I posted this recipe on instagram (@modernhealthymom) but wanted a more permanent home for it, because I have made it often and it has become our new favorite treat. My girls ask for it all the time and were so patient while I took pictures. As soon as I was finished they each got a little cup full and they had a “picnic” in the living room with it. I formed some into popcorn balls this time and they were a huge hit – and so much easier to dole out to tiny hands!
This recipe is a great alternative to regular caramel corn that uses corn syrup and conventional sugar. I was leery of trying the honey in place of the corn syrup because I thought it might be overly sticky – but it worked out fabulously. It’s nice and gooey, but doesn’t leave you with caramel dripping from your fingers (not that that would be a bad thing). The coconut sugar really gives this a rich, darker caramel flavor and the salt off-sets it perfectly.
Because it’s made with natural sugars, I don’t feel bad about making this treat for my kids once in a while . . . and myself – I LOVE caramel popcorn. Or any popcorn, really.
- 12 c air popped popcorn
- 1 c coconut sugar
- ½ c butter
- ¼ c honey
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ tsp baking soda
- In a large microwave safe bowl, heat the sugar, butter, honey, and salt for 1 minute in the microwave.
- Stir the mixture and cook again for 2 minutes.
- Stir once more and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Remove from microwave (careful, it's hot) and stir in vanilla and baking soda. It will bubble up and change color.
- Pour over the popped corn and stir to coat evenly.
- At this point you can either eat straight out of the bowl, form into balls, or bake the popcorn for crunchy caramel corn.
- To bake: spread the corn evenly on a baking sheet (or two). Bake in a 250 degree oven for about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
- To make stove-top: combine butter, coconut sugar, honey, and salt and cook over medium/low heat until you reach soft-ball stage. Remove from heat, add baking soda and vanilla, and pour over popcorn!