I'm an avid Bon Appetit subscriber and love it when they come up with something new. They were touting this popcorn as the greatest thing since pay-at-the-pump gasoline, so I had to try it. I pulled out a jar of the Zook! Zook! Powder Puff Popping Corn and my ever-present bottle of Southern Art Hot Sauce and went to town. And...... baby. Claire Saffitz, who created this monstrosity of deliciousness, should be either beat down in the streets or elevated to sainthood. I can't decide if I love her or loathe her. Let's be real: I love her. This is the stuff that snacking legends are made of. Make it. Today. Claire - thank you. Humbly yours, joseph
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
8 cups popped Zook! Zook! popcorn (from ½ cup kernels)
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup Southern Art Hot Sauce
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 300°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly coat parchment and a large bowl with nonstick spray; add popcorn to bowl. Set baking sheet aside.
Bring sugar and ¼ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil, swirling pan occasionally, until caramel is a deep amber color, 10–12 minutes.
Remove from heat; stir in hot sauce and butter (mixture will bubble vigorously). Return to a boil and cook another 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in salt, baking soda, and cayenne. Working quickly (and carefully—caramel will be very hot), pour caramel mixture over popcorn and toss to coat.
Spread out popcorn on prepared baking sheet and bake, tossing once, until dry, 15–20 minutes. Let cool.
DO AHEAD: Popcorn can be made 4 hours ahead. Store airtight at room temperature to keep out moisture.
RECIPE BY: CLAIRE SAFFITZ | PHOTO BY: JARREN FINK