Popcorn with Salted Caramel Sand and Crushed Pistachios

I love the idea of a little treat that you can give to friends or pack into your bag for when you feel peckish. I don’t want to pick at roasted nuts or granola (although I admit there are some really interesting artisanal granola mixes out there) so I’ve decided to make my own “gourmet” popcorn mix.

I use the word “gourmet” very loosely here as a way to describe that this isn’t a usual flavor you’d find at the movie theatre or on supermarket shelves. This mix consists of popcorn, salted caramel sand and pistachio. It’s buttery, salty, sugary and nutty. Best eaten with a spoon (so you can scoop it all into your mouth to experience the complete flavor profile). I’d try to eat a batch of these with cold milk to see if this can be an alternative to the breakfast cereal … haha!


1/3 cup popcorn kernels
1 tbsp oil (I used olive oil)
170g unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 cup pistachios, roughly chopped


Heat oil in a big, heavy pan. Put 3 kernels in with the oil. When they start to pop, add remaining kernels in. Close the pot with a lid. Shake it gently every few seconds and pop the kernels medium heat until the popping stops. Remove from pot and spread out in a tray to cool.

In another pot, melt butter over a medium heat. When butter is melted, pour in the brown sugar and stir to make sure every granule is coated in the fat. When the mixture is boiling, stir in the salt, baking soda and vanilla bean paste. Boil until the mixture turns a coppery brown. Remove from heat. As it cools, it should become slightly grainy.

Heat oven to 120C.

In a large mixing bowl, pour in 1/3 of the popcorn, 1/3 of the pistachios and 1/3 of the salted caramel sand. Mix well and transfer into a lined baking tray. Repeat for the remaining quantities. You may have to use your hands to break up the caramel chunks so make sure the caramel is cool enough to work with.

Then put tray into oven and bake for 1 hour, taking the tray out every 15 minutes to give the mix a good stir.

Once cooled, store in airtight container.

To order, click here.

Popcorn with Salted Caramel Sand and Crushed Pistachios, $12 for four 16.5cm X 15.5cm bags.

Popcorn with Salted Caramel Sand and Crushed Pistachios, $12 for four 16.5cm X 15.5cm bags.

Check out Alpha Bakes’ other creations here.

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