Sierra-Nevada Brewing Co. just posted what seems like an interesting recipe for beer-infused caramel popcorn. I say “seems like” because I haven’t actually tried it. But how can you go wrong with beer, caramel and popcorn?
The Sierra recipe suggests you use the brewery’s tasty Celebration Ale, which is a very nice American IPA. You could use any brew of your choice, really, though dark, malty, spicy winter-seasonal ales will probably work best. Anchor Brewing’s Our Special Christmas Ale comes to mind. And beery caramel corn will surely make a nice addition to any beer-nerd holiday fête.
Here’s Sierra recipe for caramel popcorn with Celebration Ale, from its head chef:
- 2 cups popping corn
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups toasted nuts (e.g., pecans, almonds, peanuts)
- 1 cup dried fruit (e.g., cranberries, cherries)
- Non-stick vegetable oil spray
Caramel sauce consisting of:
- 1/2 cup Celebration Ale
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 stick unsalted butter
“In a large pot with a lid, add the vegetable oil and the corn. With the lid on the pot, cook over moderately high heat, shaking the pot continuously for about 8 minutes or until all of the kernels are popped. Pour the popped corn into a large bowl and set aside.
“In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, combine Celebration, water, sugar, salt and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is dark amber—about 300 degrees. Remove from heat, add baking soda and butter and stir for about 30 seconds. Caution: This will produce considerable steam. Use a long whisk and avoid touching the top of the sauce pan.
“Working quickly and carefully, pour the caramel sauce over the popped corn. Stir to coat the popped corn evenly. Add the nuts and fruit. Pour the final mixture onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or foil wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick vegetable oil spray. Note: Caramel sauce needs to be hot to mix effectively. Be mindful of timing.”
Pop on over to Sierra’s website for some pretty pictures of the cooking process.