Caramel Popcorn Shooters

Nostalgic for the caramel popcorn he loved as a kid, Achatz captures the flavor in the brilliant warm dessert drink he serves at Alinea. It has two parts: a rich, buttery popcorn broth and a frothy, light caramel topping.Amazing Corn RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine Best New Chefs All-Star Cookbook

Caramel Popcorn Shooters
Photo: © Chris Court
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs
8 to 10


Caramel Froth

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar 

  • 2 teaspoons soy lecithin powder (see Note) 

Popcorn Broth

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil 

  • 1⁄2 cup popping corn 

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt 

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter 

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar 


make the caramel froth

  1. In a small saucepan, combine 2 tablespoons of the sugar with 2 tablespoons of water and simmer the syrup over moderate heat just until the sugar has dissolved.

  2. In another small saucepan, combine the remaining 1 cup of sugar with 1⁄2 cup of water and simmer over moderate heat, without stirring, until an amber caramel forms (340° on a candy thermometer), about 15 minutes. Immediately add 1/3 cup of water and the sugar syrup; be careful, as the caramel mixture will bubble and splatter. Whisk until smooth, then transfer the caramel syrup to a medium bowl and let stand for 30 minutes.

meanwhile, make the popcorn broth

  1. In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the canola oil until just smoking. Add the popping corn, cover and cook over moderately high heat, shaking the pan constantly, until the kernels have stopped popping, 2 to 3 minutes.

  2. In another large saucepan, combine the popcorn with the salt, butter, sugar and 31⁄2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer and cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing on the popcorn until only the kernels remain; discard the kernels.

  3. Transfer the popcorn broth to a blender and blend until frothy, about 3 minutes. Add the lecithin powder to the caramel syrup and blend with an immersion blender until frothy.

  4. Pour the warm popcorn broth into small glasses, filling them halfway (about 1⁄4 cup each). Spoon some of the caramel froth on top and serve.

Make Ahead

The popcorn broth can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat and froth in the blender just before serving.


Soy lecithin powder is available at health-food stores and online at

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