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Spicy Beer Caramel Pecan Popcorn

Spicy Beer Caramel Pecan Popcorn
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From the latest edition of WestCoasterSD, just in time for stuffing our holiday faces. Freakin’ beer  caramel popcorn – I bow down before the person who thought this one up. Truly my hero! What a great gift for that hard one on your list. Hopefully this’ll inspire some of you to make a cheesy version without the caramel. If you do, tell me what you did in the comments below…. Oh, yum…

YIELD: 12 SERVINGS

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • ¾ cup Belgian-style quadrupel or dark strong ale*
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¾ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp whipping cream
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 12 cups prepared popcorn
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 1½ tsp smoked sea salt (or kosher salt, to substitute)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Stir together the sugar, corn syrup, beer, butter and cayenne pepper in a saucepan over high heat until all of the ingredients are completely incorporated. Bring the mixture to a boil and let cook for 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and add the heavy cream.
  • Combine the popcorn and pecans in a large bowl. Pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn and stir to evenly coat.
  • Turn the mixture out onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and coated with an even layer of nonstick spray. You may need more than one baking sheet, or you can perform the following step in batches.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and use a spatula to stir the popcorn thoroughly. Return the sheet to the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and transfer the corn to a room temperature baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Season the popcorn with salt and let cool.
  • Serve the popcorn, store in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or package in decorative cellophane pouches tied together with ribbons, bows or your preferred style of aesthetic yuletide gussying.

Recommended Beers (in alphabetical order):

  • AleSmith GrandCru
  • The Lost Abbey Judgment Day
  • The Lost Abbey Lost & FoundAle
  • Iron Fist Dubbel Fisted
  • Karl Strauss Two Tortugas
  • Societe The Widow

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