1 1/2 cups toasted walnut halves
or pieces, finely chopped
Fine sea salt
2 tablespoons corn oil
1 cup popcorn
2 cups granulated sugar
Put the cayenne and the walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and chop fine.
Heat a high-sided pasta pot over medium heat and add the oil.
Add one popcorn kernel; when it pops, remove it and add remaining popcorn. (Alternately,
1 package of natural flavor microwave popcorn can be used.)
Cover and cook over medium heat, shaking the pan from now and then, until the
popping stops for 5-second intervals.
Transfer popcorn to a large bowl and sprinkle with fine sea salt.
Heat a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over high heat for 3 minutes.
Line a sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper, and set aside.
Add the sugar to the heated saucepan and stir with a heatproof spatula or metal
spoon until it melts and turns a golden caramel color. Add the ground walnuts with
cayenne and stir once to combine. Working quickly but carefully, pull the pan off
the heat and add the popcorn all at once. Stir to coat completely and evenly with
the caramel, pulling popcorn and caramel up from the bottom of the pan. Try not
to break up the popcorn.
Pour and scrape the coated popcorn onto the lined sheet pan.
When cool enough to handle, sprinkle with the kosher salt and break the popcorn
into bite-size clusters.
Yield: 6-8 servings
Popcorn can be made and reserved in a tightly-sealed container for 24 hours.