Pecan Popcorn Custers with Smoked Salt, Dark Chocolate and Caramel

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These popcorn clusters are really simple to put together and would make for an apt post-firework snack (in fact, covered entirely in chocolate they could look a little like coal!). Think of them as the boujee sister of the rice crispie cake, with bonfire night inspired flavours making them feel a little more grown up.

  • Roughly 125g corn kernels (or 90g plain popcorn- popped weight)
  • 2tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil (omit this if you’re using ready popped corn)
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 75g pecans
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • generous pinch smoked salt

Method

  1. Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper. Have another piece of greaseproof paper handy,
  2. If you’re popping your own kernels, put a large lidded pan on a medium/high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, put a couple of kernels in and wait for them to pop. Once they’ve popped you know your oil is ready, so add the remaining kernels and put the lid on. You’ll hear lots of popping for a few minutes, but once it slows turn the heat off and set aside until it completely stops, then remove the lid and leave to cool. It’s a good idea to shake the pan occasionally during the popping process to avoid any catching on the base of the pan.
  3. Put the sugar in a heavy bottomed pan and heat gently until completely melted, swirling (but not stirring) the pan occasionally. Once the sugar has melted increase the heat and take the caramel to a golden brown colour, then add in the butter and melt until combined (careful, it will spit a little!). Set aside to cool slightly, then transfer the popcorn into a large mixing bowl along with the pecans and a generous pinch of smoked salt. Mix briefly. Tip the caramel into the bowl and, working quickly, stir to coat the popcorn and pecans before tipping the mix onto the prepared tray.
  4. Press the mix down using the spare greaseproof paper and a tea towel (it will be quite hot) to make a compact even layer. Set aside to cool and firm up.
  5. Once crisp, break the popcorn into rough pieces. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water) then dip the pieces in, or drizzle it over, if you prefer. Finish with a little more smoked salt then leave to set for about half an hour. Enjoy!