Nuts and popcorn: sweet and salty snacks

Kick those snacks up a notch with these two must-try recipes using popcorn, nuts and flavourful spices.

Nuts and popcorn: sweet and salty snacks

Mixed nut brittle

Take ordinary nut brittle up a notch — or three! — with the surprising addition of cracked black pepper. Most snackers can't resist the combination of sweet, peppery and salty.

Prep time 10 min

Cook time 20 min

Serves 24

  • 500 g (2 c) sugar
  • 250 ml (1 c) water
  • 250 ml (1 c) light corn syrup
  • 2 g (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 750 g (3 c) salted mixed nuts
  • 30 g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 10 g (2 tsp) baking soda
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) vanilla extract
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) hot red-pepper sauce
  • 5 g (1 tsp) cracked black pepper
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) crushed red-pepper flakes
  1. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Combine the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the sugar has dissolved and the temperature has reached 136°C (270°F) on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in the salt and nuts and cook, ­stirring, until the temperature reaches 150°C (300°F), five to six minutes longer.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the butter, baking soda, vanilla, red-pepper sauce, black pepper and red-pepper flakes. Pour onto the baking sheet and spread with a spatula into as thin a layer as possible.
  5. Let cool completely, about one hour, then break into smaller pieces to serve.


Make the nut brittle ahead of time to keep on hand for parties, snacking or giving as gifts. Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to two weeks.

Kickin’ kettle corn

Who says popcorn seasonings have to stop at butter and salt? Some people know that cayenne pepper is great on popcorn, but try curry powder, too! Mixed with the sweetness of sugar, these spices create an out-of-this-world flavour. Make a double batch, and this kettle corn will disappear faster than you can fill another bowl.

Prep time 5 min

Cook time 5 min

Serves 8

  • 150 g (2/3 c) popcorn kernels
  • 70 g (1/3 c) sugar
  • 50 ml (1/4 c) canola oil
  • 5 g (1 tsp) curry powder
  • 5 g (1 tsp) salt
  • 1/2 g (1/8 tsp) cayenne pepperCombine the popcorn kernels, sugar, oil, curry powder, salt and cayenne in a large pot over medium-high heat and cook, shaking the pot often, until the kernels pop, five to seven minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Cool for two minutes before serving.

Personalize it!

Swap cumin and coriander for the curry and cayenne. For a sweeter version, try using cinnamon and allspice. Vary the spices to suit your tastes.


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