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Recipe: Apple, Ginger & Sesame Caramel Corn for Wassail & National Popcorn Day

This week was Wassail, an ancient English custom of visiting orchards and singing to the trees to promote a good harvest for the coming year. So we met up with Lydia from Lydia Lotus Designs & Lydia Lotus Decor, sang to the trees, showered them in Lydia's handcrafted jewels, and had brunch! The photo above is of the traditional drink for wassail and some of Lydia's lovely work. 

It was lovely to get together in the crisp winter air and take in the wonders of the outdoors while sipping on hot wassail (which is usually a kind of, cider version of mulled wine, that we turned into more of a spiced tea with citrus slices).

But by the time we got home, we were in need of a warming sweet snack. And we were inspired by national popcorn day, which just so happens to be today!

nine tea cups bakery apple sesame and ginger caramel popcorn balls

This is a really versatile recipe that was dreamt up back at university. The seeds can be subbed for other seeds, nuts, and/or coconut. Just make sure you toast them first. The ginger and dried apple can also be substituted for dried fruit.

And if you are not keen on popcorn, you could replace the popped corn for 2 cups of toasted nuts, popped quinoa or popped amaranth. 

Nine Tea Cups Bakery Wassail and National Popcorn Week 2018

Sesame, date, ginger and apple popcorn balls

3 tablespoons coconut or avocado oil

100g popcorn kernels, unpopped*

80g Sesame Seeds

50g coconut sugar, unrefined cane sugar or 

180g date syrup

75g coconut oil

2 tsp freshly grated ginger or ground ginger

80g crystallised ginger, chopped

40g, dried apple, chopped

1) Line 2 large baking trays with nonstick paper, if you want to supersize your popcorn balls then you might 

Set a large pan on medium-high and add 2 tablespoons of oil. When melted add 5 popcorn kernels to the oil and cover the pan. When they have popped, add the remaining popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from the heat and count to 30. (The reason for this step is to bring the oil up to temperature, by removing it from the heat, the kernels are then brought up to popping temperature so when they are put back on the heat they all pop at the same time and you get fewer burnt kernels).

2)Return the pan to the heat, the kernels should begin popping. Once they do, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner (if you have metal handles like we do - please use oven gloves), and try to keep the lid slightly ajar so that any steam can escape and your popcorn can be as crunchy as possible. 

3) Once the popping stops to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, take the lid off and pour the popped popcorn into a big bowl

4) In a large dry frying pan, toast the sesame seeds over a low to medium heat until they are fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside. 

 5) In a small pan, over a medium heat, add the date syrup and coconut sugar, using a sugar thermometer bring the date syrup and coconut sugar mixture to 118C.When ready, remove from the heat, stir in the 75g coconut oil and toasted sesame seeds, pour over the popcorn mixture, and gently stir until the popcorn mixture is evenly covered. Stir in the, freshly grated ginger, Crystallised ginger and dried apple pieces. 

6) With the mixture still warm, but cool enough to handle, form the mixture into 5cm/2-inch balls (we made ours 10cm/4inch). Place them on the paper lined baking trays. Set aside to cool.

If you would prefer to have caramel popcorn, simply pour the mixture out onto the baking trays in an even layer and leave to cool. When cool, break into pieces and devour!

This makes approximately 2 baking trays full of popcorn, 40 5cm/2-in popcorn balls, or 20 10cm/4-in popcorn balls. Enjoy.