Ding, ding, ding! I think we have a winner! A few weeks ago, I received a whopping 5 pounds of Peter’s Caramel in the mail from Gygi. When that much caramel is staring you down, the problem isn’t what to make with it; it’s what not to make with it. After we carved off more than I’d care to admit, I tucked the block away for safe keeping in the garage. I erroneously thought I would be able to resist the urge to carve off a little more. So, I’m just gonna be honest with you – we keep a butter knife tucked into the box to make it easy on ourselves. Oh, my, that caramel!
My kids love popcorn balls and I admittedly do not make them often enough because it’s really me who can’t stop eating them. Awhile back I saw a recipe for Miso Caramel Sauce and haven’t been able to get it out of my head. And so while I’d like to say I was the genius who came up with it, I’m not. I’m just the genius who turned it into Miso Caramel Popcorn Balls. (Am I the first one? I don’t know!)
This makes a small-ish batch. That’s on purpose because as I mentioned several times, I can’t trust myself around caramel popcorn. Apparently, though, I need to make bigger batches because my progeny also can’t resist them and when I wasn’t looking, the popcorn balls disappeared within moments. No – I’m exaggerating. There were a few left the next morning and I found my son, at 7:00 AM, munching on the last few for breakfast. I can’t blame him really.
Okay, so why on earth would you want to put miso (fermented soy bean paste) and sesame seeds (which we haven’t even talked about yet!) into your caramel popcorn? It’s our old friend, Umami. It adds that savory, salty flavor that is utterly addictive and takes the edge off the sweetness. The sesame seeds add another layer of flavor. And before you know it, you’re going back for more. It’s that simple. Look, I won’t blame you if you think it’s weird. Two years ago, I would have felt the same way. But if you’re the type who enjoys living on the culinary edge or even a safe distance from it, you’ll totally love what miso does to caramel. They are MFEO. (That’s Made For Each Other, in case you’ve never seen Sleepless in Seattle).
And look how easy – only 4 ingredients!
And in about 15-20 minutes, you’ve got some seriously tasty caramel popcorn balls. (And you might want to get started on making that second batch. Just sayin’.)
p.s. I think these are super fun for Halloween! We joked that they look like something out of Nightmare Before Christmas and the sesame seeds look like little creepy, crawly things. :)
Other sweet ways to use miso:
Miso Caramel form Food52 http://food52.com/recipes/18618-miso-caramel
Ginger Maple Miso Ice Cream from Spabettie
The Best Ever Ginger Miso Ice Cream from Drizzle and Drip
Miso Oatmeal Cookies from Spache the Spatula
Chocolate Chip Cookes with Red Miso Buttercream from Food and Wine
Miso Caramel Mousse from Fearless Dining
Miso Almond Brownies from Fragrant Vanilla Cake
Red Miso Souffle from Barefoot Kitchen Witch
Miso Butterscotch Twinkies from Fine Cooking
Ginger Pear Cupcakes with Miso Salted Caramel from Cupcake Project
Miso Ice Cream Pies from Rachael White | Set The Table
Roasted Strawberry Miso Ice Cream from David Lebovitz
Gluten-Free Miso Tofu Brownies from Viet World Kitchen
Miso Ganache from Martha Stewart
Butterscotch Pudding with Miso from Kitchen Wood
-Weighing out the caramel is easier than melting and measuring. Use one ounce of caramel per cup of popcorn. If you like more caramel, use it!
-Butter your hands a little bit to make it easier to form the popcorn balls.
-If you choose to leave out the miso, don’t worry about substituting it with anything else. Just proceed with the recipe.
-White sesame seeds can be used in place of the black ones.
-For softer caramel corn, add about 1-2 teaspoons of evaporated milk to caramel as it’s melting.
That’s a whole lotta caramel!
- 10 cup popped popcorn
- 10 ounces Peter's Caramel (or your favorite brand)
- 1 Tablespoon white or red miso
- 1 Tablespoon black sesame seeds
- Place popcorn in a large bowl. Cut caramel into chunks and place in a microwave-safe bowl on 50% power for 2-3 minutes, stirring once or twice, until completely melted.
- Stir in miso paste until completely combined.
- Pour over popcorn and stir to coat well with the caramel. Sprinkle with the black sesame seeds. Butter your hands and form into 12 balls the size of baseballs.
- Place on parchment paper and let sit for a few minutes. Store extra popcorn balls in an airtight container.