Thursday, December 30, 2010

Caramel Popcorn

This is a fun recipe and makes a great New Years' gift for friends and neighbors - just package it in holiday tins or pretty jars.  Since I probably won't post again until 2011, Happy New Year to all!

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup packed vegan brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light-colored corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup vegan butter
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 cups popped popcorn (without salt or fat)*
1. To start, coat a jelly roll pan or baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside.

2. Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and molasses in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring only once - don't worry if it bubbles quite wildly during this step.

3. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, baking soda, and salt.  Place the popped popcorn in a large bowl, and pour the sugar mixture into the bowl in a steady stream, stirring to coat the popcorn evenly.

4. Spread the popcorn mixture onto the prepared jelly roll pan and bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

5. Break apart any large clumps once out of the oven, then let cool for at least 15 minutes.  At this point, you can either serve the popcorn warm, or let it cool to room temperature.  If you do plan to give some of the popcorn as gifts, let it cool completely before you package it.  The popcorn will keep for about a week in an airtight container.

*One good option for vegan popcorn is Newman's Own Organics (pictured below) - the company's unsalted microwave popcorn bags do not contain any butter, and are vegan. 

Nutrition Info:
18 servings (2/3 cup), Calories 126 

Tasting Notes:
My fiance declared that this yummy snack was like cracker jacks only better, with a fresh taste that packaged caramel corn can't hope to compete with, and requested that I always keep a batch on hand for him to take to the movies.  I guess that makes it a winner, and on my end, I found myself happily crunching away on this sweet-salty snack.  My only complaint was that the caramel mixture had a tendency to stick to my teeth, but if it weren't for that, I would have rated it a 5 in a heartbeat.


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