Peanut Chili Caramel Corn

Source: Executive chef Kenneth Thompson, The Memphis Country Club, Memphis, TN Courtesy of Southern Peanut Growers
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Menu Part: Appetizer
Cuisine Type: American
Serves: 14

Smoky spice infused crisp popcorn, fragrant with butter and caramel, and served in a paper cone. The genius of this little snack is in its finish: chili sauce and cayenne chase the familiar junk-food toffee and peanut butter flavors with a sly, savory heat.

Ingredients

3 tbsp. unpopped popcorn
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
2 oz. unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
1 tbsp. black sesame seeds
1 tbsp. sambal chili sauce
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper

Steps

  1. Pop popcorn and pour into large bowl.
  2. In heavy saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt. Cook over med.-high heat to 250°F, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove mixture from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda. Add peanut butter, peanuts, sesame seeds, chili sauce, garlic and cayenne; stir with whisk until all ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Pour mixture evenly over popcorn and stir with a wooden spoon until popcorn is evenly coated.
  5. Transfer coated popcorn to a lightly oiled sheet pan. Bake at 300°F for 5 min. Stir to separate popcorn; bake 5 min. longer.
  6. Remove from oven, stir and cool to room temperature. Store in airtight container up to 1 week.