Caramel Popcorn

A treat with a trick from Chicago's Yusho

Forget beer nuts: Even the bar snacks at Chicago's Yusho are exciting. Sous chef Anndria Jones, a Texas native who moved to the city after culinary school, shared her recipe for caramel popcorn.

This caramel corn is the kind of sweet-and-salty snack that you can't stop eating, equally good alongside a whiskey cocktail or downed by the handful on a movie night. Flavored with caramel, Szechuan peppercorns and almonds and finished with bonito salt, it walks the line between sweet and savory.

Recipe adapted from Anndria Jones, Yusho, Chicago, IL

Caramel Popcorn
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Meet Anndria Jones, chef of Chicago's Yusho, and get her recipe for spicy caramel popcorn
Prep Time
40
minutes
Cook Time
10
minutes
Servings
2
quarts (8 cups; with leftover bonito salt)
Total time: 50 minutes
Ingredients
  • Flaky sea salt, ⅓ cup
  • Bonito flakes, 2 tablespoons
  • Popped, unseasoned popcorn, 8 cups (from ½ cup of popcorn kernels)
  • Nonstick pan spray
  • Granulated sugar, 1½ cups
  • Water, ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon
  • Szechuan peppercorns, 1 teaspoon (finely ground)
  • Whole raw almonds, ½ cup
Directions
  1. Make the bonito salt: To the small bowl insert of a food processor, add the: Flaky sea salt Bonito flakes Grind until powder-fine. To a large bowl, add the: Popped popcorn 1 tablespoon of the bonito salt Stir to combine and set aside.
  2. Make the caramel: Lightly coat a metal spoon with nonstick pan spray and set aside. To a heavy-bottomed pot, add the: Granulated sugar Water Use a wooden spoon to stir the sugar-water mixture, taking care not to splash it on the sides of the pot. Once the mixture becomes the consistency of wet sand, cover the pot and set it over medium-high heat. Check the color of the sugar mixture occasionally, and once it starts to turn an amber color, 7 to 9 minutes, uncover the pot and add: 2 teaspoons of the bonito salt Ground Szechuan peppercorns Cook until the peppercorns are fragrant, about 30 seconds, being careful not to let the caramel burn. Turn off the heat and add the: Popped popcorn Almonds Use the coated metal spoon to thoroughly stir the popcorn so that it is evenly coated with the caramel. Pour the hot mixture onto a silicone-mat-lined baking sheet. Set aside until cool, then break up into craggy pieces and serve.
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