Compensation was provided by Orville Redenbacher’s Popcorn via Mode Media
I’ve been thinking a lot about my “brand.” What am I all about and what do I want to share with you, my reader. I’ve been making lists and thinking about what I love. And one thing that keeps making it on to those lists is snacks. Wait, what?! Hey, turns out I love snacks. And here is a super easy one for you. On my last trip to Temecula I picked up some lavender pepper from the spice shop. I’ve been dying to use it and this just made sense. I’m trying to eat healthier snacks (but you know me, my quest for health usually lasts just for a few weeks) and popcorn is an awesome option. And so I made popcorn with lavender pepper.
It’s healthiest if you make it at home in an air popper or special microwave bowl, but it should also be noted that “lazy” is on my list of things about me. Trader Joe’s has a bag of reduced guilt popcorn that is a great base. Then all you need is some lavender pepper and sea salt. Now, I realize that you probably won’t have lavender pepper. Especially since this is the first time I’ve ever seen it. But you can pick up edible lavender on amazon or some local markets. Just add that and some fresh peppercorns to a spice mill or old coffee grinder to make your own. And be sure to taste your popcorn first to see just how salty it is before adding more.
Because I am trying to not add calories, only flavor, I usually spritz the tiniest bit of water on the popcorn to help the spices stick. Weird, I know. But it would also work to toss the popcorn with a little melted butter or olive oil. What is your favorite way to eat popcorn?
YOU GUYS! This is the BEST CARAMEL CORN RECIPE EVER! I don’t mean to yell. I just want to be clear. You haven’t lived until you’ve had this caramel corn. It is simple to make and is a show stopper. I have given this as teacher’s gifts, eaten it in place of birthday cake and have been accused of hoarding it for myself. If that is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
The ingredients are pretty standard. And I know there is a lot of negativity surrounding corn syrup and the like. If there is one place in the world they should be, it is dessert. Embrace it people! Then eat some carrots to balance it out.
The only thing hard about this recipe is remembering to watch the caramel so it doesn’t burn. I often try to do something else at the same time thinking I can multi-task. And sometimes I can. But it never works out when I am making caramel. I’m fine with burnt toast. I’m okay with burnt pizza. But there is no place in this world for burnt caramel. Super grody.
If your kids are old enough to be around hot molten caramel, have them help you with this. There is a fun chemical reaction when you add the baking soda to the caramel. It foams up and grows. So cool. I have no idea what the purpose really is but if it helps it come out yummy, I’m all for it.
You can use a roasting pan but I find it is easier to use a large disposable pan. The key to this caramel corn is the baking. It helps coat all of the popcorn and keeps the popcorn from becoming soggy. This is not a sticky caramel corn. It is crisp and buttery and perfect. I like using a larger pan to make sure that I don’t lose half of the batch in to the fiery depths of the oven when I stir it every 15 minutes. FYI, burnt caramel smells almost as bad as it tastes. And then clean up is a breeze because you don’t have to try to get hardened caramel off the pan.
There you have it. Best Caramel Corn Ever. SO easy. I know that some of you may have your own caramel corn recipe that you swear by. But yours is wrong. Mine is better. Sometimes I sprinkle a little Maldon Sea Salt on top as it is cooling down from its last spin in the oven. Oh yeah.
- 2 cups brown sugar (packed)
- 1 cup butter (I've used both salted and unsalted - I don't taste a huge difference)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 6 quarts popped popcorn (I use an air popper, but you can use plain microwave popcorn also)
- Pop all your popcorn (6 quarts) and place in disposable baking pan.
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
- To a saucepan, add the brown sugar, butter, salt and corn syrup.
- Melt together over medium heat, stirring almost constantly to keep it from burning.
- Heat to boiling and let boil for 5 minutes, stirring almost constantly.
- Remove from heat and add baking soda.
- Stir well.
- Pour over popped popcorn and stir well, taking care not to break the popcorn.
- Bake at 250 degrees for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Stir the caramel corn as it cools to prevent it from sticking together in big clumps.
- Store in an air tight container.
For someone who doesn’t post a lot of holiday stuff I got totally wrapped up in Valentine’s Day this year. And most of it was last minute but I really wanted to share it. One thing that was planned out was this candy popcorn recipe that I collaborated on with Kristin of Meringue Bake Shop. Many people know her from her cupcakes and PushCakes. But she is SO much more. Twice she has made this delicious candy popcorn for parties for me and it is always a hit. And it can’t be more perfect for Valentine’s Day.
This candy popcorn recipe is totally easy. I’m afraid to use a candy thermometer so that is why I wanted Kristin involved. I thought this would be too hard for me to make considering I am not a great baker. Or cook. Or dishwasher…But color me surprised when I found out all you need is popped popcorn, sugar, light corn syrup and flavored Jello! I will be making this. A lot. And then buying bigger pants.
You make an easy syrup mixture on the store and add the Jello for flavoring.
Simply pour the syrup over popped popcorn and stir to coat. Whenever I made caramel corn I buy a disposable roasting pan from the store. It makes stirring easy especially when you’ve got hot sugar your dealing with which is just waiting to coat your finger and leave you an unpleasant burn. Not that it has happened…This also makes clean up a cinch since you just throw the pan away when done instead of having to clean of that hard candy coating. But this is also wasteful. So I should really just buy a legit roasting pan. But then I would have no where to store it. And that, my friends, is my inner dialogue.
And this is my husband. I think he was feeling left out because our kids are always in posts. He wouldn’t leave until I took a picture. But he’s pretty cute so I decided to leave him in. But if your husband isn’t as cute, just skip this part.
Then you spread out the coated popcorn on a baking sheet to finish off in the oven. This steps makes it crispy instead of gooey. Gooey is fine too, but a good crunch never hurt anything. You can sort of make out some little gold hearts here. Remember when I added stars to champagne? Well I also had the edible hearts. And they just make sense to use on a Valentine’s Day snack. We added them to the popcorn before baking so they would stick to it.
8 cups popped popcorn (I have a microwavable bowl that I use with kernals but you can also use plain microwavable bags if you have to)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine – can also use butter but my food allergic son can eat it if I use his margarine = happy kid
3 TBSP light corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1 package (4 serving size) any flavor Jello – not the sugar free kind. Gross. We used cherry. Amazeballs.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray foil with a small bit of cooking spray so it won’t stick. Set aside.
Place margarine and corn syrup in small saucepan on medium heat and stir until butter is melted. Add sugar and Jello. Stir to combine and until Jello is completely dissolved.
Bring to a boil on medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix popped popcorn and syrup until well coated. Spread on to prepared sheet pan and spread out evenly. Bake 10 minutes. Cool. Remove from pan and break in to small pieces. Or grab huge chunks and shove them in your face.
Kristin made this peach version of candy popcorn for Lauren’s bridal shower. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Thanks for doing this post with my Kristin! Get excited. Kristin is starting a blog where she is going to share a bunch more of her tutorials. And not just on sweet treats. She is a talented lady and has lots to share!
Image of peach popcorn by Dez and Tam