Autumn Caramel Popcorn (Spicy!)October 28, 2016 By Cathy — 20 Comments
This sweet, spicy popcorn has just the right amount of fall seasonings in the mix. While the kids are out trick or treating, the grown-ups can indulge in a treat of their own!
So what is the age when you can stop following your kids around as they trick or treat? So many variables right? Are they going with a big group? Do they know the neighborhood? Will they come home when they’re supposed to?
It was a completely different story when I was a kid. (You know back in the day when we walked 10 miles to school, uphill in both directions.) But seriously, I remember wildly criss-crossing through the neighborhood for hours, sometimes hitting the same house up two or three times if we could get away with it.
And costumes were practically an afterthought. We never bought one from a store, but instead scrounged around until we cobbled something together. It’s quite possible that I was a hobo three years in a row, followed up with my favorite childhood costume…a streetwalker. Yep, I had a fur stole, red lipstick and a beautymark and I remember feeling incredibly glamorous. Of course I begrudgingly had to put on my winter coat and cover it all up because it was so cold outside, but I’m sure that was for the best. Did I mention that it was a simpler time?
Well, hopefully my kids won’t have to wear their winter coats this Halloween. And thankfully they’re now at the age that they can go running off with a pack of their own. Which leaves the adults to stay back at home, pass out the candy and have our own Halloween party. Since I’ve already had my Butterfinger quota for the year (why do I always buy my favorite candy to hand out?), I’ve made a sweet and salty snack with a spicy kick for us to enjoy instead of candy (or rather before we raid our kids stash).
This caramel popcorn has an autumn spin that’s just right for Halloween. It’s inspired by a recipe for spicy popcorn balls that I’ve been making for years. But for this version I’ve added pumpkin pie spice, ginger and cinnamon into the caramel, along with a big shake of chipotle chili powder. Peanuts and Cinnamon Chex cereal give it some texture and crunch. Like my lemon thyme caramel corn, I dare you to have just one bite. Oh and be careful, the heat from the chipotle powder sneaks up on you. But then, it wouldn’t be Halloween without a little trick in your treat. Happy Halloween!
*Adapted from Spicy Popcorn Balls by Grace Parisi
- 1 - 3.5 oz bag lightly salted popcorn, popped
- 1 heaping cup dry roasted peanuts
- 2 cups Cinnamon Chex cereal
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup water
- 3 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 1½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- Combine popcorn, peanuts and cereal in a large, heat-proof bowl and set aside. Line two sheet pans with non-stick foil, set aside.
- Combine the sugar, corn syrup, butter and water in a medium, heavy bottom saucepan over medium/high heat. Stir until butter is melted and attach a candy thermometer to the saucepan.
- Boil until the candy thermometer reaches 295 degrees, about 12 minutes.
- Turn off heat and stir in salt and spices.
- Pour caramel over the popcorn mixture and carefully stir to combine using a wooden spoon. Make sure the caramel is evenly distributed over the popcorn.
- Work quickly before caramel hardens and pour the popcorn out on to the prepared sheet pans to cool.
- Allow to completely cool and then break into pieces and enjoy!