can't wait to try this! Sounds great.

Anita Matheson said...

Tried it, LOVED IT! Had to stop myself eating the whole bowl while stu was out. MMmmmmm MMmmmmm!

Tracy said...

Fantastic, Anita!!! I'm very excited :) You might be in trouble if you don't leave some for Stu though!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracy,
I was in need of salty sweet popcorn and my nearest supemrarket is Safeways and its tragic that they dont have an equivalent to the Coles popcorn.
I found your recipe tonight so I thought i would try it and I am so pleased to say that it worked so well!! very very tasty. Thanks so much for your trial and error.
Its gotta be one of the most addictive things ever and this is coming from a person that doasn't actually like popcorn that much, but this is definitely an acception :-) good job. No doubt i will make this far too often now and risk the possibility of turning into a piece of popcorn, but thats the risk I am willing to take
Ta Georgie

Tracy said...

Thanks for letting me know how this worked out for you Georgie. My husband isn't a popcorn fan either, but he will eat bucketloads of this. You can only imagine how much more I'm inclined to eat, as someone who already thought popcorn was pretty alright!

Rel said...

I failed :(

Followed the recipe to a tee and when I added the butter mixture the popcorn completely shriveled up and become a mushy mess.

What happened????????????

Tracy said...

We'll have to do it together sometime Rel. I don't know what happened...other people who have used my instructions have had good results. I wonder what happened too!?

Rel said...

I know! I took the girls to Kung Fu Panda 2 (movie tickets expired today!) and wanted to take the S&S popcorn so it was a little deflating when is sagged like a flat balloon :(

Very weird!

Rachel said...

I lol'ed at your intro. I have just bought another bag of Coles Sweet and Salty Popcorn and as I was driving home thought that it is such a ripoff - I should be able to make it for cheaper. So as soon as i got home - I started googling - I can't wait to try your recipe! Thanks!

Oli said...

I love the sweet and lightly salted popcorn and also thought it couldn't be too difficult to make.

After just stirring some sugar through the popcorn and realising it wasn't really sticking to the popcorn, I landed on your page.

I decided to skip the butter in your recipe and just melted a few teaspoons of sugar in water over heat, stirred the popcorn through, added some salt and it worked well.

The amounts I used weren't perfect, but for those who would prefer a healthier alternative, just skip the butter!

Thanks for the idea, Tracy :)

Stacey P said...

wow I just finished making this and it is soooooo yummy!!!! Thank-you

Anonymous said...

hi, i am new in net surfing, can you believe that? but i am just wondering, will these popcorns last for like 5 days and still retain their crunchiness? I always have to contribute food in the different meetings that i attend, and since i am working too, i wouldlike to make these ahead

Tracy said...

Hi 'Anonymous' (I'm sure your name is far more glorious than that!)

I have kept this popcorn for about 3 days before it has been scoffed by my locust-like children. I ALWAYS put it into tupperware straight away - even if it's still a teensy bit warm. It has retained its crunch without any problems.

Good luck keeping it for five days!!! I think you'd have to hide it for that to happen. :)

The Bookworm said...

This is awesome. I'm addicted to the Coles S & S popcorn but have avoided getting it because it is so expensive. I know what I'm snacking on from now on!

Barb said...

I am addicted to this stuff, so the chance to make it at home could save me a fortune. I'll keep you posted on how I go!

oliviadog said...

it was amazing! thanks.

Gert said...

Hi Tracy,

Searching for an easy way to make sweet popcorn I came on your recipe and I've tried it immediately. Whow really a super easy one to make and the taste is soooooo good.

I made one bowl for me and my partner and we just ate it completely without stopping as it was so good. I will make this one much more and I'll see if I can convince my other friends here in Belgium to also try your recipe.

Andrew said...

Hi Tracy, I have a hot air popcorn device - do you think that I could just add the mixture and eat rather than stir over heat ?

thanks

Andrew

Grace said...

Thanks for the recipe! I've always tried various ways of sweetening my popcorn - honey, sugar, and it never came out right. I wasn't keen on thick caramel coatings, so your's is perfect. I'm munching on some right now as I type this and I love it :)

Anonymous said...

I received a hot air popcorn machine for christmas and have just made this, it was fabulous! The popcorn was a little wet with the mixture being poured over it, im going to put it in a pot next time and heat it a little to try get the crunch back. Still delicious tho!!

Tracy said...

Thanks for your comments everyone. The kids were only just asking for more popcorn this afternoon while watching "Thor"!

Andrew it seems someone else has tried the air popper and thinks it needs a little time to find its crunch. Do some experimenting and let us know how you go.

Anonymous said...

Mnmm thank you ! Spot on first go! Kids loved it!!

John Bateman said...

All I have to say is that I have tried without success until I saw this post. The first post actually. I googled it because I failed miserabley until now. You my friend are worth every penny in my kithen. I'm sure I did exactly everything you did to the T. Parabems!!! ;)

Anonymous said...

For so long I wondered how I get the sugar to stick to the popcorn (as I use a popcorn maker), and then I started enjoying sweet & salty popcorn, and just had to make it at home.


Your recipe worked perfect, although I didn't use the butter.
They are soo addictive mmm, thanks for this :)

Stoney said...

While my popcorn was popping I thought I'd google sweet popcorn. Found yours straight away and made it in two secs. Perfect! The mix is just right, so more more Coles ripoff popcorn for me. :-)

Adam, Jazz & Family said...

Hi rel,
Start by making the butter/sugar mix first so that by the time the corn pops, the liquid will have cooled enough. Really hot butter will always shrivel the popcorn.

Try again, its worth it!

Many thanks to op for the recipe, its delicious !
Adam (gold coast)

Esther Biobele said...

I just tried it and it super good., thank u

Anonymous said...

Just tried this and it is GREAT! I popped my corn in a popcorn popper and then transferred to stovetop to pour on butter syrup. Found adding the cold butter to the hot sugar syrup (as the recipe says) cooled it down to the perfect temperature for pouring without "melting" the popcorn. Thanks so much for sharing :)

Julia G said...

Bless you. You've saved me from doing my own recipe experiments. I too am addicted to Coles sweet & salty. I know it's "organic" but how ridiculously priced!

Anonymous said...

I tried these just now, and they turned out fantatic! I'm going out tonight with sisters to the movies, and I plan on taking a ziploc bag of these with me. Hehe.

Anonymous said...

WOW just made this today after 2 failed attempts (1st time - took the popcorn off the stove, let it cool and the butter mixture was toooo wet; 2nd time - again took the popcorn off the stove and had too little butter/sugar mixture, which still sogged up the popcorn).

Finally the 3rd time, I actually followed the recipe & instructions TO THE T - except I used 20g of butter (not 30g) and 3 tsp of sugar (not 4). I cooked the butter/mixture first as per the recipe, then made the popcorn, added the butter/sugar mixture while the popcorn was still on the stove (but low temp) and it dried up the mixture perfectly and VOILA! After a dash of salt I had sweet/salty popcorn :)

Red Dalish said...

Thanks for a terrific, tasty and simple recipe. I made it tonight for my son's birthday party tomorrow. Have done 2 batches. A bit worried I might have to do a third if we don't stop munching on it. Delicious!

Kristine said...

Hi Tracy,

My sister just introduced me to some S&S popcorn that's sold in Brisbane Square markets ea Wednesday. At $8/bag a bit on the $$ side! My kids go thru the plain popcorn snack bags like there's no tomorrow: just wondering if I could be lazy by warming the pre-made popcorn slightly & add the mix to that?

Tracy said...

I don't see why not. If it was too damp you could always put the buttered popcorn onto an oven tray in a single layer and bake it for about five minutes to dry it out a bit. It'll crunch up that way too. Give it a go and let me know how you do!

Orlagh said...

Fantastic recipe, thanks for sharing it. Was only introduced to coles sweet and salty popcorn last week. An extra hit of savoury and sweet, some crushed malteasers (only a handful needed) and broken pretzels go brilliantly with it.

Anonymous said...

I just want to quickly thank you for this delicious recipe!

I only had the microwave popcorn on hand, but it still tasted brilliant!

I just transferred the popped popcorn into a big pot on the stove top, added the melted sugary butter mix to the popcorn and stirred the popcorn for a couple of minutes on low heat.

So yummy! Tysm again for the great recipe!

Anonymous said...

Thank You so much for this recipe! I am 14 and made this for movie night one time. This is the only popcorn that anyone ever wants now!

Cindy Goodwin said...

I have a Resolution this year, "If I can buy it I can make it!" I made your popcorn and it is excellent! I used a hot air popper, so I preheated my oven to 180C lined a baking tray with baking paper, and dried the popcorn for 2-3 minutes. Let them cool a little bit before serving so they wouldn't get condensation and become wet again. The popcorn is perfect! Thank-you!

Alison said...

Easy, cheap and delicious , thank you, I made this and am taking it to Shakespeare in the Park tonight!

Anonymous said...

Sainsburys do an amazing sweet and salty popcorn but its sooo expensive! I got a popcorn maker for Christmas as my whole family love it but i havn't been able to find a way to make it the same as the bagged popcorn we love. I am sooo excited to try this... Right after dinner that's exactly what I'm doing :D thank you soooo much!xx

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately slightly burnt the popcorn after adding the sugar-water-butter mix, but it still tasted great!

Paula said...

Oh my god that is HEAVENLY!!!!!

Paula said...

Oh my god that is HEAVENLY!!!!

Tracy said...

I tried the recipe Tracy and it worked beautifully! I have a popcorn maker and just heated the sugar and butter in a big pot. I tipped all the popped corn into the pot and gave it a shake. I put it on the heat for a bit to steam off the moisture which crisp ended up the popcorn ;)

Erica said...

I have to say it tastes GREAT. My kids and friends love your recipe. It does not keep too well though, I find it slightly soggy the next day although I have never put it straight into a tupperware off the fire. Will try that next time.