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!

Autumn Caramel Popcorn

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.

Autumn Caramel Popcorn

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).

Autumn Caramel Popcorn

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!

Autumn Caramel Popcorn

5 from 2 votes
Autumn Caramel Popcorn
Autumn Caramel Popcorn (Spicy!)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
22 mins
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!
Course: Snack
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Cathy Roma | *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
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Combine popcorn, peanuts and cereal in a large, heat-proof bowl and set aside. Line two sheet pans with non-stick foil, set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. Boil until the candy thermometer reaches 295 degrees, about 12 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and stir in salt and spices.
  5. 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.
  6. Work quickly before caramel hardens and pour the popcorn out on to the prepared sheet pans to cool.
  7. Allow to completely cool and then break into pieces and enjoy!

Autumn Caramel Popcorn

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Filed Under: Appetizers/Snacks, Holiday, Recipe


20 responses to “Autumn Caramel Popcorn (Spicy!)”

  1. I love, love, LOVE this recipe! And I love your childhood costumes even more!

  2. OMG….street walker? Laughing so hard right now. Too cute! And ‘You know back in the day when we walked 10 miles to school, uphill in both directions’ Good one, but true, lol 😀 I love popcorn and pretty much eat weekly. Such an awesome sweet/salty combo so definitely Pinning and can’t wait to try! Hope you have a wonderful weekend, Cathy 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Dawn! And yeah, you can’t make it up right? Can you imagine if I sent my kids out in that today? I’d be arrested! But it was all in good, very innocent fun. And a little more straight up than the naughty police officer 😉

  3. This doesn’t answer your question on what is the age when you can stop following your kids around as they trick or treat? BUT, something I read this week: about letting and welcoming older high school aged trick or treaters. . I guess some people were saying they are too old to go BUT they were saying they would much rather have their kids be out trick or treating as opposed to going to a party and drinking and doing whatever else they do. . I loved that. . anyway . . love this autumn caramel popcorn!!!! yum!

  4. The streetwalker costume LOL so good. I definitely remember having to wear a snowsuit when I trick-or-treated most of the time (here in Canada we often had snow by Halloween!), so the costume was always an afterthought really. It does seem like Halloween is more complicated and involved these days, like everything else. This popcorn looks fab!

  5. Lol, too funny! I went as punk once when I was a kid, jean skirt, shirt tied on the side, way too much plastic jewelry, and big hair… yeah, I looked like a streetwalker too 😉 I’m loving this caramel popcorn, especially with a touch a spice!

  6. So fun and delicious looking! Love your spicy twist with the chipotle. Perfect with the warm fall spices 🙂

  7. Hmm, I still have a nine-year-old so hubby will be out walking the streets while I eat this popcorn! And for the record, never buy Halloween candy early! I wait until Halloween to buy it otherwise I eat the entire bag. Butterfinger is the best!

    • Cathy says:

      That seems like a fair exchange Karen! I love being the one that stays home to pass out the candy (or eat all of the popcorn) 😉

  8. Hahah! I can’t tell you how many times I was a hobo, an old lady, and a big bunny… I still have nightmares! Wow – do I love this popcorn! And your photos just make me happy!

  9. Karly says:

    Did not expect to see SPICY! here! But, man does this look good. I LOVE popcorn, and this just takes it to a whole new level! Need to try this soon!

  10. Summer says:

    Such a delightful treat ♥

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