Let’s chat about popcorn, or, more specifically, this recipe for Vanilla Cinnamon Caramel Popcorn. One of my favorite dinners is wine and popcorn. (Don’t tell The Boy, he doesn’t consider it a “meal”). I love popcorn on movie nights, and I’ve even gone so far as to go to a movie theater simply for a bag of popcorn to go. Is that weird? I’m gonna go with no.
The most exciting part of any festival, fair, or carnival, the kettle corn booth. Tell me I’m wrong. Well, don’t because I’m not wrong, and I don’t want to end of thinking less of you for disagreeing about something as minor as kettle corn.
Caramel popcorn is the perfect snack, but I wanted this recipe to be a little more robust than traditional caramel corn, so I added some vanilla and cinnamon. I wanted something that would be yummy on a road trip and perfect for fall or winter. To be fair and honest, this recipe was the inspiration for my version.
This is a very simple recipe, and it’s packed with flavor, but the cinnamon and vanilla can both be, “to taste”, so feel free to ignore the amount I listed in the recipe if you’d like to make it your own. However, I implore you to use a high-quality vanilla extract to get the best flavor. I know vanilla is expensive, but there’s no replacing the flavor of real vanilla. Artificial extract is made of vanillin which is actually a tree bark, and it doesn’t quite line up. Plus, imho, the artificial stuff has a plastic-y aftertaste.
Enough stalling, here’s the recipe!
This stuff is seriously amazing. The Boy and I already ate our batch.
Vanilla Cinnamon Caramel PopcornCourse: SnacksDifficulty: Easy
1 cup or 2 sticks of butter (yep, TWO)
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup (dark or light will work)
3 tsp. of pure vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
6-8 oz air popped pop corn (approximately 1 cup uncooked kernels)*
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
- Pop your corn, remove any unpopped kernels, and set it aside in a large bowl. I suggest greasing the bowl with cooking spray or shortening as this will prevent the caramel from sticking. Grease or spray every item that will touch the caramel. That’s a pro-tip for you.
- In a large non-stick skillet or sauce pan, melt the butter on medium low. Add the sugars, cinnamon, and honey to the pot, and stir to combine. Turn the mixture up to medium – it will start to boil. Once this happens, you need to be stirring constantly to ensure the sugars don’t burn. Let the mixture simmer for 4-6 minutes until it is thick and smooth.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and add the vanilla and the baking powder. This will create an awesomely violent reaction, but just keep stirring through and it will calm down.
- Pour the caramel over the corn and stir to combine. This step is easiest to do if you do it in batches – I did 3. Don’t feel that you need to use all of the caramel, put a light coating over the pop corn, too much and it won’t get crunchy. If you want to make something chewy, like caramel popcorn balls, stop here, use all the caramel, and shape the popcorn.
- Split the pop corn onto two baking trays. Another pro-tip: cover those bad boys in tin foil before you add the popcorn so they are easier to clean.
- Bake the tray in 10 minute intervals, stirring in between. I did 4 rounds per batch, but you may need more or less. Let the pop corn cool for at least 5 minutes, if it turns nice an crunchy, it’s done, if it stays kinda chewy, put it back in for another round.
- Once the popcorn has cooled, you’ll likely need to break it up again because it will stick together. You can serve it now, or keep it for 3-4 days in an air tight container or zip lock.
- * If you want to use microwave popcorn, I suggest Orville Redenbacher’s Organic Simply Salted because it will compliment the caramel the best. Also, it is by far the most superior pop corn.