Buffalo Wing Popcorn

buffalo-popcorn

You guys. Make this. Make it now. Then I’ll have someone else who shares my addiction to it, and I won’t feel weird about crunching it non-stop. What is it? Buffalo wing popcorn. It’s a savory caramel corn, and it’s crunchy, sweet, salty, and spicy all at once– the perfect snack for any occasion.

Bon Appetit has called this “the best recipe we’ve ever made,” and while I’m not sure it’s the best thing I’ve ever made myself, it’s certainly unique and interesting and did I mention addictive? It starts off lightly sweet, then the hot sauce kicks in and the easiest way to assuage the slight burn is to eat more popcorn… which of course starts it all over again, and before you know it you’ve gone through a large handful and are reaching for more!

I won’t waste any more time talking– here’s the recipe.

Buffalo Wing Popcorn (from Bon Appetit)

  • 8 cups popped plain popcorn (from ½ cup kernels, or 1 package microwave popcorn)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup Frank’s Red Hot Original sauce
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or (my favorite for caramel stuff) a silicone liner.

3. Spray a large mixing bowl with cooking spray, dump in the popped popcorn, and set aside.

4. In a medium-sized saucepan, dump in your sugar and 1/4 cup water. Cover with a lid and boil over medium-high heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and the bubbles start coming a little more slowly (that means the mixture is thickening). You want to keep the lid on at first to avoid crystallization. (if it does crystallize you’ll need to add more water, redissolve, and try again)

5. Once your sugar is starting to thicken a little, remove the lid and keep an eye on it, swirling occasionally as it starts to take on a golden color. Once the sugar has reached a nice amber color, remove it from the heat and stir in the hot sauce and butter. (it’ll bubble up a lot).

6. Return to heat and boil for 3 minutes.

7. Remove from heat again and stir in cayenne, baking soda, and salt. It’ll bubble up even more this time. Pour it over the popcorn and stir to coat thoroughly.

buffalo-popcorn-process

8. Spread the coated popcorn onto your lined baking sheet in an even layer. Bake 15-20  minutes, stirring halfway through. The popcorn will still be damp and sticky, but don’t worry, it’ll firm up as it cools.

buffalo-popcorn-sheet

9. When completely cool, store in an airtight container. Best the day it’s made, but it should be fine the next day too.

Notes:

  1. The recipe above makes just about enough to cover an 11×17″ sheet pan, so if you feel like doubling it (to make enough for a party), keep that in mind.
  2. I didn’t have plain microwaved popcorn– only regular popcorn that came with a light butter flavoring and some salt. I reduced the kosher salt by half to make up for this and it turned out great.
  3. It may be extra work, but (especially for microwave popcorn) I recommend separating out the popped from unpopped kernels before you pour the caramel over everything. Just scoop out handfuls of popped popcorn into a separate bowl and leave the unpopped pieces at the bottom of your first receptacle. If you don’t, the caramel will not only disguise the tooth-crackingly hard corn kernels, but will bind them to the popped pieces so you’ll bite into them when you least expect it. Not fun!
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