Butterscotch Sundae with Caramel Popcorn

Ice cream sundaes are the ultimate summer dessert treat.  They’re simple to make (especially if you purchase the ice cream), and open to all kinds of flavor combinations.  I guess hot fudge might be considered the “queen” of the ice cream sundaes, but this sweet, salty, caramel concoction gives chocolate a run for her money.  Use this sauce on its own or pair it with strawberry and chocolate sauce to make the best-ever banana split.  I think it would be a great dessert sauce with seasonal fruit crisps too.  And the caramel popcorn is a delicious sweet snack; try not to eat it all before the sundaes are served!

Butterscotch Sundaes with Caramel Popcorn
(Makes 4 generous servings)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes (such as Maldon)
Butterscotch Sauce:
3 1/2 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup golden syrup (such as Lyle’s)
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup butterscotch-flavored schnapps
1 to 2 teaspoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
8 large scoops of your favorite vanilla ice cream
Put the popcorn kernels in a sturdy brown paper bag and drizzle with the vegetable oil.  Close the bag tightly with several folds and place in the microwave.  Set the timer for three and a half minutes and start the oven on high. When the sound of popping begins to slow, remove the bag from the microwave.  Carefully open the bag (it will be hot and steam will escape) and empty the popcorn into a large bowl.  Place the butter, honey, and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until the butter is melted.  Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil for 3-4 minutes or until golden and thickened.  Remove from the heat, add the baking soda, and stir to combine.  Working quickly, pour the honey mixture over the popcorn and mix with a silicone spatula to combine.  Turn the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, sprinkle with the sea salt, and set aside.  To make the butterscotch sauce, place the butter, sugar, golden syrup, cream and schnapps in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted.  Bring to the boil and simmer briskly for 12-15 minutes, or until thickened.  (Watch carefully at this point, as the mixture can bubble up and over the top of the pan).  Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, then cool completely.  To serve, divide the ice cream between glasses, spoon over the butterscotch sauce and top with the popcorn.  Store leftover sauce in a covered jar in the refrigerator for up to one week. 
(adapted from “Donna Hay Magazine”, Issue 67)

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