I am going to keep this post short, sweet, and to a delicious point: This popcorn is AMAZING.
One of the enjoyable parts of having such a great base recipe for Homemade Caramel Popcorn has been all of the ways we have found to make it unique and take it to the “next level”. Perhaps we have been influenced by our recent obsession with shows like the Next Iron Chef and Chopped on The Food Network. Or perhaps we have made one too many trips to the Trader Joe’s that opened this year in Kansas City. Or perhaps we just can’t get enough of this addicting popcorn and have to find additional excuses to make it (as if we would need one). BUT, I have concluded with all of our attempts to put a “spin” on this caramel popcorn, this may be the most addicting version yet.
For Christmas, we have been trying to come up with new treats this year and try and break away from the traditional cookies and breads and such (which of course, I love!). So, when my mother-in-law found some tasty Cranberry-Orange dried fruit at Trader Joe’s last week, we got to talking and discussing cooking ideas for them. We came to the conclusion that white chocolate + cranberry-orange would be a perfect duo of deliciousness to add to the caramel popcorn. Once I took my first bite of our new creation, I felt confident we made the right decision – my taste buds were jumping for joy! Even the smell that comes from the citrus and the drizzled white chocolate is intoxicating. So, so yummy.
- 8 quarts of popped plain popcorn (be sure the popcorn does not have any butter or salt added)
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 bag (12 oz) of cranberry-orange dried fruit
- 8 oz. melted White Chocolate
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Prepare 2 large oven pans and one large bowl (as big as you can find) with non-stick cooking spray.
- In the large bowl add in popped popcorn and set aside. (we use something like a Microwave Popcorn Popper, so that we can just buy the popcorn kernels in bulk and pop them in the microwave.)
- In a medium-sized sauce pan – mix brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat and add in baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt (mixture will bubble). Continue to stir for another couple minutes until well mixed.
- Carefully pour hot mixture over popcorn and mix with a wooden spoon until the popcorn is covered in the caramel. (This can get messy so having a larger bowl or multiple bowls with high sides will help a lot.) Then, transfer the caramel corn to the baking sheets and spread out evenly. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour. In the last 15 minutes, prepare melted white chocolate.
- Remove from oven and pour cranberry-orange dried fruit and melted chocolate over the popcorn. Let cool completely and then bag them up and serve!