Spicy caramel popcorn with peanut M&M’s. Picture: Supplied

This recipe for spicy caramel popcorn is one of Sam Linsell's favourites from her cookbook "Sweet" and turns ordinary popcorn into something special, worthy of a party and worthy of Halloween. 

Linsell never grew up with this holiday and has honestly never even been to a Halloween party, but caramel and corn and sweets and candy are what she imagines should be key elements at a Halloween party. 

The spice is mild enough to give it an exciting flavour, but still suitable for children.

“I didn’t think this spicy caramel popcorn recipe could be improved upon, until I added nutty M&M’s to the mix and they just really work with these crunchy caramel clusters to make a sweet snack bowl of happiness. You will love this I promise,” said the cookbook author and food
stylist.

Spicy caramel popcorn with peanut M&M’s

Ingredients

• 150g corn kernels
• 15 ml coconut oil, or any other neutral oil
• 5 ml ground cumin
• 5 ml ground cinnamon
• 3 ml paprika
• 5 ml salt
• 3 ml bicarbonate of soda
• 325 g butter
• 300 g granulated white sugar
• 30 ml golden syrup
• 5 ml vanilla extract
• 1 cup or a 128g bag of Limited edition peanut and hazelnut M&M’s

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 120ºC. Line a baking tray with silicone or baking paper.
2. Make the popcorn any way that you prefer. (I like to use a large skillet with a glass lid.) Transfer the popcorn to a large, deep bowl; it should only half fill the bowl, allowing space to toss the sauce.
3. Mix all the spices and bicarbonate of soda together.
4. In a medium-size, heavy-based pot bring the butter, sugar, and syrup to the boil. Continue to let it bubble, stirring continuously, until the mixture turns golden-brown and reaches the hard crack stage of 155ºC. Add the vanilla extract and spice mix and stir vigorously for a few seconds, then remove from the heat. Pour the hot caramel over the popcorn and toss to coat.
5. Spread the caramel-covered popcorn evenly on the prepared baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. Remove it from the oven and toss to ensure it’s evenly coated. Return it to the oven for a further 15 minutes, then remove, toss again and leave to cool.
6. Once cool, break it up and serve in a bowl with the M&M’s.Store in an airtight container to preserve.