Caramel Popcorn Brownies
I always find it strange when I can’t find a particular recipe for something online. I had this problem last year when I wanted to make a strawberry and white chocolate mudcake – I thought to myself, surely someone has made this before?
More recently I was searching for some sort of caramel popcorn and brownie concoction, thinking that it would be quite easy to find. Given the current salted caramel craze you’d think that there would be recipes floating around for basically caramel + anything. Alas, suitable recipes were few and far between. Some of them were in other languages, some were overly Americanised (why does butter come in ‘sticks’??) and some of them had weird fake ‘caramel’ made of condensed milk, golden syrup or melted down caramel lollies.
I figured that it wouldn’t be too hard to make a brownie, make some popcorn, and then kind of mash the two together somehow. Experiment time!
I used my regular brownie recipe as a base, which is nice and moist but not overly rich. If you’re more of a chocolate fan you could use a different recipe that produces a similar quantity of brownie. The brownie can be made a day ahead and kept in an airtight container.
Makes approximately 24 pieces.
- 100g good-quality dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa), broken into pieces
- 125g unsalted butter, chopped
- 130g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 eggs
- 85g plain flour
- 2 tbsp Dutch cocoa powder
Preheat a convential oven to 180 degrees (160 fan-forced).
Put chocolate, butter and sugar in a large microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 20 seconds on high, remove and stir well. Repeat until mixture is melted and smooth and the sugar has dissolved. I only had to heat the mixture for 40 seconds in total in my 1200W microwave, but this may take longer if you have a lower power microwave. Leave the mixture for 5 minutes to cool.
Add vanilla essence and eggs. Stir until combined.
Add flour and cocoa powder. Stir well until the mixture forms a thick, smooth batter.
Line a 24cm square cake cake tin with baking paper. Here’s a tip I got from one of Jamie Oliver’s shows – scrunch the baking paper into a ball and run it under the tap. Squeeze to remove excess water and then unfold. It should now be much easier to get it to fit the shape of the tin.
Pour batter into the tin and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool in the tin.
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1/2 cup popping corn
- 100g butter, chopped
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp salt flakes
This is based on the recipe on the back of the packet of popcorn. The original recipe had 125g butter and 3/4 cup sugar, but I realised too late that I only had 100g butter in the fridge so I reduced the quantities of the other ingredients. I left the popcorn amount the same because I wasn’t sure how much to reduce it by and couldn’t be bothered weighing it (clearly I’m never going to be a pastry chef!). To maintain the ratio of popcorn to caramel, I removed some of the cooked popcorn. I’ll fix the recipe next time I make it…
Put the oil in a large saucepan that has a matching lid. Leave the lid off for now and turn the heat to high. When the oil is hot enough, a kernel dropped in will start to spin slowly. Add the corn and immediately put the lid on. When the corn starts popping, shake the saucepan regularly. When the popping has stopped, remove the pan from the heat and take the lid off.
Transfer 2/3 of the popcorn to a large bowl and remove any unpopped kernels. Store the remaining popcorn in an airtight container
Put the butter, sugar and honey in a saucepan. Heat on low until the butter is melted and the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until mixture is a deep caramel brown colour. Add the salt and stir. Working quickly, pour the caramel into the popcorn, stir to coat, and then spread the popcorn mixture on top of the cooled brownie.
When I did this, the popcorn appeared to adhere to the brownie quite well. Success, I thought!
That was until I actually tried to cut it up.
Unfortunately caramel popcorn isn’t the easiest thing to cut with a knife, so when I tried the brownie underneath ended up crumbling from the pressure above it. Clumps of popcorn then started to fall off, taking off layers of brownie with them. Lucky I’m not a civil engineer.
I think next time I might try something different – maybe cutting the brownie first, doing clusters of popcorn and then cementing them on top of the cut slices with extra caramel. On the upside though, I was left with a lot of delicious caramel, popcorn and chocolate crumb, which I can imagine would be great on ice cream!