Sweet and Salty Popcorn

March 7, 2011

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
Two Years Ago: Butternut Squash and Apple Galette and Goat Cheese Ravioli with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

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.


  1. Yay! So happy to see this recipe come to life! This one has been on my list to make from that great book. How wonderful that you got to meet Amanda and she signed your book. It’s definitely my favorite book from last year; no disappointments yet. Cooking for Mr. Latte is alot of fun. Thanks for posting this. Cheers!

    Comment by Nina — March 7, 2011 @ 2:00 am

  2. I love making popcorn. Not because of how it tastes (it’s okay, but I don’t love it), but because I love to watch it pop :)

    Comment by Helena — March 7, 2011 @ 7:58 am

  3. As a serious popcorn addict, I’m thrilled to welcome you to the world of stove-top popped corn. (I’ve been known to get others hooked on truffle salt with popcorn because I love it so much.) So, this looks fantastic. The orange blossom honey sounds lovely in it.

    Comment by lisaiscooking — March 7, 2011 @ 3:09 pm

  4. I love a good sweet and salty combo. I can’t wait to make this for our next movie night.

    Comment by Maria — March 7, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

  5. I have to admit to never making popcorn from scratch either. I also don’t eat popcorn very much…so maybe that’s why. I probably would eat it more if I had known that this recipe existed. I mean, you had me at sweet and salty and honey. Good honey is truly an out-of-this-world experience. I know because I’ve had a lot of bad honey. I’ll definitely need to seek out this orange blossom version!

    Comment by Joanne — March 7, 2011 @ 6:28 pm

  6. Stove popped popcorn is the best! I’m like a kid every time I make it; I use a pot with a glass lid so I can see the kernels pop! This recipe does sound great. I make a caramel corn that I bake for about an hour I think at low temp after you mix in the caramel and it ends up not sticky. You could try that next time with this recipe. Using honey sounds delicious!

    Comment by elizabeth / sophisticated pie — March 7, 2011 @ 6:47 pm

  7. Try


    Or just look up ’Back to Basics Microwave Popcorn Popper’.

    I never made it much, either, until Cooks Country highlighted a couple of really good microwave popcorn poppers.

    We have the back to basics model, and someone in the family uses it at least three times a week.

    Comment by Kathy — March 7, 2011 @ 7:18 pm

  8. You made my day. Popcorn is my favorite food-period. I have also given up the microwave bag and now pop the real thing on the stove or in my Cuisinart popper. So delicious!

    Comment by linda — March 7, 2011 @ 8:09 pm

  9. Sticky or not, you totally got me with the promise of sweet/salty all in the same lovely popcorny mess. That’s really all I needed to hear… *drool*

    Comment by lo — March 7, 2011 @ 11:09 pm

  10. I love popcorn and I’ve actually added honey to melted butter and then poured it over popcorn. It’s amazing with a good hammering of salt. Love the idea of adding nuts too. I’m craving popcorn right this minute, thanks.

    Comment by kickpleat — March 9, 2011 @ 1:06 am

  11. Nice! I put a kettle corn recipe in my cookbook (The Ski House Cookbook / Clarkson Potter 2007) but I used ordinary sugar to eliminate stickiness. I’m sure the flavor isn’t nearly as interesting as with orange blossom honey, though!

    Popcorn is a food that’s been RUINED by technology, hasn’t it? Remember air poppers? They turned everything to Styrofoam. The pot is the only way to go.

    Sometimes I put a little macadamia nut oil on instead of butter–WOW is that stuff good.

    My best “real popcorn” trick is to keep the lid slightly ajar to let steam escape. One or two kernels always find the door, but mostly it works.

    Microwave popcorn contains an additive that in large doses can harm your lungs. Isn’t that depressing? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/06/AR2007050601089.html


    Comment by Julia's Child — March 9, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

  12. Ooh I make popcorn once a week and usually and just lazy enough to toss with salt and a bit of olive oil. Orange blossom honey sounds heavenly though! I am catching up on your posts and am sad I didn’t live closer, or would be signing up for all your classes! One thing particular intrigues me, as I have no idea what a “Veloute” is. I must investigate. Thanks for always keeping me inspired ;)

    Comment by fresh365 — March 10, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

  13. Oh my goodness… I just LOVE this! I love to make homemade kettle corn… But, I think the flavors in this popcorn will absolutely put that to shame.

    Comment by Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — March 10, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

  14. […] the sweet and salty variety. I make a lot of homemade kettle corn, but I am pretty sure this Sweet and Salty Popcorn from Dana Treat will totally put mine to shame. And, I’m OK with that. Orange blossom honey and roasted […]

    Pingback by Friday Favorites – Episode 84 | my kitchen addiction — March 11, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

  15. Ooh, this sounds yummy. I have a caramel corn recipe I love, where you spread the sticky corn on a baking sheet and bake it in a slow oven (250, I think?) for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. In the end it’s crunchy rather than sticky. I bet you could do that with this recipe too. Your recipe looks better than that one though — fewer ingredients, and even though it’s probably just as sweet, it still feels healthier somehow to use honey rather than corn syrup!

    Comment by statgirl — April 1, 2011 @ 10:12 pm

  16. Sweet And Sophisticated Treat

    […] r spatula and working quickly, stir the popcorn so the honey coats as much of it […]

    Trackback by Pearl Blog — April 29, 2017 @ 1:51 am

Leave a comment