Autumn Caramel Popcorn (Spicy!)

October 25, 2018 By Cathy — 20 Comments
This sweet, spicy popcorn has just the right amount of fall seasonings in the mix. Crunchy, buttery, popcorn and nuts means while the kids are out trick or treating, the grown-ups can indulge in a sweet and salty treat of their own!

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. Dry roasted peanuts and Cinnamon Chex cereal give it some texture and crunch.

Let’s make Autumn Caramel Popcorn

Don’t be intimidated to make your own caramel. It really couldn’t be easier. You simply combine the sugar, corn syrup, butter, and water in a medium, heavy bottom saucepan set over medium/high heat. Stir the mixture until the butter is melted and attach a candy thermometer to the saucepan. And then…just let it cook.

Once it reaches 295 degrees, turn off the heat and stir in the spices. Then carefully pour the caramel over the popcorn/nut/cereal mixture and stir to coat. Spread the caramel popcorn onto lined sheet trays and allow it to cool. Break it into pieces and gobble!

Autumn Caramel Popcorn

Tips for success

  • When making the caramel, stir it only until the butter melts, then leave it alone. Keep an eye on your heat so it doesn’t burn.
  • Keep a watchful eye as it approaches the 295 degree mark, and remove it from heat as soon as it hits the mark.
  • When you’re working with caramel you need to work quickly and carefully. Caramel will burn, so take precautions so it doesn’t splatter on your skin. Once the caramel is poured over the popcorn mixture, work quickly to stir and coat.
  • Allow the caramel to cool completely before you break it into pieces to serve or store. The caramel popcorn will keep for several days stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

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.

Autumn Caramel Popcorn

5 from 2 votes
Autumn Caramel Popcorn in a mason jar and scattered around on a plaid towel with candy corn.
Autumn Caramel Popcorn (Spicy!)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
27 mins
 

This sweet, spicy popcorn has just the right amount of fall seasonings in the mix. Crunchy, buttery, popcorn and nuts means while the kids are out trick or treating, the grown-ups can indulge in a sweet and salty treat of their own!

Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: caramel popcorn
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 772 kcal
Ingredients
  • 3.5 oz lightly salted popcorn, popped (1 bag)
  • 1 cup dry roasted peanuts (heaping)
  • 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
Instructions
  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. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes
  • When making the caramel, stir it only until the butter melts, then leave it alone. Keep an eye on your heat so it doesn't burn. 
  • Keep a watchful eye as it approaches the 295 degree mark, and remove it from heat as soon as it hits the mark.
  • When you're working with caramel you need to work quickly and carefully. Caramel will burn, so take precautions so it doesn't splatter on your skin. Once the caramel is poured over the popcorn mixture, work quickly to stir and coat. 
  • Allow the caramel to cool completely before you break it into pieces to serve of store. The caramel popcorn will keep for several days stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Nutrition Facts
Autumn Caramel Popcorn (Spicy!)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 772 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 32%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 1496mg 62%
Potassium 303mg 9%
Total Carbohydrates 146g 49%
Dietary Fiber 7g 28%
Sugars 113g
Protein 10g 20%
Vitamin A 12.4%
Vitamin C 3.2%
Calcium 7.2%
Iron 42.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Update Notes: This post was originally published in October 2016 but was republished with tips in October 2018.

Autumn Caramel Popcorn

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Filed Under: Appetizers/Snacks, Holiday, Recipe

Comments

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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