Today I’m taking a trip down memory lane. Back to my childhood. Remember Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs? A nostalgic blast from the past. Nutty caramel-coated popcorn clusters that hit Australian shores by storm in the 1980’s. As their tagline put it “Everyone’s idea of bliss”. I have no idea if Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs are available today. I certainly haven’t spied any of the distinctive fluorescent and psychedelic packaging on supermarket shelves in a very, very long time.
To satisfy a growing hankering for Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs I decided to have a go at recreating them at home. My rendition. Decadently delicious caramel corn with nuts. Deceptively simple to prepare. The popcorn is freshly microwaved using the brown paper bag method. A dark, rich caramel prepared on the stovetop. The two elements then combined with nuts and baked in a slow oven until crisp and crunchy. Sweet. Salty. Moreish. These truly are my idea of bliss.
Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs (aka Caramel Corn With Nuts)
A candy thermometer takes the guesswork out of determining when the caramel is cooked to soft ball stage. If you don’t own a candy thermometer crude benchmarks to help assess the readiness of the caramel can be found in this post It’s the Shatter That Matters. Old Fashioned Homemade Honeycomb.
8 cups popped popcorn (instructions follow for microwave popcorn)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup golden syrup or honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup mixed salted nuts
PREHEAT oven to 120 C fan forced. Spread popped popcorn in an even layer over a large baking paper lined oven tray. Set aside.
COMBINE brown sugar, butter and golden syrup in a medium sized saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a full boil.
CONTINUE cooking, stirring occasionally, until candy thermometer reaches 120 C or small amount of mixture dropped into ice water forms a soft ball.
REMOVE from heat; stir in baking soda, vanilla and salt. Carefully pour the very hot mixture over the popcorn. Sprinkle nuts over the top and toss until well coated.
BAKE for 15-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until caramel has hardened on the popcorn. Remove from oven. Cool completely. Break into pieces. Store in an airtight container with a tight-fitting lid.
Microwaved Popcorn Using a Brown Paper Bag
Makes approximately 8 cups
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
2 brown paper lunch bags
IN A CUP mix together the unpopped kernels and oil. Pour 1/4 of a cup coated corn into each brown paper bag.Fold the top of the bag over twice to seal in the kernels.
MICROWAVE each bag separately. Stand the bag upright on the carousel and cook at 1000 watt power for 2 1/2 minutes, or until you hear pauses of about 2 seconds between pops. Place an empty cup in the microwave to help keep the bag upright as the corn pops. This helps prevent the popcorn from burning.
CAREFULLY open the bag to avoid escaping steam
POUR popcorn into a bowl, discarding any unpopped kernels of corn.