This is Sweet and Salty Popcorn with Orange Blossom Honey and I have three very good things to say about it.
1) It forced me to finally, finally, make real popcorn. You know, like with kernels, oil, a pot, and a stove. We eat a lot of popcorn in our house and I’m ashamed to say that it is of the microwave variety. I know the real stuff is better and I can’t really explain why I never made it. Let’s just say that I gave myself a giant palm to the forehead and move on.
2) I discovered orange blossom honey. I am a huge fan of honey and I buy all different kinds. I didn’t expect to be able to find orange blossom honey here because we are far far away from the nearest orange tree. There is a small cheese shop in the new-ish Melrose Building that carries some treasures and it was there that I unexpectedly found this beautiful bottle. I’ve never met a honey I didn’t like but I might even venture to say this is my favorite.
3) This is one sweet and savory bowl of yum. Like you eat several handfuls of it before you know what you are doing. And then you eat some more.
Do you sense a “but” coming? Not a “but”, maybe but an “I think you should know”. This stuff is sticky. Like really sticky. Like it just wants to form itself into one giant popcorn ball which, come to think of it, wouldn’t be so bad. After it cooled, I ran my hands through it and separated it out into manageable pieces and put it in a bowl. Then, about 10 minutes later, I had to do it again. And again. And again. You might sense a pattern here.
Now, to be fair, I wasn’t super strict about the measurements. I roughly 1½’ed the recipe and it could be that I actually used too much honey for the amount of popcorn. Who knows. I would just suggest you make this for people who you know – people who won’t mind you running your hands through their popcorn periodically.
This recipe comes from The Essential New York Times Cookbook. Several months ago, Amanda Hesser was in Seattle promoting the book and I went to an event to hear her speak. She is funny and self-deprecating and all in all delightful. Afterward, she signed my book. I told her that I have about 150 cookbooks and that her Cooking for Mr. Latte was on my high rotation shelf. So she signed my copy “For Dana – hope this one finds a spot in your ‘high rotation’. Enjoy!” Cute, huh?
One Year Ago: Tofu Cauliflower Kahri
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Sweet and Salty Popcorn with Orange Blossom Honey
Adapted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook
Serves about 6
Hesser instructs you to keep your popcorn and nuts warm in a 250ºF oven which sounded weird to me, so I didn’t do it. Maybe this is why mine was sticky. She also instructs you to use the salt on the popcorn but in my experience, salt does not stick well to popcorn. I added mine directly to the honey mixture and it came out great.
6 cups popped popcorn
1 cup salted roasted nuts (one kind, or a mixture; optional)
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup orange blossom honey
1 tsp. coarse salt
Place the popcorn and nuts in a large bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Pour the sugar into a small heavy saucepan and place over medium-low heat. When the sugar is melted and a light caramel color, add the honey and stir until smooth and liquid. Stir in the salt and remove from the heat.
Pour the syrup over the popcorn mixture. Using a rubber spatula and working quickly, stir the popcorn so the honey coats as much of it as possible. Spread onto the prepared sheet and let cool. Break into large or small pieces and store in an airtight tin.