Today we were hit with another big snowstorm in New England, though luckily not as severe as the previous one. Days like today make me crave comfort food and I’ve really been enjoying popcorn lately.
Until recently, I had never tried popping my own corn kernels over a stove but now that I have, I don’t think I’ll go back to the bags. Popping kernels over a stove is a great way to make popcorn because you can control exactly what goes into it and not have to wonder what’s in that strange buttery substance in pre-packaged bags of popcorn kernels. My two favorite ways to make popcorn are spicy (with hot sauce and red pepper flakes), or a sweet version, such as caramel corn.
My roommate Emily has made this recipe for us on a few occasions now and we always devour it each time. Many recipes for caramel corn call for corn syrup as the base, which I don’t necessarily mind every once in a while, but using honey instead of corn syrup makes for healthier and tastier caramel. To make this popcorn slightly lighter, we also halved the caramel sauce cut the popcorn measurements down by a third. Each piece of popcorn still had a nice, crispy sweetness to it. We also eliminated the salt because while I agree that salted caramel things are good, I like plain caramel even better.
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels, or 1 bag of microwave popcorn (roughly 4 quarts popped)
- 3 Tbsp canola oil (if popping kernels yourself)
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
- Preheat oven to 250ºF. To cook the popcorn kernels, heat 3 Tbsp canola oil in a 4-quart cooking pot. Add kernels and cover with a tight-fitting lid. When kernels begin popping, carefully shake pot every few seconds to make sure the heat is evenly distributed. The popcorn is done when the time between “popping” noises is 5 seconds or more. (If using microwaved popcorn, simply cook the popcorn according to box directions).
- In a medium sauce pan, combine butter, brown sugar, and honey over medium heat. Stir until melted and then bring to a boil. Let the mixture boil for just 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning, and remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract, baking soda, and cinnamon until dissolved. The mixture will bubble up a bit so be cautious.
- Pour caramel over popcorn and stir to coat all pieces. Spread the popcorn out in an even layer on a lightly greased large cookie sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring at 15 minute intervals. Let cool slightly before eating.
This popcorn was nearly impossible not to eat while photographing it. This stuff is seriously addictive, guys. You are warned. 😉