Makes 3 quarts


  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed, or canola, oil
  • 5 ounces dry popcorn kernels
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. herbes de Provence
  • 1 tsp. salt


    Over medium-high heat, warm a large stockpot, with the lid on, for 3 minutes. Remove the lid and add the oil. Drop a couple of kernels of popcorn in the pot and cover. Continue cooking until the kernels have fully popped.

    Add the rest of the kernels. Shake vigorously, keeping your hand on the lid, for about 5 minutes, or until the popping slows to several seconds between pops. Remove the pot from the heat, remove the lid and pour the popcorn into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

    Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 300°. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of warm water, the baking soda and the vanilla extract. Set aside.

    In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the butter, brown sugar and corn syrup to a boil. Continue to cook until the mixture has reached 260°, as measured with a digital thermometer, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.

    Add the baking-soda mixture. Stir well. The mixture will bubble a bit. Add the herbes de Provence and salt and stir well, about 20 seconds. Pour the caramel over the popcorn. Stir the popcorn until well coated, and spread onto the baking sheet.

    Bake the popcorn for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally with a spatula. Remove a kernel and set it on the counter until cool. Test it to make sure it's crispy. If it's still chewy, continue to bake for another 10 minutes. Repeat the test.

    When the popcorn is crisp, remove the baking sheet from the oven and set it on a heat-proof surface. Continue to stir the hot popcorn until it's cool, to prevent it from sticking together.

    Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.

    From Composing the Cheese Plate (Running Press) by Brian Keyser and Leigh Friend.

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