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{flavor stories} sakura candy corn…

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I've had a thing for popcorn lately and a hankering for candy corn. So, I decided to try a take on a childhood favorite made sweeter with nonpareils and sakura {cherry blossom} extract. And you know what? It turned out better {and cuter!} than I could have imagined!

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Sakura Candy Corn
4 cups white popcorn, popped
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp baking soda
a pinch of fleur de sel
1 tbsp butter, unsalted
5 drops sakura extract {or 1 tsp vanilla extract} 
a touch of pink food dye {optional}
a handful of white or primary nonpareils {optional}

Here's how: Place the popcorn in a large bowl and set aside. On high-heat in a small saucepan, cook sugar and water until it reaches 290F {just under hard crack} on a candy thermometer. Add the soda and fleur de sel and swirl until combined {it will be a little frothy}. Remove from heat and add the butter, extract, and color and stir until combined. Quickly pour over popcorn and fold together until the sugar mixture coats most of the popcorn. Immediately sprinkle with the nonpareils. Let cool for 10 minutes.  

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My version is pretty in pastel pink and white and makes a sweet gift when packaged in small glassine bags and tied with kraft twist ties like these from Knot and Bow. I also love these recipes for Chili-Lime, Caramel and Fleur de sel and Spicy Sweet popcorn. Plus, one day soon I'd really love to try these Buttered Popcorn Sundaes!

So tell me folks, do you have any popcorn secrets you'd like to share—a favorite flavor combination or a must-know tip about this crunchy snack?

Nikole

{photos and styling by Nikole Herriott for Oh Joy}

57 comments

  1. This sounds absolutely delightful. I remember a time in my childhood trying to melt M&M’s over popcorn with no luck. Your recipe will definitely be tried to make up for my former failed attempts of sugar-coating popcorn!

  2. wait… aren’t you going to tell us where to find sakura extract? Are there on-line sources that are good/reliable/not in Japan?
    (that sounds like just the thing I need to experiment with using my ice cream maker…in addition to on popcorn…)
    thanks!

  3. This is so cute and I love the packaging! What a cute DIY idea! I always love throwing chocolate chips into my bowl of popcorn. There isn’t anything better than a sweet & savory snack!

  4. My new favorite is truffle parmesan popcorn..pop the popcorn, add butter, salt, truffle oil and grated parmesan cheese. Amazing

  5. A neighbor was locked out of her flat and had to wait two hours with me and chat. The next morning she dropped off a popcorn machine as a thank you!
    Let me tell you, its the gift that keeps on giving and I am looking forward to trying out some of your suggestions!

  6. I’m a big popcorn fanatic and we always have some in our house – it’s our go to snack. I love sprinkling some high quality balsamic vinegar and a bit of salt…yum..and for a sugary treat, nothing beats homemade “crack corn” or kettle corn for the normal people out there. 🙂

  7. Mmm. Love how this looks (and I’m sure it tastes amazing!). I think my first attempts will be the Chili-Lime and Caramel + Fleur de Sel.

  8. I am a pop corn fanatic soo this looks like heaven on earth to me. Thanks for the awesome idea can’t wait to try this one.. Thank You!!! XO

  9. joy, where can we get sakura extract online, any sources? i miss the flavor so much from my trip to japan a few years ago!

  10. Love this! I’m a huge popcorn fan. The candy popcorn recipes I’ve used in the past always required baking the corn after the candy mix is applied. Not sure why…maybe it dries it more? Did you find that the corn was good without extra baking?

  11. Hi Shoni, It shouldn’t end up grainy, I’ve made it a number of times and it coated nicely each time. You have to be pretty fast at folding it together but that’s about it. Also, you could omit the nonpareils if you were concerned about those feeling grainy. Let us know how it goes!

  12. Hi Laurie, thanks! Recipes I’ve used in the past required extra baking too, especially caramel corn (and for good reason). But this one is great without and even holds well over a few days. That said, I haven’t tried baking it afterward so if you do, let us know how it goes!

  13. this is loveliness… our popcorn fav is: popped in coconut oil and then butter, salt and pepper. simple and also lovely.

  14. Hey Nikole, got you all over Pinterest with this one now too! LOL! We’ll have to meet next time you come home to your Ma’s :o}

  15. just wanted to say, i made this today for my 4 yr old’s birthday party. (pink and purple unicorn theme.) it was a huge hit and i just sent an email out to all those who were inquiring after the recipe with a link to your beautiful blog. i made it with vanilla, and we’ll definitely make it again. i am grateful for your experimental spirit. repinned it from you!
    emily
    (lavieboheme on pinterest)

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